8 Incredible Reasons to Eat Star Anise

Star Anise is an aromatic, liquorice- flavored spice that is widely used in Indian, Malay, Chinese, and Indonesian cuisine. As with all herbs, it is not only a culinary delight but has some powerful medicinal properties. Find it in the spice aisle of your local grocery store, preferably organic.

1. Star Anise has antibacterial, anti-viral properties and helps to fight infection. Almost all of the world’s star anise crop is used for extraction of shikimic acid, the chemical used in the synthesis of Tamiflu. Can you imagine how much safer it must be to use the unadulterated, whole food form of the medicine? This herb is indicated specifically for the flu, sinus infections and bronchial infections. Take it at the first sign of illness and each day you are ill, preferably in the tea form. See my recipe below.

2. It has compounds such as creosol and alpha-pimene that clear mucus from air passages, soothe a sore throat, and make dry, irritating coughs more productive. The Greeks used to make teas with it to help asthma and other respiratory ailments.

3. Promotes milk production in nursing mothers.

4. It is carminitive (relieves gas) and is good for indigestion.

5. Is helpful for PMS and menopausal symptoms, and gently encourages childbirth.

6. Supplies calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, zinc, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin A, and five B vitamins.

7. The seeds from this powerfully scented herb have been used as a tea for thousands of years to help treat bad breath.

8. Star Anise contains a compound called anethol, which has been reported to increase sex drive in women.

Here we used star anise to make a flavorful immune boosting tea with a handful of chaga mushroom chunks, 1 cinnamon bark stick, and 1/4 cup of elderberries in a stock pot.

Explore the many culinary applications to get the benefits of this wonderful medicine provided by nature!

Warmly,

Megan Normansell, CHC, AADP, CFH

Certified Holistic Practitioner/Holistic Nutritionist/Herbalist/Wild Edibles Guide

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Copyright Megan Normansell 2018 All rights reserved. 

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Mom Stress! Herbal Medicines for the Breastfeeding Mama

This is one I hear all the time- “I’m stressed… help!! But I’m nursing… what’s safe to take?”

Use of natural medicines can be tricky while breastfeeding and I’m always conservative in their use (even if some people disagree with me!). Better safe than sorry is my motto. In a field where clinical studies are not always available and everyone has a different opinion, we must sometimes rely on traditional wisdom and common sense.

The following is a compilation of some of my favorite go-to’s for calming the hearts & minds of the busy nursing mother, in the safest way that nature intended.  I tend to prefer tinctures and teas, as you will begin feeling the effects rather quickly. Each brand may vary in potency, so take as directed on the package.  ALWAYS use the whole herbs- they supply nature’s perfect balance of dozens of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that make the herb safe and effective…. essentially acting as a “checks & balance” system for the plant. Side effects can begin to occur when you isolate compounds of the plant. Do keep in mind if what you’re experiencing is above and beyond normal daily stress (such as severe anxiety, depression, or other mood disorders) or you have other medical conditions to consider, I recommend making an appointment for more in depth, customized nutritional & herbal counseling.

That being said… I hope you enjoy a nice warm cup of calming goodness today!

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  1. Oat Straw: This one can be used as a quick and easy tincture, but also makes a lovely sweet-tasting tea. It calms anxiety, tension and stress, yet promotes energy and stamina. Good for exhaustion, and can increase libido. May also increase supply!
  2. Blue Vervain: One of my favorites. Not only does it help manage stress, tension headaches, migraine, insomnia, & depression, it also promotes lactation. One client who was taking it daily nearly doubled the amount she was able to pump. Win win! Not very tasty as a tea, I prefer the tincture form.
  3. Motherwort: Eases hormone-related mood fluctuations and PMS, muscle spasms, reduces blood pressure, and calms anxiety. Note- may cause photosensitivity. Not a fantastic tea- try the tincture.
  4. Hops: Another production-helper! Small quantities of hops have been found to help with let-down. Can help with restlessness, anxiety, insomnia, and is mildly sedating. If you feel comfortable with it, you could drink 1/4 to 1/2 of a beer to get the benefits of the hops. Teas have a slight bitterness.
  5. Valerian: A sedative that is good for insomnia, stress, anxiety, elevated blood pressure, & muscle spasms. This is my favorite for “racing mind” syndrome when you’re lying in bed trying to sleep. Some people get headaches with prolonged use, just use occasionally as needed. It tastes like dirty feet if you ask me… go the tincture route. (pictured)Valerian flowers
  6. Chaga: Studies have found this medicinal mushroom to help depression and mood balance. I’d recommend a tea form, used by boiling the dried chunks. With a bit of honey or maple syrup it has an enjoyable (non-mushroomy) flavor.
  7. Passionflower: Its gentle sedating effect calms unease, anxiety, and hyperactivity. This can be used as a tea or tincture.
  8. Chamomile: This delicious tea makes a great nerve tonic. Used for fretfulness, anxiety, and insomnia, and is a favorite of children. Avoid if you are allergic to ragweed.
  9. Linden flower: I prefer to drink this one- with a floral, delicate flavor when made into a tea, it’s a nervine that helps with mild stress, anxiety, and tension.

 

The “Maybe Milk Reducers”

The following herbs can be great for stress, but some mothers have reported a decrease in supply. If you try them, just be mindful and discontinue if you see an undesired decrease in milk production.

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  1. Lavender (whole herb): Some sources say this is a galactagogue, some say it may decrease supply. As a member of the Lamiaceae (mint) family, I’d say just keep an eye on any changes. It helps to improve mood and calm stressful feelings. It’s best to use a small bunch of the dried or fresh plant in a tea.
  2. Lemon Balm : Called the “gladdening herb,” it is good for nervous agitation, stress, anxiety, hormone-related mood fluctuations, and insomnia. It’s mildly sedating and calms muscles. Another one of those controversial ones- some say it increases supply, some say it decreases… just be mindful. It can be used as a yummy citrusy tea or tincture.
  3. Catnip: An antispasmodic and nerve tonic to relieve stress and anxiety. Tea or tincture, and it grows wild in many areas.

Warmly,

Megan Normansell (Kerkhoff), CHC, AADP, CFH

Certified Holistic Practitioner/Holistic Nutritionist/Herbalist/Wild Edibles Guide

Follow me on Facebook and Instagram for more recipes and healthy living ideas!

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Get the answers you’ve been searching for, and heal your body for good… naturally and holistically.  We have successfully helped thousands of people across the country live a healthier life than they ever could have imagined, and specialize in dozens of different health concerns. Curious? 
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http://www.aayushealth.com     –     megan@aayushealth.com    –    920-327-2221

(not intended as medical advice)

Copyright Megan Normansell 2018 All rights reserved. 

9 Simple Ways to Boost Your Breast Milk Supply

If you’re a breastfeeding mama, you’re probably all-too-familiar with the fear of a dwindling supply. There are numerous factors that can play into a reduction in breast milk, such as stress, illness, smoking, or birth control drugs. While there are many things you can’t control, let’s talk about the things you can- the easiest place to start is with your dinner plate! Including these tasty lactogenic food & drinks into your diet can make for happy boobies and happy babies.

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Water– It doesn’t get any simpler! If you are dehydrated, your milk is dehydrated. Aim for ½ an ounce per pound of body weight. For example, if you weigh 140 pounds, you need approximately 70 oz of water per day.

Cumin– Cumin is an essential part of any Indian cuisine, and is probably already in your spice rack. Not only does is stimulate milk supply but it also regulates blood sugar levels, which can help you lose some baby weight. Use this aromatic herb in chili, enchiladas, curries, guacamole, or vegetable stews. It’s also a great addition to meat rubs or marinades.

Chamomile– Chamomile’s delicate apple flavor is one of my favorites. Drink this as a tea at night as a calming bedtime ritual to help you drift off into a restful sleep while increasing your milk flow. It also helps with stress and anxiety, so keep it on hand for when you need a breather.

*Beware of teas that have any kind of mint added, as it can lower your supply.

*If you have a ragweed allergy, avoid this herb.

Flax seeds– Flax supplies important fatty acids necessary for breast milk production. The hulls are indigestible when whole, so always use the ground seeds. You can easily sprinkle it on yogurt or granola, and mix it in with homemade pancakes, muffins, breads, or cookies. There is also flax milk available in stores as a tasty dairy alternative.

Fennel seeds– This sweet, licorice-flavored plant is popular in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine. Not only does it boost supply, but it passes through your milk, providing baby relief from tummy upset and colic. You can drink it as a flavorful tea, or use it as a spice in salads, meats, potatoes, or desserts.

Dandelion– Ok, so I know you don’t have dandelions in your kitchen. But walk outside- they are EVERYWHERE! And no, I don’t consider them a weed- they are indeed an excellent food and medicine. Drink the tea or add the fresh greens to your salads for lactation and breast inflammation. When harvesting dandelion greens, however, be careful to avoid areas that could potentially have been sprayed with pesticides or herbicides.

Oats– This one is easy. Oatmeal for breakfast, chocolate chip oatmeal cookies, granola, breads, apple crisp with a crispy oat topping, oatmeal muffins. The possibilities are endless.

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Nettle: A nutritive food and medicine that not only can boost milk production, but also may reduce pain, inflammation, boost iron and ferritin levels, improve nutrient absorption, is good for the thyroid, and is a natural antihistamine. Now this isn’t a food you’ll likely find at your local grocery store other than in teas, but it grows everywhere! Once you learn how to ID it, you’ll see it everywhere in spring and summer. Teas and tinctures are also easy ways to get it in!

Dark beer– You can get brewer’s yeast from any nutrition store, but I find this option to be easier and way more fun. The yeast and b-vitamins in beer, particularly the darker varieties, will give you a nice little boost in your milk production. For bonus points, look for an oatmeal stout.

*Remember- if you are tipsy, your breast milk is tipsy. One alcoholic beverage per hour is generally considered safe while breastfeeding and will not affect the baby. As little as half a beer per day may be enough to give you the boost you’re looking for, so no need to overdo it!

Kombucha tea– Fermented foods are an excellent source of beneficial bacteria and yeast which boost your milk supply, and kombucha is one of my favorites. If you’re adventurous you can track down a “mother mushroom” and brew your own, or look for it in the health food section of your grocery store.

*This beverage does contain some caffeine as it is typically made with black tea, so don’t over-do it or drink it close to bedtime.

*Kombucha does naturally contain trace amounts of alcohol. It’s typically nothing to worry about, but due to variations in brewing techniques some may contain higher amounts. If it has a slight alcohol flavor to it, limit your intake as you would with the beer.

 

Also see my article published in “The Mother” Magazine:  http://www.themothermagazine.co.uk/9-simple-ways-to-boost-your-breast-milk-supply/

Warmly,

Megan Normansell (Kerkhoff), CHC, AADP, CFHCertified Holistic Practitioner/Holistic Nutritionist/Herbalist/Wild Edibles GuideFollow me on Facebook and Instagram for more recipes and healthy living ideas!

Get Even Healthier!
Get the answers you’ve been searching for, and heal your body for good… naturally and holistically.  We have successfully helped thousands of people across the country live a healthier life than they ever could have imagined, and specialize in dozens of different health concerns. Curious? 
Schedule your complimentary consultation with me today! Read the incredible reviews we’ve received over the years here!

http://www.aayushealth.com     –     megan@aayushealth.com    –    920-327-2221

 

Copyright Megan Normansell 2018