This time of year is perfect for finding fresh wild turkey tail mushrooms growing in forests all around us! This photo shows them all laid out to dry. These beauties grow in abundance mostly in temperate climates so our Tennessee forests are full of them. Since I'll be making a dual extracted turkey tail tincture, I thought I'd share with you a few reasons why you need these pretty little mushrooms in your life!!
1. They help repair gut health! I know this might sound like a boring benefit, but all the latest research shows that a majority of chronic illnesses are in some way or another linked to poor gut health. We are bombarded with soooo much toxicity that literally kills off our good gut bacteria. Poor gut bacteria = poor immune function! (More on this below).
2.They boost immune system function! This happens in a few different ways: they regenerate white bloods, and stimulate the production of t-cells, macrophages, and natural killer cells. This means they enable our bodies own healing capabilities to be more resilient to fighting off illness and disease!
3. As an adaptogenic and immunomodulating mushroom, they help us adapt better to stress. "Stress" can include anything that impairs our bodies ability to function optimally. They have the incredible ability to upregulate/stimulate immune function when needed (think infection) or down regulate (think allergies or auto immune conditions where the body is in an overreactive state).
To expand a bit on the above....we live in a time where we are exposed to so many different stressors and toxins from every different angle. Here are some of the most common:
-Physical/chemical level: polluted air, water, food, and cosmetic/cleaning products.
-Excessive exposure to artificial light via screens and indoor lighting
-Living out of alignment, which can be different for everyone! Things like being busy 24/7, working a miserable job, surrounding yourself with toxic people.
Medicinal mushrooms are just so incredible for restoring and revitalizing overall health. They are a gift from nature and offer so much healing.
DUAL EXTRACTION ONLY
I make all my mushroom medicines via a dual extraction method. This ensures you are receiving the full spectrum of benefits these glorious mushrooms have to offer. Consuming dry/powdered mushrooms provides only a limited amount of the medicinal benefit!
Find turkey tail mushrooms in my Elderberry Elixir and Shroom Boost liquid drops. Click the links below to purchase!
Elderberry Immunity Elixir (marlasorganics.com)
Shroom Boost Dual Extraction Tincture (marlasorganics.com)
Passionflower Medicinal Benefits
.Passionflower is so valuable as a nervine to help calm anxiety, nervous tension, and to nourish the nervous system overall.
It can help reduce high blood pressure and soothe tachycardia
It's calming qualities make it excellent for insomnia, specifically when racing thoughts prevent you from falling asleep.
It's antispasmodic properties help calm restlessness, inflammation, can help relieve pain related to muscle spasms (seizures, asthmatic coughs, etc)
One of the most interesting qualities of this plant is that it helps improve feelings of depression and anxiety by supporting the production of GABA, a neurotransmitter that helps calm anxiousness!
Passionflower essence can be supportive for overthinking, racing thoughts, and mental exhaustion.
Make your own medicine
You can simply make your own passionflower extract by packing a mason jar full of fresh flowers and leaves, like the photo above! Gently pack your jar then fill to the top with 100 proof vodka or other 100 proof alcohol. Cap firmly and shake your jar daily for 6-8 weeks!
Strain all the plant material through a fine mesh strainer, cheesecloth, or other thin organic cloth. Be sure to squeeze all the remaining liquid out so you don't leave behind any of the medicine! Compost the remaining herbs and add the passionflower infused alcohol into a clean jar. Cap tightly and store in a cool dark place!
To use this as medicine, simply fill a 1 ounce dropper bottle and consume under the tongue. A dosage of 30-60 drops several times daily is typically recommended but each situation is different!
I am so thrilled to have learned about so many new plants this year, sumac being the most recent (and flavorful) of all!
Sumac is very easy to identify with large cone shaped clusters of crimson colored berry bunches, technically called "drupes". It tends to grow in more wet climates, near streams and swamps, and in subtropical areas.
Many of the wild plants and mushrooms I work with don't always have the best flavor and therefore don't result in the tastiest teas. Butttttt this one is a definite game changer and an herb I will be using/drinking all year long now (more on that later).
These berries carry a VERY tart flavor similar to a fresh lemon. The dried berries, then ground into a powder, have been used as a delicious flavoring spice for all kinds of food dishes, especially in middle eastern cuisine. This tea has a similar flavor to hibiscus, cranberry, and lemonade.....MMMM so good!
Sumac also has a long history of medicinal use for colds, flus, sore throats, respiratory issues like asthma and intense coughs, to balance blood sugar, support cardiovascular health, and is an overall health-supportive herb.
Here's the super easy process for making sumac tea. Get creative with other herbal additions or flavors you'd like to throw in the mix!
1-2 berry bunches (the more berries = more tartness)
4 cups (32 oz) water. I always use a quart size mason jar!
Raw honey added to your liking (I typically do 1-2 BIG spoonfuls)
Optional add-ins: cinnamon, clove, hibiscus, mint, or chamomile.
Place berries (stems and all, or just berries if you wish!) directly into your jar. Fill to the top with almost boiling/hot water. Cap and let steep at room temperature for several hours or overnight. At some point when it is still hot but not boiling, I'll add the honey and shake until dissolved. Remove the berries then strain the remaining liquid through a cheesecloth, fine mesh strainer, or coffee filter. (sumac's tiny hairs can sometimes irritate the throat if it isn't strained well).
Some sources say steeping sumac in hot water results in a bitter tea. I have not had this experience, just a nice tart flavor! Feel free to experiment to find what works for you.
Get creative with adding other herbs, fruit juices, or other fun additions. Since sumac has a tart flavor is pairs well with lots of different flavors! Please let me know if you add anything that makes this tea even MORE delicious!
Photographed below is my big basket of sumac and one of the several racks of sumac berry bunches I am currently drying out. Remember how I said I'll be using sumac all year long? Once these berries are thoroughly dried, I will grind them into a powder and use it much like you would squeeze fresh lemon juice over a meal or as an addition to a recipe. YUM!!
5 ways to detox this spring!
It's time for some spring cleaning!
After a long (and likely more sedentary) winter season, our bodies are in much need of extra movement, waste removal, and reduction of excess water retention.
Benefits to Detoxing
Less toxic buildup in the body
The list goes on!
Heres' my top 5 ways to encourage detoxification!
What is Fire Cider?
Fire cider is a traditional recipe made with a base of apple cider vinegar and a wonderful blend of herbs and spices. This slightly sweet and tangy herbal vinegar is perfect for take daily for immune support or to add to recipes for a powerhouse nutritional kick!
Fire Cider Benefits:
-Supports digestive enzyme and assists nutrient assimilation and absorption
-Builds gut health for a healthy microbiome
-Supports and builds a strong immune system
-Reduces overall inflammation in the body
-Helps loosen and expel mucous
-Relieves sinus pressure
-Gently heats the body to encourage detoxification, sweating, and helps to break fevers
-Anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal properties
-Reduces duration of colds and flus
-The list literally goes on and on!
How to Make Fire Cider
Want a video tutorial? Here's my youtube video link:
-Organic and Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
-A blend of herbs and spices of your choosing. The base is best made up of fresh onions, garlic, jalapeno, ginger root, oranges, and lemons.
-Optional add-ins would be additional herbs of choice. Some great ones would be mullein, rosemary, burdock, yarrow, and medicinal mushrooms.
Begin by chopping everything finely. Then fill a clean glass jar full with your herbs. Lightly pack the ingredients down.
Next, cover your herbs with apple cider vinegar until 3/4 full. Top off with raw honey.
Cap and shake well! Store your jar in a safe place and shake daily for 6 weeks. It is also important to label your creation with all ingredients included.
After 6 weeks, strain your herbs through a fine mesh strainer, cheesecloth, or organic thin cloth. Squeeze all the liquid out of the herbs! Compost herbs when finished.
Bottle up your now medicinal vinegar and label.
How to use Fire Cider:
I personally prefer to take a daily "shot" of fire cider. Simply mix 1-2 tablespoons fire cider diluted with equal parts water.
If a cold/flu/other illness is emerging or active, take 1-2 tablespoons 3-4 times daily until the sickness subsides!
This vinegar can also be used just like any other vinegar. Add to salad, soups, sautéed dishes. Get creative!
If you aren't interesting in making your own, grab a bottle of my homemade fire cider on my website by following the link below :)
Apple Cider Vinegar Immunity Elixir (marlasorganics.com)
Enjoy, and please let me know if you make this for yourself!
All Natural Liquid Soap Recipe
Let's make an all natural all purpose liquid soap!
I love this soap because it's all natural, toxin free, easy to make in bulk, and has infinite uses like dog shampoo, home cleaning, dish washing, body wash, etc etc!
30 ounces olive oil
22 ounces coconut oil
12 ounces KOH (potassium hydroxide) (NOT sodium hydroxide)
35 ounces filtered/distilled water
Add the water to your crockpot. CAREFULLY and SLOWLY add the lye to the water, mixing slowly until dissolved. I stand back while mixing as the lye water heats up quickly. (if you choose, wear protective gear like goggles, mask, and gloves). In a separate bowl, weigh out the olive and coconut oil. Add the oils to the water/lye mixture and stir for a few moments. Place the lid on your crockpot and turn it on the warm/low setting. Leave to cook but monitor closely. We want to make sure it doesn't get too hot! Low and slow is the key. Stir periodically every 15-20 minutes.
Allow to cook for 2-3 hours or until the mixture goes from liquid, to mashed potatoes consistency, then to looking similar to vaseline. The mixture will be become tough to stir but don't worry, this is what we want!
Our finished product will be a soap paste. To test to make sure it's done cooking, mix a pea size amount of soap paste with 1/2 cup water. Mix until dissolved. Your water should be mostly clear. If it's not, allow to cook for an additional 20-30 minutes. Test again.
Once finished, it's time to dilute the soap paste to make it liquid! Fill your crockpot to the top with filtered/distilled water. Keep the crockpot on the warm setting and let dissolve for several hours or overnight. Stir to make sure all the soap gets dissolved. Our soap is now done! Store in recycled bottles or jars and label. Use any way you would use a basic soap. Dishes, home cleaning, body wash, dog shampoo, etc!
How To Make Elderberry Syrup
Hey there. Marla here :)
I am so excited to be sharing this much requested recipe for homemade elderberry syrup!
If you're a visual learner, I have a Youtube video tutorial to make this syrup below!
Read on for all things elderberry plus the full recipe!
Elderberries are pretty amazing little berries! They have been used throughout history in folk medicine as a go to for keeping the immune system strong and healthy. Making this syrup and having it on hand is a wonderful secret weapon against colds and flus and for boosting overall immunity. John Evelyn, a British researcher, declared, “If the medicinal properties of its leaves, bark, and berries were fully known, I cannot tell what our countryman could ail for which he might not fetch a remedy (from the elderberry), either for sickness or wounds.”
Contains anthocyanins that boost the production of cytokines in the body. Cytokines boost our bodies immune response!
Anti-bacterial and anti-viral
High in Vitamin C which further supports immune system
Helpful for allergies and offer allergy symptom relief
Helps heal urinary infections
4 cups water
1 cup dried organic elderberries
1 cup raw local honey
1-2 tbs fresh minced ginger
1-2 cinnamon sticks
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Place on stove and bring to a light boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 45-60 minutes or until the liquid is reduced by half (you should end up with 2 cups of liquid), Strain berries through fine mesh strainer or thin cloth and press down on berries to release all the liquid!
Allow to cool until slightly warm or room temperature. Add honey and mix well until the honey is dissolved. Store in a glass mason jar and label it with the date and contents! Store in the refridgerator. It should keep for about 6 months but you should be using it up before then!
How to use Elderberry Syrup
For immune system maintenance, take 1 tsp per day. You'll want to drink the whole the jar so control yourself! :)
For sickness: take 1 tsp. 3-4 times per day when you feel a cold coming on or while you are sick! Take this along with lots of water, rest, and nutrient dense foods.
Alright guys, go now and make your syrup! I'd love to hear how yours turns out!
Peace and Love,
Hello there! Marla here :)
Today we're going to chat about something I discovered fairly recently and have been implementing in my life. I am so excited to share it with you.
Herbal infusions are an amazingly simple and cost effective way to reap all the wonderful benefits that herbs have to offer.
What is an herbal infusion?
An herbal infusion is basically a tea that is steeped in water for 6-10 hours. When allowed to infuse for a long time as opposed to just a few minutes like a tea, it has time to extract all it's plant benefits into the water for you to drink!
Herbal infusions are a wonderful source of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, antioxidants, essential fatty acids, and protein in their most absorbable form.
Herbs have an endless amount of nourishing qualities all of which I couldn't list here. But here are just a few examples! Herbs are helpful for osteoporosis, anxiety and depression, adrenal fatigue, eczema and other skin problems, diabetes, sinus problems and allergies, hormonal imbalances and female reproductive issues, infertility, joint pain and stiffness, & high blood pressure, and so. much. more!!
Aside from being extremely beneficial for health issues, herbal infusions are a wonderful addition to any healthy lifestyle to serve as an extra vitality boost! Here are my favorites:
Extra nutrients = Extra vitality!
You may be wondering what herbs to use, so here's a list to get you started. You can find dried herbs at most health food stores or online. Get organic if possible!
Red raspberry leaf
How to make an herbal infusion
This couldn't get any simpler which is why I love it!
I also have a youtube video showing how to make these. CLICK HERE!
Begin with a nice large mason jar. Mine is 32 oz. Heat water over stove top until very hot but not boiling. Place 1/2-1 cup of dried herb into jar and pour the hot water over it. Cap jar and store on counter top for a minimum of 6 hours. I make this at night and let it sit overnight. I use a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth to strain. Drink immediately or store in refrigerator and drink within a day or two.
I make these several times per week and it is now a part of my healthy living self care routine.
I hope you give this a try for yourself and I would love to hear what herbs you use to make yours!
Peace and Love,
Why natural handcrafted soap?
Hey guys, Marla here!
Over the past few years, I've become very passionate about holistic health and all that this beautiful earth has to offer. I guess you could say I'm a big "DIY-er" and love to create things using plant based ingredients that are not only beneficial for our bodies, but that also protect our animal friends and support the health of our planet! So, I decided to turn this ever growing passion into a business so I can share these beautiful creations with the world :)
I became a licensed esthetician and learned all about skin health. I had a lot of skin problems, mainly acne and dryness, so I decided to educate myself on how to heal. Along with proper nutrition (most important!), what we put on our skin is crucial for our internal health.
So why natural soap?
You've definitely heard the term "you are what you eat" which is so true! But what about what we put on our skin? Our skin is an amazing organ, and whatever we put on it is readily absorbed into the bloodstream. Sadly, most store bought conventional beauty care products are LOADED with all sorts of icky TOXIC chemicals. These chemicals build up in our bodies and over time and have now been linked to all sorts of health ailments including cancer, endocrine disruption, and a myriad of skin problems.
. We take huge pride in the fact that every ingredient we use to scent, color, and even preserve our products are organic, wholesome, and natural botanicals from the earth. This is how skincare should be!
Here's why natural organic soap is a must!!
SKIN HEALTH: natural soap is loaded with moisturizing oils and butters (ours is vegan- always!) that are wonderful for cleansing the skin but not stripping it of it's natural oils which are necessary to avoid dryness! Essential oils are like liquid gold when it comes to almost ANY ailment, and when used on our skin they are wonderful for aromatherapy, stress, scars, and so much more.
OVERALL HEALTH: Our overall health depends on more than just nutrition. Of course nutrition is crucial (plant based nutrition info coming soon!), but we must also consider the chemicals we are using on our skin, in our homes, what we inhale, the energy we are around, our sleep quality, and much more. our natural soap contains no questionable ingredients.
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH: bar soap is non toxic so it reduces the toxic buildup in waterways and streams. It is also naturally more eco-friendly because of the minimal packaging needed as opposed to liquid soap in plastic bottles. The packaging we use to wrap our bars is all recycled, eco-friendly, and encourages sustainability.
SMALL BUSINESS SUPPORT: By purchasing handmade soap and other handmade items you are supporting an independent small business which encourages entrepreneurship, helps support local communities, encourages creativity, art, and traditional methods of making items. You are receiving a truly "one of a kind", made with love item.....and that is something truly special!
If you're eager to try out my handmade soap, head over to the SHOP page to check out the beauties I have available :)
In the future, I'll be providing more information about specific ingredients to avoid and the harms that come along with them. Education is power baby!
I'm so happy you are here with me, come back for more great things like this!
Peace and Love,