On Herbal Medicine:
What is herbal medicine?
Herbal medicine is the practice of utilizing plant based medicinal preparations to support a variety of health conditions. There are many types of herbal preparations that can be utilized; teas, capsules, tinctures, powders, glycerites, sitz baths, suppositories, oils, honey, and vinegar. Herbs contain a complex array of phytochemicals, often referred to as secondary metabolites. These phytochemicals or constituents have particular actions within the human body that have the ability to support a wide range of health disruptions.
Why take herbal medicine?
Herbal medicine can be used to support a wide variety of health concerns. Herbs are often nutritive, nourishing, and have a complex phytochemical makeup (this makeup often is what makes herbs so effective for our bodies). For nearly every pathology (illness or symptom) there are herbs to try along the way, whether it is treating a urinary tract infection, soothing a bug bite, easing anxiety, or simply giving someone a nourishing tea to take in tandem with their other treatment plans. I see herbal medicine as a great addition for anyone who is moving through changes or health conditions within their body as it can be used to support general health or address acute or major health issues one is facing. Often people going through major transitions can greatly benefit from nutritive teas and herbs to support and promote restful sleep or ease anxiety and mental issues that may accompany such an issue. In addition herbs are nutritive, calming, tasty (sometimes), and can be comforting to have around us. As 7Song once said in class “Herbal medicine is the beautiful medicine”.
What is a tincture, how do I take it?
A tincture is made by adding together plants (either fresh or dry), alcohol, and water. There are various methods for going about this. You then chop the plant or blend it into a powder, and combine it with the water/alcohol mixture, let it sit in a jar with plant matter, wait a minimum of 2 weeks, then strain. The liquid from this is what you take internally, either in water or directly in the mouth. The benefit of tinctures is they are easy to take, easy to travel with, and can be faster acting in some circumstances, and contain concentrated amounts of phytochemicals that can play specific roles in support to our health. For those who prefer to avoid alcohol in their life for various reasons (sobriety, religion, personal preference), tinctures should be avoided.
What is a powder, how do I take it?
Powders are made by drying whole plants and then grinding them into powder form. They can be stirred into water and drank, added to smoothies, made into a tea, or as an added ingredient in cooking. No additives, fillers, or preservatives are added (if you are obtaining from a reliable source).
How do I make an herbal tea?
There are many ways to make a cup of tea. Some people will make herbal teas in a quart mason jars (add 1oz dry herb, pour water on top, put a lid on it, let sit for a minimum of 20 minutes, strain, and drink), or in a french press or vacuum coffee maker (put herbs in place of the coffee). They can be added to a cup of hot water, then strained, or added to mesh or muslin reusable bags.
Should I be concerned about combining herbs and pharmaceuticals?
The answer is yes and no, and we don’t really know. While there are a handful of reference books out there on drug-herb interactions, there is still a lot we have yet to learn, not just with herb-drug interactions but in general on how herbs create the actions they do within the human body given their complex phytochemical makeup. For the most part herbs and drugs can safely be administered together, in some cases creating more beneficial results when used in tandem with one another. However, for more serious health conditions, it is really recommended to approach herbal care with caution as there can be drug interactions. Some common herbs to avoid when taking pharmaceuticals are and are not limited to (there are more, these are just a few), Licorice, Ginkgo, St. John’s Wort, and Willow. If you are taking a medication with a low therapeutic window, that means if that medication is essential in maintaining life for you, I would absolutely avoid taking herbs to avoid any risk of the herb decreasing or increasing the efficacy of that drug. Be cautious with using herbs if you are on the following class of drugs: Blood thinners and anticoagulants, antibiotics, antifungals, antivirals, antihypertensives,immunosuppressants, antidepressants, anticonvulsants, antipsychotics, statins, or oral hypoglycemics. The reason for this being that herb and drugs sometimes work on the same enzymatic pathways in the body, the cytochrome P450 pathway. Due to this, the risk factor entails that by taking herbs, it may interfere by weakening or increasing the drug effect, and or increasing or slowing the action of that drug. If you are on medications and you are interested in herbal medicine, discuss it with a trained clinical herbalist, who most often will have many resources to best assess your situation including a network of other herbalists, medical care professionals, and reference books. Using the internet search bar is NOT a reliable resource for obtaining high quality herbal information, so it is better to ask an herbalist or other practitioner directly.
What does Zizia mean?
Zizia is a genus of plants in the Apiaceae family (Carrot family). When I was studying herbal medicine in upstate NY with 7Song, we would always see Zizia aurea (Golden Alexanders) on plant walks. I took a liking to the phonetics of Zizia, so decided to commit to it as a name for my herbal pursuits.
Where do you source the plants in your products?
Quick answer: All are organically grown or ethically wildcrafted from myself, other herbalists, small herb farms, or reputable herb companies who share similar values.
My favorite aspect of being an herbalist is wildcrafting. This term refers to the act of going out into the wild and gathering the medicinal plants that in turn become the medicines you bring back to your community, using my botany skills and organoleptics. It is a beautiful skill to have, and it is quite adventurous at times, the beautiful places you can find yourself in gathering the plants to bring back to your community and make medicine with. However, like with all light, there is a dark side to it too. Humans have ravaged entire plant stands, and have greatly impacted specific plant populations to the point of endangerment for this very love of “wildcrafting”. That being said, I take wildcrafting seriously and with respect for the plant kingdom, ecology, and future of that plant species and the location it finds itself growing in. I only take a small amount from any given stand (referring to a location where a plant is found growing), and do not share my wildcrafting stands with anyone. For plants less commonly found in commerce, I prefer to keep them that way, so they too don’t become another at-risk or endangered species and instead reserve them for my clinical practice when I can work directly one-on-one with individuals. As herbalists we have a responsibility to use caution when popularizing more underused plants, with that being said, In my products I try to incorporate more commonly known plants that often are found growing abundantly throughout America, or within my bioregion (for example, Chaparral or Sagebrush).
Who makes your products?
Zizia is a one woman show (currently), and all the products are handmade by me here in Southern California using whole high quality sourced plants.
When will my products arrive in the mail?
Orders are sent out once a week, if you need something faster, email me with the date you would like it by and I will try to arrange a quicker shipment.
What is your return policy?
At this time, I do not accept returns, however, if you are extremely unsatisfied with a product, let me know, and we will find a way to work it out (refund and or exchange for an equal value product). In addition, if for some reason your product arrives damaged (leaked, broken, etc…), let me know and I will ship out another promptly.
Do you take apprentices or volunteers?
I currently do not take apprentices or volunteers in my apothecary or during herb clinics.