beauty · nature · relaxation

Spring Has Sprung! Early Spring Blooms

I spent part of my week bemoaning the haggard look of my yard. With the warmer weather and more sunshine, my grass has been flourishing… And so have my “weeds”.

I’m inclined to quickly schedule someone to tend to the yard but, as a baby herbalist, I know that the new growth cropping up in my yard has a purpose. I also know that it’s to my benefit to be very familiar with local “weeds”, especially the ones in my own yard. So, before I get the first lawn mowing of the season, I decided to learn more about these early spring weeds.

My mini violet bouquet

I have a ton of purple dead nettle in my yard. These pretty little plants are among the first to shoot up when the seasons change. I harvested some and dried them, and I plan to try making a tea with them. These are purported to help with seasonal allergies and are also supposedly anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, diuretic, purgative, etc.,. Luckily, these plants – and their lookalike, henbit – are edible. Unluckily, I dislike the flavor of fresh purple dead nettle. I’m hoping that the dried leaves can be combined with another herb to make a pleasant tea.

A patch of purple dead nettle

I found a narrow leaf plantain coming up near my driveway. I don’t plan on doing anything that requires me to use plantain, as this is commonly used to numb the sting from stinging nettle and from insect bites and stings. But, it’s good to have it nearby, just in case I get a bug bite that needs attention.

Narrow leaf plantain

My yard also gets quite a few mock strawberries (snake berries) later in the season. These little devils are harmless and edible but they have no flavor. For now, I’m seeing their pretty flowers and sighing about how those little tasteless berries will be popping up soon. Though the resulting fruit tastes like water, the blooms are sunny spots in my yard.

Mock strawberry (snake berry) bloom

Finally, my favorite weed has appeared! Violets are all over one particular patch of grass, and I love it! These delicate blooms add such pretty colors to my yard. I have “confederate violets) a cultivated subgroup of the larger blue violet family. These are edible but I’m not interested in consuming them: I just love to look at them.

Blue violet

I’m looking forward to seeing what will bloom at the end of this month, and in May. I planted a few seeds, so I’m hoping that those flowers will be blooming in a few weeks.

Did you do any planting or foraging yet? I’d love to hear all about it!

health

Fibro Fridays: Morning Routine for Relief

Happy Fibro Friday! I’m glad that we’ve completed another beautiful week, and I’m hoping that all of you are feeling refreshed and relaxed.

On this fibro journey, one thing that I’d been resistant to was routine. I enjoy doing things at the spur of the moment, and I used to feel that routines kept me from living a fun and spontaneous life. As it turns out, routine has been a saving grace for me. Between getting into the regular habit of taking certain prescription medications, having regularly scheduled visits to physical therapists, and creating better sleep hygiene, I can see where routine is critical to my pain management strategy.

I noticed that I had morning, mid-day, and evening routines that have helped a lot with minimizing my pain and discomfort. So, I took note of my current practices and decided to film my lists. For this week, I filmed my morning routine. You can watch the video here:

The four things I’m currently doing are as follows:

1) Drink 8-16 oz of room temperature water upon waking. I’m always so thirsty when I first wake up, so this is crucial to helping me gently start my day.

2) Complete 5-10 minutes of bed yoga and stretching. Again, starting my day gently is vital: part of keeping my nervous system calm is to avoid overstimulating routines, such as hopping right out of bed and throwing myself directly into the activities of the day. Gentle stretches warm my body up and get me mentally prepared for the day.

3) Moisturize my skin thoroughly. For me, a hyper-sensitive nervous system has meant more sensitive skin. Fabric that was once fine is now uncomfortable against my skin, but I notice that this discomfort is minimized if I’m well moisturized. I use a body butter formulated by one of my friends, but prior to that, I used a light layer of petroleum jelly. It works great and it keeps my skin from getting dry throughout my day.

4) Consume mostly liquid supplements. When I start my day, I’m not usually in the mood for solid or heavy foods. Likewise, I am almost never in the mood for pills or other supplements that cannot be sipped or added into beverages. I try to make most of my morning supplements some sort of liquid: I find these easier to digest and much more effective for me.

This additional point is something that I’d like to try in the upcoming weeks. I have noticed a little more tooth sensitivity than normal, so I’m going to try using a desensitizing toothpaste (like Sensodyne) to help with that. I’ll try it for a few weeks and I’ll follow up to let you all know whether it’s something I’m going to keep in my rotation.

So that’s my morning routine in a nutshell. I find that these steps help me to have a smooth, gentle and effective start to my day.

That’s all for today! Have a great day and a fantastic weekend, and I’ll talk to you all next week. Take care!

health

Fibro Friday: Managing Inflammation with Turmeric

Happy Fibro Friday! I hope your week was great, and I hope your upcoming weekend is even better!

Over the past few months, I’ve been keeping close tabs on my fibromyalgia: I’m looking out for new (or recurring) symptoms, any difficulties in recovering after flares, or other changes that may be worth noting. I keep up with these because I stopped using prescription medication a few months back, and this is my first time – since my diagnosis – observing how fibro shows up in my daily life when managed through other methods.

As part of my symptom (and overall health) management, I’ve been incorporating supplements that promise to reduce pain and inflammation in the body. While fibro is not an autoimmune condition, nor is it a condition that is typically associated with inflammation, my research confirmed that inflammatory conditions exist in most people’s bodies, and most of us benefit from the reduction of inflammation. For this reason, I decided to add turmeric into my daily supplements.

I opted for a liquid supplement, and, since my flexible spending plan covers glucosamine and chondroitin products, I got a glucosamine supplement that also included turmeric (2 for 1!). I have thoughts on glucosamine products that I won’t share today, but I’ll touch on that in a future video. Anyways, back to turmeric: I decided to use Tropical Oasis Joint Complete Premium Plus- Liquid Joint Support Supplement w/Glucosamine, Chondroitin, MSM, Plus 800mg Turmeric Curcumin. I took this product for more than 30 days, and I did this consistently, just so that I can confirm whether I have gotten any results.

Here is my YouTube video discussing fibro and inflammation:

And here’s a YouTube video that I posted earlier today, discussing the outcome of my experiment:

I have to conclude that, while I didn’t notice an immediate or drastic difference in how I felt, I compared the way I felt to how I usually feel in the winter season and I took note of what symptoms were present, missing or mitigated. In previous winters, I am extraordinarily achy, tired and suffer from mild flu-like symptoms, even while taking prescription medication. However, this year, I only felt a little tired and very few aches. I only noticed flu-like symptoms when I actually had the flu (you can read about that ordeal here). So, comparing this year to prior years is the best metric I have, and I can confidently that adding turmeric was a good move for me. I didn’t feel the normal winter “slump” that I usually experience, and I found myself needing less down time when I felt a little tired. I also started adding another supplement into my rotation (more about that next week) and that has been making a difference, too, though I only added that in toward the end of the turmeric experiment, well after I determined how effective the turmeric was for me.

I’m also considering adding in a different turmeric supplement to see if I have different results. I’m thinking I’ll choose between Qunol Liquid Turmeric Curcumin with Black Pepper, Dr. Mercola Organic Fermented Turmeric, Turmeric Gummies for Adults & Kids with Ginger & Black Pepper Extract, or I may try something completely different. You’ll just have to stick around to see what I choose!

That’s it for today. I hope you all have a great Friday and a fantastic weekend! Take care, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!

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