Fall 2017

Yellow Dock

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Autumn has arrived--the season for harvesting roots! From root vegetables to the roots of medicinal herbs, the fall offers us gifts from beneath the soil. At this time of year, plants send their nutrients and energy down into their roots for winter storage, enriching them with nourishing and healing elements.

One of my favourite local wild roots is yellow dock (Rumex crispus). Also known as “curly dock”, this dock family biennial is easily found throughout our region. It has leaves that are longer than they are wide (up to about one foot long), with white-reddish midribs and a long stem. The leaf edges have a curly or wavy appearance and come up in a basal rosette formation. In its second year of growth, yellow dock shoots up a tall flowering stalk with a cluster of tiny whitish-green flowers. When it eventually develops seeds, the whole stalk, seeds included, turns a reddish-bronze hue and remains that way throughout the winter. Beneath the ground, yellow dock’s long tap root has flesh that is an unmistakable shade of yellow—hence the name!

The yellow roots indicate an important signature of this plant: it effectively promotes bile production and movement.

The liver and gall bladder are largely supported by yellow dock root. When yellow bile flows freely through the digestive tract, it helps us to break down and absorb fats, allowing further nutrient absorption while also carrying out wastes and toxins so that they don’t build up and burden our organs of elimination. Thus yellow dock root is an excellent herbal digestive aid, helping us to absorb the nutrients we need while clearing out toxicity, keeping us healthy and energized.

Yellow dock also has a strong affinity for the skin, helping to clear eczema and other rashes and irritations that sometimes stem from an inhibited or overburdened liver’s challenged ability to clear toxins. When toxins or immune by-products build up in the system and the liver can’t easily clear them, they will often be cleared through the pores of the skin, causing various skin irritations. Yellow dock root helps to relieve these conditions by working from the inside out.

The deep tap roots accumulate iron, making yellow dock a choice supplement for iron deficiency. The root, infused in apple cider vinegar will readily secrete iron and other trace minerals into the vinegar, which can be strained after three to four weeks, and safely taken daily (one to three teaspoons) until iron levels increase. While many iron supplements tend to cause constipation, yellow dock has mild laxative properties, supporting proper elimination while supplying the needed iron.

All this aid in clearing away wastes and toxins helps to prevent infections, while also freeing up the immune system to stay on strict guard against any potential invading pathogens— thus yellow dock root strengthens immune function too.

This wild plant is so hardy that it is often found breaking through pavement or thriving in neglected, compacted soil. It also comes up as a “weed” in fields and gardens, where it can be dug in the autumn of its first year. The cleaned, sliced root infused in cider vinegar or dried and stored for use as a tea, is an invaluable addition to anyone’s herb cupboard, and should stay viable for two to three years. With all this in mind, in root harvest season...I dig yellow dock!

 

Originally published: October 12, 2017

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Tamara Segal, Contributor and Registered Herbalist

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Tamara Segal is a Registered Herbalist and wild foods enthusiast. She runs an herbal clinic called Hawthorn Herbals at her farm in Prince Edward County. She also teaches classes and gives plant identification walks and workshops throughout the Quinte area.



Bringing Home the Spa - Recreating the benefits of hydrotherapy spas at home

Healthy Living Now | healthy living | healthy living Ontario | healthy living Canada | wellness | wellness Ontario | wellness Canada | fitness | fitness Ontario | fitness Canada | healthy eating | healthy eating Ontario | healthy eating Canada | mindfulness | mindfulness Ontario | mindfulness Canada | lifestyle | Ontario lifestyle | Canadian lifestyle | family | Ontario family | Ontario family magazine | Canadian family |  David Suzuki | Dr. Natasha Turner, N.D. | Dr. Oz  | living green | green living | green living Ontario | green living Canada | green living magazine | family strategies | family strategies Ontario | family strategies Canada | products new & now | healthy products | healthy products Ontario | healthy products Canada | lifestyle products | lifestyle products Ontario | lifestyle products Canada | healthy living products | Ontario healthy living products | Canadian healthy living products |  beauty | beauty products | Ontario beauty | Ontario beauty products | Canadian beauty | Canadian beauty products | fashion | fashion products | Ontario fashion | Ontario fashion products | Canadian fashion | Canadian fashion products | home | home products | Ontario home | Ontario home products | Canadian home | Canadian home products  | Hydrotherapy |   Fall 2017 |   Bringing Home the Spa - Recreating the benefits of hydrotherapy spas at home | Kelly Gillis, ND

When you think of a trip to the spa, it conjures up images of facials, nail treatments, body wraps and massages. But spas weren’t always havens for simply the beautification of the physical body.

Traditionally, they were places people would go to “take the waters”; to immerse, cleanse and bathe themselves in healing waters meant to rejuvenate the body, mind and spirit. The use of water in this healing way is called hydrotherapy.

And this is how we can bring hydrotherapy home. There are many ways to use water in your own home that will bring about the same responses in the body, and effectively stimulate the same healing and relaxation.

Hydrotherapy has been shown in recent years to benefit a vast number of conditions including: improving cholesterol levels and high blood pressure, promoting quality and duration of sleep, reducing stress and anxiety, pain management (especially osteoarthritis), improving immune function, boosting metabolism, and supporting overall feelings of wellbeing, among others.

Given the wide range of possible benefits, it’s easy to see why the therapy is enjoying a resurgence with the success of such hydrotherapy- focused spas and resorts as Nordik, Body Blitz and Scandinave Spa. 

Typically located in beautiful, outdoor, natural settings, spa-goers are encouraged to spend long hours languidly transitioning through a series of pools, saunas, and rest stations of varying temperatures.

This simple transition from very warm (some steam rooms can be close to 100 degrees Celsius) to very cold water (often just a few degrees above freezing) is the true secret behind hydrotherapy; the drastic temperature change creates a number of complex physiological and biochemical changes within the body. Cycling through alternating hot and cold water stimulates these cellular and chemical changes, which are responsible for the benefits that we expect from hydrotherapy.

And this is how we can bring hydrotherapy home. There are many ways to use water in your own home that will bring about the same responses in the body, and effectively stimulate the same healing and relaxation.

One of the simplest and most effective home practices is the alternating shower. For this treatment all you need is your standard home shower. Simply turn the water temperature up so that it feels very warm to hot (but not so hot that it is uncomfortable). Stand in the water for up to three minutes, and then abruptly change the temperature to as cold as you can tolerate (this will feel like a bit of a shock!) Stand under the cold water for no more than one minute, and then return the temperature to hot. Repeat this cycle three to five times, ending with a cold stream.

You can use a similar technique to enjoy the benefits of hydrotherapy at home in a number of different ways, such as a simple foot bath, or (carefully) jumping in and out of the backyard hot tub to get sprayed down with the garden hose.

However you choose to practice hydrotherapy at home, there are a few key principles to keep in mind to maximize your hydrotherapeutic benefit. The first is that the warm phase should always be longer than the cold phase by a ratio of about 3:1; for example, if your hot phase only lasts one minute, the cold should last no longer than 20 seconds. The second is to always end on cold - this leaves the body a little bit cool, which then demands that it warm itself once again, increasing metabolic rate and blood flow. And, as with any new practice, don’t overdo it, especially at the beginning. If the extremes of temperature seem like too much to tolerate, work your way up to it by starting with warm-cool transitions, and build up to hot-cold.

 

Originally Published: September 30, 2017

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Kelly Gillis, ND, Contributor and naturopathic doctor practicing in her hometown of Belleville, Ontario at the Belleville Integrative Health Centre

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Dr. Kelly is a naturopathic doctor practicing in her hometown of Belleville, Ontario at the Belleville Integrative Health Centre. She trained as a naturopath at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto, Ontario and prior to that, completed an honours undergraduate degree in Health Promotion at Laurentian University. She is licensed and registered with the College of Naturopaths of Ontario, and is a member of the Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors and the Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors.