Energetic healing is something I think a lot of people misunderstand. Techniques such as Reiki, Touch for Health, Therapeutic Touch, or others too numerous to list look at the individual as consisting of a physical, flesh and blood body, and an energetic body. Each effects the other and, in these modes of thinking, must be kept in proper working order to achieve balance.

Energetics have always fascinated me. I have countless books throughout the years on the above mentioned approaches and the ancient Ayurvedic chakra systems and the Barbara Brennan Healing Hands methods and Traditional Chinese Medicine….on and on. So, when a friend of mine put me in contact with someone who was a Reiki Master and Teacher, I jumped at the experience! I wanted to know how to do that. I wanted to be able to help people I wanted to be able to soothe energies and be that channel. And so I went. I did my level I and II training with the same woman. She was gracious enough to travel from Rhode Island to Ohio in order to share with us. But as things go, I lost contact with her. I was unable to line things up to continue my training.


A few years later, I ran into a woman who had a wonderful energy about her. She was a yoga teacher and a Reiki Master and Teacher. She and I traded services for some time. After about six months of trading Reiki sessions and essential oils, she offered to pass along the Reiki Master/Teacher level attunement. I am honored she felt I was ready and I am blessed to have received it.


Fast forward through the last ten years and my receiving more and more Reiki training in various styles, techniques and modes. I have received attunements not only in Usui Reiki but in Khundalini and Reiju, as well as others. I now teach and offer the attunements, as well as seeing clients for sessions. It has made a difference in my life. After a few weeks of feeling myself slip off the edge energetically, I come back to my teachings. I center. I focus. I soothe the energies. Even if I cannot realize what I need in the moment, I find it back. I pick up my teachings, and I begin again.


What is Reiki?

As I was taught, Reiki is a Japanese word meaning Divine Wisdom or Divine Love life force. It refers to the energy which flows through all. It is not originated with the practitioner. He/she is merely a channel for the energy from the universal life force to the client. Some like to refer to this as the healing energy of God. Some like to call it prana, or the breath of life. Does it really matter what it is called?

This energy flows through all living beings. At times the channels in the energetic body are thought to become clogged or dys-functional. The attuned practitioner acts as a funnel and conduit to redirect those energies. The practice involves the person performing the Reiki to be mentally focusing on the receiver. He/she may lay hands on the receiver or hold them slightly above the receiver’s physical body. This does not require the removal of clothing, although some massage therapists may incorporate it into their practices. This would mean the client was partially disrobed anyway. It should never feel threatening or uncomfortable in any way to the receiver not the giver. The receiver may experience a sensation of heat, vibration, mood shifts, or nothing at all. The sender’s hands may become hot or feel as if they were buzzing. The experience seems to be a bit different for everyone. However, now science is showing the promise of these modalities.


Science backing


In the American Journal of Palliative Care a study on Reiki being used for oncology patients at a day facility (Am J Hosp Palliat Care. 2012 Jun;29(4):290-4. doi: 10.1177/1049909111420859. Epub 2011 Oct 13.), favorable results have been found for the use of Reiki. “Overall, the sessions were felt helpful in improving well-being, relaxation, pain relief, sleep quality and reducing anxiety. Offering Reiki therapy in hospitals could respond to patients’ physical and emotional needs.”

In a 2015 study involving bariatric surgery patients (Explore (NY). 2015 May-Jun;11(3):208-16. doi: 10.1016/j.explore.2015.02.006. Epub 2015 Feb 17.), ” Healing Touch intervention is feasible and acceptable to patients undergoing bariatric surgery, and significantly improved pain, nausea, and anxiety in these patients.” This study looked at patients receiving Healing Touch sessions in day one and two of post operative care.

A 2010 article in the Journal of Holistic Nursing states (J Holist Nurs. 2010 Sep;28(3):193-200. doi: 10.1177/0898010110368861. Epub 2010 Jun 28.) that when “compared with those who received usual care, participants who received TT had significantly lower level of pain, lower cortisol level, and higher NKC level.” TT stands for Therapeutic Touch, which is an energetics system taught and practiced by medical nurses.

A June 2016 article in the Journal of Oncology Nursing (Clin J Oncol Nurs. 2016 Jun 1;20(3):E77-81. doi: 10.1188/16.CJON.E77-E81.) points out that Reiki outperformed massage and yoga as a method to help manage pain, decrease stress and anxiety, and improve mood of cancer patients.

There is research to support Reiki as a way to aid community mental health professionals suffering from burnout type symptoms (J Altern Complement Med. 2015 Aug;21(8):489-95. doi: 10.1089/acm.2014.0403. Epub 2015 Jul 13.). Reiki recipients have been shown to use less pain medications after C-section births (Holist Nurs Pract. 2016 Nov/Dec;30(6):368-378.).

There is more and more research done on this type of therapy every single day!

In a world where prescription pain medications are now thought to act as gateway drugs to dangerous street drugs like heroin; diseases associated with high stress and increased chronic pain like fibromyalgia and post traumatic stress disorders are running rampant, why could we not turn to trying Reiki? It does no harm.

Anyone interested in Reiki sessions (both in person and distance recipients) and/or learning more about it and receiving attunements, please do not hesitate to let me know!


A lady once told me, “I don’t need to cleanse because I already poop three times a day.” Really? Is that all people think cleansing is? It only encompasses how many times a person manages to drop a deuce in a day?

This is what we get when people rush out to buy cheaply formulated “cleanse” products which only serve to purge the intestines. What the heck happened to common sense? Good cleanses do not merely move the bowels – and they most certainly do not move them in such a way that would cause irritation and swelling. While finding a cleanse which works for your individual body type and make up may take some time, do not blindly take cleanses which do nothing past turning you into a “salad shooter.”


There are different types of “cleanses” which range from something as simple as laying of the refined foods for a time and allowing your body to recoup from the burden of excess simple sugars, etc, all the way to target cleanses designed to get the bile moving to “flush” the liver. So let’s start with some common sense:

Any time you fill your body with fresh, whole foods and leave out overly processed foods, you may have a “cleansing response”

What does this mean? Well, if you eat peanut butter and high fructose corn syrup laden grape jelly on white bread washed down with a red cream soda every single day and then suddenly switch to all fresh veggies, you may experience some diarrhea, cramping, etc. This does not mean the veggies gave you diarrhea. They could have but only because your body is not used to them. Any time you upgrade the quality of your nutrition, you run the risk of the body throwing off excessive amounts of toxins. I have people tell me all the time, “I can’t eat vegetables. They give me diarrhea,” only to find out they only eat them once or twice a year! No WONDER they are giving diarrhea! The body doesn’t even know what the heck they are!

It all evens out

Unless the person has some odd-ball condition like some diverticulitis type of things (it does happen…and is not limited to diverticulitis), slowly progressing into a more whole diet will become easier for the body to tolerate. The explosive results should not stay. As I said, this is barring some condition like a food intolerance or diverticulitis, or some other dys-functional state of the body. Even then, cooking the veggies, or just a light steaming, can make them more tolerable.


“Good” cleanses

Now, there are juice cleanses, colon cleanses, liver cleanses, kidney cleanses…really the list just keeps going on. The main type of cleanse I’d like to address is the kind which flush the liver. The liver is the main toxic waste sorting center of the body. Not all chemicals, but a lot of them, which circulate in the body go to the liver to be processed for disposal. It’s just like your garbage going into a chute in an apartment building. You toss it in the chute. It goes to the basement, maybe, where it is then moved to the holding area. There, it might be compacted or re-bagged, or tagged, or something to reprocess it for the purpose of getting it out of the building. That’s what the liver does. It processes these chemicals to get them out of your body. Usually this is done through a whole string of chemical reactions including methylation, and more. It can get extremely technical, but the end point being the liver turns these chemicals into substances which can be eliminated out of the body either through sweat, feces, urine, and even the vapors of the breath.


What I refer to as “good” cleanses contain some key components:

A liver flusher

Any herb which increases the flow of bile could fall in to this category. I like to use bitter greens like yellow dock or burdock paired with berberine containing herbs like Oregon grape root, etc. The increase in bile is thought to stimulate the process of ridding the body of toxins.

A fiber blend

This should be a blend of soluble and insoluble fibers. It should be gentle enough to not add to the irritation which may be occurring in the intestinal tract already. Also, it should not taste like a cardboard box just took residence in your mouth. I like to suggest a fiber blend containing things like psyllium (if tolerated. Some people have allergies to this one and do better on something else), marshmallow root, slippery elm, and more. This fiber blend can act as a sponge to oak up the bile. Then, it becomes a ball of goo which should work its way through.

A bowel mover

Too much fiber without locomotion makes a brick wall in your bowels. A bowel mover can be either a laxative like senna or an herb like Cascara Sagrada which acts by stimulating the parastalsis movements of the intestinal walls. I consider Senna to be equivalent to a jack hammer. Some people need this type of action. Others do not. However, be aware of the difference.

A soother

The bile which is thrown off can be extremely irritating to the bowel. There is no need to intentionally increase pain! That’s just crazy. That’s why I have suggested to some clients to add soothing, cooling herbs like some forms of aloe, yucca, or cat’s claw to their cleanses to reduce the potential for angry intestinal reactions.

A mood booster

Science has shown us that the gut has an enormous amount of nerve activity going on. It is now thought to function as a “second brain” and has more neurotransmitter receptors for compounds like serotonin, etc than any other part of the body INCLUDING THE BRAIN!  Long used terms such as “a gut feeling” now take on new meaning since science is supporting the emotional link to gut health. Since the gut includes the intestinal system (it does not stop at the stomach), it only stands to reason that emotional support may be needed to help a cleanse go well. I like to use flower essences for this. Individual remedies may work, but I find the blends to do a much better job, overall.

A diuretic

Keeping the fluids flowing through the urinary system is a must! Dandelion, uva ursi, and other diuretic herbs may aid in keeping all the waters flowing in the proper direction.

Vitamin and Mineral support

Dandelion is such a wonderful herb. It is full of minerals necessary to keep the body balanced. Multi mineral and multi vitamin products may help as well. The trick is finding which one(s) work the best for you, individually.


These are just some places to start. Seeing a natural health consultant or herbalist who can help you narrow down your choices may be beneficial for you.


I attended a series of seminars a few years ago which focused on inflammation being the root cause of disease.  I don’t think I truly understood the entire body of information the speakers were presenting…until now.


Look around you. How many people do you see who suffer from conditions which have been diagnosed as “fibromyalgia,” “rheumatoid arthritis,” athlersclerosis,” “gout,” “inflammatory bowel disease,” etc? What do all of these medical conditions have in common? INFLAMMATION. They all are inflammatory conditions. This means they are conditions in which the body’s tissues are swollen, hot to the touch many times, and painful.

Check out these stats:

-The National Institute for Health estimates 23.5 million people in the US have an autoimmune disorder (https://www.aarda.org/autoimmune-information/autoimmune-statistics/)

-The CDC estimates half of all adults have periodontal disease (inflammatory disease of the gums) (https://www.perio.org/consumer/cdc-study.htm)

-Scientists estimate 5 million Americans from the age of 18 and up have fibromyalgia (http://www.niams.nih.gov/health_info/fibromyalgia/fibromyalgia_ff.asp)

-52.5 million Americans are estimated to have inflammatory arthritis (http://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/resources/publications/aag/arthritis.htm)

-Inflammatory bowel diseases (this tag includes Chrone’s, IBS, and ulcerative colitis, etc) is estimated to affect as many as 1.4 million Americans (http://www.ccfa.org/resources/facts-about-inflammatory.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/)


The list goes on and on and on.

I know there are cases of autoimmune disorders where no known cause is ever found. That is sad, and very true. However, what would happen if we dealt with the body’s inflammatory response in a bit more natural way, when possible (hey – sometimes you just can’t, and that’s when I am thankful for modern medicine and doctors who are open-minded and truly altruistic).

What can be used?


Turmeric is an herb used in a lot of Asian cooking. You may recognize it as the yellow seasoning used in a lot of Indian dishes. It contains a chemical called curcumin which, along with other chemical constituents in turmeric, has been shown to decrease inflammation in some studies. (Please see https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/integrative-medicine/herbs/turmeric and follow the cited reseacrh from there)




Ginger has been shown to act as a COX2 inhibitor. Cyclooxygenases (1 and 2) are enzymes which perform a variety of functions in the body. Specifically, they are involved in the inflammatory response. They trigger certain hormones and such to make the body swell. NSAIDs (like naprosyn, ibuprofen, etc) are non-specific anti-inflammatories because they act against both enzymes. However, long term use has been shown to damage the lining of the stomach or the kidneys (depending on where the drug is adsorbed or broken down). You may recall the recall of certain prescriptions (Viox, Celebrex, etc) which were recalled in the late 1990’s due to side effects of heart attacks and more. These drugs were manufactured to work against the COX2 enzyme specifically. Ginger has this ability to inhibit COX2! The difference is ginger will not give someone a heart attack (to my knowledge). Here is just one fo the studies showing it’s efficacy: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3018740/


Ginger is often an ingredient in various cleanses because it relaxes the smooth muscle of the digestive tract,  and helps to relieve the swelling.


I cannot say enough about this herb! I dearly love it and I am trying to grow it in a pot, here in Ohio.

There are many studies regarding it’s ability to act as an anti inflammatory,  but the study I cite below it had been shown to act as an antiinflammatory in rats with collagen-induced arthritis.  This is very promising. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24188460

Ashwaghanda has been used for centuries in ayurvedic medicine. In my book,  that counts for more than studies on lab rats. Many formulas used to combat the stresses of every day life comtain Ashwaghanda.


Yucca is often overlooked.  It is a native of the Americas.  Often grown as an ornamental plant,  it seems to function as an acid reducer. One class I attended in Utah in the early 2000’s highlighted the saponification action displayed by the root. This bubbling reaction brought down the acidity level of the vinegar to which it was added. The proof was in the pH paper.


There are many products where yucca can be found,  along with other herbs historically used to benefit those who suffer from arthritic-like pains.


While this is nowhere near the entire list of herbs which help decrease inflammation,  they can be a good place to start.

Remember each person is different and different herbs work better for different people.  To further narrow down what may be the most beneficial for you,  schedule an appointment for a consultation with me. Together, we can get your possibilities widdled down to increase your chances for success!




A person randomly messaged me recently and asked me, “…and what do your herbs cure?” WOW! That’s a loaded question! You see, in the U.S., the word “cure” is a no-no for those who not medical doctors. Even medical doctors are somewhat reluctant to use the word when it comes to certain situations. Given that I did not know with whom I was chatting, I answered with the long version. I informed the prospective customer that I do not practice medicine (which I don’t); that using the words “cure, treat, diagnose” and a few others may be misconstrued as the practice of medicine in the United States and therefore I do not use them…EVER! I went on to explain how herbs, supplements, etc feed the body various nutrients and phytochemicals it could be lacking. Through this “nourishment” the body may be able to restore its own balance and achieve homeostasis. I further went on to explain how I use an assortment of traditional assessment techniques to form an idea of where each of my client’s stand and offer up advice in a “what I would do if I were you,” kind of way to my clients. It is completely the choice of each individual if they would like to try it out or not and I ALWAYS advise he/she to double check everything with a pharmacist if on medications and to be sure to share their products with their medical practitioners.


This is all very true. For those who would like to learn more about natural health modalities throughout the world, I encourage you to look up research at www.pubmed.gov. This website is sponsored by the United States’ Federal Government’s office on NCAM. I AM allowed to point to various studies and cite them as examples of the successful use of a natural remedy. For those in Ohio, please look into supporting the Ohio Sunshine Freedom Coalition (http://www.ohiohealthfreedom.info/). This organization is working hard to enact protection laws in the state of Ohio that would allow consultants, such as myself, to practice without fear with informed consent from the client.

Be strong out there, people….do not allow your rights to be lost! Be informed!


You know the person: “So-n-so Bitchypants” who just can’t stop being the voice of negativity in the world. this person has spread the seed of vile anger across the countryside and cannot, no matter the effort, get over the negative vibe he (or she) seems to be enveloped within! UGH! How can someone have so much doom and gloom and negative emotions in one’s life? Right?


Well…I did a video about dealing with all of those negative emotions, naturally. Please enjoy 🙂



Those of you who actively follow the “latest and greatest” may have heard some about a supplement called Berberine. This bright yellow supplement is bitter and is often found in capsules alone.

The shrub known as Indian berberry or Tree Turmeric
The shrub known as Indian barberry or Tree Turmeric


Berberine is a bright yellow supplement.
Berberine is a bright yellow supplement.

Nature’s Sunshine also has a berberine supplement. While berberine is found in many yellow root herbs ( like Oregan grape and golden seal – both very bitter tasting yellow roots), NSP gets theirs from Indian barberry.

Known in ayurveda for its uses as an antimicrobial, antiviral, anti-fungal and antioxidant, barberry is sometimes referred to as Tree Turmeric. The bark contains many alkoloids, including berberine, and the plant has been studied in India as a possible treatment of the urinary damage that can be caused by the chemotherapy drug called cisplatin. The studies show the nephrotoxicity caused by the cisplatin was reversed by a decoction of root bark of Berberis aristata (Indian berberry).

In traditional herbalism, it is a bitter herb. This usually means it has the ability to flush bile from the liver. This is highly beneficial for those seeking to use it during cleanses.  Bitter herbs aid in digestion, too.

It is now becoming popular in the US for its anti-diabetic uses. It seems use of berberine is associated with maintaining healthy blood glucose levels. This is one point being addressed in many weight loss programs. It seems when the body is supplied with proper glucose balance, a person is not nearly as hungry and does not crave as many simple sugars. In one study, berberine was found to be as effective in maintaining healthy blood sugar levels as the drug metformin.

And that is not all. Berberine is being looked at for an aid in all areas of what is commonly referred to “metabolic syndrome.” This includes high blood sugar levels, high cholesterol, and obesity. Berberine seems to have a healthy effect on the cholesterol and triglyceride levels of a person, as well. This, along with the research pointing to its ability to help reduce fat (even fatty liver), makes it a wonderful resource for those fighting the triple threat of metabolic syndrome.

And there’s even more! Berberine may even help with the following:

Depression, perhaps due to increases in nor-adrenaline and serotonin

Cancer: Berberine may help suppress tumor growth and spread

Infections, including anti-viral effects against the flu

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD),as it helps reduce fat build up in your liver

With the majority of berberine research available on PubMed being done in the last five years, this “newcomer” shows major promise!


Berberine from Indian barberry is the ingredient in many berberine supplements.


Confusion on mass scale


I find many people are seriously confused by the terms “natural” and “artificial” when it comes to sweetners. They also are extremely confused on how those sweetners impact their body, blood sugar levels, etc. In this article, I’m going to tackle the issue from the stand point of “natural,” “somewhat processed,” “highly processed,” and “chemical based.” I hope this clears up some of the controversy and confusion I have heard coming back in the form of feedback.



Stevia is a plant that grows in the southern United States, Mexico and Central America. It is said to be 200 times sweeter than sugar. I’m not sure of that exact ratio, but the green leaf is sweeter than table sugar. This is a NATURAL sweetener. I offered some stevia to a lady a while back, in lieu of sugar for her coffee, and she replied, “I’ll use my Splenda ™ because I don’t use artificial sweeteners.” I started to open my mouth to argue and chose to smile and nod instead. I do not know where she gets her info, but it is wrong!

Now, that being said, there is a raw stevia option and a refined stevia option. The raw stevia, of course, is the dried green leaf and leaf powder. This is not always desirable in foods, as the green color does not fade or go away in cooking. Therefore, the extract is sometimes used. This extract can be liquid or a white powder. This white powder is sold commercially as a sweetener in the baking aisles of grocery stores darn near everywhere! It is sometimes listed under the brand names SweetLeaf ™, Truvia ™ and PureVia ™, just to name a few. Both are the stevia extract and are listed as Rebiana, which is from the Latin name for the stevia plant. So, while this white, or extract form, is slightly more processed than the green, I’m leaving it under natural. Stevia is considered to have zero glycemic impact and zero calories. Even though the US-FDA raided a tea company in the early 1990’s for adding stevia to their teas, since Coca-Cola bought the rights to Rebiana production, it is suddenly ok with the FDA.

Monk Fruit/Lo Han Gou

Monk Fruit has recently made its way on the sweetener mainstream. It is featured in various lo-cal and no-cal diet programs and is said to be extremely sweeter than sugar. Some estimate it to be 150-200 times sweeter. So, a little dab will do. This is a fruit from southeast Asia. It grows kind of like a little melon on trees. created by removing the seeds and skin of the fruit, crushing the fruit, and collecting the juice. It is sold as a liquid and as a powder. It has zero glycemic impact, zero calories and is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the US-FDA based on the slew of scientific research available on it. Nectreese(tm) is monk fruit.

Raw Sugar

This is the actual the sugar straight out of the cane. It has a light brown color. This is due to the presence of the molasses, which has not been processed out of the sugar, yet. While this is a natural sugar, with very little processing, it does impact your blood sugar the same as white sugar! It has slightly less calories (we’re talking ever so slight) and a molasses like taste which white sugar does not have.

Cane Juice

This is a more natural, but still processed, sweetener. In regions like the Indian subcontinent, Egypt, southeast Asia, and the like, Cane Juice is green and is directly expressed from the sugar cane. It is sold as a health drink in some of those places. Most of the US’s sugar now comes from south America. The “evaporated cane juice” seen listed in many health foods is one step shy of table sugar. It contains a teeny bit more vitamins A, C and calcium, but impacts blood sugar the same as white table sugar.

Cane Syrup/Molasses

This one falls under somewhat processed. Cane syrup is cane juice which has been cooked down into a syrup consistency. It has a brownish color and a slightly bitter aftertaste as compared to white table sugar.


Sorghum and molasses are not the same thing. Sorghum is usually less processed than molasses and has a more sweet taste. It also comes from an entirely different plant! Molasses is from sugar beets and sorghum is from sweet sorghum. They are made the same, though. Sorghum is juiced and then the juice is boiled down to a syrup. It usually has no preservatives and is fairly high in potassium and antioxidants. IT does impact the blood sugar, but may be slightly higher on my choice scale than molasses.

Maple Syrup

I mean REAL maple syrup here. This is meaning the sap which is tapped from Sugar Maple Trees. Most of the pancake syrup in stores is made from high fructose corn syrup. BE SURE TO READ YOUR LABELS! Usually, the syrup is collected in the autumn,as the sap is returning to the roots. It then is moderately processed by boiling it down into a syrup. You can sometimes find raw maple sap or syrup which has not been cooked down. It does impact the blood sugar same as white sugar, but the raw contains slightly higher vitamin and mineral contents.

Corn Syrup

This is one everyone should know about by now! Corn syrup is made from boiling down cornstarch. Anyone who has ever shucked or picked sweet corn from a garden is familiar with the stick corn starch substance. It is moderately processed and impacts the blood sugar identically to that of white table sugar. It is used in cooking and candy making. In recent years it has been replaced by the high fructose version.

High Fructose Corn Syrup

This is one of the most highly debated sweeteners out there. High fructose corn sugar is chemically altered to be sweeter (the glucose in this one is chemically converted so it has a higher fructose content via an ezymatic reaction) , therefore more addictive, than regular corn syrup. It is used in everything from jams and jellies, to baked goods, to soda pop. Dentists hate it as it contributes to dental cavities and it can be deadly for diabetics. It has been used since the middle 1970’s, so it is not a new thing. There is a huge debate on its safety. It has an impact on blood sugar just like table sugar. I stay away from this as much as possible!

Agave Nectar

This is from two types of agave plants which are common in South America, one of which is the one the distilled spirit tequila come from. The nectar is processed much the same way as corn syrup: plant is crushed; the juice cooked down; etc. However, it is slightly lower on the glycemic scale as it contains more fructose than glucose which is the opposite of corn syrup and it’s high fructose version. So, it is moderately processed.  It is sweeter than sugar and should be used in reduced amounts when following sugar measurements in recipes.


Xylitol is found in woody parts of some plants. It is a sugar alcohol. It can be made from birch bark and corn stalks. It is sweet and is safe for use in things such as chewing gums. It has been found to help prevent tooth decay. This is because it is not converted to the simple sugars in the mouth like regular sugar, etc. It is in some sugar free foods, but it has been found to produce painful gas and digestive upset in large quantities when taken internally. It is sometimes used in medicines as it can be antibacterial. It has zero glycemic impact and is generally not used in baking, etc


Another sugar alcohol, it is naturally occurring in foods like pears, soy sauce, wine, sake, watermelon and grapes. It is not quite as sweet as sugar (sources site 60-80%) and has zero glycemic index. It is the easiest to digest of all sugar alcohols and is made by a fermentation process from corn. The US-FDA says it is GRAS and has not been found to be linked to cancers, like most sugars. Just a note: sugar alcohols are NOT alcoholic and will not make you drunk. Some people do develop a bit of gas and/or diarrhea from excessive intake of them.


Honey is a sticky substance made by bees. It is very high in vitamins and enzymes when in its raw form. However, the pasteurization process kills many of these. It should NEVER be given to a child under the age of two years, due to aggravating possible allergies and/or medical conditions. It is extremely high in sucrose and can have a similar impact on blood sugar as white sugar. There are those who say that impact is dependent upon the source. Since most commercially available honey has been heated to destroy pathogens, the B vitamins which possibly buffer the sugar spiking effects are cooked away. I am a huge proponent of using locally collected honey. Support your local apiary! NEVER spray bees! Call an exterminator who works with a beekeeper to determine which type of bees they are and can remove them. Honey bee populations in the world are declining. They are integral in the pollination of crops. While this is completely true and I love my locally collected honey, it still must be used in moderation and never given to small children.


Fructose is fruit sugar. Think concentrated grape juice, cooked raisins, etc. It is sugar and raises the blood sugar accordingly. White table sugar is about half fructose and half glucose.


White table sugar is highly processed. It was once natural, and the processing turns it into a sweetener which tastes great. It is about 50/50 fructose and glucose.  Brown sugar is just white sugar which has molasses dumped back over it. This is why it cakes and packs so well. It definitely has an elevation effect on blood sugar levels. Sucrose is the technical name for table sugar.


Sucrolose is marketed under the brand name Splenda ™. While it has been marketed as being from sugar, it is not sugar when it is done. This is a highly chemical substance. It basically sticks chlorine atoms into what was sugar. While that means nothing to the regular person check this out. Research published in Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism in 2013 found that sugar substitutes with sucralose are linked to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, and obesity. This is NOT NATURAL STUFF!


I remember when this stuff first came out. When I was little, early 1980’s maybe (ssshhhh….no one needs to calculate my age now), almost every postal patron in the United States received a sample of gum balls in the mail. All marked with that red and white pinwheel showing it contained NutraSweet ™. This is also what is in Equal ™. It seems to stimulate the same taste buds as sugar, kind of. It is used in a variety of foods, beverages, desserts, sweets, breakfast cereals, chewing gums and weight-control products. It is also used as a tabletop sweetener. It has been thought to possibly be linked to migraines, cancers, and more. While there are conflicting studies , there is hard science in a study released in recent years stating diet sodas and artificial sweeteners make you fatter by increasing hunger! There are also independent studies showing it interferes with brain functions. As a migraine sufferer, I will tell you I get fewer when I stay away from this stuff. Check out more here http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/01/12/aspartame-effects.aspx

Acesulfame Potassium

This sweetener is chemical, period. It contains methylene chloride. It is found in many “diet” and “low-cal” foods, including chewing gum, drinks, yogurts, etc. Many times it is listed as just Acesulfame-K or Ace-K. It is thought by some sources to be the sweetener  least regulated by the US-FDA. It, too, kills off beneficial bacteria in the gut, leading to false hunger and lending to obesity. “Long term exposure to methylene chloride can cause nausea, headaches, mood problems, impairment of the liver and kidneys, problems with eyesight and possibly cancer. Acesulfame-K may contribute to hypoglycemia.” (http://www.fitday.com) Early studies on this substance linked it with cancer in lab rats. Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/041510_Acesulfame-K_methylene_chloride_carcinogen.html#ixzz48DTpyfal



Who remembers the soft drink TAB? Do they still make that stuff? It used to carry a warning label stating that the ingredients “may cause cancer” in lab rats. The more current studies now touted by the FDA state that artificial sweeteners are ok to use and do not cause cancer (specifically those studied were brain and bladder cancers). However, the threat to the beneficial bacteria of the gut is very real from the artificial, chemical based sweetener just as much as it is in the two previously listed. Some find the taste of this product to be bitter. It is sold unde rthe trade name Sweet&Low ™.


My Conclusions….

And these are JUST my conclusions. You can make up your own mind.

While I understand wanting to not miss certain tastes and flavors in your life, I have made a conscious decision to avid the more heavily processed and chemical sweeteners. Period. IF any of you know me, in person, you have been eating stevia, monk fruit, agave nectar and other natural sweeteners. Congratulations. You didn’t even notice!  I FEEL BETTER when I stay away from these more chemical based sweeteners. I find I have less migraines. I find I crave them less and less the longer I am away from them. I have friends who cannot even eat or drink a minute quantity of these for fear of becoming physically ill.


It just seems silly to me to allow yourself to be a guinea pig for chemical sweeteners when we have perfectly good ones to use. If you cannot find stevia and monk fruit in your stores, contact me. I” point you to reliable sources. I use sugar occasionally, honey sometimes, whatever is available and as natural as possible. The human body was built for variety. Mix it up a bit. Enjoy the variety. Find your own favorite. Just drop the the chemicals. Don’t be a guinea pig.



Prematurely grey

I have had grey hair growing in since I’ve been 17 years old. Many people get grey hair early, I am told. Unfortunately, my hair is dark. Therefore, the grey shows….badly!

Thus, I started coloring my hair at an early age. After some time, I started to notice my hair was thinning and falling out. I had my thyroid hormones and some other levels checked and there were no plausible physical reasons for the thinning and loss. That’s when I read an article about synthetic chemicals, like those in hair dyes, contributing to hair loss. This deeply upset me. I was prematurely grey and not happy about it, but I did not want to be bald. Even if I did joke about shaving my head and gluing on wigs, I wasn’t about to do it if I did not have to.

Enter Henna

Henna is a plant that grows in Southern Asia. It has been for ages to color hair in those geographic areas. It has been used in the U.S., too, just not as widely. It is said that henna can make one’s hair thicker. So, I figured, “what have I got to lose?”

After about two years of avid henna use and experimentation, I feel confident I have the preps that work for me figured out. Granted, I am NOT a stylist. I only do my own hair. I have a lot of hair, but its texture is fine and mostly straight with just a little bit of body wave. Always tell your stylist if you are using henna on your hair. Do not mix synthetic hair lightener  with henna and do not use synthetic bleaches, etc on your hair after using henna on it. Without further ado, check out this vid I made about the process. And let me know what you think!


When life gets bumpy…we get TIRED!

Not what you were expecting me to say? LOL! But it is true! People get tired! There is only so much a person can do or so much stress one can endure before the body says, “ENOUGH!”

ENOUGH…is enough

The body’s adrenal glands are about the size of the palm of a hand. The bigger the person, the bigger the adrenal gland. They’re kind of triangle shaped and they sit on top of the kidneys (ad-renal means above the kidney). They can be referred to as suprarenal glands, but this is not the usual accepted name. These glands are the ones responsible for the “fight or flight” response to stresses. I go into quite some detail in my book BURNT! (links available under the Books & Such tab, here on herbchickonline.com). These glands can fire off hormones, like cortisol and adrenaline, in response to stresses like a poor evaluation at work or an impending school deadline the same as if you were being chased by a hungry, angry bear. The adrenals do not know the difference. A perceived threat is a threat all the same, therefore requiring the same responses. This can leave you tired, immuno-depressed, emotionally depressed and in need of some kind of recuperation.

Getting past those speed-bumps

What can we do manage these speed-bumps in our lives? You know the ones: the tax deadlines; the gas bill that’s over due; the raging boss wanting paperwork turned in; and one and on. How do we get our adrenals to just “deal”?


Meditation has been shown to reduce the body’s adrenal reaction to stress. It calms the brain, which in turn calms our reactions. Just 20 minutes of peace and quiet spent in meditation can make a huge difference. Try it. Set aside a small time each day to clear the mind. Mentally see yourself wiping the items triggering your stress off a giant chalk board. Investigate meditation avenues. It really does make a difference.

Feed those adrenals

While there are extremely severe deficiencies of the adrenal glands like Addison’s and Cushing’s, there is a sub-clinical phase of adrenal exhaustion which some doctors aare just now beginning to recognize. As an herbalist and natural health consultant, I have been dealing with adrenal fatigue for some time, both in my own life and in that of my clients. Adrenal fatigue is one reason why my mother took me to my first herbal nutrition consultant in 1991. I live this issue every single day and I will tell you, you must feed your adrenals to get them back online.

Vitamin C is a crucial component of the adrenal glands. When they are dried, they are found to be made up of crystallized vitamin C. So consume vitamin C!

Minerals like potassium and natural sodium are important nutritional components. Coincidentally they are found in electrolytes. Is it merely a coincidence the adrenals are responsible for secreting hormones to tell the kidneys how much fluid and electrolyte minerals to keep back? Hmmmm. Makes you think, right?

One herb I love to include in an adrenal building program is Ashwaghanda! Ashwaghanda is considered an adaptogen. This means it is an herb which is considered to be beneficial in helping the body cope with stress. It is often times referred to as Indian ginseng (even though it and ginseng are not even close to being related). This shrub is actually a member of the tomato family. If you ever see the little seed pods, you know where the relation is. The seed pods look like little tomatillos. It is native to the dry climates of India and the middle east. Today it can be cultivated in some milder regions of the Americas, too. It is used in Ayurvedic medicine as an herb to increase energy and reduce negative impacts of stress.

Ashwaghanda is a shrub with oval leaves and yellow flowers
Ashwaghanda is a shrub with oval leaves and yellow flowers



Usually the root and the berries are used in the herbal preparations. The fruits are tiny red berries which sometimes look like red raisins by the time you buy them. The Chopra Center recommends adding 600 to 1000 mg of Ashwaghanda to your diet daily. I like to blend chromium, Korean ginseng root extract, rhodiola root extract, eleuthero root, gynostemma whole plant extract, ashwagandha root, schizandra fruit, suma bark, alfalfa aerial parts, astragalus root, kelp leaves and stems, reishi mushroom mycelia, rosemary leaves extract, ginkgo leaves extract, broccoli flowers, carrot root, red beet root, rosemary leaves, tomato fruit, turmeric root, cabbage leaf, grapefruit bioflavonoid, hesperidin and orange bioflavonoid.. While I realize this is a lot of supplements, sometimes you can find them altogether in a blend. Together these herbs help the body cope with a variety of stressful conditions, including stress on the immune system, fatigue and aging. They fight oxidative cellular damage, energize the body, support positive mood and stimulate the immune system. It is one of my main “go to” formulas to fight adrenal fatigue.

You can learn much more about Adrenal Fatigue and natural ways to cope in my book BURNT!