breastfeeding accessories

Understanding Different Breastfeeding Accessories

Breastfeeding Accessories

When a Mama first decides to breastfeed all she probably thinks are needing are, well, breasts. When she goes to register she finds out there are SO many “breastfeeding accessories” out there.  It can get really overwhelming.  I remember when I was pregnant with my son (who is now almost six!!), it was confusing to sort through the sea of things companies said you “need” to breastfeed.  Here’s a breakdown of what some of the common breastfeeding accessories are.  Many of these are actually covered by medical insurance or can be deducted from your taxes, check with your insurance to see what they’ll cover.

#1-  Nursing Bra ~ This is a bra made with either a specialized clasp or cup feature designed to make access to the breast easier and more discreet.  These do need to be specially fit and your size will change during your breastfeeding time.  Usually it’s best to get fit for your first nursing bra at some point after the 5th month of pregnancy.  Many women choose to wear them while pregnant as well.  Your breasts will get larger after your milk comes in as well.  Typically after about 12 weeks postpartum your breast size and supply will level out and you may need to purchase a different bra.  It’s definitely worth it to find a store that specializes in nursing bras so you can be properly fit, an improper fit can restrict milk product, lead to clogged ducts and infections and be just downright uncomfortable!  You’ll want 3-4 nursing bras.

#2- Nursing Tank ~ Like a nursing bra, these will have some sort of clasp or chest feature to make nursing more discreet.  Many tanks attach to the nursing bra to cover the belly and back of the mother.  These are really nice to have in the days right after baby is born, they’re super easy to put on and really comfy for your postpartum belly (remember that your belly will still be about the size it was around 4-5 months pregnant when baby comes).


#3-  Nursing Pads ~ These are either cloth or disposable.  They’re designed to go inside your bra to absorb any milk that might leak.  You can also get silicone pads that will collect the milk.  Not all nursing mothers leak but the majority will.  Some women will leak the entire time they breastfeed, others will only leak for the first few months.  It’s definitely a good idea to have some nursing pads on hand.  We love Bamboobies reusable nursing pads (they also have cream, tanks, and bras)!

#4- Nursing Tops ~ Similar to a tank, these are shirts with a special cut to them so that they make nursing easier and discreet.  Many have layers around the breast that can be pulled apart to nurse through. There are also nursing dresses, PJs and swimsuits.  Many mothers choose to start wearing some of these items towards the end of pregnancy.  They’re definitely a convenience item that are nice to have but not 100% necessary.  

#5- Nipple Cream ~ New Mamas nipples often end up dry and sore.  Nursing cream is super nice to have to help your body adjust to nursing.  Nipple creams will be made of something that is safe for baby to ingest.  It’s a must-have for a new nursing Mama!

#6- Nursing Pillow ~ There are gobs of nursing pillows out there.  The pillows are designed to help you position baby easier and to help relieve your arms a bit.  While not necessary for breastfeeding, they definitely make things easier!  Choose one with a washable cover because it will get spit up on.   Which brings us to….

#7- Burp/ spit up rags ~ Always have some sort of towel close by when nursing, especially with a bitty newborn.  They’ll spit up and/or you’ll leak.  Lots of mamas choose to use prefold or flat cloth diapers, wash cloths or specially designed rags.  

#8- Breastpump ~ We could do an entire post on pumps.  If you’re going to be going back to work or leaving baby in someone else’s care for a while you’ll definitely want a pump.  Hospital grade pumps are generally the most effective and can be rented from hospitals, baby stores, or lactation consultants.  If you’re going to be pumping it’s a good idea to meet with a La Leche League leader or lactation consultant to make sure you get the proper fit for the parts and understand how to use it. They’ll also be able to give some good suggestions in terms of brand.  
Side note: Remember that the amount of milk you pump is no indication of the amount of milk you’re producing.  Some women have perfectly healthy supplies but their bodies do not respond well to a pump.  All a pump tells you is how you much you can pump, it does not accurately reflect how much milk you’re making.  

#9- Baby carrier ~ Carriers are basically a lifesaver for Mamas and one thing that doesn’t often land on the breastfeeding accessory list as often as I think it should.  They allow you to hold baby and have your hands free.  Babies LOVE to be held, especially in the first few months of life.  With some practice you can breastfeed hands free in a carrier.  Check with your local baby store or find a local Babywearing International group for classes explaining the different types of carriers and how to nurse in them.  Many La Leche Leauge’s will also have carriers and people trained to help you use them.  Make sure to always follow these handy TICKS guidelines for babywearing safety and enjoy the newfound freedom of having baby close by and your hands free!

#10- Nursing cover ~ This one is really personal preference if you feel you need to be covered.  You can buy or make a cover or use a blanket.  If you’re nursing in a carrier you the carrier acts as a cover.  Many mothers start out with a cover until Mama and baby both have learned how to nurse and then they’re able to nurse discreetly without one.  

 

We’ve been fortunate to partner with and get to know so many great breastfeeding brands.  Check out some of our friend’s sites:

 

We hope this has helped you gain understanding about the various nursing accessories that are out there.  Feel free to reach out via email at info@birdsandbeesteas.com or on our Facebook page if you have any other questions.  

As always, consult with your healthcare provider before undergoing any changes to your healthcare regime.  These statements are educational and not intended to be taken as medical advice. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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Understanding Different Breastfeeding Accessories

Herbs While Breastfeeding

FAQ- Using Herbs While Breastfeeding

Using Herbs While Breastfeeding


One area we often see confusion is surrounding using herbs while breastfeeding.  There are definitely some herbs that should be avoided and some herbs that should be embraced during breastfeeding!  As a general rule of thumb, anything that was used during pregnancy may be used while breastfeeding as well- there are a couple of exceptions that you’ll discover below.

Obviously, the herbs you consume will pass through your milk and on to your baby.  Some women choose to consume herbs specifically for this reason if their infant is getting sick or is colicky, other times this is definitely something we want to avoid.  

The following lists are not comprehensive so before using any herbal products or herbs while breastfeeding it’s a good idea to check with a trusted practitioner to ensure safety for you and for your baby.

Some herbs might decrease your milk supply and should be used in extreme moderation or eliminated completely.  These include: Sage, Peppermint, Spearmint, Bugleweed, Jasmin, Parsley, Lemon Balm, Thyme and Sorrel.  

We utilize some of these herbs in our Milk Be Gone blend which is designed to help reduce milk supply when weaning.  Sage is a common culprit of calls to lactation consultants around Thanksgiving.  Be careful with what you eat on Thanksgiving this year as consuming too many of that yummy sage dressing may decrease your supply!

Other times herbs may be harmful to a breastfeeding Mama or to baby, these include herbs such as: Aloe, Bladderwrack, Borage, Chaparral, Coltsfoot, Comfrey, Ephedra, Goldenseal, Kava Kava, Licorice Root, Pulsatilla, Tobacco, Uva Ursi, Wintergreen, Wormwood and many more

Kelly Mom has comprehensive information and resources regarding herbs and breastfeeding if you’re curious about more.  

There are some herbs known as galactagogues which can help build and support breastmilk supply, quality and overall health for Mama.  We use some of these herbs in Our Lady of La Leche Tea Blend.  These include: Anise, Goat’s Rue, Fennel, Fenugreek, Milk Thistle, Nettle, Marshmallow Root, Oatstraw,  and Raspberry Leaf.

 

Herbs are a fantastic way to help nourish yourself and your nursling.  We hope this helps provide you with some more peace of mind.  Feel free to reach out at info@birdsandbeesteas.com if you have any other questions or concerns.  

As always, consult with your healthcare provider before undergoing any changes to your healthcare regime.  These statements are educational and not intended to be taken as medical advice. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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Using Herbs While Breastfeeding

Lactation Tea Our Lady of La Leche

Top Reasons to Love Our Lady of La Leche Lactation Tea

Our Lady of La Leche Lactation Tea

Once in a while, nursing Mamas need a little extra support for breast milk production.  This is exactly why we created Our Lady of La Leche lactation tea.  It’s a delicious tea blend made with herbs that traditionally help boost milk supply called galactagogues.

Not only can this blend help with milk supply, it can help boost Mamas overall health.  We also love that it can provide you with a couple minutes of peace and calm to enjoy something yummy and warm!  We do hope, however, that if you believe you’re struggling with a supply issue that you will reach out to a local La Leche League leader or trusted lactation consultant.   (If you’re in the Denver-metro area check out our local resource page).

Breastfeeding is a beautiful relationship between Mama and baby which can sometimes come with struggles.  Please never be afraid to reach out for help if you’re experiencing any pain, discomfort, latch problems, supply issues or have any other concerns.  We hope that when you enjoy this tea lactation tea you’ll take comfort in the community of thousands of other nursing Mamas around the world.   

Generally, 1-3 cups per day is recommended for this lactation tea blend.  We are often asked about using this blend before the baby is born to help build a good supply.  This should be avoided as some of the herbs used can cause contractions.

Erika says this about Our Lady of La Leche:

I just purchased the “Our Lady of La Leche” tea and absolutely love it! I have a 5 month old baby who is exclusively on breast milk. I wanted something to boost my supply so I could freeze more as a “back-up”. This not only worked to increase my supply, but also tastes wonderful! Win-Win! Highly recommend, and can’t wait to taste the rest of the teas Birds and Bees has to offer.

We include Tea_OurLadyLaLeche_1Nettle Leaf, Alfalfa Leaf, Marshmallow Root, Fennel Seed, Fenugreek Seed and Astragalus Root in this tea blend.  

Feel free to reach out at info@birdsandbeesteas.com if you have any allergies or other concerns which might prevent you from being able to use this blend, we’d be happy to help create a special blend for you.  We’d also love to hear from you with any other questions or concerns related to the teas, pregnancy, breastfeeding, herbalism, parenting, etc!  We’re here for YOU and want to help our however we can <3

Photos by Graziella Hannan

As always, consult with your healthcare provider before undergoing any changes to your healthcare regime.  These statements are educational and not intended to be taken as medical advice. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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Lady of La Leche Lactation Tea

Honey Benefits - Birds and Bees Teas

A Closer Look at Honey Benefits

September is National Honey month!  In honor of this sweet, sticky month we thought we’d take a break from the typical “herb highlight” and offer you a “honey highlight!!” Yum yum! Let’s take a closer look at honey benefits. 

Honey and tea are an obvious pairing but did you know that honey has a number of benefits besides being sweet and delicious??  This amazing substance never goes bad and has been used medicinally for centuries.  It’s a great addition to your cup of tea, in a salad dressing, over berries or a good replacement for white sugar. Delicious honey benefits! 

There are a number of varieties of honey available such as: clover, orange blossom and manuka.   The type of honey is based on the plants that the bee was pollinating while making the honey.  The difference will be noticeable both in flavor and coloration of the honey.  Manuka honey is often touted as one of the best types to use for medicinal purposes.  It does tend to be quite a bit more expensive, however. Raw honey is always going to be more effective than pasteurized honey.  Local honey can be more effective when dealing with things such as allergies.

adding honey to elderberry syrupHerbalists use honey topically as well as internally.  Honey is also a great medium for medicinal syrups such as elderberry syrup or to help tinctures or other less-than-pleasant herbal preparations go down.  An herbalist or other holistic practitioner might instruct you to add honey to tea, mix it with herbs to create a syrup or even eat it by the spoonful.    

Some of the uses for honey include: burns, infection, chickenpox, cough, cuts, dry skin, parasites, allergies, energy, sleep, cold, flu, blood sugar regulation and so much more!    

Obviously, honey is still very sweet and should always be used in moderation but it’s definitely an amazing powerhouse and may help with a variety of conditions.  We love honey so much we even started a Pinterest board devoted to honey and honey benefits!


Here are some of our favorite ways to use honey:
Homemade Marshmallows by Mommypotamus
Or these Pumpkin Spice Marshmallows by Homestead Lady
Honey Body Wash by Wellness Mama
Or Sweet Orange and Honey Body Wash by My Mom Made That
Mommypotamus’ Burn Salve
GNOWFGLINS’ Spiced Honey Coconut Spread (this is a favorite for autumn)
Elderberry Syrup by yours truly- Birds and Bees Teas
Ginger Switchel Drink from Foodie With Family
Nourished Kitchen’s Jun Tea (this is similar to kombucha but with honey and green tea!)

What do you like to make with honey?

Honey should be avoided by infants under 1 year of age.    

As always, consult with your healthcare provider before undergoing any changes to your healthcare regime.  These statements are educational and not intended to be taken as medical advice. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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Honey Tea - Honey and Tea - Birds and Bees Teas

Herb Highlight- Fenugreek

Herb Highlight: Fenugreek

Fenugreek is perhaps the best-known herb among breastfeeding mothers.  This herb is popular in Mediterranean cooking and has a distinct flavor which reminds many people of black licorice. Many people sprout the seeds and use them in salads as well.  It is the seeds that are used by herbalists and incorporated in a variety of preparations. The most common preparations are: tinctures, infusions, and extracts but fenugreek can be found in capsule and powder form as well.

One strange, and common, side effect of fenugreek consumption is sweat that smells like maple syrup.  This phenomenon has brought giggles to breastfeeding mothers and is sometimes laughed about as a secret club trick.  It also confuses and concerns mothers, this is a perfectly normal side effect caused by a chemical component in the fenugreek called solotone.  When fenugreek is consumed, either in herbal or food preparations, solotone makes the sweat smell like maple syrup.  It varies in strength and can sometimes be hard to cover up.  Many mothers find success with frequent outfit changes and washing underarms regularly with a damp towel and mild soap.

Tea_OurLadyLaLeche_1At Birds and Bees Teas we use Fenugreek in Our Lady of La Leche blend.  Fenugreek is a powerful galactagogue, or herb that can help increase breast milk production.  We combine it with other galactagogue herbs to make a blend to support mother’s overall health and well-being as well as the quantity and quality of milk.  

 

Herbalists traditionally use fenugreek for: Nausea, PMS and menstrual cramps, Digestion, Blood Sugar, PCOS, Diarrhea, Heartburn, Gas, Menopause and more.  It is also believed to be a mild aphrodisiac.  

Fenugreek may cause uterine contractions so it should not be consumed during pregnancy.  If you believe you’re struggling with milk supply please reach out to a lactation consultant or your local La Leche League leader.  

We hope this helps you gain more understanding about this aromatic herb.  Let us know in the comments or feel free to reach out at info@birdsandbeesteas.com if you have any other questions.

Individuals with Fabaceae allergies (which include plants such as: soybeans, peanuts, and green peas) may be allergic to Fenugreek as well.  Anyone using medications that affect the blood sugar should consult a physician before use.

As always, consult with your healthcare provider before undergoing any changes to your healthcare regime.  These statements are educational and not intended to be taken as medical advice. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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Herb Highlight- Fenugreek - Breastfeeding Supplement

FAQ Answered- How Long Should I Brew My Tea-

FAQ Answered: How Long Should I Brew My Tea?

We’re often asked how long is “best” to brew the teas. For an ideal brew time there are a few factors to consider. So we’re going to answer the age old question – how long should I brew my tea?

Teas like black tea and green tea have very specific brew times (and even ideal water temperatures).  This is because these types of tea can become unpleasant and bitter if they’re over-brewed.  Sometimes even specific varieties of tea (such as Gunpowder or Sencha green) will have different brewing guidelines.  Matcha is another popular green tea variety which has its own unique preparation method.

Herbal tea is a bit different and more forgiving.  We covered a bit on brewing vessels and methods on our How to Brew Loose Leaf Tea blog post.  For brew time we suggest 5-20 minutes.  This gives the herbs a chance to release a lot of flavor and nutrients.

However, sometimes herbalists suggest infusing teas overnight.  Many herbs that are used in the bases of our teas release the most nutrients after several hours of steeping.  Peaceful Pregnancy is one that many midwives and herbalists might advise a woman to brew longer for a more powerful infusion.

To infuse overnight you’ll simply cover the herbs with boiling water in the vessel of your choice, put a top on it and leave it to sit at room temp overnight.

Another delicious option is the sun tea method.  Stick your herbs and water in a clear glass container and leave them out on a sunny day- yum yum!

We hope this helps to clear up any questions you might have about brew time.  Please feel free to reach out with any other questions you have!

~Happy sipping and we’re happy to have answered your question – how long should I brew my tea?!

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FAQ Answered- How Long Should I Brew My Tea- - Tea Tips

Dye Easter Eggs with Birds and Bees Teas

How To: Dye Easter Eggs with Birds and Bees Teas!!

Easter is nearly here and we’re super excited because again this year we are dying eggs with herbs.  That’s right, you can skip the artificial colors and make your own stunning eggs out of our teas!  You can choose to separate the herbs out or simply brew up different batches of tea and dye the eggs with them, the process is the same either way and quite similar to using standard dye kits. You can also use a variety of foods such as cabbage and red onion.

How To: Dye Easter Eggs with Birds and Bees Teas

  1. Place 2-4 T of herbs to 4 cups water in a pot along with 1 T cream of tarter or white vinegar (this will help the color absorb into the eggs)
  2. Slowly bring to a boil
  3. Reduce to a simmer
  4. Simmer 15-30 minutes until a nice, dark color has developed
  5. Add 3-6 eggs and simmer for an additional 15 minutes
  6. Remove from heat and let sit for 15-20 minutes (can also place in fridge overnight)
  7. After desired color is achieved remove egg and allow to dry
  8. For a nice sheen on the egg you can rub it with vegetable oil

Have fun!  Try different colors, decorations and more.  We’d love to see your photos of naturally dyed eggs.  Share them on our Facebook page, we can’t wait to see!

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Dye Easter Eggs Naturally with Birds & Bees Teas

Top Items to START recycling

Top Items to START recycling that you’re probably not!

Recently we shared with you the top items that you’re probably recycling that should be thrown out instead.  Now we’re going to take a look at items you’re probably not recycling but could be.

Dirty Containers People often throw out food and drink containers because they believe they’re too dirty.  Most municipalities ask that a certain percentage of food waste be removed but some can remain (usually 20% but check with your local recycling agency first).

Paint- Many manufactures will combine unused paint colors together to create new colors, sometimes painters will do this as well.  Check with the company you purchased your paint from or do a search for “recycling paint” with the name of your city.

Batteries- Batteries contain corrosive materials that should never be thrown away.  Many electronic stores have battery recycling either at the entrance to the store or at the customer service desk.  

Old Markers and Crayons- Give your kids old art supplies a second life!  Crayola recycles all brands of markers through their Color Cycle program so that you don’t have to toss empty markers.  There are also many people who are upcycling and recycling crayons to give them a second life for kids in need.  You could also call a local school to see if the art program wants the crayons, or make your own unique crayons out of them for gifts!  

Wedding, Prom, and Bridesmaid DressesInstead of keeping those fancy dresses in your closet, put them to good use!  NICU helping hands has a project that is close to our hearts. They take donated wedding dresses and turn them into beautiful gowns for infants who passed away.  Many other programs exist for donating formal dresses as well- a quick web search will help you find them!

Greeting Cards Old greeting cards can be donated through the St Jude’s Recycled card program.  We shared more in depth with you about the program in this blog post from last month.

Brita Water Filters- These can be dropped off at your local Whole Foods as part of the Preserve project which turns them into toothbrushes.  They can also be mailed in for the program.

#5 Plastic- This type of plastic was not recycleable for quite some time.  Many municipalities are now accepting it- check your local program for details.  (They can also go in the bins at Whole Foods with the brita filters!)

Undergarments- Many non-profit organizations now recycle and reuse bras, underwear, and lingerie. They are then donated to women in need around the country and around the world.  

Juice/ Food Pouches- Terra Cycle has stations in many local schools to recycle these pouches.  They are then turned into bags and other products.  In fact, Terra Cycle recycles many “unrecyclable” items throughout the nation.

Are there any other items you’ve always wondered if you can recycle/ donate or feel bad throwing out?  Check out Earth911.com to see if/ where you can recycle it, or post it on your local Freecycle or Buy Nothing Group.

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Top Items to START recycling - Recycle

Drink Family Immunity Tea During Pregnancy

FAQ Answered- Can I Drink “Family Immunity” During Pregnancy?

The short answer, YES!!

The long answer- We created our company on the basis of creating teas safe for pregnancy and to provide alternatives that moms-to-be (and families) could enjoy.

Family Immunity is a blend designed to support the immune system of moms-to-be. When we created this tea we were thinking specifically about pregnant Moms! During pregnancy, the immune system is working extra hard and pregnant women are often more susceptible to sickness.  We add Organic Elderberry, Organic Astragalus, Organic Rose Hips, Organic Goji Berries and Organic Cinnamon Chips to this blend.

Elderberry is one of the best-known powerhouses for cold and flu.  It’s a fantastic example of food being a powerful medicine and has been used for generations by herbalists to help shorten the duration of symptoms.    You’ll also find elderberry lends a beautiful color to our tea.

Astragalus Root is one of the most important tonic herbs in Traditional Chinese Medicine.  It’s most commonly known for immune system enhancing properties.  (note-those receiving immunosuppressive therapy should be cautious or avoid the use of this herb)

Rosehips are full of phyto-nutrients, high in Vitamin-C, and contain significant levels of bioflavonoids.   Vitamin-C breaks down under high temperatures so it’s best to steep or simmer the tea under low temperatures.  Rosehips also add a delicious flavor to our tea.

Goji Berry works in conjunction with astragalus root as a tonic.  Traditional Chinese Medicine says goji berry works to “Tonify the Blood,” and “Nourish and Tonify the Liver and Kidneys.”  Western concepts translate this to “supplement and strengthen the immune system.”  (note- those with nightshade allergies should avoid goji berries)

Cinnamon Chips is added for the warming, fragrant, comforting, sweet and spicy qualities it brings to our tea.  It also helps to round out the flavor and overall synergy of the tea.

 

So brew yourself a cup and enjoy Mama! You’ll be nourishing yourself and your baby with this delicious tea.  Your whole family can enjoy this yummy tea together.

~Here’s to a healthy cold/flu season.

As always, consult with your healthcare provider before undergoing any changes to your healthcare regime.  These statements are educational and not intended to be taken as medical advice. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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Can I Drink Family Immunity Tea During Pregnancy-

Dandelion

Herb Highlight: Dandelion

Dandelion

A new year often brings about resolutions for healthy living, diet changes, and detoxing.

One herb that herbalists frequently find themselves using with clients in the new year is dandelion.  Yep, the little weeds that grow in your yard (although, we don’t suggest harvesting dandelions from your yard unless they’re not exposed to any chemicals or animal urine). This persistent plant packs amazing benefits!

It’s is an extremely nourishing herb for overall health, boosting healthy appetite and detoxification.

Herbalists traditionally use Dandelion for: Detoxification, Eczema, Liver Support, Blood Purification, Diuretic, Constipation, Anemia, and Weight Management.

Eating dandelion is gaining popularity as well, many stores carry organically grown it.  These plants are packed with many vitamins and minerals including vitamin A and C and are a fantastic addition to salads.  Dandelion wine is also a traditional beverage regaining popularity!

At Birds and Bees Teas we use Dandelion: in our Grounded tea. Here’s a little more information about our Grounded tea blend, “When planning and preparing for pregnancy, this balancing fertility blend is the nourishing and nutritive choice. Trace minerals and nutrients in these herbs have been used traditionally to build the blood, calm the nerves, and support the liver.”

We can also discuss making a custom blend for you and incorporate dandelion if you’re interested.

We hope that learning more about dandelion will help you gain new appreciation for these plants. Next time you see a dandelion in your garden you might appreciate it a little more as you’re pulling this powerful weed.

 

As always, consult with your healthcare provider before undergoing any changes to your healthcare regime.  These statements are educational and not intended to be taken as medical advice. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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Herb Highlight- Dandelion - Dandelion Tea