Everything Herbal CSA News & Update

We’re very excited about our lastest Everything Herbal CSA box released this week. We outdid ourselves, and the boxes are overflowing with premium products. We have several of our unique formulas that will help greatly with common health concerns in the Autumn and Winter. It’s a wonderful addition to your home medicine chest! The CSA newsletter is published online, so you can learn more about these fantastic herbal products.

Our next Everything Herbal CSA box is scheduled for the end of January. We’ll keep you updated with what’ll be going into the box and more info on how to sign up. In the meantime you can visit the website for TurkeyTail Farm, where the herbs for the CSA are grown.

Thank you to all of our CSA subscribers for supporting local herbal medicine farming!

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Mojohito is excited to begin teaching a series of nutrition classes covering hot topics. We’ll begin with an overview of the why and how of home cleansing and detox. That’s coming up:

November 6th, 2011, 2-4pm
Padme Yoga Center in Sacramento

Mojohito wrote a short article introducing the class. Read Why Should You Care About Cleansing?

Learn more about the class and register here!

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One of our favorite ways to use herbs is in their concentrated form as essential oils. When diffused around the house essential oils have demonstrated incredible ability to reduce airborne pathogens, and enhance respiratory health. They even seem to boost immunity! Essential oils are powerful, so a little goes a long way.

We’re big fans of Floracopiea Aromatic Treasures for their unsurpassed commitment to fair trade and sustainable harvesting of rare species. The company advocates grassroots healthcare (such as herbal CSAs), and offers a great educational resource in their sister-site MedicineCrow.

So we’re helping to spread the word about their current sale: 15% off oils and diffusers ending October 28th.
Now is a great time to stock up on essential oils. Visit the Floracopeia store to order online.

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We’re truly grateful for your interest and support of grassroots healthcare and botanical medicine!

Stay in touch with us on our Facebook page. We love to hear from you!

The Root of Lasting Health – Cultivating Happiness

The Grass Roots Vitality clinic was rather quiet during the month of August, as your proprietors Mojohito and Heatherlee Richerson von Tchudi were on pilgrimage in search of the deeper meaning of yoga.  The physical postures of yoga asana are commonly known, with several high-profile studios in Chico; most large towns and cities feature a variety of yoga classes.

With the movement of this ancient practice into the mainstream view, the benefits of regular practice are becoming more widely known: the vision of the yogi as strong, lean, and flexible is commonly used in the imagery promoting the practice.  Also commonly seen is the image of the yogi in meditation – and this is what we sought in our travels: what is happening in the mind of the yogi that allows them to reverse aging and even, the classical texts state, stop death itself?

We have the great fortune having some modern masters of yoga very close to home, teaching on buddhi yoga – the discipline of applying the intellect to penetrate the source of suffering and discover the true causes of lasting happiness.  We see the patterns of disease in the modern world centering around stress – and thus the lasting effects of herbal remedies and massage therapy are dependent on discovering the root of stressful living conditions and instead cultivating happiness.

American Buddhist Monk

Lama Marut

To meet the mission of providing integrated health care through traditional natural methods, Grass Roots Vitality is hosting a regular study group focused on the classics of dharma – time-tested traditions on cultivating a happy life, according to bona fide enlightened being Gautama the Buddha.  We are following the Dharma Essentials curriculum of the Asian Classics Institute as taught by charismatic American monk Lama Marut.

We hope you’ll join us Monday nights at the clinic beginning September 20th, 2010.  Please RSVP by sending an email to mojohito@grassrootsvitality.com or calling us at 588-0324

The Foundation of Integrated Health

A human life, all too brief, is a leaf floating from a tree, subject to climactic conditions that seem beyond our control, as we drift to our destination. Wind buffers us about as we ward off pathogens or else suffer their wrath with cold and flu. So sensitive to exposure to heat and to cold, we clothe ourselves carefully and attend to our homes to nest. When heath concerns become serious, we pursue the only avenue apparent to us – licensed and carefully regimented prescriptions and procedures which, on the path to a cure, seem daunting and terribly expensive. There is some relief offered by our health insurance plans which may buffer the great expense, but cannot offer the one and only thing our heart requires for health: happiness, protection from fear.

In many traditional societies, before the degradation of agrarian cultures, we would have had access only to fresh, local, and organic foods, attentively raised and enjoyed seasonally: whole grains and legumes, prolific vegetables, cultured dairy, pickles, and kraut to keep digestion robust and inoculate us from pathogens. Animals producing our meat, eggs, and milk were carefully tended and the value of their sacrifice was plain to see, for we would all have met the creature who grew for our food.

This simple practice, of eating the appropriate foods and kitchen herbs, creates a true foundation of health care and health insurance. The healing wisdom of the plants, and those who raise them and administer them skillfully, have deep and lasting effects that vitalize and detoxify the body tissues, and wholesome relationship with our food has lasting mental and emotional benefit.

When stronger methods are required, the community herbalist is available to recommend therapeutic diets or fasts, and offer potent herbal formulae to mobilize and invigorate our innate healing potential. We work and play hard, so healing hands live in our community to massage and align our tissues, joints, meridians, and organs.

A renaissance of natural remedies and plant-based healing is the mission of the grassroots healthcare revolution. Our work at the Grass Roots Vitality clinic is to bring these tools into our contemporary lives though education, personal guidance, and massage therapy. Our doors are open to you.

Stay in touch.

Producing Lavender at the Family Farm

Our lavender began blooming in May. I started growing it almost three years ago when we first moved onto the land. I had never grown it before and didn’t know that lavender seed has a reputation as difficult to germinate. And because the plants are very tiny, it takes a long time for them to become productive. I patiently potted up little plants into bigger and bigger pots, and last winter we began planting lavender out into the garden. We have been rewarded with plentiful, beautiful, mesmerizing flowers.

Mojohito & Heatherlee with fresh lavender

Originally, we had about five hundred tiny plants. Over the past three years, we’ve given many lavender plants away, and we used them the wedding gift favors for Mojohito and Heatherlee’s wedding.

We began harvesting lavender in late May and have steam distilled two small batches of lavender for hydrosols and essential oils. The process infuses the space with the soothing smell that has made lavender so popular to treat headaches and insomnia. But it has many other medicinal and culinary uses as well. A recent issue of Hobby Farm Home has recipes for lavender butter; lavender sugar; marinated goat cheese; lavender citrus salad; lavender-caramelized walnuts; lavender, potato, and leek soup; and many more luscious ideas. In future issues, we’ll pass along recipe ideas for making use of the amazing properties of herbs.

The lavender that we grow is an English lavender. Our lavender variety, Munstead, is particularly good for our region because it likes warm weather and sun, and is quite drought tolerant. We hope to experiment with new varieties in the future.

In the meantime, we are adding new herbs to our garden regularly. The oregano, thyme, sage, lemon balm, basil, parsley, fennel, mint, elecampane, valerian, evening primrose, burdock – and others – are enjoying the warm summer days. We hope you are too.

Witness Healing Transformation

“In health, there is freedom. Health is the first of all liberties”
-Henri Frederic Amiel

Great thinkers from all times and cultures have told us that we have nothing if we don’t have our health. The oldest texts in the history of humanity are related to finding and keeping well being. Kings and rulers, the richest of men, spanning antiqity have sought out the most skilled physicians, knowing that they could not enjoy their wealth if they did not have health. And this trend continues to this day.

In this culture, we have a complex system of health insurance, doctors, pharmaceutical companies, and specialists for every part and function of the body. Billions of dollars each year go into medical science research to innovate new ways to alleviate pain and illness. Every magazine, countless books and, every hour of television broadcasting, there is a new study or supporting evidence to persuade us to try the newest version of nutrient or pharmaceutical or yoga pose or exercise. Why then, is this generation the first generation to die younger than the previous one?

I am not trying to tell you to abandon our advanced medical system. Please, if your leg is broken, if your child cannot breath, or if you are having a heart attack, go straight to the hospital. But, what I am trying to convey is that health is not merely the absence of intense pain or debilitating illness. Health is feeling strong in your body, happiness in your mind, the strength to meet the challenges of your day. Health is having the ability and energy to find new levels of enjoyment and growth in this life. Health is… vitality!

Grass Roots Vitality is a clinic that is dedicated to this pursuit of health and happiness. Here, you do not need to have health insurance. You do not need to be a King or rich man. You need the desire to be healthy and the willingness to try new ways of eating, breathing, moving, thinking and living. Drawing upon the lineages of health passed on to us by our teachers, we will help you connect to the wisdom of the Masters of Ancient China, India and the best of the medical and alchemical advances of the Western World- from Ptolomy to Dr. Oz. Most importantly, you will learn to reclaim your own authority in determining your level of health and longevity.

Talk is cheap. Many people claim to have the secret to the fountain of youth. In dedication to your journey with health, I am offering myself as a subject for your scrutiy. As of this week, I will embark upon a 27 month long regiment of renewal. 27 months- 1 month for each year that I have been alive. I do not have aches and pain and the need for pills. But I also do not have enough energy to go through the day. I will put my money where my mouth is- so to speak- and refrain from sugar, refined grains, over eating and toxic oils. I will subscribe to daily yoga and meditation. I will run and practice Kung Fu. I will not get to eat all that I want to, but I will get to prolong the days of my life which are full of fun. Please, follow me on this journey by reading these articles as I aspire to a higher state of ease in my body and peace in my mind.

“He who takes medicine and neglects diet wastes the skill of his doctors”
- Chinese Proverb

Home Remedies and Science: Chamomile Tea

As part of our work at Grass Roots Vitality, we want to explore some of the connections between “home” or “folk” remedies and science, which is increasingly finding that these approaches to ailments do have explanations that can be found through science.

For example, chamomile tea has been recommended for generations as a mild tonic to aid sleeplessness and stress, as well as cold and menstrual cramps. A study done in England and reported in Science Daily offers solid scientific evidence that chamomile does work and helps us understand why.

Researchers at the Imperial College of London gave a sample group of fourteen people five cups of chamomile tea for two weeks. They collected urine samples from the group before and after drinking the tea.

We quote from the results:

“The researchers found that drinking the tea was associated with a significant increase in urinary levels of hippurate, a breakdown product of certain plant-based compounds known as phenolics, some of which have been associated with increased antibacterial activity. This could help explain why the tea appears to boost the immune system and fight infections associated with colds, according to the researchers.

“Drinking the tea also was associated with an increase in urinary levels of glycine, an amino acid that has been shown to relieve muscle spasms. This may explain why the tea appears to be helpful in relieving menstrual cramps in women, probably by relaxing the uterus, say the researchers. Glycine also is known to act as a nerve relaxant, which may also explain why the tea seems to act as a mild sedative, the scientists note.”

The researchers found that hippurate and glycine levels remained elevated for up to two weeks after participants stopped drinking the tea. They also note that additional studies would need to be done to establish a positive link.

But for the moment, enjoy your chamomile tea knowing that it’s not just a delicious placebo – it can actively influence how you feel.