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Change of Season? Herbs have got you covered.

Guest post by: Emma Downie, Registered Herbalist

As we enter into the fall season of colder nights, windy days, fall colors and cozy blankets, we may notice some bodily changes in response. For some, this is the season of back to school coughs and colds, digestive change or upset, and seasonal allergies.

Throughout history, herbs have been used to rebalance our system through all seasonal changes, and often there is a correlation between which herbs are in season, and which seasonal ailments they help to balance or treat. In Traditional Chinse Medicine, a traditional change of season soup is brewed for every seasonal change, to help increase vitality, strengthen digestion, immune function, and overall constitution. This soup/brew is made of Goji Berries, Codonopsis root, Wild Yam root, and Astragalus.

Below are a few helpful tips to help keep your system balanced this coming change of season!

Digestive Sensitivity:
During a change of season, our digestive system can sometimes become sensitive and unbalanced due to the change in temperature and pace of life. Our digestive system loves schedule and routine, and during changes of season, often times are schedules change. This can create upset stomach, irregular bowel movements, indigestion or lack of appetite. Eating with the seasons is a wonderful way to mitigate this. As the weather turns colder, and a chill settles in the air, try to avoid having cold things in the mornings. Sub the smoothie out of a turmeric late in the morning, or chai tea. Warming herbs such as turmeric, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger, all help gently wake up the digestive system, and prepare it for the coming meals of the day.

If appetite is more your issue, you may consider warming bitters (cooling would be counterintuitive to the season), to help promote ndigestion! Bitters can be added to a morning tea, or just a glass of warm water with lemon, 15 minutes before meals. These bitter and warming herbs help promote the creation of bile, and hydrochloric acid in the stomach, and aid in proper digestion and assimilation.

Seasonal Allergies:
Coughing, Sneezing, and itchy eyes, are enough to make anyone unhappy that fall is just around the corner. A few seasonal herbal allies can assist in easing your symptoms, before you reach for the benadryl. Nettle, being a natural antihistamine, can be drunk as a tea or taken as tincture, to help with itchy eyes, skin, and throat. Nettle can be taken daily, and can be paired with other herbs such as Astragalus, or Eye bright, to further decrease symptoms.

Coughs and Colds:
With school starting up again and our weekly schedules picking up, the chance for germ exchange and compromised immune systems increase. Our immune system does best when it is supported both physically but also emotionally. Our immune systems often become compromised when we are stressed, or not eating or sleeping our best. Therefore, there are many ways we can support this system, in children and adults. Getting adequate nutrition and sleep are key here – as the days get shorter and the nights grow longer, our bodies will naturally want to sleep longer. This is a natural cycle that we would do well to indulge during fall and winter. Some herbal allies to consider are; Elderberries: These adult and child friendly dried berries can be made into syrup, tincture or teas, to help increase immune function, and fight viruses.

When made as a syrup with honey or cane sugar, can be a delicious way to keep your little ones sniffle free. Add ginger for an extra antiviral kick. Astragalus: An immune-modulating herb from the East, this sweet herbs can be cooked into rice, made as a tea, or taken as tincture, to increase immune activity when under stress, or when there is a pathogen threatening to take you down during a busy week. Echinacea: This adult and child friendly herb is another potent antiviral, and can be great for sore throats. This herb works best when it touches the tissue it is meant to affect, therefore tea or syrup for sore throats is a handy ally to have.

Yarrow: This herb is a nice one for adults who spike a fever. Yarrow is diaphoretic, meaning it helps your body to sweat. This will help the body feel the fever, and sweat it out. Especially helpful if you have associated chills, as it will make you feel warm and toasty.

About Emma: Emma Downie is a Registered Clinical Herbalist, with a Diploma from the Institute of Traditional Medicine, as well as a Certificate of Advanced Botanical Medicine. She has worked under both classically trained, eclectic, and indigenous herbalists, and is grateful for all she has learned in the process.

You can book a visit with a practitioner here.

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3 Reasons To Make Your Own Tea Blends

The Toronto Star recently featured an article about making your own tea blends. We were so humbled that they mentioned our store!

So why should you even think about making your own tea blends? Here are a few reasons.

#1 — You have a specific action you are trying to accomplish with the herbs.

Many herbs have medicinal properties. You can learn more about the medicinal properties of herbs by grabbing books at the library, or more commonly by reading up about them online. If you’re going to go down this road, we recommend using the latin names of the herb. They look like this: Vitex agnus-castus. The common names vary much  more, whereas the latin names have more consistency among herb species.

Once you know what you’d like to accomplish, you can start searching for herbs that fit the bill. You can do specific learning about some herbs here, although the information there is meant more for health practitioners. You can also try using a herb calculator, like this one. We are currently trying to build an online system to help people learn more about various herbs. Bottom line is you can put together a tea that does what you want it to do.

#2 — You like a specific taste or you want a variety of flavours.

Herbs don’t always taste good, but many of them taste great. And many of them taste great when blended together. Try selecting a few of your favourite herbs and mixing them together to see what type of outcome you get.

#3 — It’s a lot of fun AND you save money.

There’s something about blending herbs that is engaging. It brings us back to an older time and it gets us involved with the things we choose to consume. It’s a wonderful activity to try by yourself or with a friend to see what you can come up with. It’s also significantly cheaper to buy herbs in this format than it is to buy pre-packaged individual bags of tea. Save money and have fun? What’s not to like.

Feeling lost? Don’t worry! Our clerks are available to help you and we have tons of pre-formulated combos from our experiences blending teas. Feel free to try to use them as a starting point if this is something you want to try more of. Thanks for reading and we hope to see you blending your own teas!

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Health Benefits of Green Tea

Green tea is a beverage made from the Camelia sinensis plant, a shrub native to Southern China that has been used through time for its many attributed benefits. It is of major cultural importance in Asia where it is known as China’s National Drink. Both India and China have incorporated green tea in their complementary medicine practices for supporting digestion, cardiovascular and mental health among others. In the last decade alone, there have been numerous studies that have endorsed green tea’s diverse applications in promoting health. These studies have also ushered in a newfound appreciation for green tea in the West.


As a botanical therapy, green tea can be used as a hot beverage a few times a day or as a supplement that is standardised to polyphenols. One cup of green tea, in addition to polyphenols, also contains alkaloids such as caffeine although not in as large amounts as in coffee. Although it is safe when consumed regularly, the presence of caffeine in green tea can create side effects if it is over-consumed. It is interesting to note that the Chinese originally consumed green tea as a powder (matcha) and with time, transitioned into steeping the loose leaves. Its evolution of use in recent times has paralleled some exciting scientific findings. This article will discuss the applications of green tea therapeutically in weight loss and as an adjunctive treatment for cancer.


WEIGHT LOSS: One recent double-blind randomized placebo controlled clinical trial of 115 women with central obesity, who had taken 857mg of EGCG for 12 weeks had significant weight loss, a decrease in BMI and reduced waist circumference. Blood work also showed a decrease in total cholesterol and in LDL (low-density lipoproteins). There were no side effects or adverse events.


CANCER: Green tea has been reported to be protective against several types of cancers, including osteosarcoma, leukemia, skin, breast, prostate, esophageal, stomach, colorectal, pancreatic, lung, cervical and bladder cancer. Green tea is composed of catechins, which are polyphenolic flavonoid-derived compounds that have been found to inhibit cancer growth.


We always suggest seeking the advice of your Naturopathic Doctor prior to making any modifications regarding your health, as every individual is unique.