3798 Grand Ave, Oakland, CA
Come out to support your local grass-roots herbalists, healers and business women as you enjoy an afternoon of free herbal and healing classes.
Stock up on your supply of herbs for winter and find unique holiday herbal gifts.
Taste, sample and enjoy the herbal products from Ancestral Apothecary and Community Herbalist.
Our offerings include:
Tarot readings & dreamwork
Free mini herbal wellness classes
Free Jin Shin Jyutsu Self-Help class
Flower Essence and Cordial Bar
Chaga, Inonotus obliquus, called birch bark fungus has many healing benefits. Like many medicinal mushrooms, chaga has special benefits to the immune system and is an important ally for working with cancer. It has been researched to help breast, cervical and lung cancers.
To extract the healing properties of chaga, you need to make a lengthy decoction. Here is a recipe for a chaga decoction adapted from The Fungal Pharmacy, Medicinal Mushrooms of Western Canada by Robert Rogers that comes from a traditional Russian recipe:
- Pour 2.5 liters of boiling water over 500 grams of dry chaga.
- Cover & let stand at room temperature for four days.
- Strain & refrigerate the first liquid.
- Take the chaga & grind to a mush.
- Add 2 liters of 50 degree Celsius water to the chaga mush & let stand for 48 hours.
- Strain second decoction.
- Add two chaga liquids together.
- Drink 200 ml 4X/day before meals.
- Optional: Add 25-25% alcohol to the final product so it will last indefinitely, otherwise it must be prepared every 4 days
MY STORY: During the Fall and Winter of 2008-2009, I was incessantly sick. I had cold after flu after cold, back to back, most of the winter. By January ’09, I got such a bad flu I was in bed for over a week and once back at work, symptoms lingered for weeks more. Historically, I tend NOT to get ill — ever!!!
So, frankly, I was worried. I made an appointment with my primary care doc at Kaiser who — though meeting me for the first time — spent about 3 minutes with me and did not really look me in the eye! But he quickly wrote out the referrals I asked for. Thinking something might be seriously wrong, I asked for and took a battery of tests, including chest x-rays. Thank goodness everything appeared “clear.”
A month or so later, I began taking Atava’s Power Mushroom Extracts. I have taken this formula since, and — except for a couple mild head colds — HAVE NOT GOTTEN SICK ONCE! Atava explained that after years of continual stressors — being a single parent, putting myself through law school, post-graduate career challenges — my natural immunity was badly depleted. Her formulas have gotten me back to optimal health!
I have also taken herbal formulas for other needs as they arise — but I believe the above story illustrates how taking a regular immune-boosting supplement can have dramatic results! (And, in particular, how amazing the mushroom formula is.) I have also taken several classes from Atava, including two in her “Herbal Medicine 101″ series, where we learned to identify local plants and make simple remedies from them (including the oh-so-delicious Elderberry cordial!) One big reason I am so enthusiastic about promoting Atava’s work is that I admire her commitment to sharing knowledge for self healing. It is very fun and empowering to make your own medicine!
LV, attorney, Oakland, CA
To order Power Mushrooms, visit our on-line store.
As the days grow shorter and we feel that autumn chill in the air, it is very important to start preparing our bodies for the colder seasons. Many herbal allies can play an important role in boosting our immunity and making us more resistant to catching seasonal colds and flu.
Last month, I wrote about elderberries. This month I want to talk about some of my favorite immune enhancing herbs, which in fact are not even herbs at all, but belong to the vast kingdom of fungi.
For thousands of years, medicinal mushrooms have been highly valued for their incredible healing properties. One of my favorite mushrooms, reishi or ganoderma lucidum, was referred to in the ancient texts of Chinese medicine as the “herb of immortality.” Reishi supports and strengthens almost every organ system in the body, including the respiratory system and the immune system. These two organ systems are crucial to support to keep us healthy during the cold and flu seasons.
Many of the medicinal mushrooms are deep immune system tonics. In our bodies they work slowly and deeply to boost our immune reservoir and strengthen our resistance not only to colds and flu, but also to many other serious diseases like cancer. For example, Reishi contains polysaccharides that have been proven to increase by five to twenty five times the body’s natural cancer fighting processes.
I recommend that most people at certain times take medicinal mushrooms for their health. For an average healthy person, this season is a good time to start incorporating them into your daily routine or diet. For people who have been chronically ill, medicinal mushrooms should play a bigger part in your life. In dealing with more serious disease, I would also recommend making an appointment to see professional herbalist like myself.
The power of medicinal mushrooms is amplified when they are in formula with one another. I have formulated a line of medicinal mushroom extracts called Power Mushrooms, which all have a baseline of five medicinal mushrooms- shiitake, maitake, oyster, reishi and turkey tails.
I have formulated my Power Mushroom Extracts to enhance certain healing properties of the mushrooms:
- * The regular Power Mushrooms has astragalus to increase the immune enhancing effects of the formula.
- * Power Mushrooms plus Liver Support has the additional herbs milk thistle and schizandra to offer an extra boost of protection and strength to the liver.
- * Power Mushrooms Plus Turmeric has extra anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer fighting properties that come from the addition of turmeric to the formula. Available also with black pepper, which increases the bioavailability of the turmeric by up to 1000%.
- * Power Mushrooms Plus Brain Support includes herbs like rosemary and rhodiola to enhances memory and cognitive functioning.
To order Power Mushrooms, visit Ancestral Apothecary’s online store.
1. Slow Down. Winter is for slowing down, taking time to rest, and drawing our focus inward. Many of us continue to stay too busy this time of year when our body naturally wants to slow down and get more rest. Learn to pay attention to your body’s signals for rest and make it a practice to not push yourself (or grab another cup of coffee) when you’re tired.
2. Eat well. Nutrition make a big difference for the immune system. Refined sugar both depresses your immune system and also feeds viruses and bacteria, so limit your intake of white processed sugar. It is best to limit wheat products, dairy products and cold food (ice cream), which all create more mucous & dampness in the body.
As the days grow colder, it is better to eat more cooked foods than raw. This means eat less salads or raw fruit and more steamed veggies, apple sauce or fruit compote. The best foods to eat this season are warm, cooked, nourishing foods like soups and stews. Cook with pungent foods that nourish your respiratory system like garlic, onions, and leeks. To make my soups more medicinal, I like to to add my Wei Chi Vitality mix, a blend of medicinal mushrooms and herbs, to my soup stock. It’s a very easy way to eat your medicine!
3. Sleep More. People need on average eight hours of sleep per night. Most people are getting less and are suffering from a sleep deficit. Lack of sleep can depress the immune system and contribute to many physical and emotional disorders including depression, anxiety, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
4. Wash your hands thoroughly. A client of mine who is a nurse recently told me that to get rid of all pathogens on your hands, you must wash your hands for at least 15 seconds. Anything shorter than that can leave bacteria and viruses on your skin. Friction is also important, so scrub your hands well. Good old fashioned soap works just fine…. don’t contribute to the polluting of our waters by buying anti-bacterial soap.
5. Garlic. Garlic is one of our most powerful herbal allies. It has anti-microbial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties. With a strong affinity for the respiratory system, garlic has been traditionally used for colds, sore throats, coughs, and respiratory infections. When I feel the first signs of a cold I start eating lots of raw garlic- up to one clove 3-5 X/ day. My favorite thing to do is to cut it up and put on toast or on top of my food. You need to eat garlic raw to keep its anti-microbial benefits. To lessen garlic breath, chew on some fresh parsley or cilantro. Personally, I like the smell of garlic! For children and for people to whom garlic can be irritating to the digestive tract, a nice way to consume garlic is to make garlic honey or fire cider. Both garlic recipes can be found on other blog posts.
6. Elderberries. Elderberry brandy is a traditional wintertime tonic. Science has demonstrated that elderberries help protect the cell walls against viral attack. Daily consumption of Elderberry cordial can help prevent both flus and the common cold. For more elderberry recipes, see my blog post on elderberries.
7. Medicinal Mushrooms. Medicinal fungi like Reishi, Shiitake and Maitake mushrooms are amazing allies for our health. Mushrooms have been shown to boost the immune system and to help both prevent and treat many chronic illnesses, including cancer. Eating a few mushrooms (always cook them) every day or taking a Power Mushroom extract can boost your overall health tremendously. Click here to buy Ancestral Apothecary’s unique line of Power Mushroom medicinal mushroom extracts.
8. Vitamin D: I recently attended a panel on the H1N1 influenza virus. The panel consisting of a medical doctor, acupuncturist, western herbalist and a naturopath all unanimously agreed that boosting our levels of Vitamin D is one of the most important things we can do to support our immune system. A minimum recommended dosage is 4,000 IU/day and can be safely increased up to 10,000 IU/day.
9. Essential Oils. Most essential oils have amazing anti-microbial properties. This is because the essential oils are part of the plants’ immune systems. Over thousands of years, the plants developed these chemical compounds to protect themselves against bacteria, viruses and fungi.
To have the protection of essential oils when I go out in public, I like to carry an essential oil hand spray that I made to spritz my hands when needed. Good anti-microbial essential oils include lavender, rosemary and tea tree.
A good investment is an aromatherapy diffuser to infuse your home, car or office with the essential oils. I highly recommend the Community Immunity Diffuser Blend Series from Floracopeia. They blend together many plants of similar ecosystems to create powerful anti-microbial protection for your living environments. My favorite blend is called Forest, and smells like a good walk in high Sierra woods. Click here to visit the Floracopeia website.
10. Make an appointment with your herbalist and your bodyworker! The best way to create a health care regime that is custom designed for you is to work with a professional clinician. I may see several clients with the same condition, but I will treat each one with different herbs, based on each person’s unique constitution and set of circumstances. Also, as an herbalist I am trained to help guide and support you to make nutritional and lifestyle choices that will help you achieve better physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health. I am available for appointments via phone, Skype or email for people who do not live in the California Bay Area.
Acupressure and Jin Shin Jyutsu® sessions can help to tune up your body’s energy, can help to release emotions stored in the body (which can lead to illness), can boost your immunity and vitality, and can leave you feeling calm, energized and totally rejuvenated. Many of my clients report that they “feel like an entirely new person” after receiving a session from me. For more information about making an appointment, click here to go to our website.
I am a big big fan of Medicinal Mushrooms. Reishi, Shitake, Maitake, Oyster, Turkey Tails….. just to name a few. Mushrooms have been used for healing for thousands of years in cultures all around the planet. Medicinal mushrooms have often been valued for their abilities to increase health, vitality and longevity. For example, Reishi mushroom (ganoderma lucidum) has the nickname “Herb of Immortality.” Medicinal mushrooms are also deep, nourishing tonics for the immune system. In Asia they are well studied and utilized to help treat serious illnesses like cancer and HIV. Medicinal mushrooms also make great immune system tonics for the cold and flu season. Ancestral Apothecary sells a line of mushroom extracts called Power Mushrooms, which blend different herbs with Reishi, Shitake, Maitake, Oyster and Turkey Tails mushrooms. To order Power Mushrooms, click here to go to our on-line store.
Mushrooms also have a lot to offer our ecological environments. Here’s a series of videos from mycologist Paul Stamets entitled “How Mushrooms Can Save the World.”
1. Slow Down. Winter is for slowing down, taking time to rest and drawing our focus inward. Take time to read, write, be creative, cook yummy foods and to rest.
2. Sleep More. People need on average 8 hours of sleep per night. Most people are getting less. Lack of sleep can contribute to many physical and emotional disorders including depression, anxiety, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
3. Avoid Processed Sugar. Refined sugar (including corn syrup) is very inflammatory. Inflammation in the body is the leading cause of many diseases, including heart disease, arthritis, asthma, colitis and chronic pain. A sugar binge can depress your immune system and make you more susceptible to getting sick.
4. Listen to your dreams. When we pay attention to our dreams, they can advise us and guide us about our physical, emotional and spiritual health. Find a dream journal, keep it next to your bed and jot down your dreams when you wake up.
5. Do what you love. Happiness releases serotonin in our brains, which naturally boosts our immune system. Happiness is good for your health!
6. Spend time in nature. Breathe fresh air, watch birds, feel the ocean breeze….
7. Elderberries. Elderberry brandy is a traditional wintertime tonic. Science has demonstrated that elderberries help protect the cell walls against viral attack. Daily consumption of Elderberry cordial can help prevent both flus and the common cold. Ancestral Apothecary sells Elderberry Cordial.
8. Exercise regularly. Exercise boosts both our mood and our immune systems. Find some kind of exercise that you enjoy. It’s best when it is something you look forward to doing!
9. Medicinal Mushrooms. Medicinal fungi like Reishi, Shitake and Maitake mushrooms are amazing allies for our health. Mushrooms boost the immune system and help both to prevent and treat many chronic illnesses, including cancer. Eating a few mushrooms (always cook them) every day or taking a Power Mushroom extract can boost your overall health tremendously.
10. Give thanks. If you need inspiration, check out this great website: www.gratefulness.org.
I have had many satisfied customers report to me the great benefits of taking my Power Mushroom extracts. One customer took it a step further and made a video.
Thanks Feral Kevin!