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The more you know, the happier you sip.
Here's a simple glossary to help you know more about our delicious ingredients and why they're so darn good for you.
Alfalfa Leaf, Medicago sativa - Alfalfa is in the same league as nettles as a plant super food. An excellent source of vitamins and minerals, alfalfa is particularly high in calcium, the hallmark mineral of milk. Alfalfa has a long history of being used to enhance milk production in lactating women.
Allspice Berries, Pimenta spp – Allspice also known as Jamaican pepper, contains many phyto-nutrients that promote health. Its warming, comforting, spicy, properties help to stimulate blood flow throughout the body.
Astragalus root, astragalus membranaceus - Astragalus root, or huáng qí, is one of the most important herbs in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), where it is classified as a “tonic”. The concept and use of tonic herbs are well understood in Chinese medicine, and thanks to influences from TCM, they are fairly recently being integrated into Western herbal medicine. This herb in Western medicine is known for its immune support as a tonic building in the system over time and is often used after a cold to help restore the body back to health.
Calendula flower, Calendula officinalis - Calendula exhibits a marked ability to reduce inflammation and enhance the body’s natural ability to heal tissue damage. Although it is most frequently associated with topical use for skin problems, it has long been employed in formulas dealing with disorders of the digestive system.
Chamomile flower Matricaria recutita (German Chamomile) – has two main qualities that make it a key component to our Easy Naps & Calm Nights and Lighthearted blends. One quality is the calming and soothing actions for the central nervous system. The other is its gentle inflammation reducing quality that works on essentially every part of the body, including components of the nervous system and the digestive systems. Read more. . . . It both tonifies and relaxes the nervous system, and is particularly useful when nervous tension manifests as disturbances of the digestive tract.
Cinnamon chips, Cinnamomum cassia - Sweet, spicy, fragrant, warming, comforting . . . all qualities associated with cinnamon. The inner bark of this tropical tree has become known the world over for its culinary verve. In Traditional Chinese Medicine it is also a potent medicine, although as such it is used in significantly larger amounts than is customary in food. Practitioners of Chinese medicine classify it as an herb that “Warms the Interior and Expels Cold”.
Elderberry, Sambucus nigra - Both elder berries and elder flowers have a long history of use in European herbal medicine, for support around colds and flu symptoms. Like rosehips, elderberries are a perfect example of your food being medicine. These purplish black berries have been used for pies to syrups. You will find the product Sambucol®, which is made with elderberries on many store shelves.
Fennel, Foeniculum vulgare - If you have ever eaten at an East Indian restaurant you have probably noticed the little bowl of seeds and candies near the cash register or the door. One of the main ingredients in this mixture is fennel seed, which is an excellent digestive aid. Following the same thread of physiological logic we used in the discussion on nettles, the better you digest your food, the more nutrients that get into your blood; more nutrients in your blood translate into more nutrients in your milk. Fennel is used in both Western and Ayurvedic herbalism to enhance milk production and stimulate its flow.
Fenugreek, Trigonella foenum-graecum - Fenugreek comes to us through the ancient healing system of East Indian Ayurveda, where it is known as methi. Although much of the contemporary research on fenugreek seed focuses on its potential to lower elevated blood sugar levels, it has been and still is used in the Ayurvedic tradition to increase the production of breast milk.
Goji berry, Lycium chinense - Goji berries are the small red fruits of the Chinese wolfberry plant, also known as matrimony vine. In Chinese they are called gŏu qǐ zǐ, hence the Anglicized name “goji”. Although goji berries are new to the popular Western herbal “scene”, they have been an important tonic herb in the pharmacopeia of Traditional Chinese Medicine for hundreds upon hundreds of years. From the contemporary Western perspective, much emphasis has been placed on the goji berry’s role as a powerful antioxidant, with most research focusing on the two plant chemicals, both carotenoids: beta carotene and zeaxanthin. Antioxidants are proving to play a major beneficial role in numerous aspects of human health, from anti-aging to immune system support.
Hawthorne Berry, Crataegus spp - Yet another rose family plant. Although hawthorn berries have a mild astringent action, they are included in our Peaceful Pregnancy™ blend for a very special quality all their own: They act as a tonic to the circulatory system, meaning they strengthen, nourish and support all components of this functional system: veins, arteries, and heart. As mentioned above, the uterus is a spongy mass of blood vessels and connective tissue. Due to the copious blood supply to uterine tissues, they are the perfect nutrient-rich medium to support, nourish, and nurture your baby as she/he develops inside you.
Hibiscus Petals, Rosa sinensis – This tropical plant, in its native land of Africa is widely used in food such as jams, desserts, and beverages. It is often used currently for its tart flavor and pinkish red color to herbal teas.
Lavender flower, Lavendula angustifolia - Lavender may be the most commonly used herb in the Western World. It is an ingredient in many cosmetics, soaps, perfumes, foods, and herbal medicines. It’s hard to imagine that a plant used as fragrance in laundry detergent and as the flavor of an ice cream can also be a potent and reliable aid to relaxation, sleep, positive attitude, and emotional calm. Although it is a potent plant, a key word to describe lavender’s actions and effects is gentle.
Linden leaf and flower, Tilia spp. – Linden flowers have long been used in European herbalism to help calm jangled nerves. It is effective as an overall relaxant. Also, linden flowers contribute a pleasant floral flavor and fragrance to our Easy Nap & Calm NightTM blend.
Marshmallow root, Althea officinalis - This plant really is the basis for the old-fashioned confection known as “marshmallow”, although those spongy pillows of corn syrup that we toast over the campfire no longer contain even a trace of marshmallow root. When steeped in water marshmallow root produces a thick, slippery, mucilaginous substance that is perfectly suited to coating, soothing, and protecting inflamed mucous membranes, such as those lining the entire gastrointestinal tract.
Meadowsweet leaf and flower, Filipendula ulmaria - The use of meadowsweet dates back centuries in European herbalism where it has been prized for its efficacy in abetting digestive system disorders. Its distinct ability to reduce inflammation, along with its gentle astringency, make meadowsweet ideally suited for the types of dysfunction and discomfort that commonly affect the GI tract. The only significant contraindication for this herb is for people who have a known sensitivity to salicylates.
Nettle Leaf, Urtica dioica – If you are going to feed your baby well, first feed yourself well, and nettle is one of the most nutritious foods in the Plant Kingdom. In traditional Western herbalism, nettles have long been used as a blood builder. Mother’s milk is created from mother’s blood. A logical consequence of this is that your healthy, well-nourished blood will result in a plentiful supply of high-quality, nourishing milk for your baby.
Oat tops (a.k.a.) milky oats, Avena sativa - Milky oats refer to the immature seeds of the common cultivated oat, Avena sativa. When the fresh, unripe seed is squeezed, a white fluid is expressed, hence the descriptor ‘milky’. It is at this particular - and short-lived - stage that oats have historically been useful specifically as a nervous system tonic.
Orange peel, Citrus aurantium – Orange peel is added primarily to round out the taste of a few of our blends. It adds depth and breadth to both the flavor and aroma of the infusion - floral, fruity, sweet, acidic - although, in its own right, the essential oil complex in orange peel has a positive, energizing effect on one’s mood.
Pineapple, Ananas comosus – Pineapple (mostly fresh) has been traditionally used to bring upon labor, as is why it is used in our Ripe & Ready blend.
Red Raspberry Leaf, Rubus idaeus - There may be no single herb that is more specific to the health of the uterus than red raspberry leaf. Although its uses are legion, most of raspberry leaf’s efficacy can be summed up under the word “tonic”, which essentially means “nourishing and supporting". The word tonic comes from “tone”, and toning the uterus is one of the things that raspberry leaf does best.
Rosehips, Rosa spp. – Rosehips are the portion of the flower that is left after the rose has dropped all of its petals. They are picked after the first frost of the season allowing the skin of the hip to soften and the nutrients to be readily available. An old adage reminds us, “Don’t forget to stop and smell the roses!” But don’t stop at sniffing. Rose hips are a storehouse of phyto-nutrients and the embodiment of Hippocrates’ counsel, “Let your food be your medicine.” High in vitamin C, rose hips also contain significant levels of bioflavonoids, plant compounds that help us to absorb vitamin C. Rosehips have long been used in Western herbal medicine as an adjunct with other recommendations for colds and flus.
Rose Petals, Rosa spp - Probably no other flower is as deeply rooted in our culture as the rose. A symbol of beauty, love, sexual passion . . . they are also tasty and fragrant, qualities that are amply imbued in our Peaceful Pregnancy™ tea. Aside from their role as pleasers of the palate and nose, rose petals also have the same astringent quality found in red raspberry leaves, although they are much milder and gentler.
Skullcap, Scutellaria spp. - This cousin of common peppermint may be one of the most supportive and versatile herbs used when imbalances of the nervous system are of concern. Skullcap has been used for hundreds of years in both Western Herbalism and Traditional Chinese Medicine. In the vocabulary of Chinese medicine skullcap is said to “Relieve heart depression and quiet the spirit”. The only significant contraindication of skullcap is that it may potentiate the effects of both prescription and over-the-counter sedative medications.