Herbs for a Healthy Pregnancy and Birth Part 2: Improving Well-Being

Herbs for a Healthy Pregnancy and Birth Part 2: Improving Well-Being

If you’re like me, you rely on herbs and nutrition in regular, non-gestating life to not only keep you well but to improve your immune response when you do come down with an illness. But during pregnancy, the world is turned topsy-turvy. It’s hard to know what herbs and other natural remedies are safe to continue using during pregnancy. Let's explore pregnancy safe herbs which affect the immune system, nervous system, uterus, and digestive system. 
Clogged Milk Ducts and Mastitis Herbal Remedy Poke Root to the Rescue

Clogged Milk Ducts and Mastitis: Poke Root to the Rescue

Issues like mastitis and clogged or plugged milk ducts can pop up when least expected - and least wanted - especially during times of stress and depressed immunity. Poke root oil or poke root salve is a wonderful herbal remedy for nursing mamas who are looking for a safe, traditional, effective treatment that really kicks the healing up a notch.

Dandelion Dip Recipe

Susun Weed, author of Healing Wise - the book with more dandelion flower, leaf, and root recipes than I've ever seen - tells us that dandelion is one of the most generous plants, for any part of her is harvestable at any time of the year. Therefore, anytime is a great time for a bowl of this easy-to-whip-up dandelion dip, served with some crackers, fresh veg, or chips. And it's a dish wild enough to impress your friends, kids, or nosy neighbors with its foraged flavor of a hint of bitter balanced with garlic and salt.

Dandelion dip recipe

We start by collecting bunches of dandelion greens fresh from the lawn, garden, farmer's market, or any other place you trust for your wild foods. If you have a little one to help you at this task, so much the better!

Baby picking dandelions

In the springtime, dandelion leaves tend to be a little less bitter and they continue to rev up that bitterness as summer gives way to fall. This dish helps us remember that bitter tastebuds are ones we have for a reason: bitters stimulate our digestive juices, kicking our GI system into high gear and encouraging salivary and metabolic actions. Although coffee is really one of the only 'bitters' we find in our food culture, bitter tasting plant foods are important and even essential for a healthy gut and digestive fire.

Chopping dandelion leaf

After dicing up the dandy leaves, and tasting a few for good measure (and giving a few to the baby to make him pucker with surprise!), we simply combine this green loveliness with cottage cheese, plain yogurt (preferably organic and full-fat, for the optimal nutrition), garlic powder, and salt (see exact measurements in the recipe above). Easy! The dip is now ready to be feasted on, with fingers, crackers, or whatever bread you have on hand.

Dandelion dip

Herbs for a Healthy Pregnancy and Birth Part 1: Nourishment

Herbs for a Healthy Pregnancy and Birth Part 1: Nourishment

Real, whole food, whole herb nourishment during pregnancy is not hard to come by once you familiarize yourself with herbs like nettle and oatstraw herbal infusions, which represent some of the highest sources on earth of trace minerals and nutrients and are even rich in protein. The benefits of herbal vinegars include their ability to balance out the pH of the body, their helpfulness with digestive difficulties, and their friendliness to the health of the gut. 
Sustenance vs. Supplements: To Eat Real Food or Pop Pills

Sustenance vs. Supplements: To Eat Real Food or Pop Pills

When bracing myself for a stroll down the aisle of any vitamin shop or supplement center, I am always reminded of the wacky and amazing gum from Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. Remember this gum? It represented a whole meal, as it was chewed transforming from a delicious appetizer to a hearty main course of beef stew to lastly, the glorious fruit pie that turns sweet-toothed youngsters into blooming blueberries. This gum would be so well-received in our fast-food culture, I think, my eyes wandering the shelves from canisters of superfood greens powder that promises 10 servings of vegetables in one teaspoon to bottles of pre-natals that contain every essential nutrient that baby needs in just one grape-flavored gummy bear. This gum would be THE gum. No mess, no muss, just one whole meal’s worth of nutrient-dense food in one sweet stick.

We who hang out regularly in the ever-growing, ever-changing supplement aisles know that more and more, we are being promised perfection in a pill. We are promised freedom from food, the ability to eat whatever we want without being dependent on chopping and cooking and crunching real, live vegetables and grains and proteins. So we are faced with the daily decisions - do I pop a few poptarts, swallow a few spoonfuls of superfood in my green drink, and call it a day? Or do I take the time and effort to make a meal, slow or fast, with foods that bear some resemblance to how they grew in the ground or were formed on a farm?

In the Wise Woman Tradition, we know that our nutrition, our life and breath, our whole-being comes from our food. And though that may occasionally be supplemented by a handful of capsules here or some powders there, the strong foundation of our diet is real, recognizable food. The key word here is supplement. Uncannily, many vitamins are not seen these days so much as ‘supplements’, intended to fill in the gaps and round out the corners of our diets, but as ‘essentials’ that are meant to provide us with basic nutrition. The trouble is that our bodies, for the most part, don’t recognize supplements quite like we imagine. Our bodies recognize and use 60 mg of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) from an apple and 1500 mg of ascorbic acid from a supplement in exactly the same way; the difference is that one speaks the language of the body, interacting with it on an intimate cellular level and going directly to where it is needed, while the other is, to some extent, viewed by the body as an invader, a foreigner, a xeno-substance that speaks a different vocabulary entirely.

Supplements do have their place, and it is a critical one. When an individual is extremely depleted, has leaky gut syndrome, or is suffering from mal-absorption issues, someone can benefit hugely from the intelligent introduction of supplements to bring the body back into a state of health. While supplements are not immediately nourishing and nurturing as food is to the body, they can be vital in helping people move back into well-being. But as a general rule, food is far more useful that even the highest quality supplements simply because our bodies recognize it as food, a familiar and user-friendly source of sustenance. Our bodies have evolved to accept the nutrition from food completely, without the limits or boundaries that they push up against vitamins from synthetic sources, and often, even ‘food-based vitamins’ which are about five times more expensive as the non-food-based variety.

These are the reasons why, in the Wise Woman Tradition, we rely on food and, specifically, food herbs for our nutritional health. The nourishing herbal infusions that we adore are all made from food herbs, like our beloved top five: red clover, nettles, oatstraw, comfrey, and linden. These plants are deeply nutritive food herbs, distinguishing them from being stimulating or sedating herbs, because they are all high in protein and considered some of the most vitamin and mineral-rich plants in the world, holding a heap of nutrition that is immediately available to your body in its natural form. Most importantly, they can be absorbed directly into the body without much digestive work or effort, since the body recognizes them as food or plant matter, and since the nourishing herbal infusions are ‘cooked’, because their cell walls are broken down after the 4-8 hours that they steep in boiled water.

When it comes to supplementation, it is critical that whatever we are putting into our bodies - be it a superfood pill, an orange, or a nettles infusion - speaks a nutritional language that our bodies can recognize, understand, and use. While a powder that promises all the vitamins and nutrients our happy bodies could ever want is as tempting as a gum that takes you through the rigamarole of a five-course-meal, keep in mind that if your body doesn’t recognize it as food, you might as well not be wasting your time chewing on it, swallowing it, or sucking it down. Unless of course, you want to be Willy Wonka’s next Veruca Blueberry.

February 14, 2016 — Heather Wood Buzzard
Ginseng’s Best Kept Secret: Missing the Leaf for the Root

Ginseng’s Best Kept Secret: Missing the Leaf for the Root

November marks the tail end of ‘sang season, but relics of the harvest time remain: small town signs scrawled with ‘Will Buy Ginseng – No License Needed’ and reports of poachings on private land or national park felonies over the last two months. Ginseng hunters and buyers have been everywhere this autumn. But where is the ginseng?

 

Statistically speaking, approximately 95% of it is getting shipped to Hong Kong and Singapore, a region which has now exhausted their resources of the root and relies almost exclusively on the Appalachian mountains to supply their steady demand. In 2012, the U.S. exported 45,000 pounds of wild ginseng and 342,000 pounds of the cultivated woodland crop. But what many consumers and cultivators alike don’t know is that ginseng has a secret, and it’s hiding in plain sight.

 

The Down and Dirty on Ginseng in North Carolina

 

We’ve all seen the hokey reality tv episodes where life depends not on modern commerce as we know it but on rebel flags, bear hunting, and huge sackfuls of ‘sang harvest. But what is the deal with ginseng in North Carolina, really? Is there a way to harvest it legally without risk of jail-time? Is that even sustainable? How is poaching different from stealing? Let’s get rooted – no pun intended – in the regulations here and take a look at the rules of the game of Appalachian ginseng.

 

As one of six states that permits a very limited amount of ginseng to be wild harvested from its national forests, North Carolina has struggled to get that number of permits just right. This system has scaled back considerably in the last two years to make room for the growing threat of poachers and thieves. Offering only 136 permits per year (a 75% reduction), the state agency is attempting to limit the destruction of ginseng as much as possible. But Forest Service botanist Gary Kauffman has noted that despite having the lottery restricting the ginseng harvest for the last couple of years, it’s not certain whether the ginseng plants are bouncing back with any vigor.[1]

 

If you’re fortunate enough to win the lottery, the ginseng ‘lottery’, that is, in which you enter your information at the Nantahala or Pisgah U.S. Forest Service district office and get (or don’t) randomly granted a permit to dig, you may harvest between September 1 and 15th. There is some semblance of accountability for future generations; NC state law requires that you sow the seeds from the ginseng you are harvesting within 100 feet of the plant.

 

Considered ‘green’ when it is freshly dug, ginseng roots must by fully dry before selling to most dealers. The drying process takes about a month when done naturally. The dried root sells for between $500-$2000 per pound to hungry and steady Asian markets. Before exporting it off to any international buyers, dealer permits must be obtained from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

 

But this isn’t ginseng unlimited: you may dig only 1-3 pounds fresh with this type of permit, and any harvesting outside these bounds is considered poaching and likely to garner you a $5,000 fine, 6 months in federal prison, or both.

 

Stealing, on the other hand, is even more sinister than poaching. Ginseng thieves seem to grow in numbers as quickly as viewers of shows like Appalachian Outlaws boom. An $8,000 patch of personal ginseng cultivated by a retired physician recently disappeared outside of Asheville – and all because of a hole in a barbed wire fence. Diggers attempting to harvest on private land must have written permission from the land owner on their person, or risk a felony charge.

 

In the Smokey Mountain National Park, the ginseng situation has gotten so serious that the park rangers have now micro-chipped and dyed over 13,000 ginseng roots, many of which were recovered from thieves, moved back to the park land, and replanted. The dye enables the law-abiding dealer to examine the root and tell immediately whether or not it is stolen property.

 

This plant is one of the few valiantly protected at both the state and the federal level. With a volatile market combined with the unpredictability of mother nature, the collapse of this multi-million dollar ginseng industry never seems too far outside the realm of possibility. People reach for ginseng because of its acclaimed longevity powers and tonic health benefits…but even if we’re all ginseng-high and living for 120 years, don’t we still want our children to be able to experience the wonders of the root as well?

 

To Harvest Is to Kill…Or Is It?

 

Harvesting the root kills the ginseng plant. What many people don’t realize is that these standard practices of killing ginseng during harvest weren’t always like this. Earlier in the game, before ginseng cultivation was getting started and most of the harvest was wild-crafted, ginseng could be harvested and grow back.

 

The ginseng root must have three ‘prongs’ or four buds when harvested, meaning that it’s at least five years old and typically around seven or eight. In the old days, the root, shaped like a little man with a taproot torso and two scrawny legs, was dug up and the harvester typically broke off one leg (the shorter of the two) and replanted it. Almost all the ginseng that was sold in those days was just so, the main larger root with one ‘leg’, not two. One day, that all changed. Dealers decided they would only accept the whole root in its pure, unadulterated form. This was when ginseng harvests took a turn; from then on, to harvest would mean to kill.

 

“I grow ginseng as a perennial. I harvest the roots but I don’t kill the plants. When it gets to be 8-10 years old, it frequently starts making new roots around the neck.” Joe Hollis, a god amongst herb cultivators who specializes in Chinese herbs, recommends harvesting the existing roots and leaving the new rootlets in the ground, which would then produce a new root in the next couple years. Unfortunately, because of regulations as they stand, you can’t sell ginseng root without the neck. But for value-added products (and perhaps eventually a new wave of more sustainable regulations), the perennially cultivated ginseng is a largely untapped market.

 

We export between 94% and 97% of our organically wild-harvested ginseng to the Eastern markets, while we simultaneously import their highly sprayed, chemical-laden Asian ginseng to be used in our adaptogen formulas and Traditional Chinese Medicine clinics. Buyers pay nearly 90% more for the wild-harvested root as opposed to the cultivated, and it is thought to be about twice as effective as the cultivated. But no amount of effectiveness is worthwhile if we’re eliminating the ginseng from the woods.

 

As Below So Above: A Vote for the Leaf

 

The Wise Woman tradition values whole plant extracts in which all the synergistic constituents of a plant are included. This way of making medicine is holistic, inclusive, and broad. It is the direct opposite of pharmaceuticals, which isolate one chemical compound and extract, manipulate, and concentrate it.

 

With our feet firmly grounded in the fertile soil of the Wise Woman tradition, we want to make a case for the leaf of ginseng as an undervalued aspect of the whole plant’s medicine. Worshipping at the feet of the root of this ‘king (or queen) of the forest’ and ignoring the rest of the plant has done us no good. That said, what if there were more to ginseng than just its root? It turns out that there is.

 

According to clinical research done by a group of scientists on the bioactive compounds and pharmacology of ginseng leaf and stem, “Extracts from ginseng root and leaf-stem have similar multifaceted pharmacological activities.”[2] This covers all of the properties we know and love about ginseng - its energizing, longevity-promoting, healthy-blood-sugar-optimizing, optimal-weight-promoting, nutritive qualities. They are all present and accounted for in the ginseng leaf. What’s considered the active ingredient in ginseng, the magic bullet, the ginsenosides, are fully present and active in the leaf. All those delightful polysaccharides, antioxidants, flavonoids, volatile oils, peptides, and amino and fatty acids that we love about the root? You better believe they’re active in the leaf, too.

 

Studies have shown that ginseng leaf extract improves learning and memory capabilities, preserves the cardiac and vascular systems, and exhibits anti-diabetes effects…just like the root. In one particular study, the leaf was shown to have significant hypoglycemic effects and prove extremely beneficial in the treatment of type 2 diabetes.[3]

 

It’s in terms of costs and sourcing, though, that ginseng leaf and stem presents the greatest advantages to the exclusive use of ginseng root. Henriette Kress, a wonderful and vastly knowledgeable herbalist in Finland, tells it like it is: “The leaf of American ginseng is as good as the root. It's also much cheaper, but next to nobody sells it because next to nobody knows about it.”[4] She explains that the tradition of using only the roots of ginseng is a relic of the storage limitations of the old-fashioned herb trade. Dried root kept in burlap bags would last in barns for years, whereas the leaf would not. Now that we’ve moved beyond the limitations of that era, isn’t it time to move onto a new era of ginseng leaf as truly sustainable medicine that grows back year after year?

 

Another answer to the maze of questions that is ginseng sustainability was introduced by Joe Hollis, who brought gynostemma or ‘southern ginseng’ into the US and touts this weedy plant as a similarly five-leafed curiosity comparable to ginseng. Gynostemma, which chemically contains the same active compounds as ginseng, is, “The most valuable plant you can grow for your own health,” according to Hollis.[5] The entire plant is used medicinally, but particularly the aerial part.

 

If Sustainable Medicine Is Our Goal, Why Are We Devastating Our Ginseng Root?

 

It’s not uncommon that we here at Red Moon Herbs get a request for ginseng. We are, after all, an herb supplier, so why shouldn’t we carry this most sought after herb? On the large scale, we hope to soon nationally pioneer a tincture of the leaf and stem, an effective, well-studied, underdog adaptogen of the herbal world that is truly sustainable. Locally, we will begin be offering a limited edition ginseng leaf and local honey elixir at the Ginseng Expo coming to UNCA this December. We are choosing to take a stance on behalf of the plant – the whole plant, leaf included. We are choosing to stand up for the complexities of ginseng as a living, growing botanical, as well as a valuable medicine that deserves to remain a growing part of our Appalachian heritage.

 

Want to learn more? Come speak ‘sang this December at the International American Ginseng Expo on December 4th and 5th on the UNC Asheville campus. A rare gathering of the global leaders in all things ginseng, the expo is well stocked with classes, panels, networking opportunities, and round tables. Join buyers, growers, dealers, researchers, herbalists, and marketers from far and wide to delve into the world of the most famous medicinal root in the world.

 

 

[1] http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/nfsnc/home/?cid=STELPRDB5387328

[2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2770043/

[3] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14643691

[4] http://www.henriettes-herb.com/blog/ginseng-leaf.html

[5] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NlL1ZiaruAc

November 29, 2015 — Heather Wood Buzzard
Four Wise Women Who Are Changing the World of Medicine

Four Wise Women Who Are Changing the World of Medicine

We’d like to highlight four of the wisest women we know and share how they are doing their part to spread plant love and optimum nourishment of the body and spirit.

1. Susun Weed

Susun Weed

Some know her as a women’s health expert, some know her as the founder of the Wise Woman Center, and some know her as the lady with the goats. Susun Weed is a spritely spit-fire of a woman who has forged a name for herself and weedy, abundant herbs everywhere. Susun is unique in that she plays the part of both shaman and scientist – she is equal parts plant spirit and peer-reviewed journal.

We love her holistic approach to wellness that she calls the six steps of healing, in which she incorporates story medicine (the narrative around a symptom or condition) serenity medicine (doing nothing) and occasionally invasive medicine (surgery).

Susan hosts a weekly BlogTalk radio show, in which she invites listeners to call or email in their questions to be discussed on air. She promises that the show will “Enlighten, surprise and delight you,” and in each episode, we’ve never been let down. She is the author of seven books on herbal wisdom, including her latest book on the reproductive health, “Down There: Sexual and Reproductive Health the Wise Woman Way.” Find her on www.susunweed.com.

2. Jody Noe

Jody NoeDr. Jody Noe is an all-round incredible woman and healer. Not only is she a naturopath (N.D.) who runs her own integrative medicine practice, but she is a traditional Cherokee herbal medicine woman who spent years in training with her Cherokee elders. She approaches the body with the traditional indigenous view that all things are sacred, and spirit is in all things, including our beloved herbs and stones.

Dr. Noe specializes in integrative oncology, and is the author of a well-researched tome on the subject, Textbook of Naturopathic Integrative Oncology. Her energetic work encompasses a vast range of healing tools that are both allopathic and homeopathic, including herbs, diet, lifestyle, and spiritual counseling.

Find Dr. Noe online at www.drjodyenoe.com.

3. Corinna Wood

Corinna WoodSteeped in the Wise Woman tradition, Corinna Wood is a voice for local foods and medicines which feed both body and soul. Rather than practicing with plant medicine that uses herbs from distant regions or traditions, Corinna’s attention as a community herbalist is on the weeds and wilds in our own backyards. She focuses on attuning women to the cycles of the earth, the plants, and the moon.

Holistic women’s education has been Corinna’s primary focus over recent years, and out of this effort she has led thousands of women from all paths of life into the green world of herbal medicine. Corinna shares her knowledge and her loving connection with mother nature by engaging women in the sphere of plant medicines each spring during her yearly Wise Women’s Herbal Immersion.

Corinna studied extensively with Susun Weed before launching Red Moon Herbs, which has consistently carried out its mission of providing safe, effective and abundant herbal remedies to the community for over twenty years. Corinna now directs the annual Southeast Wise Women’s Herbal Conference, the largest women’s herb gathering in the US.

4. Rosemary Gladstar

Rosemary GladstarIf there’s one name that nearly everyone in the ‘herbie’ world knows, it’s probably that of Rosemary Gladstar. But not only is it a nice name to know (who doesn’t like rosemary, after all?), she herself is a wealth of inspiration and encouragement to all wise women who walk along the healer’s path. To list the accomplishments of someone like Rosemary is beyond our scope, but let’s just say the books of Rosemary Gladstar are to some a sort of “gateway” into herbal medicine.

Got a friend who wants to start making body care products for herself and her family, but doesn’t know anything about herbs? Give her Rosemary’s book. Have a buddy who gets indigestion after eating and wants to do something about it, naturally? Give them Rosemary’s book. Her writings are beautiful, easy to understand, and accessible, no matter your level of expertise.

Rosemary also acts as an advocate for the endangered and rare plants of the world. She is the founding energy behind United Plant Savers, an organization that raises awareness for and protects exotic species. Her work in this area has spurred a widespread movement towards using as many local and widely growing plants as possible, whenever we can.

Rosemary will be coming to speak to us in October at the Southeast Wise Women’s conference. As a headliner, she will be speaking on some of her favorite remedies and recipes with us, as well as sharing her thoughts on Preserving our Herbal Traditions.

Finding the Light This Winter

by Jackie Dobrinska

Staying healthy means staying in harmony with the energy of the season. The Tiajitu – the yin/yang symbol pictured to the right – is a map for this. It shows that as we flow into the watery blue of the yin, we must stay connected to the seed of the fiery red. There is yang in the yin and yin in the yang, just as there is light in the darkness and darkness in the light.

To stay in harmony during these darker days of the winter solstice and the weeks that follow we invite you to consider the following:

Get outside. See the light of the sun on a daily basis – for at least 30 minutes. This is especially true for those who work inside or who experience Seasonal Affective Disorder. The sun helps increase serotonin levels, the “feel good” neurotransmitter.

Keep Active. Keep the blood moving by exercising your body and joints daily. Stretch, dance and walk. Choose activities that move in harmony with this slower season.

Stay warm and dry. In 5-element theory, winter is associated with the water element and the kidneys. Extreme cold can injure them, leading to emotional imbalances like fear and physical imbalance related to immunity.

Oil your body. Winter can dry the skin. Keeping it well lubricated will keep this organ – one of the largest in the body – healthy, vital and vibrant. (see “Rituals” sidebar) It will also protect our insides from the things we want to keep outside!

Cozy up with tea. During the winter, a plant’s energy is in its roots. We can help strengthen and tonify our own roots by boiling up fresh or dried root teas. Fresh ginger root is a favorite winter tea because of its warming properties.

Eat soups. Warm, grounding, nourishing foods keep digestion in good order during the cold winter season, and good digestion equals good health. Slow cooked roots, stewed whole grains, and salty miso and sea vegetables make excellent staples. (see “Soup” sidebar)

Take your herbs. St. John’s Wort, also known as “Bottled Sunshine” helps support emotional balance, nervous system function and immune system function. Wild Lettuce supports sleep function.

Relax & Sleep! During the winter we must be careful not to run our batteries down with stress and the plethora of holiday obligations. Instead, get plenty of sleep. Take time to relax with baths, body work, and daily massages (see “Rituals” sidebar).

Like the hibernating bear dreaming in her cave, the dark days of winter CAN bring much needed rest and respite when we allow it. Staying in balance means being in harmony with both the darkness and with the seeds of light contained within it. Doing so will nourish and carry you into more dynamic phases of the year, with more energy and ease.

Embracing the Darkness

by Corinna Wood

The time of year stretching from Sahmain to Winter Solstice is a dark and often intense time, as the seasons of light turn to seasons of dark. The nights are growing longer, and the dark evenings come early. I so treasure the darkness this time of year and the quiet it brings.

It is especially important for us as women to take extra care this time of year due to the fast paced, demanding lives many of us lead. Mothering, working, caretaking–whatever the tasks may be, it can become overwhelming. Often, we put so much energy into taking care of others, but winter brings us the opportunity to turn that care back towards ourselves – to deeply nourish ourselves and fully feel our range of emotions. 

Last night I turned out all the lights in my bathroom; not even a candle was lit.  I submerged in the warm tub, connected with my own dark warm womb, and asked for her wisdom. Take a little bit of quiet time on or before the solstice when the Christmas rush is not yet in full force. Whether it be a luxurious bath in the dark or a 20 minute cat nap, feel the womb of the mother.  Let her nourish and heal you

Honoring the Moontime

by Corinna Wood

During menstruation, pregnancy and menopause, our emotions and perceptions are heightened. There is a primal urge to remove ourselves from the daily routine and allow these feelings to move through our bodies and our spirits. We crave the Moon Lodge.

In traditional societies where the natural order of things was revered, the Moon Lodge offered a retreat, or cradle to receive women when they felt most vulnerable. Women gathered there during their bleeding time.  Not an exile imposed upon the ‘unclean,’ rather the Moon Lodge offered a sacred space—tangible or otherwise—that enables those who acknowledge and accept it to feel reverence and connection with the spiritual, to be immersed in reflection, to be still and truly be.

These days, our busy lives don’t always afford us the option of leaving our responsibilities behind for a week, but we can honor this need by taking a Moon Day (or even an hour!), either just before our bleeding begins or at its height (usually the second day). Many women find that taking a Moon Day does wonders to prevent menstrual woes and pains; when we’re already in the Moon Lodge, our bodies don’t need to yell so loudly to call us back there!

With the high incidences of stress-related illness and the women challenged by reproductive issues ranging from infertility to menstrual disorders, it is simply good common sense to take some time to care for ourselves, whether as a preventative or a restorative.

The key to creating a healthy, embracing approach to our life-long lunar dance is to treat it, and ourselves, with the respect and nurturance that we extend to all those we care for. Nourish your body and your soul, and you will be well prepared to nourish others.