Elderberry: Food as Medicine

Elderberry: Food as Medicine 0

I harvested these Elder berries here in Mt. Shasta! This is local food as medicine! I juiced the Elder berries and then extracted the medicine with Mt. Shasta Spring Water and Organic Cane Alcohol.

Elderberry boosts your immune system and can be used daily as a preventative, or taken with your first symptom to prevent a full blown illness. It is naturally anti-viral, high in bioflavonoids, Vitamin C, beta-carotene, iron, and potassium. Studies have shown that Elder berries destroy the virus' ability to infect cells. You can also use Elderberry Tincture to break a fever. Add the tincture to hot water or tea. 

I also make an Elderberry Glycerite, made with vegetable glycerine (no alcohol). It is more mild than the tincture, but perfect for children. It tastes sweet and kids love it. 

  • Cara Saunders
Herbs to Improve your Menstrual Cycle Experience

Herbs to Improve your Menstrual Cycle Experience 1

Easter Lily Tincture was the first herb I used when I began learning about herbal medicine in 2001. It was life changing. Before that, I didn't know that my monthly cycle of bleeding didn't have to be painful. I believed that having my period was to be dreaded, that cramping and pain was normal, and that the solution was to pop a painkiller every month. I remember the moment my thinking shifted, when my herbalist and teacher Lise Wolff said, "You don't have an ibuprofen deficiency."  That sparked me to dig deeper into the root causes of my monthly discomfort.
Easter Lily and many other herbs have helped me to have a more enjoyable menstrual experience, with lighter bleeding, no cramps, nausea, headaches, or pain. I can't believe it took me so long to discover these herbs and I can't wait to share what I learned with you. 

High estrogen levels during the second half of the cycle can cause over-building of the uterine lining, uterine fibroids, and excessive bleeding with lots of cramping. This is a common issue because our environment is so polluted with toxins and endocrine disrupting chemicals that act as estrogen in our bodies. Herbs such as Easter Lily Tincture can ease heavy menstrual blood flow and shorten a long menstrual cycle. Extra estrogen means the liver has to work harder to process out hormones. Yarrow Tincture, Calendula Tincture, Dandelion Root Tincture, and Blue Vervain Tincture help the liver break down extra hormones. These four herbs are also good for bringing on a late period and easing PMS symptoms such as mood swings and food cravings.
Black Cohosh Tincture is hormone balancing and antispasmodic to calm uterine cramps. It is especially great for low back pain or pain in the back of the thighs. Black Cohosh increases dopamine, so can help keep you in a good mood. Black Cohosh and Red Clover Tincture both contain phyto-estrogens which can mimic the body's estrogen and can bind to the estrogen receptor sites in our bodies and prevent estrogen from causing problems.

Another herb to consider is Feverfew Tincture.  It's a remedy for menstrual cramps, blood congestion, and is especially helpful for women who get headaches during menstruation.

Low estrogen can cause a menstrual cycle where the bleeding starts slowly with spotting and extends a long time. Low estrogen can decrease vaginal lubrication. Easter Lily Tincture is an herbal remedy that nourishes the ovaries, builds fluids, and dissolves cysts in the breasts or ovaries.

Heavy bleeding and many days of menstrual bleeding can cause anemia. Anemia happens when your blood is depleted and does not have enough iron. When you are low on iron, your body can be slow to heal. The treatment of iron deficiency requires the intake of iron and Vitamin C because in order for our bodies to break down and assimilate iron, very strong stomach acid is needed. Foods rich in Vitamin C and iron are carrots, beets, almonds, walnuts, leafy greens, and red kidney beans. Elderberry Tincture contains Vitamin C and iron. Yellow Dock Roots, Dandelion Roots, Chickweed, Oregon Grape Roots are herbs that contain iron, aid in the absorption of iron, and stimulate your liver to release stored iron. You can put a dose of Yellow Dock Root Tincture, Dandelion Root Tincture, Chickweed Tincture, or Oregon Grape Root Tincture into a cup of juice (orange, pineapple, or grapefruit) and you will have natural iron and Vitamin C.

The above herbal remedies may need to be used consistently during three cycles before symptoms are completely resolved. You may temporarily notice heavier bleeding as the excess uterine tissue is expelled.

I grow all the Easter lilies used in Bear Wallow Herbs' Easter Lily Tincture and the soil is strictly organic. The scent of the dozens of Easter lilies in bloom is outrageously wonderful! The beautiful white lilies are infused in Mt. Shasta Spring Water to make a flower essence, imprinting the energy of the lily into the water. Herbalist Matthew Wood teaches that Easter Lily flower essence has the spiritual effect of returning you to sexual innocence, after negative experiences have left you conflicted about sex.

If you are looking for an immediate remedy, California Poppy Tincture works quickly as a pain killer, muscle relaxer, and antispasmodic to relieve cramps without the serious side-effects of NSAIDs (fertility problems, gastric bleeding, and even heart attack). California Poppy Tincture (a key ingredient in Sleep Well Tincture) does make you tired, so only use when you are able to relax.

You may have noticed that stress can also worsen PMS symptoms, therefore, Stress Less Tincture can also be a great remedy to have on hand to nourish your nervous system and relieve tension. 

I hope these herbs help you have a more pleasant menstrual experience. If you need help deciding which herbs to start with, please contact me for a personal consultation

To your health,

Cara Saunders

  • Cara Saunders
Therapeutic Chef Recipes

Therapeutic Chef Recipes 0

Here's a great recipe from Therapeutic Chef! If you want more healthy recipes and tips, get a copy of this fantastic book here. 
Looking for a gift? Therapeutic Chef Gift Set comes with Digest Tincture and Heart Healthy Tincture. 


1 medium onion, minced fine
1 TBS olive oil
2 cups millet (may substitute quinoa, amaranth or teff, in any combination)
4 cups cauliflower florets
1/2 tsp unrefined sea salt or Himalayan salt
4 garlic cloves, pressed
5 cups water, plus more as needed
nutritional yeast, to garnish
3 TBS minced parsley, to garnish
miso gravy, for serving (see recipe below)

Saute the onion in the olive oil over medium heat in a large pot for 5 minutes. Add the grains (be sure to thoroughly rinse the millet or quinoa first, then drain well before adding to pan) and stir to coat with olive oil and onion. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until grains are lightly toasted and smell nutty. Then add the cauliflower, salt, garlic, and 5 cups water (add slowly, it will splatter). Stir well, cover pot and cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes or until grains have absorbed all the water. Check often to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pan. You want the grains to be very soft and moist so add more water and cook longer if necessary. Once cooked through, use a potato masher to mash together until you get a smoother consistency. Serve in place of mashed potatoes, topped with nutritional yeast and minced parsley. Serve with a side of miso gravy.  


1 TBS olive oil (may substitute 1/2 cup vegetable broth)
3 medium onions, finely minced (can use a food processor)
2 TBS tamari (may substitute shoyu)
2 TBS flour (try any kind you like; barley, brown rice or kamut)
1 cup vegetable broth (may use more if necessary)
1 TBS mellow, white miso
1/3 cup almond milk, unsweetened (may substitute cashew cream or other non-dairy milk)
salt and pepper to taste

Place the onions and oil in a heavy bottomed pan over very low heat and toss to coat. Cover and cook for about 30 minutes or until very, very soft. Whisk together the tamari and flour in a small dish then add to the onions, and cook for a couple of minutes. Next, add the broth in a slow, steady stream while whisking constantly. Simmer until sauce thickens.  Meanwhile, in a small bowl whisk the miso with the almond milk. Turn off heat and stir to combine with gravy. Season with salt and pepper.  

* If it's too thick after adding the miso and almond milk slurry, then whisk in a little more vegetable broth, one tablespoon at a time, until desired texture is reached. 

* Use a heavy bottomed pan for this recipe. Use a flame tamer under your pan if you can't achieve a steady, low heat on your stove top. You can check on the onions after 20 minutes to make sure they're not sticking to the pan.

* Don't boil the gravy once the miso has been added or you will destroy the beneficial bacteria of the miso. 

  • Cara Saunders
Herbs I'm using for stress reduction and listening to my heart

Herbs I'm using for stress reduction and listening to my heart 0

We are all being challenged right now to stand up for truth and justice. This crisis is on a global scale but it may be playing out for you personally on a family or community level. This can feel very intense and overwhelming, but I dare you to not back down when you feel there is a positive action you can take. These personal interactions have waves that ripple out and effect the larger struggle facing our planet right now.
This is happening in my life where I find myself caught in a family and community drama where wounds from the past are projecting onto the current situation. Even though I wanted to hide and stay out of it, I know in my heart that speaking up is the best action.  I have felt a wide range of emotions from fear, anxiety, and anger, to sadness and grief. Herbal tinctures have been wonderful support for me through this challenging time.
 I have gotten in the habit of using Stress Less Tincture daily to nourish my nervous system, calm emotions, and give me a boost of energy and support. I am also using extra Lemon Balm Tincture (it is an ingredient in Stress Less Tincture) when the nervousness and anxiety linger in my stomach. Hawthorn Berry Tincture has been outstanding for strengthening my connection to my heart, so I can listen from a place of love. I also like taking Hawthorn knowing that it strengthens my physical heart muscle, which gets taxed during stress. Blue Vervain Tincture is excellent to use before meditation. It helps quiet my overactive mind that tends to race through all the things I "should" be doing instead of just sitting and being. Even a few minutes of stillness help recharge me and give me a different perspective so that I can get back to work more efficiently. Blue Vervain Tincture is an ingredient in Sleep Well Tincture. Blue Vervain relaxes the mind and California Poppy and Wild Lettuce are physical muscle relaxers, releasing tension so that you can peacefully enjoy a deep sleep.  
So please join me in speaking up for what you believe in and make sure you have the herbs you need on hand to support yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
To your health,
Cara Saunders, herbalist at Bear Wallow Herbs

Weeds Deserve Respect! 0

Weeds are under appreciated. I was talking with my 10 year old cousin about plants that could be used to heal her eczema and Dandelion Roots were at the top of that list. "Dandelion? But that's a weed!" She was so surprised to find out that a weed could also be a very useful medicine. Weeds deserve more respect, less uprooting, and zero herbicides. Weeds are defined as unwanted plants that thrive in a new habitat and are deemed a problem. This summer let's look at weeds as a solution, since they remedy many health problems. Dandelion Root Tincture is great for healthy skin! As it cools the liver it clears the skin of acne, hives, and eczema. Dandelion roots help keep the digestive tract healthy by increasing digestive enzymes and toning the muscles that move waste through the intestines. Some of my other favorite "weeds" include Wild Lettuce, Plantain, Chickweed, and Shepherd's Purse.

Easter Lilies 0

Harvesting Easter Lilies is always an amazing experience and a much anticipated day at Bear Wallow Herbs. The bright white lilies have an overpowering scent and an alluring beauty. After singing prayers of gratitude, I start making the Easter Lily Flower Essence by snipping the flowers at the peak of blooming and setting them in a bowl of water in the sun. Healing prayers are sent out to the universe and into the bowl, with the intention of capturing the essence of the healing flowers in the water. That spiritually charged water and the flowers are then used to make the Easter Lily Tincture.