alyssa

Scorpio Season Tea

By Alyssa P

CN Buyer, herbalism student, lunar Scorpio

We just entered Scorpio season which for me always signals that we have officially transitioned into fall. Scorpios tend to embody metaphorical death and rebirth within themselves, constantly changing and evolving throughout their lives. Oftentimes, they unintentionally challenge others around them to do the same as well. It’s no coincidence that this sign occurs at the same time as autumn, when the nature is also preparing to go into hibernation mode for the winter before re-emerging in the spring. Scorpios usually find themselves going to the depths of their emotions and have a talent for always seeking out the truth. The flavor of this tea is as deep as a Scorpio’s emotional world, with strong flavors of smoke, berry, and pungent rosemary. The smokiness comes from Lapsang Souchong, an unmistakably unique black tea. Also featured in this blend are rosemary, damiana, and hibiscus. Rosemary is traditionally associated with Scorpios because it is a hearty herb that is still able to thrive in the at times harsh conditions of fall. Rosemary also provides cognitive support, helping to keep your mind as sharp as a Scorpio’s. Damiana is a great herb for sexual health, as Scorpio rules this part of our bodies. Hibiscus provides a balancing berry-like flavor and makes this tea a gorgeous deep ruby color. Like a Scorpio, this tea can be a little intimidating at first but ultimately provides a feeling of deep comfort, depth, and freshness.

Materials:

Ingredients:

Directions:

  • Boil 8 oz of water.

  • Pour hot water over tea and herbs.

  • Cover and let steep for 4 minutes.

  • Strain tea or remove teabag, sip and enjoy!

The information in this blog post is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition.

Tulsi Elderberry Syrup

By Alyssa P

CN buyer, herbalism student, beverage enthusiast

It’s that time of the year again when elderberries become the star of the bulk herbs show. Elderberries are known for their immune supporting properties as well as their delicious taste, especially in syrup form. Elderberry syrup is such a fun way to support your immune system and can be taken every day.

This elderberry syrup is inspired by Mountain Rose Herbs’ recipe, a company that supplies many of our bulk herbs and more. Also included is tulsi rama, aka holy basil. Tulsi can act as an immune supporter and is great for stress support as well. The inclusion of tulsi adds some spice and depth of flavor to the syrup and compliments the elderberries well.

Materials

  • Medium pot

  • Measuring tools

  • Strainer and/or cheesecloth

  • Sterilized glass jar

Ingredients

Directions

  • Add berries. herbs, and cold water to a pot and bring to a boil.

  • Reduce heat and let simmer for 30-40 minutes.

  • Remove from heat and let steep for 1 hour

  • Strain berries and herbs using a funnel overlaid with cheesecloth and squeeze out all the liquid. It may still be hot so use caution.

  • Let liquid cool to a bit warmer than room temperature and stir in honey. Make sure the amount of honey is at least half of the total liquid left (1/2 cup honey for 1 cup liquid). This will help to increase the shelf life. If using vodka or brandy, stir that in as well.

  • Store in a sterilized glass jar in the fridge. You should be left with about 1-1.5 cups of syrup or a bit more if you added an alcohol.

This syrup can be taken daily to support your immune system. It tastes amazing on its own or you could use it as a base for mixed beverages. I love adding a tablespoon or two of the syrup to a Ruby Hibiscus Sparkling Water- a delicious drink that’s only two ingredients!

P.S. Find the Mountain Rose Herbs Elderberry Syrup Recipe (and video!) here!




The information in this blog post is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition.

A CBD Guide!

By Alyssa P
CN buyer, herbalism student, and CBD lover

The world of CBD can be intimidating if you have never ventured there before- especially with all of the different options that are out there! Here I will guide you through some CBD basics as well as my favorite CBD products for those who are new to CBD and beyond. First, let’s cover some basics:

What is CBD?

CBD, also known as Cannabidiol, is a chemical found in the cannabis plant. CBD is not psychoactive and therefore will not cause a “high”. People use CBD for a variety of reasons, ranging from stress and sleep support to pain relief.

Isolates vs Broad Spectrum vs Full Spectrum

Generally, there are three types of CBD products: isolates, broad spectrum, and full spectrum. A CBD isolate is isolated CBD and will contain CBD only- no other components from the cannabis plant will be included in these products. CBD isolate is also the form of CBD that has been widely studied, as broad or full spectrum CBD contains too many variables. Broad spectrum products will contain CBD as well as any other naturally occurring plant extracts such as terpenes, but no THC, the psychoactive compound in cannabis. Full spectrum CBD products will contain everything that you find in a broad spectrum CBD plus up to .3% or less THC, which is the legal limit of THC in any CBD product.

CBD for First Timers

There are a couple of products that I usually recommend to customers who are new to CBD. The first being Sunsoil CBD. This CBD oil is a great first glimpse into internal CBD because the dosing is relatively small and it’s one of the most cost effective CBDs we carry at Cambridge Naturals. With an oil you can easily take a very specific dose, which can be especially helpful when figuring out a dose that works for you personally. Sunsoil’s smallest dose is 10mg per 1 dropperful and you could cut that in half by taking a half dropperful. 5-10 milligrams is generally a good dose to start with for those who have never tried CBD, as you can incrementally up your dose from there.

Another great option for trying out CBD is a smaller pack of gummies, like the Upstate Elevator 10mg Gummies- another 10 milligram dose that you could easily cut in half if need be. This pack of gummies is only $10 for 10 gummies so it’s not a huge investment if you are first experimenting with CBD. Plus, they taste great!

CBD Isolates (THC Free CBD)

For various reasons, some people may want to purchase a CBD product that contains absolutely no THC. In this case, they would look for a CBD isolate. Upstate Elevator makes a THC Free CBD Oil as well THC Free Gummies, which are both great options for those avoiding THC altogether.

Topical CBD

In my experience, topical CBD works great to relieve pain. In a recent training from Cordial Organics, our staff learned that our skin has its own endocannabinoid system. This system can absorb up to 3 times more CBD than our internal endocannabinoid system. So because of this, CBD that is used topically has the potential to work even better for pain relief than CBD that’s taken internally. One of my favorite topical CBD products at Cambridge Naturals is Cordial Organics’ Restore Stick, and not just because of their amazing training. This is another affordable CBD option that is easy to apply and smells amazing. It has helped me through various needs, such back pain and menstrual cramps.

My Other Favorite CBD Products

The Gingergrass flavor of the Dram CBD Sparkling Waters was the best selling product of the whole store in 2021, and for good reason too! My coworkers and I definitely contributed to that statistic because this CBD sparkling water tastes so good and in my experience really helps to put me in a good mood. Plus each flavor contains adaptogenic herbs and mushrooms, offering long term stress support as well.

Other CBD favorites of mine include the CV Sciences Calm Gummies and the Flora Sophia Gummies. The CV Sciences Gummies contain 10 mg of CBD, which is a relatively small dose, but they also contain both L-Theanine and 5-HTP. L-Theanine is most commonly found in green tea and is the reason that we feel calm after drinking a cup of green tea. It balances out the caffeine and leaves us feeling peaceful. I find L-Theanine to be so helpful in moments of stress and it has had my back every time I’ve accidentally drank too much coffee. L-Theanine is something I often recommend to customers on its own because in my experience it’s fast acting and reliable. (Find L-Theanine supplements here!) 5-HTP is a precursor to serotonin, meaning it can help improve our mood. I find this formulation so amazing! The Calm Gummies are relatively new but have already gained a lot of traction by both customers and staff members alike. The Flora Sophia gummies contain 20 mg of CBD and in my personal experience, they do a lot for mood and stress support. I love to take them towards the end of the day to help me unwind and have a relaxing and lighthearted evening.

CBD can be a different experience from person to person, so if you are interested in trying it out its important to do some experimenting with dosage and specific products. It might take some time to find out exactly what works for you, so hopefully this guide is a helpful starting point!

The information in this blog post is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition.

Libra Season Tea

By Alyssa P
CN buyer, herbalism student, Libra ascendant

Libra is ruled by the planet Venus and therefore all things romance, beauty, and partnerships. This tea embodies that energy with floral, tart, and berry flavors and deep purple color. Libra also rules the liver and kidneys, so this blend is formulated to bring some balance (Libra’s symbol is the scales) to those areas as well. This tea is high in antioxidants, which may be beneficial for promoting hair, skin, and nail health. Vanilla rooibos is the base of this tea, which is high in antioxidants. Next, this recipe includes chamomile and Gotu kola, which have been known to promote skin health via anti-inflammatory and calming properties. Schisandra berries have been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to help support heart, liver, and kidney health. Butterfly pea flowers, in addition to being another source of antioxidants, are potentially collagen promoting, which is an essential factor in skin hydration and elasticity. Butterfly pea flowers provide a sapphire blue color, which when mixed with the other ingredients transforms into a gorgeous deep purple. This recipe provides enough for two, so you can share with someone close in true Libra fashion.

Materials:

  • Teabag or strainer

  • Mug of choice

  • Hot water

Ingredients:

Process:

Add all herbs to a tea strainer or teabag. Pour about 20 oz of freshly boiled water over the herbs, cover, and let steep for at least 5 minutes. Strain out herbs and enjoy with a friend!





The information in this blog post is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition.

Sunday Sip - Adrenal Mocktail

By Alyssa P
CN buyer, herbalism student, and beverage connoisseur

If you find yourself needing a little afternoon pick-me-up or just some extra hydration, an adrenal mocktail is a great beverage to turn to. This beverage is packed with vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes- most notably magnesium, potassium, sodium, and vitamin C. It’s very simple to make as it only requires three ingredients. Plus it satisfies that salty-sweet craving! Adrenal mocktails are so refreshing and will give you an energy boost without having to reach for that second cup of coffee, all while transporting you to a momentary tropical vacation. It’s the perfect midday or post-gym drink.

Ingredients:

Process:

Add all ingredients to a glass and mix well. If adding coconut cream, blend or shake well to make sure everything gets mixed in.

Sunday Sip - Elderberry Defense

By Alyssa P
CN buyer, herbalism student, and beverage connoisseur

As the season begins to change, now is a great time to give our immune systems a little love. Goldthread’s Elderberry Defense Tonic is a great place to start. This tonic is both refreshing and nourishing. It features herbs such as elderberry- a delicious and well loved immune supporter and rosehips, which are a great source of vitamin C. Astragalus root is another commonly used herb for immune support and ginger provides anti-inflammatory properties. Lastly, the addition of tulsi helps us to unwind and de-stress.

This tonic is great on its own or combined with sparkling water if you’re craving some bubbles. Nixie’s Lime Ginger sparkling water would pair really well! Adding a dropperful or two of a tincture could also make this drink even more potent. I would choose Urban Moonshine’s Immune Tonic, which features similar ingredients to the Elderberry Defense as well as immune-supporting mushroom extracts. Feel free to get creative with combinations!

Happy sipping!

Virgo Season Tea

By Alyssa, CN Buyer, herbalism student, Virgo sun

Virgo season is here! Time to get organized, focus on the details, go out of your way to help your friends, overthink, and give solicited (or maybe unsolicited!) advice.

Virgos are known for their overactive minds, therefore they need all the stress support they can get. And notoriously Virgos are known for stomach issues (probably from stressing themselves out), so this tea provides digestive aid as well. For stress support, we have lemon balm, maypop (passionflower) for an overactive mind, and holy basil for sustainable nervous system support. Milky oat tops also help reduce stress as well as being all-around nourishing. Lastly, fennel, ginger, and dandelion provide digestive aid.

Materials:

Ingredients:

Process:

Add all herbs to a teapot or tea infuser. I use about a teaspoon of each except for the ginger and fennel- those I use a half teaspoon of. Pour 12-16 ounces of freshly boiled water over the herbs. Cover and let steep for 5 minutes. Strain out herbs or remove tea infuser. Add honey to taste. Take a deep breath and exhale any stress.

Sunday Sip - Cycle Balancing Iced Tea

By Alyssa P

CN Buyer, herbalism student, tea enthusiast

As someone with a menstrual cycle, I find that incorporating certain herbs into my routine can make a big difference in how I feel “that time” of the month and beyond. One of my favorite plant allies has been raspberry leaf for this very reason. Raspberry leaf is vitamin and mineral rich and has a toning effect which can help keep uterine cramps at bay. I’ve made it a habit to make a big batch of iced tea overnight to drink daily for at least the two weeks leading up to my period. However, I find that drinking this daily throughout the month gets me the best results. I always feature raspberry leaf in this infusion along with some other cycle balancing and stress reducing herbs. My favorite herbs to add in are rose, spearmint, milky oat tops, and red clover. The resulting taste has a black tea-like base and the rose and spearmint add floral and minty notes.

Materials:

Ingredients:

Process:

  • Add all herbs to your pitcher. I use about 2-3 tablespoons of each herb and my pitcher holds about a half gallon of water.

  • Pour water to fill the pitcher and place in the fridge overnight or for at least 6 hours.

  • Strain tea out when done infusing and enjoy!

P.S. Brittany Wood Nickerson also had a great book called Sacred and Mysterious that details more menstruation supporting herbs and recipes. I like to incorporate herbs inspired by her recipes into this daily infusion.

P.P.S. This tea can be nourishing for all bodies! Not just for those who menstruate :)

Sunday Sip - Hibiscus Cardamom Mocktail

By Alyssa P
CN buyer, herbalism student, and beverage connoisseur

Sit back and relax this Sunday with a cooling, bright, and slightly spicy hibiscus cardamom sparkling beverage. For this drink we are using Portland Syrup Co. Hibiscus Cardamom Syrup and Dram Cardamom and Black Tea sparkling water. Hibiscus can help us cool down from the summer sun and cardamom can aid digestion. Plus the sparkling water is very lightly caffeinated, making this beverage a perfect post-lunch pick me up.

To make: simply add an ounce of the syrup to a glass, pour in the Dram, add ice, and stir! Garnish with a slice of lime if you’re feeling fancy. Enjoy!

Spicy Chai Concentrate for at-home iced chai lattes!

By Alyssa P
CN buyer, herbalism student, and beverage connoisseur

This heat wave has me craving a beverage that will help me stay both cool and energized. Lately I’ve been turning to a homemade chai concentrate that is refreshing, spicy, and not overly caffeinated. Having a concentrate on hand makes my mornings easy since all you have to do is add a milk of choice and ice. Nothing complicated or heated once it’s prepped and it’s already cold from being kept in the fridge. Plus you can make it as sweet (or not sweet) as you would like! This recipe features assam black tea and chai masala spices from Boston Chai Party, a beloved local and Indian-owned brand whose mission is to empower people to make their own high quality and authentic chai at home. Happy chai making!

Materials:

Medium/large pot and lid
Strainer
Glass container for storage
Spoon for mixing
Your favorite glass
Measuring cup(s) 

Ingredients:

½ cup Boston Chai Party Chai Masala Spices
¼ cup Boston Chai Party Assam Black Tea Leaves
4 cups water
Honey, sugar, or another sweetener to taste 
Minor Figures Oat Milk
2-3 fresh ginger slices

Process: 

  • Add black tea, ginger slices, and water to a pot on high heat and stir. 

  • When the water starts boiling, turn the heat to low and stir in the chai spices. 

  • Cover and let simmer for about 5 minutes. 

  • Let cool for a few minutes and then strain into a glass container for storage. The mixture will be thick, so it’s helpful to stir as you strain.

  • If you would like to, add some honey, sugar, or maple syrup for some added sweetness. 

  • Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

  • When ready to use, pour about 4 oz into a cup and add around 8 oz of milk or a milk alternative- Minor Figures oat milk is my favorite. Add ice and enjoy your homemade iced chai latte!