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COVID-19 has knocked the world for a loop! Here are some practical ways to stay healthy and sane during these trying times.

If you’re like me, your hands are starting to look a bit ragged from all the washing! Taking a couple of recipes from my upcoming Botanical Skin Care, Naturally book, this super moisturizing salve and lotion bar will help to heal and hydrate super dry skin.

Extreme Skin Therapy

10 ounces shea butter
3 1/2 ounces medicinal oil, avocado, sesame, almond oils, etc. of choice
1 ounce cocoa butter
1 1/2 ounces beeswax
1 teaspoon rosemary extract or grapefruit seed oil
1 teaspoon essential oil of choice (optional)

Melt the beeswax in a saucepan, adding the cocoa butter when the beeswax is fully melted. When the cocoa butter is melted, take the pan off the heat, and add to the shea, medicinal oil, rosemary extract, and essential oils of choice in your mixer bowl. Whip for a few minutes with a hand mixer, taking care to stop the mixer and scrape the bowl several times to make sure all the ingredients are fully mixed. If your skin therapy is thin enough, it can be poured into jars. If it is on the thick side, and doesnt pour well, spoon into a ziplock baggie, seal, clip off one corner, and squeeze into jars. Enjoy!

Lemon Lollipop Lotion Bar

So good in a cream, the lemon lollipop lotion bar adds a layer of moisturizing that can’t be beat. There’s something about the scent of lemon that just lifts the spirits, don’t you agree? 

8 ounces shea butter
7 ounces cocoa butter
2 ounces extra virgin olive oil
7 ounces beeswax
1 teaspoon lemon essential oil
1/2 teaspoon lemon verbena essential oil (optional as it’s crazy expensive) 

Melt the beeswax in a saucepan then add the shea and cocoa butter. Take off heat and stir in the jojoba and essential oils. Pour into molds and allow to harden in the fridge.

Remember we are all in this together! Even if we need to practice social distancing, we can still reach out to one another through other means. Check in with each other to connect. Social distancing is an introvert’s dream, isn’t it?

Find ways to see the grace in the kindness of others. See if you can turn anxiety to excitement as we explore together new ways of walking in the world.

Perhaps spring cleaning the house is one of the many things to do while stuck at home! What else sounds good? Get creative! Catch up on reading, do some crafting, knit a sweater, clean the fridge, watch the sun rise and set. What have you been wanting to do, but have been going in too many directions?

It’s easy to experience a myriad of emotions as we attempt to navigate new ways of living which might include losing a job, working from home, kids home, stores closed.

Now is the time to be intentional with everyone in our circles about what needs to be addressed. If you have a full house, have a family or household meeting about space, cleaning, supplies.

If you’re working from home, make a plan for starting and ending the day. What does a work day look like normally? It might help to have some consistency in work practices to create normalcy.

  • How should we begin and end our workday?
  • How should we handle breaks and lunches?
  • How can we rely on each other to connect?
  • What does it look like to get each person’s needs for space and privacy met?
  • How to divvy up the household chores? With more people at home, there will be more to clean up. Relying on one person to handle the extra work may mean resentment, burnout, and arguments.

What does time together look like as a family or household group? My husband and I went to our community garden yesterday to cart off a pile rotten wood that I dug up in my little plot. We saw an unusual amount of people going for walks and standing at safe distances from each other chatting on street corners. It was very encouraging to see people reaching out to each other, getting in some quality family time, and perhaps walking off some stress.

Get your mind straight. This can mean taking a breathe before reacting outwardly to what your mind is telling you. It can mean observe where your thoughts are taking you and letting them go. What we think is not always what is reality. We can actively change our thoughts to be assets vs liabilities at this time of change. 

Stress is related to immunity. Gear up by doing little things that lift the stress from your shoulders. For some ideas, check out my article here.

Diets can be totally blown as we turn to crap food for comfort or we might become even more stringent. Please be gentle and honest with yourselves in terms of what goes in your mouth. Junk food and especially sugar and depress the immune system, which is not what we want right now. Being overly strict can add unneeded stress. 

Drink extra water. Coffee, sodas, and energy drinks are diuretic and will actually pull water from the body. This leads to dehydration, toxic and metabolic waste buildup, which is a burden on the immune and excretory systems. Add a teaspoon of any citrus juice like lemon or orange to the water. Slices of fruits like strawberries and raspberries add wonderful taste as do ginger and cucumber to make drinking water fun. Drink half your weight in ounces every day. That means a 140 pound person would drink 70 ounces. Taking sips over the course of the day can alleviate the pressure of thinking that so much water needs to be taken in at once.

Raw garlic and onions are a boon to the immune system – eat them daily. Add them to salsa, tuna or tofu salads, and pesto. Paper thin slices can  be easily disguised under nut butters on toast and on sandwiches. Make and take fire cider on a daily basis.

Magnesium and Vitamin D3 play a huge role in a healthy and robust immune system. At this time 3,000 – 7,000 iu per day is suggested. I’ve been taking 5,000 iu of Vit D3 a day for the past 7 weeks. I wish I had started sooner as people in the the PacNW are notoriously deficient. Please consider taking D3 if you’re living in an area that does not have sufficient sun.

Magnesium is a macronutrient, aka electrolyte, that every cell in the body requires to function properly. Magnesium plays a role in healthy immune and cardiac function. Consider adding magnesium supplements to your daily regime. 

Add immune boosting herbs to the daily diet such as:

  • Mushrooms – the immune modulating beta-glucans and immunostimulating polysaccharides in mushrooms need heat/cooking for take up in the body. Simmering mushrooms in a crockpot overnight or boiling them on the stove for 2 hours unlocks their potential. 
  • Nettles are up and ready to harvest! Nettles contain the nutrients the body needs to function well including magnesium, and constituents such as the respiratory stimulant neurotransmitter adenosine, and the antihistamine polyphenol cholorogenic acid.
  • Dandelion is a digestive bitter. It heals, nourishes, and balances the entire digestive tract, including the liver. The small intestine is where 80% of the body’s relaxing neurotransmitters are created, and 70% of immune activity occurs. By strengthening and nourishing the digestive tract, including the small intestine, dandelion helps a body have healthier nerve function and better immunity.
  • Yarrow, also a digestive bitter, kills viruses by means of a myriad polyphenols. Yarrow tincture is easiest to administer. For those who don’t use alcohol, while a tea made from yarrow is very bitter, the bitterness can be mitigated with other more tasty antiviral herbs such as spearmint and peppermint.
  • The alpha-Pinene, a monoterpene, in many plants such as motherwort, mugwort, lavender, yarrow, eucalyptus, hyssop, ginger is sedative, tranquilizing, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and cancer protective to name a few of its superpowers. Monoterpenes need high proof alcohol for extraction. Honey works well, too.

By now, everyone has seen the common sense advice given by the CDC on helping to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Please review often as directions are changing, and follow them. We all can our part in flatlining this virus!

  1. Wash the hands frequently during the day for 20 seconds, especially wash the hands first thing when returning from being out in public and clean the doorknobs and sink handles after washing. Not too many people are giving the next step, which is to change hand towels frequently, or use paper towels for the duration. And oh hey, what about that skanky bar of soap sitting wet on the sink that several people might be using? That’s a germ spreader. Consider using liquid hand soap instead of bar soap.
  2. Clean doorknobs, sinks, kitchen faucets and other places where people are touching frequently.
  3. Practice social distancing by giving 3 – 6 feet between you and others. This distance keeps changing, so stay updated.
  4. Don’t touch your face with your hands. It’s certainly a practice, isn’t it?
  5.  Cough into the elbow, not in the air! Oh! I’ve seen people recently cough without even covering their mouths with their hands. Please remember there are many people in the world, not just one. We are in this together.
  6. Stay home if you’re sick or are taking care of someone who is sick.

 

Suzanne Tabert

Suzanne Tabert

Suzanne Tabert, bioregional herbalist, is director of herbal education and herbal mentor at the Cedar Mountain Herb School. An herbal medicine instructor for 30 years, Suzanne teaches with great passion and excitement, bringing her wealth of herbal knowledge to students in an engaging and vibrant manner. She is the primary instructor at CMHS and an adjunct faculty at Bastyr University. Taking students to wild places and giving them tools to engage and connect with flora, fauna, and the exquisite beauty of nature is the icing on the cake of life, and one way that Suzanne is making a difference in the world, one person, one group at a time. She is currently writing a wildcrafting book that will be able to be utilized by people of all walks of life who wish to take their health back into their own hands. Cedar Mountain Herb School is a member of the American Herbalists Guild and the American Herb Association.

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