Home & Natural Medicine

Featured in Well+Good: 3 Plants That Can Give Your Skin A Boost When Fall Hits

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You know winter usually wreaks havoc on your skin (hello, majorly dry air), but as your face faces the impending cold front, is there anything you can actually do to prep your complexion in advance?

According to Rachelle Robinett, holistic health practitioner and founder of Supernatural, there is—it just requires hoarding some proverbial acorns (ahem, plant-rich skin-care essentials).

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Lavender

Lavender isn’t just for your diffuser. The purple flower is a key ingredient for fall skin care, according to Robinett.

“Amid the busyness of fall, if there’s one herb to keep on-hand, this may be it,” Robinett says. “It’s a calm-creating plant, known for giving us a sense of wellbeing without being too uplifting nor sedating. Think of it as peace in plant form.”

“Amid the busyness of fall, if there’s one herb to keep on-hand, [lavender] may be it.”

Play up that soothing effect with Weleda’s Lavender Creamy Body wash. The gentle formula adds extra hydration with sesame oil for another nourishment boost, too. Turn on a steamy shower, lather up, and feel the tranquil vibes.

Rosemary

Robinett cites literature to talk about rosemary’s reported mindfulness powers. “In Hamlet, Ophelia says to her brother Laertes, ‘There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance,'” Robinett says. That’s why she likes to have rosemary on hand for a mid-day pick-me-up.

“I use rosemary in essential oil form…essentially as a caffeine replacement,” she says. “[I] warm it between my palms and then inhale deeply from them. It’s such an enlivening and also calming experience.”

The rosemary leaf extract in Weleda’s Skin Food can help give tired skin (sound like winter skin to anyone?) a dose of glow. The ultra-rich moisturizer is a universal salve for rough elbows and hands, and acts like a layer of deep hydration for your face, too.

Wild Rose

“Fall (and winter) can be ideal times to recover from sun damage that may have been done in the summer,” Robinett says. “It’s still important to protect against the sun all year long, but when there’s less of it, we can go a little deeper with brightening, exfoliating, or corrective actions.”

Her pick for a skin-boosting plant is wild rose, which she praises as a full-spectrum herbal remedy. “Vitamin C, which rose is high in, is commonly relied on for making skin feel smooth,” she explains. “This is one ingredient I’d seek out in serums, moisturizers, and masks, especially.”

Snag a moisturizing body oil that owes its silky smoothness to a bouquet of wild rose oils (plus hydrating sweet almond and jojoba oils in Weleda’s Pampering Body & Beauty Oil), and head into fall with your best, most moisturized face forward.

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This post originally appeared on Well+Good, here.

Quoted in mindbodygreen: Black Cohosh: The Plant That Herbalists Call On For Treating Period Cramps, Sleep Issues & More

“The deeper you dive into the world of herbalism, the more you come to realize that nature has already come up a cure for almost every ailment out there—from headaches to fatigue and beyond. One natural remedy that many herbalists have turned to for centuries is a medicinal plant known as black cohosh. While it hasn't quite gone mainstream in the wellness world, black cohosh has shown potential to help women during their cycle and through menopause and also offer some relief to those struggling with PCOS. Here's everything you need to know about adding it to your plant-powered health arsenal.

What is black cohosh?

“Native to North America, black cohosh (actaea racemosa or cimicufuga racemosa) is also known as bugbane, rattleroot, and black snakeroot. The medicinal plant grows in the Eastern deciduous forest and is wild harvested in the Appalachian and the Ozarks, and its power is packed in its roots and underground stems.

“Black cohosh has been used across the world as a natural remedy for centuries. Algonquins took the herb internally to remedy kidney programs, while the Iroquois used it topically for achy joints to ease pain. In the case of the Cherokees, it was used as a diuretic and treatment for tuberculous and fatigue.”

Read the full story on mindbodygreen.

“And remember that pairing black cohosh with other healthy lifestyle changes will always yield the best results. "Black cohosh can be really helpful for some menopausal symptoms, as well as protecting bones. I'd first suggest a very high-quality (nutrient-dense) plant-based diet for either state, and then consider including black cohosh additionally," shared Rachelle Robinett, holistic health practitioner and founder of Supernatural. Herbs are a powerful tool that can be a part of your overall health journey.”

Featured in mindbodygreen: Rhodiola Rosea: Everything You Need To Know About The Stress-Fighting, Sleep-Boosting Adaptogen

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These days, it can feel like everything comes with a side of adaptogens. From superfood chocolate to functional elixirs and beyond, herb-based medicines are easier to come by than ever.

And one adaptogen you're likely to see more of is Rhodiola rosea, a flowering plant whose root can be used for fighting stress and anxiety, increasing athletic performance, boosting energy, and more. Also known as golden root, arctic root, and King's crown, it has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese and Greek medicine—and its beginnings may stem back as early as the first century A.D.

As someone who has spent the past year and a half moving away from pharmaceuticals as much as possible (while understanding, appreciating, and utilizing them when needed!) and gravitating toward plant -and food-based medicine, I love exploring the uses and benefits of adaptogens and herbs. And Rhodiola rosea is a powerhouse that I keep in my herbal arsenal.

Let's take a look at the benefits and side effects of this adaptogen to help you see if it's the right thing to mix into your morning coffee (or matcha, or herbal tea, or smoothie...). Because while adaptogens are increasing in popularity, it's important to make educated and informed decisions about the ones you should actually be taking:

So, what are the benefits of taking Rhodiola rosea?

There are many reported benefits of Rhodiola rosea, some of which have been studied more than others. Here are a handful that are backed up by science:

It helps regulate stress.

First and foremost, Rhodiola rosea is an adaptogen, so by definition it helps your body adapt to stress. These super herbs can adapt to what your body needs—whether it be a boost of energy when you're fatigued or a way to calm anxiety in stressful situations—and help regulate your cortisol levels to stave off fatigue. "Adaptogens are one of my favorite natural healing tools to use in my functional medicine clinic. I often recommend Rhodiola for patients who are severely stressed and anyone struggling with adrenal fatigue as it works to support your sympathetic nervous system—the stress control center of your body," shares Will Cole D.C., IFMCP, an author and functional medicine practitioner.

It increases energy and fights fatigue.

One of the foremost reasons individuals choose to take Rhodiola rosea is for its energy-boosting and fatigue-fighting properties. According to one study that followed nursing students working shifts, Rhodiola rosea helped reduce their fatigue levels more than a placebo. Rhodiola rosea has also been shown to be beneficial for brain function and concentration. Another clinical trial showed that participants who took Rhodiola rosea every morning were more capable of fighting burnout and maintaining concentration throughout the day.

It can boost physical activity.

Due to its energy-boosting abilities, Rhodiola rosea is often used by endurance athletes. One clinical study that followed young, healthy individuals who took Rhodiola rosea daily for four weeks showed an increased endurance during exercise, and the adaptogen has even been shown to act as an antiviral during prolonged physical activitysuch as marathon running, meaning it makes athletes less susceptible to infection. It's not just for super-athletes either.

"Rhodiola can be really effective for people who are consistently physically active. Athletes, yes, but also any of us who stand for much of the day, walk a ton, lift, or the like," explained Rachelle Robinett, a holistic health practitioner and founder of Supernatural. "As an adaptogen, it's been pretty well-studied in physical (and mental) performance, and if it's the right herb for you, you should see better performance times or cognitive function, and recovery from physical exertion too."

So before you hit the gym, go for a run, or hike up that mountain, consider a dose of Rhodiola rosea for some extra support.

It might help fight depression.

The adaptogen has also been studied in regards to supporting individuals struggling with depression. Compared to Sertraline, a pharmaceutical antidepressant (you may know it under the name Zoloft), Rhodiola rosea was found to be less effective at treating symptoms, but it had fewer side effects like nausea and drowsiness. The study concluded it to be a potentially better option for those with mild to moderate depression who want to mitigate the risk of such side effects.

The laundry list of other potential Rhodiola rosea benefits in early research stages includes fighting diabetes, fighting cancer, preventing altitude sickness, and more.

That sounds awesome! I should definitely take it then, right?

Adaptogens are widely considered to be safe and low-risk, but there are certainly some things to keep in mind before taking them on the daily. Rhodiola rosea side effects are rather limited, but a small group of participants in one study showed mild side effects such as headaches and insomnia. "Rhodiola can be over-energizing, but in lower doses this can turn into a calming effect," explained Robinett. So you should consider taking Rhodiola in the morning, but be cautious if you are already a hyper-energized or anxious person.

Rhodiola rosea side effects have also included dry mouth and dizziness. If you feel these effects or any general discomfort after taking Rhodiola rosea, stop taking it. There may be an herb that provides similar benefits that your body is more welcoming to.

You should avoid experimenting with Rhodiola rosea if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or taking mood stabilizers. It is always optimal to consult with a doctor, herbalist, or naturopath when considering which herbs and adaptogens are right for you.

OK, I want to try it! How much do I take and in what form?

It's important to note that adaptogens generally work in your body over time, so try to work them into your daily routine for optimal benefits. If you want, you can take the occasional break to see if the herbs are really working.

Rhodiola rosea comes in several forms—powder, tincture, extract, and pills. "I love the powder, because I get to smell it, taste it, and see the dusty-pink color. But for convenience, tinctures are also great," Robinett explains. Personally, I take it in tincture form, which I throw in water or into a morning elixir.

As for dosage, smart small and work your way up. Robinett advises "One-eighth teaspoon per day to start, if using a powder standardized at ~3 percent salidosides, for example, which is then increased slowly to find the sweet spot. For most, if it's the right herb for you, that tends to be between 100 and 400 milligrams per day. If you're not seeing benefits there, it may be worth exploring other options."

If you have a local herb shop, the herbalists may be able to provide specific dosing for your needs or make you a blend with other herbs that would be relevant to what symptoms you are experiencing.

You also want to make sure Rhodiola rosea (and any other herbal supplements you're taking!) come from a trusted source. Look for third-party certifications from the brands you are purchasing such as the USP or NSF seal to make sure you're taking the adaptogen in its pure form.

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This post appears originally on mindbodygreen, here.