Weed Walking with Jim McDonald

Last week, I attended an herb walk on Belle Isle with herbalist and wildcrafter, Jim McDonald. Jim has a wonderful, engaging and humorous way of teaching about herbs that makes learning infectious. We walked along the north end of the island, past the light house, near "hipster beach" and learned how to identify several of the wild, medicinal plants growing there. My favorite of the evening was blue vervain. You can learn more about it below and at my workshop this Sunday, where you'll learn how to make teas, tinctures and decoctions to manage stress and support your immune system. 

When you have a chance, visit Jim's website, herbcraft.org and check out his upcoming classes. I highly recommend going on a walk with him. 

Come See Us at the Michigan Jewish Food Festival!

Hedgewitch Holistics is sharing a table with Eastern Market Wellness Center at Hazon's 2nd Annual Michigan Jewish Food Festival. Autumn Bowman of EMWC will provide 5-minute hand massages and introduce you to simple self-care techniques and massage therapy. I will provide a tincture and tea tasting as well as demonstrations on how to assemble a tincture at noon, 1:30PM and 3PM. 

Come check out the festival, enjoy delicious food and then stop by our table for a little healing magic. 

Local natural healers team up to Teach Valentine's Day Workshop at newly opened Eastern Market Wellness Center

Detroit, (January 27, 2016) – Massage therapist Hannah Lewis of Detroit Massage and Wellness and holistic nutrition consultant Heather Mourer of Hedgewitch Holistics will collaborate on a Valentine’s Day Workshop at Eastern Market Wellness Center on Thursday, February 11 at 7PM. The workshop will open with a brief introduction to herbal aphrodisiacs and continue with a hands-on immersion in couples massage practices.  
Participants will learn several techniques during this three-hour workshop, but more importantly, they will learn how to communicate with one another about likes, dislikes and preferences. “They can expect to begin to demystify the art of massage therapy. It’s primitive, it’s intuitive, and it’s fun! We start with the same techniques and language, but when a couple takes this work home, it evolves into their own special brand, with its own technique and its own language,” Lewis says of the massage portion of the workshop. 
With its successful December, 2015 grand opening behind it, Eastern Market Wellness Center (EMWC) will not only play host to this workshop, but to a full series of workshops that Mourer is currently developing. "I look forward to hosting the Valentine's Day Workshop for couples because it promotes wellness beyond the individual, and beyond the usual range of wellness services to nurture the very core of family and home. Eastern Market Wellness Center promotes a naturally healthy community, as well as collaborative efforts between practitioners and local businesses to continue educating that community," says EMWC founder Autumn Bowman.
With only nine spots left in this workshop, it is anticipated to sell out. In addition to a new skill set and a wealthy of knowledge, couples will go home with a 13-page booklet outlining the massage techniques covered in the workshop, a recipe/how-to guide for creating your own herbal aphrodisiacs and setting the mood at home, plus lots of other goodies. Reservations are just $130 per couple and can be made at hedgewitchholistics.com/events. Snacks and tea will be provided.

New workshop series!

I'm so excited to announce our new series of workshops at Eastern Market Wellness Center! I'm still working on finalizing the topics for the full series, but please join us for our first installment on Sunday, January 31. We'll talk about herbal and folk remedies for stress, detox and immune support and everyone will go home with your own tea, tincture and a handmade how-to guide/recipe book. Check out the flier below or click here for more details, and to reserve your spot soon as space is limited. 


Come meet me at Eastern Market Wellness on December 13!

If you are in or near Detroit on Sunday, December 13, please join us at the grand opening of Eastern Market Wellness...

Posted by Hedgewitch Holistics on Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Recipe: Roasted Apple and Carrot Soup with Ginger and Turmeric Root

Last winter, J and I embarked on an adventure to make 30 different soups to get us through the end of winter. We didn't achieve the goal. In fact, we came up way short. But, I started school and we both got busier with work, so hey, life happens. One of my favorite soups that we made - that is absolutely perfect as the temperatures start dropping - was this Roasted Apple/Carrot concoction. It was rich, velvety, warm, spicy and delicious. This is an excellent soup for anyone who is a Vata dosha in Ayurveda. Thoroughly cooked fruits and veggies are recommended for Vatas and the ginger, garlic and spices used will warm and stabilize this dosha. If you are a Vata who doesn't avoid or isn't sensitive to dairy and want some extra support for your body type, consider subbing the coconut milk with whole or natural milk as warm milk also helps to pacify this cold, dry dosha. 

If you don't know your Ayurvedic dosha and are interested in an assessment and learning what foods and lifestyle activities will balance your body type, be sure to email me. It's something that can be life-altering - in a very positive way - for many people. 

I hope you enjoy this soup as much as I did and I would be interested in hearing about any substitutions or additions you made that worked for you. 

Prep Time: 10 minutes     Cook Time: 45 minutes     Serves: 4

4T coconut oil (2T for roasting, 2T for soup)
1lb carrots, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
2 gala (or other sweet, red) apples, peeled, cored and cubed or sliced
2-3 green onions, white and light green parts, chopped (save the dark green for garnish)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 inch piece of turmeric root, peeled and grated
1 inch piece of ginger root, peeled and grated
1/2t cinnamon (1/4t for roasting, 1/4t for soup)
1/8t cayenne (or 1/4t if you like things a little spicier)
Pinch of red pepper
1/8t cardamom
1T sea salt (2t for roasting, 1t for soup)
4c vegetable broth
1/4c full fat coconut milk
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 450. In a large bowl, toss together carrots, apple, 1/4t cinnamon, 2T coconut oil, 2t salt and a few pinches of black pepper. Spread carrots and apples on a parchment lined baking sheet and roast in oven for 25-30 minutes or until they’re slightly browned. 

Melt remaining coconut oil in a pot (a standard 4-5qt pot should be just fine) over medium-low heat. Add green onions, garlic, ginger and pepper flakes and sweat for 1-2 minutes,  until glossy. 

Add carrots, apples, salt, remaining cinnamon, cardamom and turmeric root and cook for another 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, or until carrots are very soft. 

Puree soup (in batches, if necessary) in a blender or food processor. 

Serve with a drizzle of coconut milk in the center and garnish with green onion, parsley, carrot fronds, red pepper, a cinnamon stick, cardamom pods or whatever you have in your kitchen that will look pretty, if desired. Enjoy! 

Remedies: Tea for seasonal allergies and hayfever

One of my recent assignments for my Traditional Chinese Medicine class was to create a protocol for a condition from which I suffer. As a lifelong year-round allergy sufferer, I've tried just about every prescription and OTC medication on the market. I gave up the daily pills and switched to an all natural approach five years ago. Since then, my allergies have been drastically reduced, but I still have a few days each spring and fall when I suffer from hayfever so unbearable it leaves me wanting to end it all for the day and knock myself out with a dose of Benadryl.

I have never followed a very rigid or structured plan for relieving my allergies. I've read about different remedies and heard about things friends tried and I've tested those things out to see what works best for me. When I lived in Indianapolis, eating a tablespoon of local honey every day worked magically for me. When I moved to Detroit a few years ago, I tried several locally made honeys, but nothing seemed to offer me the same level of relief. 

When this project was assigned, I was excited to put myself on a more structured protocol, experiment with different herbs and dosages, and observe the outcome. I'm happy to say it's worked really well...actually, better than anything I've ever taken for my allergies. I've had two high-allergy days in the last month and on both days, I was able to slightly increase my dosages and feel relief within an hour. 

I won't share my full protocol, because what works for one person may not work for everyone. It is always important to consult with an herbalist or holistic nutritionist along with your physician before taking any kind of herb medicinally or drastically changing your diet to learn what is best/right for you. 

With that being said, here is my recipe for the tea I've been drinking while on my protocol.... 

allergy tea recipe

1t licorice root (anti-allergenic, anti-bacterial and anti-viral to aid in preventing sinus infections; lubricates dry/scratchy throat)
1t local bee pollen (antihistamine)
1t stinging nettles (relives itchy/watery eyes, sneezing, runny nose)
1/2t reishi mushroom powder (general immune booster, anti-inflammatory, strengthens liver function - liver distress can cause hypersensitivities and allergic reactions)

Place these ingredients in a muslin teabag and steep for ten minutes in 16oz of boiling water. Drink in two eight-ounce servings each morning and night. Licorice will be the predominant flavor of the tea, so if you're not a fan, add some local honey and/or lemon to taste.

Time Saver: I've found that I don't always have time in the morning, before work, to make this tea from scratch, so I tripled the amount of herbal ingredients while still using 16oz of water to make a concentrate. I stored it in a bottle in the refrigerator and I mixed four ounces of concentrate with four ounces of boiling water in my travel coffee cup to take with me to work. 

For the Love of Rocks: a past and present love affair

When I was a very young child, I played with rocks like other kids may have played with Fisher Price toys. My Nana and I ran successful restaurants out of her dining room, serving my Pap delicious dishes made up of differently colored, sometimes hand painted, rocks. Together, we taught "school" to classrooms full of rocks and played "store" by selling rocks as produce, meat and various dry and canned goods. As cliche as it is, sometimes those rocks even acted as my pets.

As I got a little older, my attention turned to rocks that were more sparkly. My dad and I would explore land around family properties in Indiana, Illinois and Missouri; and parks, streams, rivers, waterfalls, etc in search of  smooth river rocks, fossils, arrowheads, geodes and anything else interesting or shiny. The occasional find of a fully intact geode was like hitting the jackpot! And when we brought them home, I got to do the honors of cracking them open, when I could. I would admire what was inside and find the rock a lovely home in our backyard garden or in my bedroom. 

As a pre-teen and teenager, my interest turned to crystals and gemstones. I would stop in rock, bead and new age stores in every city or town I visited and look for interesting crystals, stones or jewelry. I developed an obsession for all things hematite. At the time, I had no idea of the magical, healing properties of hematite. I just felt drawn to it and loved the look and feel of it. Looking back, it was a really great stone for a teen girl to cherish as hematite is known for its grounding energy and promotes self-confidence and courage in women. Throughout high school and most of college, I wore beaded bracelets made from onyx, hematite, turquoise and rose quartz because they gave me a sense of strength and security.

Fast forward to 2014, when a lovely new store opened in my city that carries a thoughtfully curated collection of objects the shopkeeper has picked up on her adventures throughout the United States. The inventory ranges from cozy vintage sweaters to hand-carved wooden trinket boxes, animal skulls to locally made candles to what really drew me in - crystals, feathers and tarot cards. When I first entered this store, I felt I had found my retail soul sister. The crystals were selected and purchased from a man who had recently traded a life in corporate America for an enchanted life of selling crystals and imparting wisdom on the Venice Beach Boardwalk. They were carefully displayed in vintage dishes with handwritten cards explaining the healing properties of each stone. To say my first visit to El Dorado General Store reignited my passion for crystals and stones was an understatement. 

Over the last year, my interest in the energy emitted by stones, crystals and rocks has been renewed and I've found myself searching for a deeper understanding of how each stone I collect can help me or others. It was because of this interest that I signed up for a Crystal Healing workshop with local energy healer extraordinaire, Sue Burton Hidalgo. Though this workshop was brief, it gave me a great foundation on which to build my knowledge of how to use stones and crystals to align the chakras and heal the body and mind. It also introduced me to the Energy Balancing Institute, where I plan to obtain my certificate in Crystal Healing once I've completed my Nutritional Therapy program. I look forward to delving further into this field and being able to offer this method of healing to future clients. 

Evolution of Hedgewitch Holistics

I’ve long been interested in and fascinated by natural healing, folklore and mysticism. During my middle and high school years, my parents indulged me in my quest to visit local new age stores on every family vacation we took, searching for crystals, tarot cards, meditation bracelets and incense. My closest friends eagerly joined me in many a tarot card reading and unsuccessful séance. I began reading books on Eastern religions, astrology, dream analysis and – like every teenage girl in the mid-'90s who had seen The Craft – even Wicca. I don’t recall ever wanting to practice witchcraft or become a witch, but for awhile, I was enamored with reading and learning more about these subjects.

From an early age, I became wary of taking medications that would just mask symptoms rather than heal the root cause, and every time doctors accidentally prescribed medicines in the same families as the ones I'm allergic to, it didn't help their case. Again and again, I suffered through debilitating migraines, allergies and sinus infections before finally caving and seeking treatment from a medical doctor as a last resort. When told I should get 21 vaccinations and boosters before my dream trip of backpacking through India, I immediately sought the advice of an herbalist and then set out on my journey armed with vials of Silver Shield and Virginia Snake Root and a bottle of garlic pills. I wasn't sick once during my month-long trip – not even when I drank the tap water or ate the fresh-cut fruits handed to me in the streets and on the beaches.

In the last few years, I've healed my eczema, chronic migraines and digestive tract issues simply by cutting out most grains (with the exception of quinoa and the occasional rice noodle) and completely eliminating legumes from my diet. I’ve had several friends, family members and even people I’ve just met ask me for advice when they discover this, and while I am happy to share my own personal experiences and what works for me, I've never felt qualified to advise others. Last autumn, after listening to my mother rattle off a list of medications she was on for a list of ailments her doctors had diagnosed, I decided to change that. Many of the conditions she described, I knew, could be managed or cured with just a few simple changes in diet. I then spent months researching holistic nutrition programs that could be completed online – as I'm not ready to abandon my beloved city – and would prepare me to become a board-certified practitioner.

This month, I begin my journey under the direction of renowned holistic healing expert Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa. After completing his Nutritional Therapy program, I'll become certified by the National Association of Nutrition Professionals (NANP) and the American Association of Drugless Practitioners (AADP). Before I begin formally taking clients, I'll share some of the things I'm learning, along with helpful tips, recipes, advice and other ideas, through this blog. Later this year, I'll look for case-study volunteers: individuals who want to learn more about how they can heal their own afflictions through holistic nutrition, Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). If this is something that may be of interest to you, please contact me via email: hedgewitchholistics@gmail.com.