Guide to low-waste periods!

By Allison, Customer Service Specialist & Low-Waste Enthusiast

Period product waste may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of eliminating waste and helping the environment, but globally, 200,000 tons of period related waste accumulates every year! Fortunately, there are a variety of options when it comes to sustainable period products - varying from reduced waste to zero waste. Remember! It’s not about committing to zero waste 100% of the time! Small mindful choices to reduce waste do indeed help minimize overall waste. High-waste menstrual products include tampons with plastic applicators and single-use pads; luckily sustainable products have become more accessible. 

If you’re interested in moving towards lower waste options, but still need the convenience of traditional period products, then biodegradable (cardboard applicator) tampons, applicator free tampons, or reusable tampon applicators might be the right fit for you. Applicator-free tampons are also more affordable than applicator tampons.

Menstrual disks are another low to no waste option. They are available in both disposable and reusable varieties. There is a bit of a learning curve when it comes to insertion, but one advantage of menstrual disks is that they can be worn for more than eight hours, unlike tampons which pose the risk of toxic-shock-syndrome with extended wear. Menstrual disks may also be confused with menstrual cups. Aside from shape, one of the key differences is that menstrual disks do not create suction around the cervix, making it a better option for people with IUDs - suction can pose a small risk to IUD stability.

Menstrual cups are a no-waste period product that can be inserted into the vagina and create suction around the cervix. This makes menstrual cups an effective leakproof option. Though, there is also a learning curve when it comes to proper insertion, so it might be a good idea to use a backup panty liner for the first couple cycles after making the switch. Menstrual cups also come in different sizes depending on individual anatomy and previous vaginal childbirths.

Another no-waste option is reusable washable pads. Many people find these pads to be less irritating to the skin than disposable pads. However, some do find them a bit more bulky - though reviews on that are mixed. Using these is very similar to disposable pads, except after use: just rinse with water; place them in a mesh/delicates laundry bag; and wash with detergent in your usual washing machine. Be sure to skip the fabric softener though - it will reduce the absorbency of the material.

Period underwear is another no-waste option, very similar to washable pads. An added bonus to period underwear is that they’re leakproof, unlike washable pads.

It’s also possible to incorporate different sustainable products in different situations. For example, wearing reusable pads or period underwear at home or to bed, but using tampon options while you are on the go, running errands or at work. Menstrual cups are a safer choice than tampons for times when you need coverage for more than 8 hours at a time. Mixing and matching is encouraged!

Shop all menstrual care on our website: www.cambridgenaturals.com/shop

Staff Picks: Holiday Gift Guide 2022!

Meara

Unplugged Essentials Hemp Soak - King (Eucalyptus)

These glorious bath salts contain epsom salts and phytocannabinoids which give me a super relaxed, floaty feeling. I especially like the King variety because it includes eucalyptus, peppermint, tea tree and clove essential oils which give it an uplifting and energizing feel. Unplugged essentials also makes a Knight variety which has a more relaxation-focused essential oil blend, a Queen variety with a more grounding blend, and the unscented Pawn variety. I like to use these bath salts, light some candles, burn some incense, and meditate while I am in the tub. This has been an AMAZING ritual for me and I highly recommend!

Zach

The Nut Free Chocolate Company - Organic Milk Chocolate Covered Smores

I'm not usually much of a sweets person (give me the salt, right?) but these Organic Milk Chocolate Covered Smores from The Nut Free Chocolate Company based in Easton, MA are absolutely amazing. The entire thing is encased on delicious chocolate and is sure to bring joy to any celebration this season. Plus, the Nut Free Chocolate Company is entirely nut-free and works to make sure their supply chain is too! PLUS they're a local woman-owned business! What's not to love?

Rose

Fly By Jing - Sichuan Chili Crisp

I'm late to the game with this product, but I've been telling everyone I know who likes spicy food about the Fly By Jing Sichuan Chili Crisp. I truly believe it is the perfect condiment and I have yet to find a dish that it doesn't enhance. My personal favorite is on eggs, roasted vegetables, and tofu. My husband puts it on vanilla ice cream. We are a household obsessed! Buy this for the spice loving people in your life... and maybe for yourself too!

Alina

Orgaid Amaranth Squalane Oil

Organic! Vegan! Doctor formulated! These are 3 things I really appreciate when considering what to put on my skin. If you are looking for supple, glowing skin, this is the oil for you. This simple 4-ingredient mixture is lightweight and non-greasy, making it oily skin and acne-prone skin friendly. This is truly the perfect gift for someone looking to elevate their skincare regimen in this dry winter weather while supporting small, honest, AAPI-owned companies.

Amber

Andes Gifts Blended Glittens

I'm the kind of person who is always thrilled to receive gloves as a present. These alpaca-blend 'glittens' may have a silly name, but they're serious business. They can be worn as a conventional mitten, or, with the flap buttoned back, as stylish fingerless gloves. Also amazing: they're handmade in Peru and Bolivia by a company that promotes long-term dependable employment opportunities for artisans. They're perfect for those winter days when you want to keep your hands warm but still be able to type on your phone, and they come in a bunch of gorgeous colors too!

Emma

Apis Apotheca Facial Cleanser - Golden Milk Balm

I have told my sister, my mother, my best friends, and everyone that asks me about facial products in the store about this line. I always had very finicky and stubborn acne growing up. No matter what I did or tried it was relentless. I had acne scarring, weird face texture, and forehead wrinkles. Before I even started working here, my best friend told me that I needed to try switching to a gentle balm to clean my face, and stop using such astringent things. I walked into CN and grabbed this on a whim. Then when I started this job a month later, I purchased the entire line and my skin has never been better. It has also dramatically changed my twin sisters skin, who has had an even longer battle with cystic acne than me. It goes such a long way, and you can purchase their refill sachets and continue to reuse the glass bottle. Plus the smell of the Flower Sap and Resin smell so lovely, it feels like such a nice treat to myself in the morning and night.

Dev

Nopalera Cactus Flower Hibiscus Exfoliant

This fragrant and soothing exfoliant makes an excellent present for anyone in your life with skin--so, hopefully everyone! The iconic nopal cactus--also known as the prickly pear--is the inspiration for Nopalera and the primary feature in their body care product line. It really shines in combination here with delicious smelling hibiscus, grapefruit, and jasmine extracts. You won't even need to moisturize after using it, so it really does it all! Not to mention the beautiful packaging and design, all of which make it feel like it could be a special gift any time of year.... or right now!

Sofia

Beeswax Pillar Candle by Beverly Bees

During this dark and chilly time of the year I am burning through all my candles(haha) at an alarming rate! This candle is pure beeswax, which not only smells enchanting, but burns slower. Beverly bees is a small, woman founded, local company that does a ton of work to save bees. They are doing their part to SAVE THE BEES by offering removal services in Massachusetts and also offering beekeeping classes and services. I love supporting companies like this and its an added bonus that their products make me feel so cozy. :)

Vicki

Stadler Form Aromatherapy Diffusers

This is my go-to gift for any occasion, since people always want a good smelling home! The Stadler Form diffusers are really well made, super easy to fill with water and 100% essential oils (only 100%, nothing diluted in carrier oils), super easy to clean (no cracks you can't reach), and they last a really long time. We've been using the same one in the store for 4 or so years! One thing I must mention since I got a cat, please be careful with which oils and how much oils you diffuse in your homes. The little lungs of the cats are said not to be able to handle the oil particles that are emmitted from diffusing.

Alyssa

Organic Bath Co Peacefull Body Butter

This whipped body butter is the perfect gift for night time bathers and lavender lovers alike. I love using this body butter by Organic Bath Co. to wind down or enhance an at home spa night. The lavender scent is truly so peace-inducing and the whipped texture makes this shea butter based lotion easy to apply and extra hydrating for extra dry winter skin. Plus this brand is Black owned and based in Charlestown, MA so you can be sure you're supporting a great local business.

Allison

Nat + Noor Lu Lu Sky Hair Clips

Ever since I cut my hair above my shoulders, these have been my go-to functional hair accessories! Perfect for keeping hair out of my face and pinning up the straggly pieces of a ponytail. They're extremely versatile - comfy enough to wear while lounging around the house, but fancy enough for a night out. They have a strong grip on fine hair too, and come in a variety of colors! These would be the perfect gift for anyone that has shorter hair!

Sarah

Saffiyah Botanicals Curls Quencher Coconut Milk Nectar

My wavy hair has never been great at holding a curl especially a day after washing it. This curl quenching spray has been life changing. I can use it on wet hair after washing OR spray my dry hair to bring my hair back to life. It is infused with herbal extracts and essential oils AND best of all, Saffiyah is a local, WOC-owned brand.

Gabi

Axiology Vegan Multi Use Balmie Rose

The best 3 in one gift for any makeup lover! I adore this product because it's perfect for the days you aren't sure what to put on your face and always creates a cohesive look. Their packaging makes it easy to throw in your bag or pocket for any touch ups needed throughout the day. It's great for any level of makeup artist! Rose is my personal fave, but we have many options ranging from neutral shimmers to a nude plum.

Julia

Nut Free Chocolate Factory - Dark Chocolate

This local, family owned chocolate company has made my all time favorite chocolate bar. Ever. Seriously, I can't get enough! I love dark chocolate, but sometimes it can be a bit too dry. Thankfully this chocolate bar is not only the perfect balance of bitter and sweet, but it's also incredibly creamy. Every bite just melts in my mouth and leaves me wanting more! I could eat two bars in one sitting; it's that good! I can't wait to include them in my gifts this year for a little treat. I feel good knowing that these chocolate bars are not only nut free, but they have such clean, simple ingredients as well.

Meghan

Evanhealy Kit - The Oil & Water Calming Ritual

Evan Healy has formulated some incredibly clean organic products that have absolutely changed my skin care routine. They are meant to simulate the cycles of our skin by mimicking the natural sebum that forms (the oil) and our sweat (the water) by combining an oil serum and hydrosol, or as they call it a hydrosoul! The hydrosoul helps the oil to sink in and together they provide a new kind of skin care ritual that leaves you feeling in touch with your body and the plants you are using. For only $14.95 it makes an easy gift paired with a candle or alone as a stocking stuffer!

Brenden

Kefla Dark & Salty CBD Morsel (25mg CBD)

The number one thing we all could be doing during the holidays, religious or not, is to chill out. Just CHILL! Rise CBD rich morsels contain a perfect 25mg per package, packing the perfect punch to make your holiday a relaxing day. By the way, they taste great and they fit well into a stocking.

Shannon

Health From The Sun MigraSoothe Roll On

I had a really bad headache one morning and was recommended to try this product and I'm obsessed. I don't leave the house without it! Peppermint & Lavender essential oils helps ease the tension that builds up around my face throughout the day. It's recommended to roll around your temples, but I also like rolling it behind my ears and under my nose to relieve sinus tension and stress. Perfect for the changing weather or on-the-go stress relief!

Keilah

Layo Rosemary Mint Body Butter

If you are a sucker for herbal-infused body moisturizer, Layo Rosemary Mint Body Butter is the one for you! This oil-based body moisturizer contains mango, shea and cocoa butter that all help combat extreme dry-cracked skin caused by the brutal winter air. This body butter doesn’t just smell like herbal evergreen rosemary oil, it also has anti-inflammatory properties which aids in blood circulation. As a result leaves your skin feeling supple, cool with a touch of tingling freshness.

 

Emily

Brightland Extra Virgin Olive Oil - Awake

Olive Oil is the gift that keeps on giving - and there's no wonder that Brightland in particular made Oprah's 2022 Favorite Things holiday gifts list! This "bold and robust cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil" - traceable to a California family farm - is perfect for all the wintery and holiday gathering foods - roasting, sauteing, soups, stews, and dipping large hunks of bread into. Brightland is also BIPOC and Women-Owned! Gift some of this delicious EVOO to everyone from your mom to your friends and even to yourself!

 

Taking Care Of Your Body & Mind!

By Julia, Customer Service Specialist + Self-Care Enthusiast

It’s getting colder and the days are getting shorter. It’s easy to fall behind on self care during this difficult change. Now that it’s getting to be the holiday season, we tend to put a lot of pressure on ourselves and get easily overwhelmed. Thus forgetting the importance of slowing down and taking care of the body and mind. So I’m here to remind you of some steps you could take to help ease that stress!

Declutter! 

Just like we have spring cleaning, decluttering and organizing for the fall and winter is a nice way to make your home feel more comforting for the colder months to come! Nothing is better than having a clean open space, especially when this time of year people tend to spend a lot more time inside. Imagine, coming home to a clean comfy space from the cold New England weather and making a hot drink to relax for the rest of the evening. Make your home feel warm and welcoming!

Since cleaning can be very daunting as well, try making it a fun activity and play some of your favorite music or put on a podcast to help distract your mind. Take it one step at a time, don’t pressure yourself and just start with cleaning small sections instead of trying to take it all on at once. You got this!


Take a relaxing bath or shower!

Give yourself a luxurious bath by adding a bath bomb, salts, bubbles, or you could even make yourself a mix of herbs to soak in! Don’t have any of these relaxing items at home? Fear not! We have a huge selection of these delightful items to help you have the bath of your dreams! To add some extra relaxation we even have some products that are infused with cbd. A few of these products include cordial organics bath salts, Soul Spring bath soaks, Rare Essence Rosemary Mint bath bomb, and Unplugged Essentials bath soaks. Unplugged Essentials is also 15% off for the month of November, so don’t miss out! If herbal soaks are more your thing, then head to our bulk section; we will have just what you’re looking for! At bulk you can find rose petals, lavender, calendula, chamomile, oat tops, and so much more! Maybe even light some candles and put on a face mask. Romanticize your life a bit and give yourself the main character moment you deserve!

If you are someone who doesn’t have a bath tub or prefers showers, we got your back! Shower steamers are a must for people who prefer or only have a shower and still want a luxurious experience. I also recommend trying out a body scrub! My personal favorite is the Soothing Touch Lavender Herbal Salt Scrub, it deeply exfoliates while also acting as an amazing moisturizer. 


Be active! 

Go for a walk and get some fresh air! Even a small walk, anything to get your body moving would be helpful for not only your physical health but your mental health as well. Or if you can’t go outside, put on some music and dance a bit! Maybe even do some stretches or try some simple yoga poses to get your body moving. I know it’s easier said than done. Some days are harder than others when it comes to getting out of bed to get your body up and moving, but that's when it’s most important!


Take care of your immune system!

Be sure to do all you can to protect your immune system, especially during this time of year! Maybe try including some herbs like elderberry, echinacea, goldenseal, or yarrow along with your supplements. Also if you don’t have any immune boosting supplements and don’t know where to start, Host Defense Stamets 7 Mushroom Blend is great for everyday immune support. Or if you need something a little more fast acting, Gaia Herbs Quick Defense with Echinacea and Elderberry will be more your speed. But don’t worry, we have a huge selection of immune support supplements and a great team to help you find just what you need!

You could even support your immune system by adding certain foods to your diet as well. Foods like garlic, ginger, broccoli, turmeric, papaya, green tea, and citrus fruits are great for consuming more vitamins and antioxidants. In fact we have a book filled with nutritional recipes called, Cooking For Winter Health Wellness by Brittany Wood Nickerson (sold in store!). This is a personal favorite of mine since I love to cook!


Take up a hobby!

Try doing some activities that you think you would enjoy! Maybe things like painting, drawing, reading a book, gardening, knitting, journaling, baking, or anything that brings you joy. It’s nice to have personal hobbies like these to make day to day life a little more exciting! It helps distract us from life and the world around us for a short while.

If you’re having trouble finding some things to do, we actually have events at our Boston Landing location or sometimes on zoom that in the past have included a free meditation class, herbalism classes, pilates, and much more! We even have some events coming up soon that include the Free Community Meditation with Anna Robinson (Online Event) on November 20th at 7pm and Managing Writer's Block with the Mind-Body Connection on December 4th at 5:30pm. 


Take Yourself out on a date!

For me, nothing feels as freeing as having a day to myself and finding a new restaurant or cafe. Go and check out that cafe you’ve always wanted to go to! Go see some art at a local museum! Have a day to explore and practice self love. Treat yourself the way you would treat someone you’re on a date with.

Don’t hesitate to reach out if you need help!

Mental health is not only very important, but it can be incredibly hard to maintain as well. Especially when the days get shorter and the weather gets colder, it gets even more difficult to stay in a healthy mindset and routine. Please reach out to the people in your life when it gets hard, maybe even try out a form of therapy that you think would suit you. Life is hard, and it’s okay to ask for help. ❤️

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.

Mushroom for Discussion: A Blog-A About Chaga

By Amber Testa, CN Supplements Buyer & Armchair Mycologist

If, on a walk through the autumnal New England woods, you encountered the humble chaga mushroom, you would be forgiven for overlooking it. Indeed, though it doesn't look particularly appealing, the chaga is one of the most revered members of Kingdom Fungi, with a long history of medicinal use.

In the wild, chaga (inonotus obliquus) usually presents itself as a burned-looking mass of tissue protruding from the trunks of trees. This has given rise to such common names as 'cinder conk' and 'black mass'. The word 'chaga' itself comes from a direct transliteration of 'чага', the word for the fungus among the Indigenous people of Russia's Kama River Basin. Chaga prefers to parasitize birch trees, although it will also use beech and poplar as hosts. It grows in the colder regions of the world--primarily Russia and Northern Europe, although it has been found in Alaska and other northern US states.

Chemically chaga is known for containing high levels of melanin, which lend it its trademark dark color, as well as antioxidants (phytochemicals that protect against cellular damage). This is not one of those fungi that is prized for its taste--indeed, due to high levels of oxalates, it is especially bitter in flavor. During World War II, it was not unheard of for people in Finland to brew chaga into a coffee substitute. Nowadays, it is typically consumed by boiling ground or crumbled chaga in hot water, which extracts the beneficial phytochemicals, or by taking the extract in capsule form. It is used primarily for its purported anti-tumor activity, which initial studies suggest may be due to its antioxidant content. It also contains phytochemicals that may reduce cholesterol and lower blood sugar.

Chaga is a particularly difficult fungus to cultivate, as attempts to inoculate trees with it generally result in a mushroom with significantly different chemical profiles (and lower levels of those compounds found to be most beneficial). Thus most chaga available for commercial use is wild-harvested. In recent years, the ethics surrounding its harvest have been a source of constant debate among both the mycological and foraging communities. Due to its high value, chaga is regularly subject to overharvesting, so it's important to make sure that any chaga you consume has been sustainably harvested--and always identify any foraged fungi with 100% accuracy before you consume it!

Chaga should be used with caution by those with diabetes, anyone prone to kidney stones (which can be exacerbated by the oxalates in it), and individuals with osteoporosis (as oxalates can prevent the absorption of calcium in the body). As always, check with your medical practicioner before adding any supplements to your diet.

While Chaga remains one of the more under-researched members of the medicinal mushroom community, early studies have suggested it possesses a host of beneficial health properties. At Cambridge Naturals, you can find it in such forms as convenient capsules, flavorful chai, and (my personal favorite) cookies! If you're feeling adventurous, we also have crumbled chaga in bulk -- perfect for creating your own extracts or recipes. With so many different ways to consume it, Chaga is worth a look for sure.

Sources:

https://naturopathic.org/news/565437/5-Reasons-to-Consider-Chaga-Mushrooms.htm

https://health.clevelandclinic.org/chaga-mushroom-benefits/

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.

Mushroom for Discussion: The Riddles of Reishi

By Amber Testa, CN Supplements Buyer & Armchair Mycologist

To those uninitiated into the wonders of mushrooms, Reishi is an unassuming entity. It is neither as strikingly colored as Turkey Tail, as luminescent as Lion's Mane, or as downright bizarre as Cordyceps. Indeed its physical form is simple and smooth, unlikely to attract much attention. The binomial name, ganoderma lucidum, literally means 'bright skin' in the Greek--a reference to its sleek brown surface. Reishi is a type of mushroom known as a bracket fungus, which means it doesn't have a stem or stalk. Instead it grows directly from the surface of trees (usually maple). It is either parasitic or saphrotrophic, growing on both living and decaying matter; indeed, it is as apt to colonize stumps as it is living trees.

But contrary to its plain appearance, perhaps no fungi has such an esteemed place in mythology as the Reishi. With written records of its use dating back as early as the first century B.C., it has been revered in Asia for thousands of years. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, it is known as lingzhi 靈芝, or "divine mushroom" and is known as the "mushroom of immortality". The common name 'Reishi' is a loanword from the Japanese; similar cognates also exist in Thai (het lin chue, เห็ดหลินจือ); Vietnamese (linh ch); and Korean (영지; 靈芝).

Reishi is sacred in Taoism, and was often consumed by monks before their meditation sessions. The term zhī specifically means 'fungi', but has been translated by various scholars as 'excrescence' or 'cryptogam' (a plant or fungi that reproduces via spores instead of seeds). In Taoism, Reishi was thought to belong to a mythical class of substance that gave the eater xian, or immortality, when ingested. This association with immortality has persisted into the present day, and is evident in Reishi's contemporary usage.

In contemporary herbalism, Reishi is used primarily as an immune booster. Initial studies have shown that it has the potential to boost white blood cell count among cancer patients, although research indicates it is best to use the mushroom in combination with traditional cancer therapies rather than directly in place of them. Reishi may also reduce inflammation in the body, specifically among blood cells. Early studies also show the potential for Reishi to reduce anxiety and depression, especially among cancer patients.

Commercially cultivated Reishi is usually grown on hardwood logs, or else a substrate of sawdust or wood chips. It is a deep reddish-brown, generally fan- or kidney-shaped, and often larger than a fist in size. Reishi is dry and sturdy, and often surprisingly heavy--indeed, it often resembles a piece of carved wood more than a mushroom! Though it is slightly bitter in flavor, it can be easily neutralized by mixing it with other ingredients. It can easily be powdered and added to hot chocolate, mixed into baked goods, or crumbled and added to tea blends. The versatility of Reishi also means you can find it in some more unusual formats, like sparkling beverages and even body care products!

At Cambridge Naturals, we carry a variety of Reishi supplements in various formats. You can shop our entire stock of Reishi products online here, or come in for some exciting mushroom discussions with our Supplements team!

Sources:

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmicb.2018.01557/full

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92757/

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.

Mushroom for Discussion: Talking Turkey (Tail)

By Amber Testa, CN Supplements Buyer & Armchair Mycologist

Kingdom Fungi is a diverse place, and the names within it reflect it. Among mushrooms you'll find specimens with such descriptive names as Latticed Stinkhorn (clathrus ruber), Amethyst Deceiver (laccaria amethystina), and Bleeding-Tooth (hydnellum peckii). As beautiful as these names are, they're also fairly literal--it's not hard to imagine why the early discoverers of hericium erinaceus thought it resembled a lion's mane!

So understandable, too, is the nomenclature of the mushroom trametes versicolor. One look at this fanlike fungus, with its wide bands of copper, rust, and gray, and you'll immediately understand why it earned the name Turkey Tail. It resembles nothing so much as the fanciful feathers of those enormous birdies that grace Thanksgiving decorations (and sometimes menace drivers along Cambridge's Massachusetts Avenue in autumn).

Turkey Tail isn't just a pretty polypore, though. For years, humans have tapped into the health benefits of this fabulous fungi. The mushroom was formally described as early as 1753 by famed Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus, though it was known to Indigenous communities worldwide long before that. It's native to colder regions throughout North America and Europe, where it is often strikingly recognizable against the bare autumn trunks of trees. Indeed, it is at its best in autumn, when the mushroom releases its reproductive spores. Turkey Tail is not generally used as a culinary mushroom due to its flocked, leathery texture and unappealing taste, but the potential health benefits it offers have made it the subject of much contemporary research.

Modern scientific explorations have revealed that Turkey Tail contains high levels of antioxidants, chemicals that are known to prevent cell damage from free radicals. It also possesses substances called polysaccharopeptides, immune-boosting carbohydrates that inhibit inflammation and encourage the production of monocytes (a type of white blood cell that helps the body fight infection). There's also some research into the potential for Turkey Tail to increase the efficacy of some cancer treatments when used in tandem with contemporary medical practices, although studies remain in the early stages.

The gut microbiome is lately a subject of renewed interest among laypeople and biologists alike, and the Turkey Tail mushroom plays a part in it. As a potent source of prebiotics, the fungus nurtures the good bacteria in your digestive tract, helping your gut bacteria to maintain a healthy balance and remain strong against hostile microbes that can cause problems like bloating, gas, and impaired digestion.

In short, Turkey Tail isn't just a pretty face--it's a potent source of beneficial chemicals to support your health. At Cambridge Naturals, we stock a variety of products made with Turkey Tail, including capsules, tinctures, and powder, and we even carry the dried mushroom itself in our fabulous bulk section! You can check out our selection of Turkey Tail products here, and avail yourself of the benefits of this fabulous fungus today.

Sources:

www.first-nature.com

www.healthline.com

www.webmd.com

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.