Tag Archives: health

What happens during an herbal consultation?

tincturesAn herbal consultation often begins by filling out a health intake form that only takes a few minutes. Next we set up an appointment. I like to start with a check-in to get whatever is currently “up” off your chest, then we move into a centering.

During a brief centering, I also refer to them as “grounding,” I invite you to take a few deep breadths and notice sensations in your body. Maybe there are tight places, pain, or clamping of the jaw. Often we are so focused on doing rather than being in our everyday lives that coming into the present moment can be really calming. I like to think of it as moving your focus from the mind down into the heart where you can access your inner wisdom.

The rest of the time is set up for you to talk about why you are here for a consultation. I will ask questions and gather more information about the systems in your body. I will also ask about your food choices, sleep, stress level, and physical activity. I use a holistic approach, which looks at the whole person to get to the root of the issue. Not only can herbal medicine alleviate acute symptoms, but it can also be highly effective for healing the source of chronic ailments.

Toward the end of our session, I ask permission to use the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) approach for taking a tongue and pulse diagnosis. This is a highly effective diagnostic tool that the Chinese have been utilizing for hundreds of years.

Within a week after our consultation I will send you a detailed Wellness Protocol, which includes strategies for how to improve your health in the short-term and long-term.

I also custom blend herbal formulas of tinctures, which are either alcohol or glycerin based, that contain 6-12 herbs. These formulas generally last 2-3 months and are taken twice daily with or without food. I can mail them or you can pick them up within a week.

I encourage follow-up sessions at least every 2-3 months to adjust the herbs and check in about your health. People tell me how rejuvenated they feel after each session. Receiving their herbal formula a week later gives a renewed sense of hope.

Please contact me with any questions.

Your Community Herbalist,


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A Dandy Time!

dandy plantDandelions are the most versatile spring plant that grows everywhere you don’t want them- lawns and gardens. We have an expansive crop this year at Starseed, so why not put them in our bellies? Dandelions arrive in full force just in time for spring cleansing and detoxing after a long winter of hearty foods. I know I’m not the only one who has indulged in rich creamy soups, thick cuts of bacon, and sweet treats.

The greens are best steamed before the flowers bud out because they are less bitter. Chewing on the stems of the flowers like gum cleanses the digestive tract. The roots are liver and gall bladder tonics. The whole plant is a natural diuretic but unlike pharmaceutical diuretics, it does not force your body to lose potassium. Dandelions are the best spring additives to meals and they are very plentiful.

dandy doneOur cook here has found a special way to mask the bitter flowers. Despite the contradictory ingredients, dandelion flower fritters are outstanding!

dandy dip

dandy timeShe uses:

Pamela’s gluten free pancake mix


Fresh Thyme


dandy fry

My motto as of late: “You got to retox if you want to detox!”

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Begin Again

As the month of February draws to a close, I look back and feel extremely grateful for a full year devoted to spiritual growth. I practiced yoga and mindfulness, traveled to the West Coast, explored my next steps for starting a small farm, volunteered at Kripalu Yoga Center, and cultivated a strong sense of self-love. Thank you to the many teachers, mentors, and soul mates I met along the way.

DSCN3197The quiet and stillness of winter is comforting. Spending the days reading, writing, cooking, practicing yoga, processing with friends, and entering deep solitude is how I recharge before another season begins. On daily hikes in the woods to fill my lungs with fresh crisp air, I observe how nature emanates the same peace I seek this time of year.

DSCN3163DSCN3200A new chapter is beginning even though the foggy grey days make it hard to believe spring is on the way. In two more weeks, the goats will begin kidding and the ground will begin thawing. Although my designated “year of spiritual growth” is wrapping up, I intend to incorporate all I have learned into farming.

DSCN3237Each morning no matter how early, I intend to practice. Even if its for just five minutes before walking up to the barn, or paying attention to my breadth while bottle feeding a baby goat, or saying a blessing with my fellow farmers at the start of a new project, I commit to working from a place of connection to Source. Great Work is allowing spirit to move through us as we move through the world following our Dharma.

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Living Based on Love


It is incredibly rewarding to practice empowerment through self-love. When I set up my life to go well by balancing my mind, body, and spirit, everything else goes smoothly. My stress levels go down, I smile more, my digestion is powerful, my neck and shoulders relax, and I rarely get headaches.

In addition to feeling healthy, strong, and at ease, I also have more energy to give to my community. I engage in meaningful conversations, I show up to work ready to serve, and I am motivated to keep in touch with old friends.

IMG_7313Trusting my inner wisdom has brought me to another major form of self-care: Herbalism. As many of you know, local food has been a focus of mine for the last few years. I have worked on several farms learned enough skills to eventually have my own farm in the future. Still unsure exactly what kind of farm that may be and also because Western Mass is becoming saturated with small farms, I took a break from that field.

I came to Kripalu to tap into a deep vein in hope of finding some direction for my future. I found instant community, sahdna (a personal practice), and love. It’s reassuring to know that as long as I trust myself and follow my heart, I will find exactly what I am searching for.

As I enter the last few months of my time at Kripalu, I struggle to stay present. Even though I constantly remind myself how much I have to be grateful for in this community, I can’t stop thinking about the future. After weeks of being hard on myself for what I thought was living too much in the future, a friend said, “Hannah, you’re just ready to move on and follow your path.” Giving myself permission to begin again feels hopeful and true. I am ready to fly the nest and build my own nest somewhere else.

IMG_7338_2Come early March, my sweetie and I will move closer to the Pioneer Valley. I will apprentice with an Herbalist, which will tie in beautifully with my Life Coach Certification. I am also collaborating with a group of people to start a small farm half way between Kripalu and Northampton.

My dreams are coming true. I am not going to give up and let fear or discouragement rule the show. The world needs me. The world needs all of us. Let go of what is getting in your way of living your dream and don’t look back. Stay grounded. Walk and lay on the Earth to feel the pulse of our planet. We must unite as one unit of Love during this Great Shift.

Let 12.21.12 be the transition from fear based living to Love.


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New Moon Summer Solstice

I told you I wouldn’t be able to stay away from farming. Even at the yoga center, I spend most days outside digging in the dirt, picking flowers, planting gardens, weeding, mowing, and working on my farmer’s tan.

The Kripalu Grounds Team has put my skills to good use by providing the means to put in a vegetable garden. The corn is already 10 inches tall. The tomatoes need a second line of trellis to support their lush green growth. The zucchini are growing ½ an inch per day. The cucumbers out lived the beetles.

Everything has been going really well, except that the broccoli, cabbage, and kale have been bait for the rabbits and groundhogs. Finally, the yogi in me surrendered by taking off the small cages that were protecting the plants while announcing, “Have at it!” to the critters. We can’t win all the battles. But, it’s not over yet. The fence will be installed tomorrow to discourage any further feasting.

One day a week I make my way over to the beloved goat farm to muck the barn and hoe in between the rows of a garden without critter problems. Susan’s bok choi and lettuce heads are already enormous. She’s harvesting from her second succession of salad greens. And, the raspberries promise to be in abundance by late summer.

I feel it is such an honor to spend time at the goat farm. Looking back I can see how much I’ve grown since my first ever blog post in the spring of 2009, “First Training at Rawson Brook Farm.” It is heart warming to know I am always welcome there.

The combination of karma yoga practice, earth based service, healthy fresh meals, and a loving community brings me so much happiness and contentment. This summer promises to be bountiful. Living life from my heart and letting go of fear has only brought me to more and more beautiful places.

Happy Summer!!!

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