Category Archives: Natural Beauty and Health

Circle of Healing Arts and Cloudwalk Chiropractic

As with anything in life great partners make all the difference in the world. We have been blessed in our farming journey with some absolutely fabulous partners. I would like to introduce one of those organizations to you–Circle of Healing Arts in Lino Lakes. This will be our 3rd year working with them as a dropsite and every interaction we have had with them has been fabulous.

I talked with Dr. Carol Jillian-Ohana of Cloudwalk Chiropractic, one of the healing businesses housed at the circle,

Me: What is your mission?
Dr. Carol: Our mission is to improve the health and wellness of our surrounding community using many healing modalities, nutrition, education and outreach.

Me: Tell us about some of the services offered at the Circle of Healing Arts.
Dr. Carol: We offer: chiropractic, yoga, massage, intuitive readings and classes, Pilates, Thai massage, Tuina massage, Hypnotherapy, Brain Gym, Herbs, Kinesiology, Acupuncture, Nutritional coaching, Foot care and more.

Me: Why do you think that local, healthy food is import?
Dr. Carol: We stress food as medicine. Eating well, eating local, eating healthy. And we nurture relationships with farmers to bring produce, milk, eggs, flowers, fruit, fish etc to our patients/clients.

Me: What is your number one wellness tip?
Dr. Carol: Tips: Breathe in, breathe out. Take time to notice. Be grateful. Fix and Eat real food.

For more information about Dr. Carol go to Cloudwalk Chiropractic or the other businesses housed at the
Circle of Healing Arts

Dr Carol Jillian-Ohana
Cloudwalk Chiropractic
at The Wellness Circle
7094 Lake Drive,
Lino Lakes, MN 55014

New Year: DIY Hard Lotion Bars

As you probably remember most of my goals this year revolve around better health. While most people think about eating right and exercising as keys to good health (and they are definitely a priority for me) I am realizing what I put on my body by way of personal care products have a huge effect on health. There are some great companies out there run out of homes and producing excellent products for health, Blue Vervain is one of my favorites, but I am a Do It Yourself (DIY) kind of gal.

Luckily Erin at Blue Vervain totally gets that and offers great classes locally on how to make some wonderful products and keep your family healthy with herbs. She is also the one who introduced me to Brambleberry for supplies–another great company.

So this Christmas Proeun and I decided to get serious about our personal care products as well as other areas of our health. I have had a great time researching recipes and essential oils and best of all trying stuff out.

This weekend was our first foray into soap making, but that will have to wait for another post since the soap isn’t yet ready to come out of the molds. Anyway while I was prepping the oil and lye solution the girls were gazing whistfully at the kithen wanting oh so bad to be a part of the making. However soap is definitely not child’s play. So we started a different project that I hope was just as fun–Hard Lotion Bars. I found this simple recipe here. I made it of equal parts coconut oil, beeswax and shea butter. The measuring and using the kitchen scale were the fun part for the girls.

Then into my makeshift double boiler to melt together. Once melted we picked out the scent. The instructions didn’t recommend citrus scents for outdoor wear–something about amplifying the suns effects. So I let the girls pick from my non-citrus scents. They picked Rosemary, who would have thought, wish I could get them to eat it.

Anyway then they picked out the molds and we poured the melted mixture in to harden.

They are so proud of their work. Proeun complimented me on my soft hands last night, they are super fun to use and smell and feel great but it does take a little getting used to after using liquid lotions my whole life. It is great for hands but I need to get better at moisturizing legs and arms and such.

A trip to the Midwife

I was talking with another homebirthing mom friend of mine. She was talking about how she was switching from disposable feminine pads to cloth. She said, “I already cloth diaper my children it just seems to make sense,” then she went on to admit that she felt she was really turning into something–“a crunchy hippie.” No matter what you think about hippies personally the term is normally either very negative, as in anti-conformist threat to society, or positve, in touch with the earth, then there is everything in between. The homebirth, homeschool movement used to be the realm of the fringe cultures now according to the home birth consultant at the Minnesota Department of Health they are getting 20 requests for birth certificates from homebirths a week. My midwife says the numbers for homebirths in Minnesota are up to 5%.

This afternoon I had a prenatal appointment. For those of you who don’t have any idea how an appointment like this would go let me explain (it will probably vary by midwife). I go to my midwife’s, Jane Kirby, home downtown. She normally has tea ready and a play area for the children just to the side of where we meet. Her apprentice, Tracy LaPointe, is always there with a hug and a cheerful expression. We sit down and get comfortable and talk about how things are going. Not necessarily just with the pregnancy or medically but she wants to know if I am doing too much, am i eating enough, am I happy with my life or are there things I am stressing about? And so on. It’s a very calm, relaxing experience. The children come with and enjoy playing.

Or having a snack.

When it gets time to measure the tummy and listen to the heartbeat they love being involved.

Sometimes the girls hold the lifesize models of growing babies. 

Jane our midwife checking the heartbeat.

Our appointments are normally about an hour then with hugs all around it is home again until next month, though soon I will be meeting with them more often. They are always available for questions and if I want to meet more often.

I have a lot of respect for moms who have homebirths with their first babies. I think most of us try the traditional route first before seeking alternatives. I have been so pleased with this alternative I could never imagine going back.

Herb Walk at Lake Como

When we first started farming I had much difficulty telling the difference between the plants. This was especially a problem in direct seeded (seeds planted directly in the ground versus transplants) crops where the weeds would be coming up at the same time as the plants. Luckily it doesn’t take to long to figure out which plants are good to eat and which ones not.

Now I have decided to take my plant education to the next level in identifying wild medicinal plants. To help me out I went back to my herbalist friend Erin Piorier. She teaches classes locally and last night she had one at Como Lake, a beautiful urban park.

Here Erin points out Bee Balm this is an excellent anti-fungal herb and good for the kidneys. You make a tincture out of the flowers which were just about at peak last night.

Hoary Vervain is a relative of the very useful nervine, antispasmodic Blue Vervain. Both are used medicinally for relaxing tension, menstrual cramps, IBD, pms and more.

Yellow Dock if you remember correctly this was Avril’s favorite herb at her treatment. This is a great “normalizer” meaning it can be used to treat opposite symptoms like diahhrea and constipation. It is also very cooling, works broadly and gently, is a great skin rememedy, good for acid reflux and used in some anti-cancer treatments. It has a sorrel like taste in the leaves. Roots are used to make a tincture when the plant is past prime.

Motherwort very very bittter. Good for the entire life cycle of a woman, also fevers, helps you relax when tension is in your core. Erin said that if you have only 6-8 herbs in your family medicine kit this should be one of them.

Medicinal echinacea/purple cone flower notice that its leaves are a bit stringy. Erin does not use this plant much.

Butterfly weed also called pleurisy root used as an expectorant and good for whooping cough. Make a tincture from the roots in the fall.

All in all I think we saw and identified around 15 plants. I also know mullein, plantain, golden rod and yarrow confidently. As Erin said we are no longer trained to learn this helpful and useful plants–even just the ones we eat. Learning can be such an empowering thing. I intend to build up our family herb kit, but we do get sick so infrequently I am not such what I will use probably, purslane, yellow dock, motherwort, mullein (good for ear aches), plantian and yarrow.

A trip to the herbalist

Yesterday we took our first real dive into alternative medicine. Though we have used chiropractic care for awhile now it is almost more mainstream (after all it’s covered by our insurance). Honestly we do most of our healing at home with diet, rest and water, this has worked really well for us. Every time one of us gets sick I feel so blessed that I am able to be home with my babies and help them heal naturally at home.

My sister works at a daycare and the previous one she was at parents were always trying to sneak in sick kids just because they couldn’t afford to take the time off with them.

Anyway I digress. Yesterday we all went to our local herbalist. I had met Erin Piorier through Le Leche League and taken a couple classes with her before life got crazy. Now I am renewing my interest in herbs and am planning no less then 4 classes this fall. I am really hyped about it. Avril had been suffering from eczema for awhile behind her knees and in her elbows. Mavis also seems to have some of the same but less severe.

The first part of the appointment was the consulfation and medical history. We are fortunate both girls are very healthy, “robust” as Erin called it. Avril’s body type tends to be more hot and dry. So Erin felt that increasing the moinsure was important for Avril.

After the consultation Erin began selecting herbs from her tincture supply. Erin makes her own medicines and each tincture is hand crafted from wild or organically grown plants.

Then Erin began the “taste test” so to speak. With her hand on Avril’s pulse she tested each one by one on the inside of her arm to see which would have a beneficial result. She said, “until you have it done to you and you feel the reaction you wouldn’t believe it.” She was looking for a noticeable relaxing of the pulse.

Avril is enjoying all the one on one treatment even with her siblings playing in the backyard. She even selected her favorite one–yellow dock. When Erin put one drop of this tincture on her arm she got all peaceful and said, “I like that one.” This was after about 10-15 herbs and she selected it.

Erin refills a tincture bottle from a fresh batch.

After going through the herbs she selected once and taking out the positive ones we washed Avril’s arm for a 2nd try before finally selecting 4 to be mixed into Avril’s very own medicine.

Elderblossom–increases circulation to the periphery, opens pores
Yellow Dock Root–cooling and moistening skin needs (also a blood cleanser)
Chickweed–moistening and cooling
Burdock–moistening and cooling

Mavis wouldn’t sit for the consultation but Erin said since they were sisters we would make a similar mixture for her. Erin just left out the yellow dock for Mavis’.

Avril colors her own label. For those we haven’t indulged in more holistic medicine it is such a treat and so relaxing. The children are getting used to it and not worried at all about going to the doctor now. 

Our medicines. Erin did a joint 1 hour long consultation for the girls. She charges $35 for children. The tinctures and salves were each $6 (not bad for hand made personalized medicine!). and she threw in the soap because I mentioned I was running out of the soap that I made last year. Our co-pays for “1st tier” doctor’s office is $15 otherwise it goes up to $25 for like 15 minutes.

All in all it was a wonderful experience. No fussing going to the doctor. Her house was laid back and comfortable and smelled wonderful. Birds visited at her bird feeder outside and we drank delicious cold tea. I could have stayed much longer and talked herbs, but I’ll see her again tomorrow for class.

Cure for Mastisis–Charcoal Poultices

This baby I have been struggling with mastisis and a host of other nipple problems including bleeding and cracking. Before Mavis I didn’t really understand people who would complain that the pain was so bad they couldn’t nurse until last December it happened to me. For 2 months now I have been trying a host of remedies including focusing on latch and getting a new bra that fit properly.

Finally I called Le Leche League and they suggested I consult a doctor to make sure there wasn’t something else going on. The word “cancer” kept popping into my head. So even though I felt it was more of a surface problem that could be solved as Le Leche League suggested by trying to stretch the time between the feedings to give the tissue time to heal I made an appointment.

It has been a long time since I went to the doctor and I do not have a relationship with any doctor currently so I was forced to try a new one. She seemed very nice and after the exam said I was really low risk for breast cancer and said she suspected mastisis and prescribed antibiotics and Ibuprofen.

However I had no tissue samples taken or anything to confirm infection except the suspicions of the doctor and I was uncomfortable taking antibiotics under these circumstances. Especially since following the advice of Le Leche League seemed to be helping.

I called my aunt Patty in southern Minnesota. She said her 2nd baby had been very hard on her and she had mastisis 3 times which she cured with charcoal poultices. First her husband used hot and cold compresses to begin the treatment. Then she made a compress like this,

Charcoal Poultice

2 Tbsps activated charcoal powder
2 Tbsps ground flax seed
water to make a runny paste.

Put the paste on a paper towel or rag and fold over (this really helps with the clean up). Place over the breast and wrap tightly in plastic. Tape if necessary.

Charcoal is great for absorbing impurities. For more on this look at Agatha Thrash’s book Charcoal available from Country Life. This is best done over night. When I went to bed with the poultice on I was itchy and pretty uncomfortable. It is still too early to tell the complete results but the itching is gone. Now we just need to heal the cracks.