How to Build a Resilient Immune System

By: Candice Brunlinger; Clinical & Intuitive Herbalist; Health & Wellness Educator, EFT Practitioner.

Letโ€™s explore simple ways we can support a healthy immune system to prepare for cold and flu season

Cold and flu season is upon us. A time to kick up the immune support using strengthening herbs, whole food nutrition, and a healthy mindset. Before we get started on what we can do, let briefly highlight what our immune systems are. They are complex, orchestrated within many organ systems. Including our microbiome (the flora), digestion, thymus, spleen, lymph, liver, appendix, and bone marrow.

Studies show stress, trauma, and negative beliefs/thoughts inhibit our immune functions. This is fascinating research, and we have solutions we can use to support healing in these areas to support a healthier immune response.

To fully support our immune resilience, we need to nourish the entire body and all organ systems. We do this through plant nutrition and by integrating the lifestyle practices that support the wellbeing of our mind, body, and spirit.

Lifestyle Highlights:

I encourage everyone to use this time to focus on creating habits such as:

  • Taking deep breaths for at least 5 minutes daily  
  • Staying hydrated
  • Eating 7-14 servings of whole fruits and vegetables every day
  • Explore fermented foods, herbs, and spices
  • Getting 7+ hours of sleep
  • Exercising
  • Stress management
  • Qigong stretching, Tai chi, Yoga, Meditation, Tapping, etc.  
  • Maintaining a consistent self-care practice
  • Using hot-cold therapy
  • Fostering healthy relationships
  • Practicing gratitude and setting positive intentions
  • Get fresh outdoor air daily and use air purifiers in your home and office to help clean the air you breathe

These simple lifestyle practices can do wonders for our immune system and resiliency against harmful pathogens. If you are feeling intimidated by lifestyle changes, explore one positive lifestyle practice every week or two along with increasing your plant diversity. You may be amazed at how small changes can accumulate to profound lifestyle habits.

Fascinating studies show how negative thoughts, anger, resentment, shame, and unaddressed grief reduce the body’s ability to heal and recover from illness. On the other side, thoughts and feelings of love, peace, acceptance, and gratitude improve immune and organ functions. I think this is becoming more important to maintain our overall health during the current political, economic, and social climates.

Take a few deep breaths right now. Think of three things you are grateful for and begin sending signals throughout your body and mind for a resilient and adaptive immune system and stress response.  Enjoy this feeling and smile while we continue talking about the role of plants and nutrition.

Food and Herbs:

When we use herbs and food to support our immune system, we bring in the nutritional building blocks that fuel and support our immune functions while inhibiting the growth of harmful viruses and bacteria. If we do not have diverse nutrition from plants, our immune system has no materials to create the defenses. The beneficial flora will not be populated or diverse enough to play their essential role either. Resulting in less overall resiliency and increased opportunities for harmful pathogens to take advantage. This leads to an increased frequency of illness, duration, and symptoms.

We can use many herbs to support the symptoms of when we do get sick and encourage our body’s ability to clear out the illness. This article will focus on building and strengthening immunity to prevent. We use different plants to prevent pathogen-related colds, flu, and respiratory ailments than the herbs used to reduce symptoms and support us when we are sick. We often call these herbs deep immune tonics or adaptogens. They are nourishing and often help many of the other organ systems supporting our immunity like digestion, liver, and spleen/lymph.

I will highlight a few essential nutrients known for their vital role in our immune functions and how we can naturally source them from plants below. Keep in mind we need diversity of all nutrients to support the complex picture of health and resilience.

Vitamin C via Seasonal Fruit & Leafy Greens

Most of us are aware Vitamin C is essential for our immune system and is used to create immune cells. One of the best ways we can increase our bioavailable sources is from fresh seasonal fruit. During this time of year, explore those hearty fall and winter fruits like apples, oranges, rosehips, elderberry, mulberry, cranberry, pomegranate, and passion fruit.

Remember those dark leafy greens that commonly grow in winter and early spring, including kale, chard, dandelion, nettle, chickweed, minor’s lettuce, beet greens, turnip greens, etc. They feed the beneficial flora and support liver and kidney health, digestion, elimination, blood cleansing, and more.

Here is more information about two herbal berries rich in vitamin C and immune support: elderberry and rosehip.

Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis; S. nigra; S. spp.)

Elderberry is a very potent anti-viral, most specific for the flu virus. It is best when taken daily to prevent getting sick as it has a protective nature. It coats the cells throughout our respiratory tract and creates a barrier of protection, inhibiting viruses from finding a home in our cell. Without a host, the virus dies and is unable to replicate. Then it is cleared out through the mucous or lymph.

Use the dried berries in tea, syrup, tincture, oxymel, supplement, honey, jam, or compote preparations. If you are harvesting your own, be sure you are gathering from the blue or black elder as there are non-medicinal species.

Rosehip (Rosa spp.)

The hips or berries from the medicinal or wild rose develops after the petals fall, and they ripen in the frost. Rosehips are among the few food sources found during the cold winter months, especially in areas with snow. They contain high levels of vitamin C (20 times more than oranges by weight), antioxidants, and flavonoids to enhance white blood cells’ functions and build immunity. They are delicious in tea, syrups, jam, and compote.

Medicinal Mushrooms & Vitamin D

Did you know edible and medicinal mushrooms are a food source providing bioavailable vitamin D, an essential hormone/nutrient to supporting a robust immune system? There is a whole body of research from the COVID pandemic indicating Vitamin D’s vital role in supporting the illness’s overall recovery. Those deficient in vitamin D have a slower recovery and more symptoms than those within the recommended range. As we go into the shorter days of late fall and winter, mushrooms become an excellent way to make up for our lack of sun exposure.

Mushrooms are known for protecting the cells against damage and strengthening the structural integrity of our cells. They directly support the production and efficiency of our immune cells and digestion, liver, lymph, stress, and detoxing. Mushrooms address every aspect of building a resilient immune system ready to fight off illness upon exposure.

Eat your mushrooms, make broths, soups, stews, sauces, add them into stir-fries, vegetable dishes, and more. They are so versatile. You can also find high-quality mushroom supplements, powders, teas, and extracts. Explore the diversity of seasonal mushrooms when you can. A few of my favorites include Chaga, reishi, shitake, and lion’s main.

Roots/Tubers

As the plants die back during the colder months, we are left with many hearty and nourishing roots as a primary food source. Roots and tubers have a deep nutritious quality and tend to be very mineral-rich with various enzymes and beneficial bacteria they receive from the soil. Many roots provide complex carbohydrates and are high in antioxidants, vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, dietary fiber, inulin, and more.

Root vegetables are known to help reduce inflammation and protect the cells from free radical damage. They nourish and protect skin and eye health, help lower cholesterol, support a happy heart, improve cognitive functions, nourish the liver, regulate insulin by slowing sugar conversion, and more. Root veggies are beneficial as a prebiotic to feed and create an environment for beneficial bacteria to thrive. All these benefits can be enjoyed by eating roots and making decoctions to drink throughout the day.  

Some examples of winter root vegetables include beets, rutabaga, parsnips, turnips, sweet potatoes, potatoes, onion, garlic, leeks, horseradish, radish, daikon radish, carrots, burdock, dandelion, yellow dock, etc.

“Because these subterranean foods were great for stocking winter food stores, the symbolism and ritual surrounding roots and tubers often pertain to the foresight, strength, and fortitude needed to withstand the cold months.”

~The Sacred Cookbook by Nick Polizzi

Warming Spices

Have delicious fun in the kitchen and spice up your life!! Almost all spices have benefits for our immune system. They support a diverse population of healthy flora by feeding the good bacteria and inhibiting harmful growth. Spices also support digestion, gut health, liver health, and more. Incorporate chai-like beverages, mulling spices, curry spice blends, Mediterranean spices, Indian Spices, Asian Spices, and any other cuisine you enjoy.  

Bring in your favorite fresh spices like garlic, onion, ginger, turmeric, chives, rosemary, sage, oregano, thyme, and parsley, when you can. Remembering diversity is key! (Note: If you run hot all the time, even in cooler weather, limit heating and pungent spices and focus on more neutral or cooling ones instead.)

Nourishing Immune Boosting Broth

Use any combination of Mediterranean herbs (i.e., oregano, thyme, rosemary, marjoram, bay, basil, etc.) along with nourishing herbs such as nettle, dandelion leaf, or burdock root. Include immune-enhancing mushrooms (shitake have the best flavor), astragalus root, and seaweeds. Chop up some onion and garlic (as much as you can palate) and incorporate chicken or other meat for protein, if desired. Add any veggies or scraps you have for additional nutrients.  

Sautรฉ any vegetables and spices in oil for a few minutes, add water and simmer on low heat for 1-3 hours covered. Strain and drink or use as a base to make soup, cook beans, grains, and other meals.

Zinc via Nuts, Seeds, and Legumes

Zinc is a mineral required to support our immune cells’ production and utilization to fight off pathogens. We can naturally source it from various beans, lentils, oats, nuts, seeds, tofu, and mushrooms. Zinc can be found in animal sources, including meat, oysters, dairy, cheese, and yogurt. I like the idea of making sure I eat nuts and fruit daily for vitamin C and zinc combination. Sometimes with a little yogurt if I am not avoiding dairy.

Stress Relief

Since stress is a leading factor that inhibits our immune resilience, having a relaxing formula on hand will be supportive. Enjoy some lemon balm or chamomile tea in the evenings. I also love the Five-Flower Formula Flower Essence from The Flower Essence Society to support the emotional healing behind stress.

If you are prone to insomnia or restless sleep, enjoy a more potent and sedating blend in the evenings to improve your sleep quality.

Stress Maintenance

Many of the immune-supporting herbs support a healthier stress response to manage how we react and respond to stressors in our lives. For additional support, you can use an adaptogen formula. I find the herbs are more effective when we also address mindset. Using various mindfulness practices such as Tapping, Tai Chi, Qigong, and Yoga are necessary to manage and prevent stress.

In summary, our immune system is complex and holistic. It relies on all the functions and organ systems of our body. It is either driven or inhibited by the flora residing in our body, diet, stress, and overall attitude towards our environment. Come back to the plants for your medicine and food to support your healthy immune resilience.

About Candice Brunlinger:

Candice Brunlinger is a Clinical Herbalist, Intuitive Healer, Health & Wellness Educator, and Mindfulness Coach with an integrative approach to healing using plants, nutrition, self-care, and energy practices including Tai Chi, Qigong, and EFT.

She supports others with simple solutions to empower health through whole food nutrition, emotional freedom, and mindfulness.

www.herballivingandhealing.com

My Gratitude Letter to 2020

The year 2020 was interesting, to say the least.

Despite all the challenges and losses, there were many wonderful benefits and silver linings. There are many opportunities to be grateful for.

I will continue to be safe and do my part to support my community and others. I will continue to embrace these times with positivity and optimism and continue to show up for myself, my family, my community, and the world.

As we say goodbye to 2020, here is my gratitude letter. I encourage you to write your own and list the wonderful highlights and moments of gratitude you experienced this year.

My Gratitude to 2020 from my Heart and Spirit:

Thank you 2020 for the opportunity to be me! ๐Ÿ™

To connect to my introverted nature and to slow down. ๐Ÿง˜โ€โ™€๏ธ

To shed the friendships and relationships holding me back.

To release the projects that no longer served my highest good.

For the success and abundance that comes with all the change.

To step up and support others through these crazy times.

Thank you 2020 for the opportunity to be closer to my family. ๐Ÿ’–

Thank you for providing more time for connecting, laughing, playing games, learning, and enjoying each other for all aspects of who we are, including the annoying.

For the opportunity to spend so much time with family that we learned how to live with each otherโ€™s flaws and peeves and learn to love the qualities we could not appreciate before.

To learn how to love the parts of ourselves and each other that we did/do not like.

For the snuggles, the tears, and hugs.

For the video calls with distant relatives.

To see my extremely hard-working mama finally get a break.

To connect to distant relatives I did not know I had.

For my friendships that grew and evolved. For my pod.

For my team and friendships who inspire me, support me, challenge me, and believe in me.

Thank you 2020 for the time to teach and educate my son. ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ“–๐ŸŽต

To do arts and crafts and watch him learn and explore life.

To let him sleep in.

To allow him to explore who he is and be himself without school and society telling him otherwise.

For the strength and patience to get through juggling the different roles of support he needs.

Thank you 2020 for bringing to light the healing that is needed for the world.๐Ÿ’ซ๐ŸŒ€

For the world to wake up, change their habits, change their perspectives, change for the collective.

For the shift in awareness that we need to heal and support healthy lifestyles and eat healthy food.

To see the privilege, to see the hardships, to see the harm of hate and selfishness.

To feel the love of others. To feel the support of the community. To see the kindness and generosity of others. To feel the altruism.

To see into people’s eyes, and connect to their spirit more that than their physical form. (benefit of masks)

To observe the failures and successes. To see others standing up against the hate of the world.

To see the first African American Woman Vice President-Elect!

To abolish the self-hate, the self-criticisms. To forgive and accept.

Thank you 2020 for the opportunity for personal development and growth ๐Ÿ™โœŠ๐Ÿ‘

For the courage and bravery to work through my limiting beliefs holding me back from being successful in my career as a healer and educator.

For the shadow work. For the ancestral connections. To release the binds and contracts I inherited from others.

To meditate. To be quiet. To be still. To see motion in stillness. To see the stillness in motion.

To know that I am worthy of success just as much as others are worthy of my offerings.

For the opportunity to cultivate more patience and forgiveness.

For the courage to speak my truth, no matter the cost.

To not have to say and do things because it is expected of me.

To live my life at my pace, to honor my own rhythms and energy patterns.

To bring in love and light to nourish my body-mind-soul.

For the time to deeply connect with spirit.

Thank you 2020 for the year of self-care ๐Ÿง˜โ€โ™€๏ธ๐ŸŒž

What a special treat it was to slow down and nourish.

To read more. To do puzzles, play games, make up games, take baths. To lay in the sun, watch the birds, and watch the plants grow.

To eat fresh home-grown food. To nourish my body with whole food nutrition and diversity.

To safely hike and play at our favorite sacred places, including where the river meets the ocean.

Thank you 2020 for the year of nourishment and growth. For the year of change. For the year to release all that does not serve my highest interest.

For the opportunity to grow and see my potential.

To be me.

I am truly grateful!! ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ’–

I welcome 2021 with love, hope, grace, compassion, growth, and optimism! I look forward to this being the year where we not just survive, but thrive. Where we support our health and each other!

What are you grateful for from this year?

Delicious Plum Syrups, Sauces & Jams

Do you have an abundance of PLUMS? Try any one of these four delicious recipes: Immune Boosting Apple Plum Sauce, Sweet & Sour Plum Sauce, Vanilla Rose Plum Syrup, and Spiced Plum Jam. Preserve to enjoy all year long.

By: Candice Brunlinger; Clinical Herbalist, Fermentationist, Health Consultant

Summer is a great time for preserving fruit. Some of my fondest memories from childhood were harvesting from my grandma and uncle’s fruit trees with my brothers. Then helping my family preserve the food we watched grow.

It is becoming increasingly important for us to be preserving food and reduce our reliance on the food chain by growing and making what we can. Try preserving your extra summer fruit into jam/jelly, syrup, alcohol preserves, and/or fermented sauces and drinks.

Below are four delicious recipes to help you process your abundant plum harvest or shopping. Turn your fresh fruit into sauces, syrups, jams, and other preserves to enjoy throughout the year.

Ideas for using the recipes below

  • Enjoy them mixed in or drizzled into desserts and baked goods like ice cream, cake, frosting, and muffins.
  • Drizzled on ice cream, pancakes, crepes, and waffles
  • Spread on toast or biscuit
  • Mix into sparkling water, cocktails, or mocktails
  • Flavor your own ferments such as yogurt, kefir, and kombucha
  • The Plum Sauce makes a delicious chicken stir fry dish

Lets briefly highlight the nutritional benefits of this extremely juicy, tart, and sweet fruit.

Nutritional Benefits of Plums

Plums originated in China, thousands of years ago, and spread throughout Asia, Europe, and America. There are more than 2,000 varieties varying in size and color.

Plums are rich in antioxidants–supporting healthy cells, brain, and skin. Antioxidants protect our cells and have anti-aging benefits. Enjoy this fruit for many other micro-nutrients like Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Vitamins A, C, K, Folate, and more.

The natural sugars, fiber, and nutrients feed our beneficial flora and support healthy elimination. Prunes are plum varieties that are less juicy and are a classic remedy to regulate bowel movements.

high angle view of fruit bowl on table
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Making Fruit Syrups & Jams

As a general rule for making simple syrups, use equal parts sugar to liquid. I find that to be so sweet and unnecessary, especially when using fruit as the base. I use anywhere between 1/3 to 1/2 part sugar or honey to sweeten and help preserve. When using sugar, I often replace half the sugar with monk fruit sweetener to help reduce the overall glycemic index. Allow your palate to guide your recipes.

For every 2 cups of puree, start with 1/2 cup sugar (I used 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup monk fruit sweetener). Add 1-2 tbsp lemon juice and spices. Taste, and adjust the sugar and other ingredients if needed.

Add pectin to proportion, to turn the syrups preserve into a jam. If you want to avoid the pectin, cook the mixture up to 20 minutes longer to reduce the liquid and thicken. This may affect color, texture, and flavors.

Spiced Plum Syrup or Jam

  • 8-12 Plums (approximately 4 cups of plum puree)
  • 1/2-1 cup sugar (more or less to taste)
    • Or replace half the cane sugar with Monk Fruit sweetener to reduce the glycemic index
    • Or substitute with honey to avoid the sugar
  • 2-3 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 2 tsp Cinnamon powder
  • 1 thin slice of Ginger, 2 inches long
  • Add Pectin to proportion or cook longer to turn into jam

Cut plums in half, remove the pit, and mix in a blender until skins are pureed. Pour mixture into a pot on medium heat. Mix in sugar (or monk fruit sweetener or honey), lemon juice, cinnamon, and fresh ginger slices. Stir frequently and bring it to a simmer. Reduce heat and allow the mixture to gently simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat source. Use a fork to remove the slice of ginger. Pour it into warm sterile bottles or jars.

Vanilla Rose Plum Syrup or Jam

  • 8-12 Plums (approximately 4 cups of plum puree)
  • 1/2-1 cup sugar (more or less to taste)
    • Or replace half the cane sugar with Monk Fruit sweetener to reduce the glycemic index
    • Or substitute with honey to avoid the sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp vanilla extract (or add in 1 vanilla bean cut in half, lengthwise)
  • 2-3 tsp rose hydrosol or rose water (organic food grade)
    • Or take 1/4 cup fresh or 2 tbsp dried organic, pesticide-free rose petals and puree into plum sauce
  • Add Pectin to proportion or cook longer to turn into jam

Cut plums in half, remove the pit, and mix in a blender until skins are pureed. If using rose petals or powder, blend into the plum puree. Pour mixture into a pot on medium heat. Mix in sugar (or monk fruit sweetener or honey). This is where you can add a cut vanilla bean if you are using it. Stir frequently and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and allow the mixture to gently simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat source. Stir in rose hydrosol and/or vanilla bean extract if you are using them. Pour into warm sterile bottles or jars.

Sweet and Sour Plum Sauce (with a Spicy Variation)

  • 4 lbs of Plums (about 12 large plums)
  • 1-2 cups of brown sugar (I use less and/or substitute with monk fruit sweetener to reduce glycemic index)
  • 1 cup sugar (can also substitute with monk fruit sweetener)
  • 1 medium onion (white for more spice or yellow for more sweet)
  • 2 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1-inch piece of ginger root, finely grated
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Optional: Add anywhere between 1-4 tbsp of any minced hot pepper of choice for a spicier plum sauce
  • 1 cup Vinegar (5% acidity) ACV, White, Rice, etc.

Wash and cut plums in half to remove pit and blend in a blender until skins are pureed. You can remove the skins and chop plums instead; however, I prefer to get the nutrients from the whole fruit, as many many nutrients are concentrated in the skin.

Add all other ingredients (vinegar, sugar, spices) into a saucepan and stir on medium-high heat, until you reach a simmer. Reduce heat to low, add in your plums (chopped or pureed), and return to simmer, stirring frequently. Simmer for 5 minutes or until the sauce has thickened. Pour into warm sterile bottles or jars.

Apple Plum Sauce (with optional immune boosting ingredients)

I usually do not use an exact recipe or keep track of measurements when I make fruit sauces. Have fun combining different fruits and spices together to make your own delicious creations. Explore adding in additional herb boosting herbs and spices for added benefits to support you and your family through fall and winter.

  • 6-8 Plums
  • 4-6 Apples (using more apples will make a sweeter sauce)
  • 2 Pears
  • 1 x 2 inch piece of fresh ginger root (or use 1/4 tsp of ginger powder)
  • 2-3 tsp cinnamon powder (or use 1-2 sticks)
  • pinch of cardamom seeds or powder
  • 3-4 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • Optional: You can add in a little sugar, monk fruit sweetener, or honey to taste if needed. I usually like mine a little tart.
  • Optional Herbs for Immune Boosting Benefits. I almost always include the top 3 listed and sometimes include other things I have on hand.
    • 6-8 astragalus slices or 1/4 cup powder
    • 1/4 cup elderberries (fresh or dried, whole or powder)
    • 2 tbsp of rosehips
    • Include other fresh or dried berries such as goji, strawberry, blackberries, etc.
    • You can even include immune-supporting flowers such as calendula, tulsi basil, and other culinary basil varieties

Add fruit into a blender and puree. You can add in any powdered herbs and spices or small seeds at this time to blend too. Wait to add any larger herbs and spices until after blending.

Combine into a large pot (stovetop, crockpot, or pressure cooker) and slowly cook on low heat for at least 2 hours. Remove any larger herbs and spices with a utensil. Puree again if you need to.

Store in a sealed container in the fridge and use within 2 weeks.

Preserving & Storing Syrups/Jams/Sauces

Sterilize glass by soaking jars or bottles in recently boiled water for 30-60 seconds before filling. Using a funnel and ladle, spoon into containers. Clean the rim and do a very gentle tap on a soft surface like a towel on the counter to allow the preserve to settle into the container and release air bubbles.

If you are not preserving, allow the containers to cool for 12 hours and store in the fridge. The syrup preparations and plum sauce often store up to 6 months ( I have had some last longer but it will be best to use within 6 months). The storage for sauces in the fridge will vary but will not last as long as the sugar preserved syrups.

If you would like to preserve your syrups/sauces for pantry storage, use canning jars. Fill jars until 1/2 inch from the top. Secure lid and ring. Place on a rack in a water bath with 1 inch of water above the lid. Boil for 20 minutes to preserve. Remove and allow to cool for 12 hours before storing. Store in a cool, dry, and dark place for up to 18 months. Store in the fridge after opening.

Comment and let us know what you think of these recipes. Share with us your favorite plum recipes and how you like to enjoy your fruit preserves.

Interested in more delicious recipes, healthy substitutions, creative meal ideas, cooking with herbs, how to use food as medicine, and general health tips? 0

Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing (Recipe)

Make Summer Salads for the Entire Family to Enjoy…

By: Candice Brunlinger; Clinical Herbalist, Certified Fermentationist, Health Educator

Summer often means an abundance of fresh strawberries and salad greens. I recently took some extra strawberries and made a balsamic vinaigrette. It was AMAZING to say the least!

I love to experiment with making my own dressings. They often taste so much better than store bought dressings. I have discovered my family will eat more salads if there are some delicious dressings around.

Do you have picky eaters? I have found a good salad dressing or sauce to be a good way to encourage or entice those picky eaters to eat more veggies. You may want to try this recipe to see if your kids will enjoy that small summer salad with a berry dessert-like dressing.

The salad in the picture has various salad greens, spinach, radicchio, purple cabbage, carrot, green onion, chevre goat cheese, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, flower mixture of calendula, pansy, snap pea, borage, and roses.
Use whatever salad greens and edible flowers you have on hand and add any additional fixings you enjoy. Then drizzle on some of this delightful dressing and ENJOY!

How to make the Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

2 cups of fresh ripe strawberries
1/4 cup (2 ounces) each of Balsamic vinegar and red wine vinegar (or use another preferred vinegar)
6 ounces favorite oil
(olive and avocado are great choices)
1/4-1/3 cup of honey
1/2 small white onion

Blend or whisk until creamy. Store in the fridge and use within 2 weeks. Stir or shake before using.

Let me know what you think of the recipe below. What is your favorite salad dressing?

How to Make a Borage Flower Essence

Use those abundant flowers to make a flower essence for COURAGE and CONFIDENCE…

By: Candice Brunlinger; Clinical Herbalist, Intuitive Healer, and Health Educator

Is borage a beneficial plant for you? I have found most people benefit from these sweet blue flowers, especially when used energetically. If you are interested in learning more about the medicinal and emotional benefits of borage and how to use it, check out my Borage Monograph.

How to Make Borage Flower Essence

Flower essences are made by soaking flowers in water under the sun and preserving their vibrational healing imprint in that water with brandy. These remedies heal and bring balance to the energy within the body, soothing the emotions and spirit. When our energy is free-flowing and in balance, our body can heal physically and emotionally; therefore, flower essences are a way to integrate the healing of our mind, body & spirit. 

For best results, harvest flowers early in the morning from well-established, happy, vibrant plants with an abundance of blooming flowers. First, connect to the plant by taking a moment to meditate with it. Clear your thoughts and sit next to the plant. Pick 1-2 flowers and eat them slowly, allowing the flowers to melt and dissolve in the mouth. Notice the taste, texture, and feeling you experience while eating the plant. Then, take a good look at the plant. Notice the details and characteristics of how the plant grows. The fine hairs, the shape of the leaves, the contrast in colors, the dew gathered on the plant, and whatever else catches your attention.

Take some slow and deep breaths, closing your eyes if you like. Place your hands on the ground next to the plant to connect to its roots and the earth it is growing from. Clear your thoughts and listen for any messages from the plants. What thoughts and feelings are coming to you? Are you experiencing any memories or visualizations? Allow yourself to relax and trust the information as it comes. Ask the plant for its permission to harvest and use it as medicine, stating your intentions for the medicine.

After your meditation, give thanks and honor to the plant for any information you receive. You may choose to offer the plant some herbs, a rock, crystal, or a piece of your hair as an offering. Then very carefully and mindfully pick the flowers, trying not to break their petals. Place the flowers in a bowl filled with spring or filtered water so the flowers are floating on top and spread out evenly, filling the space or diameter of the bowl.  Place the bowl in a safe place under the sun for 4-6 hours. After the peak of the afternoon, the flowers will likely be wilted. Carefully remove them, ideally using a clean borage leaf to scoop them out. Strain any remaining particulates if needed, measure the volume of water and add an equal quantity of brandy to preserve the preparation.

Bottle and take 1-3 drops under the tongue or topically on the skin for vibrational healing, cooling any emotional or physical heat, inflammation, irritation, anger, or depletion and replacing it with lifted spirits, confidence, and courage. I especially enjoy rubbing it on the sternum, wrist points, third eye, temples, or on the soles of the feet.

May the courage of borage be carried in your heart!

 Learn more about Borage

Don’t forget to comment below. Ask questions and share your flower essence experiences with Borage. What flower essences have you made before?

About the Author:

Candice Brunlinger is a Clinical Herbalist, Intuitive Healer, & Health Educator with an integrative approach to health using plants, nutrition, self-care, mindfulness, Juice Plus+, and energy healing including Tai Chi, Qigong, and EFT. Her consultations, classes, workshops, and writings focus on ways of integrating these healing modalities into our daily lives and routine practically and conveniently so being healthy becomes โ€˜a way of livingโ€™.

Nourish your body, mind, and spirit with nutrition, mindfulness, self-care, and plants!

Visit Herbal Living and Healing for classes, workshops, contact info, recipes, articles, Juice Plus+, and more.

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Playing with plants…