After a bit of searching on the internet and a couple of tries at home I've come up with a toothpaste recipe that everyone in my family likes! I started with this recipe from Wellness Mama and then made a few of my own adjustments.
E&S - Remineralizing Toothpaste Recipe
5 parts finely ground eggshell powder from pasture raised eggs
2 parts baking soda
1 part bentonite clay powder
3 parts stevia green leaf powder
3-5 parts extra virgin coconut oil
Essential oils for flavoring (we like lemon and peppermint)
Mix all the ingredients together. I used a teaspoon as my measurement and that made enough to last for a few months. This recipe works great for the summertime but when the temperature dips below seventy degrees F. it gets hard and crumbly as the coconut oil solidifies. It may be better to use olive oil or a fractionated coconut oil in the winter so it stays soft. We use a popsicle stick to put it on our toothbrushes.
Now the color might be a bit alarming to those used to bright and fun colored toothpaste since it is a grayish-green but I prefer using the green stevia powder as opposed to the refined white and I like it better than xylitol. I also didn't use the diatomaceous earth that the original recipe used. I know lots of people swear by DE but I'm still cautious about using it as it's effects on our microbiome are uncertain and I don't think it's necessary for toothpaste.
You can use a calcium powder instead of the eggshells but I like using eggshells because I have a ton of them anyway and my compost pile won't miss a few. I wash the eggshells well with hot water after cracking them and let them air dry. Once I've collected a few I mash them with a potato masher and then grind them in my Vitamix with the dry container. To get a really fine powder though I still use my mortar and pestle. That sounds like a lot of work but doing it once gives me enough powder to last several years so I don't mind.
After brushing it might be a good idea to swish some probiotic powder around in your mouth. I didn't add it to the recipe though since it needs to stay refrigerated to be viable and the other ingredients would kill the bacteria anyway.
If you're working on remineralizing your teeth don't forget the cod liver oil and butter oil supplements. It's a crucial part of the protocol.
To You Health!
This June 21st will mark the 4th anniversary of opening the doors to Elder & Sage, our family-owned herb and remedies shop. Back in 2010 when I first sat down with my parents to discuss opening a business together I don't think any of us could have imagined how things would have happened. In just six short months we left our long term employers, moved four generations of family members from two different cities and started our own business. Since then I have worked with over 500 clients and customers. It has been quite a ride!
My parents are now ready to retire and they deserve it. After 45 years of employment in various retail positions throughout the country – it's time. So, this year I have had some very hard thinking to do:
Could I run both the shop and do my naturopathic consultations?
Is the shop capable of supporting outside employees?
Can I afford to invest the time required to own and operate a retail store?
Perhaps you can see where this might be going. The truth of the matter is my answer to all of these questions is “no”. I love having the shop to work out of but the time investment to manage it on my own is just not feasible. I feel that the time spent managing a retail store would detract from my ability to consult with and research for my clients which is my first priority. I just cannot do it without Mom and Dad.
So, on Friday, May 22nd the shop portion of Elder & Sage will be closing. The business name, website, and Facebook page will continue to be run by me but only for the purposes of my natural health consultations and client education. I will be moving my office into my home and my husband will be handling his CSA and herd-share delivery service out of our home as well. I will maintain relationships with some of our current vendors to supply my clients with the supplements they need and may be able to offer certain product (such as essential oils) through this website at a later date.
Please know that if you have had a health consultation with me in the past or would like to set one up, I will continue to be available for appointments out of my home or by phone/Skype, and email – that will not change. I will be happy to direct you to sources for any of the supplements and retail items you have come to rely on. I will also continue to teach at the Naturopathic Institute of Therapies and Education in Mt. Pleasant and take on students and interns for apprenticeships when I am able. I also hope to offer more classes in the future so stay tuned for that.
The good news is, in many ways I will become more available than before as I attempt to blend my career and home life more seamlessly. So I like to think of this transition as an exciting new adventure and I look forward to continuing our work together on promoting and improving your health. Please feel free to contact me using the updated contact form above. Thank you so much for your loyalty and support these past four years and your continued support as we make this important life transition.
To Your Health!
One of my interns, Katie, wanted to share this recipe using dried soapwort root as an All-Purpose cleanser. Soapwort (Saponaria officianalis) has been used historically as a gentle cleanser due to its high content of saponins. This all-purpose cleanser can be used as a body wash, facial cleanser, shampoo or even a laundry detergent and is great for those with multiple chemical sensitization, eczema, psoriasis, and other skin sensitivities.
Basic Soapwort All-Purpose Cleanser
2 cups distilled water
1 1/2 tablespoons soapwort (dried and chopped)
2 teaspoons lemon verbena or fresh herb of choice (optional)
A few drops of lavender or essential oil of choice (optional)
Bring the water to a boil. Stir in the soapwort root, cover and simmer over medium low heat for 20 minutes.
Remove from heat and add fresh herb if using and steep for an additional 10 minutes.
Let cool. Strain with cheesecloth and add essential oil if using.
Pour into a squeeze bottle.
Store in a dark cool place for up to 10 days. Makes enough for 6-7 uses.
Tip: You can strengthen the solution by adding more root or weaken it by adding more water.
To Your Health!
I've been seeing articles on the internet about a new respiratory virus that is spreading quickly across the country. After our difficult ordeal with my young son last spring, I know how scary respiratory infections can be. So, at the request of a client I decided to take some time to formulate a new essential oil blend to offer here at Elder & Sage.
Essential oil blending is an art as much as a science. You've got to pick just the right oils, blend them in just the right order, with just the right ratios and hope in the end it doesn't smell like paint remover! All in all it can take me anywhere from one to two hours to create a custom blend. In the past I've created Baby Soft - Skin and Infant Blend, Muscle Ease - Muscle spasm formula, Blessings- for Anointing at Birth, and of course my first formula... Bruce's Hair Regrowth. Now you can help me test out this new formula for its effectiveness!
With the help of Dad's little dictionary we've named it RESPITE for Respiratory Relief. It is a custom blend of eight different oils including Ravensara Aromatica (not to be confused with Ravintsara, which is often passed off for raVENsara but smells more like eucalyptus with its higher 1,8-cineole content). This Ravensara comes from Madagascar and is certified as being ecologically harvested. It also includes Eucalyptus globulus, the Australian native plant that is well known around the world for use in cough drops. Peppermint rounds out the main constituents in this blend, but this premium USA peppermint oil is better than most you can find, especially for the price we have here at Elder & Sage. It has a super high menthol content of 43.9% to 52.1% and has aged nicely since it's distillation in August of 2012, eliminating the skunky notes of fresher distillations leaving a clean, sweet aroma with the perfect coolness to penetrate deep into the respiratory system. The remaining five oils in this custom blend are Cypress, Pine, Balsam Fir, Lemon, and Myrtle.
I'm hoping this blend will be more powerful than using Eucalyptus alone to knock out viruses and other microbes, improve oxygen intake, and promote clean expectoration of waste material from the lungs and bronchial tissue. Try these favorite methods for using this new oil blend at home:
So, if you'd like to give this new oil blend a try stop down and pick up a bottle. A two dram bottle of RESPITE with a dropper top is currently $17.70 (pricing subject to change). Hope to see you soon!
To Your Health!
Kathryn Doran-Fisher, ND, CGP
Elder & Sage
Would you like to create your own personalized tea blend based on you and your health concerns? Here at Elder & Sage we have a wide selection of high quality organic herbs and spices that you can purchase in bulk. So you can get as much or as little as you need. You can even bring in your own spice jars in for refilling. On the top of jar you will find a short description of the herb and some of its traditional uses. Using this or any other herbal books and resources you have you can create your own custom tea blend. Here's how:
1. Find the herbs you are interested in - Are you looking for stress relief? Try lemon balm or kava kava. Restful sleep? Valerian or chamomile might be nice. Allergy relief? Nettles for sure. Blood cleansing? Burdock and red clover. Pregnant or Breastfeeding? Red Raspberry, Borage and more. Whatever your need there are several different herbs that could work for you. Smell the herbs and taste them if you can. It's helpful to try the individual herb as a tea by itself before combining so you can get used to its flavor and experience its properties. Some people are allergic to certain herbs so try a small amount at first and use caution with any herbs you are unfamiliar with. Always check with a local herbalist if you are unsure.
2. Figure out how many parts you will need of each herb. - Herbal blends are expressed in terms of ratios. So one part could be a teaspoon, a tablespoon, a scoop, or a whole cup. The larger the part, the higher the amount of the blend you will end up with. The herbs at Elder & Sage are priced per ounce so roots and berries will weigh more than leaves and flowers. That is why it is better to go by parts for your blend than by weight. One half-ounce of mullein leaves will fill an entire bag while one ounce of juniper berries may be only ten berries! Strong flavored or bitter herbs like burdock or valerian may impart a flavor you don't want so keep them to one part of your total blend. Aromatic herbs like mints, cinnamon, ginger, etc. can be used to cover up unwanted flavors but they are strong so keep them to one part as well. And remember that the aromatics are more than just flavor. Find one that has the properties you are looking for. Warm up with cinnamon or ginger. Cool off with mint, spearmint, or lemon verbena. Bland herbs or nutrient rich ones can be used in higher proportions. You may want to use more of an herb if its properties address more of your health concerns and use less of those herbs that deal with secondary issues.
3. Purchase the herbs individually and then blend them together at home. - Once you have your blend made up use your tea ball as a guide. Or you can use about 1 tablespoon of the blend per cup of tea. Roots, stems, seeds, and berries take longer to extract the medicinal properties than leaves and flowers. If you have a blend that is primarily roots and bark then you will want to steep it longer (20 minutes) or boil directly in the water for 10 minutes and strain. Blends made with leaves or flowers should not be boiled. Pour boiling water over them instead and let steep for ten minutes. Some herbs can even be steeped in cold water to have different effects. Or you can brew the herb first and chill for a refreshing iced tea. Herbs with bitter properties like black or green tea should be steeped for much shorter times to keep the bitter tannins from leaching out which can be hard on the stomach. Nutrient rich herbs like nettles, oatstraw, dandelion, red clover, alfalfa, etc. can be steeped for much longer or even overnight to pull more minerals out of them.
4. Try your herbal tea blend! - How does it taste? Do you need to sweeten it with honey? Which herbs do you taste the most? Adjust your ratios for next time. Once you have hit upon a tea that you like you can make more of it at a time. Now drink your medicine and enjoy!
To Your Health!
I'm firmly convinced that part of the reason our society has so many health problems is because we have forgotten how to cook at home.
Stock used to be a family staple that added flavor and nutrition to soups, sauces, gravies and other dishes. In most gourmet restaurants the stock is still the foundation of the kitchen.
Particularly important for the GAPS diet both in the Introductory phase and the Full GAPS Diet, meat stock aids digestion and has been known for centuries as a healing folk remedy for the digestive tract. It is full of minerals, vitamins, amino-acids and various other nutrients in a very bio-available form. This is what seals and heals up the holes in the digestive lining that contributes to food allergies and other sensitivities.
Following is a general formula for a simple stock made from a miscellaneous collection of bones and meat scraps. The stock can be made from bones alone, but it will taste and smell more appetizing if some meat is included. A 50% ratio of meat to bones is good.
Simple Meat Stock
3 quarts of meat and bones chopped into 2- to 3-inch pieces (raw or cooked veal or beef bones and meat, and/or poultry carcasses, scraps, and giblets)
An 8- to 10-quart pot
Cold filtered water
2 tsp Celtic or Himalayan sea salt
2 medium-sized carrots
2 medium-sized peeled onions
2 medium-sized celery stalks
The following tied in washed cheesecloth or a coffee filter:
1/4 t. thyme
1 bay leaf
6 parsley sprigs
2 unpeeled garlic cloves
5 whole peppercorns
Place the meat and bones in the pot and add cold filtered water to cover them by 2 inches. Set over medium heat. As the liquid comes slowly to simmer, a grayish colored scum will rise to the top. Remove it with a spoon or ladle.
Add all the other ingredients and more water if needed. Partially cover the pot leaving a 1 inch space for steam to escape. Maintain liquid at a very quiet simmer for 4 to 5 hours or more. Boiling water should be added if the liquid evaporates below the level of ingredients. Strain the stock. Set the stock in the refrigerator until the fat rises to the top and hardens so it can be skimmed off. This fat should not be tossed out but rather added back to soups or used for cooking instead of vegetable oils. The stock can be frozen or remain covered in the refrigerator. It will need to be brought to a boil every 3 or 4 days to keep it from spoiling.
* Cooking can be stopped at any time and continued later.
* Don't cover the pot completely until the contents have cooked or it may sour.
* If the flavor is weak the stock can be boiled down some to concentrate its flavors.
A cup of this warmed meat stock can be drunk with meals to improve digestion. Use as a base for vegetable soups and stews. Fermented liquids or foods can be added to the stock just before serving.
This stock is an essential part of the GAPS diet... if you are not making the stock you are not healing your gut!
My kids will eat anything as long as it is frozen into a popsicle! Try these super herb pops loaded with nutrients that many children lack in their diets. Guaranteed to become a favorite!
Super Herb Pops
First make an herbal syrup:
Make a tea of your desired herbs, using 1/2 cup of herbs to 2 cups of water. If using a combination of roots and leaves begin by simmering the roots for 15 minutes in a covered pan.
I used a tablespoon each of marshmallow root, licorice root, and dandelion root. Burdock root would also be an excellent addition.
Turn off the heat, add any flower or leaf herbs and steep covered for another 20 minutes.
I used a tablespoon each of red clover, stinging nettle, and red raspberry leaf.
Strain the herbs out pressing them to extract all the juices. While still warm, add 1/2 cup of honey or glycerin. Stir well until dissolved, this is your herbal syrup.
Add any other herb syrups or nutrients you wish.
I added some dulse, oregon grape, and blue vervain tinctures that were commercially prepared. Amounts will vary.
To this I added 1 cup of aloe vera juice, 2 cups of whey (from raw pastured cow's milk), and 1/4 cup of lemon juice. You could substitute water or unsweetened fruit juice for any or all of these.
Poor into ice cube trays and freeze for 2 hours. Add popsicle sticks and continue to freeze until solid.
This results in a pleasantly sweet and lemon flavored popsicle. Some children may disagree with the brown color in which case you will want to use more leaf herbs and fewer roots to get a lighter color.
Limit children to no more than 2-4 cubes a day (depending on age) as these herbs are powerfully nutritious!
Kathryn Doran-Fisher is a Traditional Naturopath, Certified GAPS Practitioner and owner of Elder & Sage.