Black Elderberries are Amazing

Elderberry (Sambucus Nigra) is one of  favorite plants.  It’s roots go way back to Hippocrates the ancient Greek “father of medicine,” who described Elderberry as his “medicine chest” for the wide variety of ailments it seemed to cure.

I love Elderberry for building the immune system ‘boundary’ during cold and flu season.  I will also recommend it for improving energetic resilience – especially in children who absorb the energy of others all to easily.  It is wonderful prevention that tastes great and can even be taken year round because of it’s nourishing properties.

Why do Black Elderberries pack such a nice punch for your immune ‘muscle’? 

~They are rich in bioflavonoids – potent antioxidants (think preventing rust on a car!)
~Elderberries have anthocyanins which boost the immune system signaling
~They contain potent antiviral compounds that actually deactivate viruses- making them unable to get inside our cells!
~Elderberry is known as an ‘anti-catarrhals’ – meaning it prevents excess mucous formation, it assists in removing phlegm, AND it and reduces inflammation in the body.

If you aren’t already convinced –  studies  demonstrate Elderberry’s powers:

A 2016 Austrian study showed that supplementation with elderberry can reduce the symptoms and duration of a cold in air travellers.  Those who used elderberry 10 days before travel and up to 5 days after arriving had a noticeable reduction in symptoms as well as an average 2 day shorter duration.

There was a double-blind trial involving Elderberry during an outbreak of influenza B in Panama in 1995. Within 2 days there were significant improvements in symptoms, including fever, among 93.3% of those taking elderberry syrup. 90% of the elderberry group were completely well again within 2 – 3 days compared to 6 days in the placebo group.

You can make your own Elderberry syrup:


3/4 cup dried elderberries
3 cups water
1 teaspoon dried cinnamon or 1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon dried cloves or 4 whole cloves or 1 drop clove essential oil
1 tablespoon fresh ginger or 1 teaspoon dried ginger or 1 drop ginger essential oil
1 cup raw honey


In a large pot, bring the elderberries, water, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger to a boil.
Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until the liquid has reduced by half, about 40-45 minutes.
Allow the liquid to cool, and then drain the liquid using a fine mesh strainer or cheese cloth.
Press all liquid out of the berries using the back of a wooden spoon.
Add the raw honey and mix well.
Store in an airtight glass container in the refrigerator for up to two months.

Easing Stress with Family Constellation Work

Would you like to ease stress  in your family dynamics this holiday season?  Isn’t there something about the holidays that seems to bring out the less than desirable patterns in our families?

Did you know that our emotional and physical health and life patterns are influenced by the experiences of our ancestors? We are part of a larger family energy field that influences us through epigenetics.

Consider family constellation work to release these unhelpful patterns within your family and create harmony.  This powerful healing modality taps into the family’s energy field to dissolve blockages and heal the trauma that is at the heart of stuck patterns of interaction.

Special at Cypress Natural Medicine through February – $250 for 90 min session

Naturopathic Tips to Ease Childhood Stress and Improve Focus

Doesn’t  it seem like life only gets busier and that there is more and more information coming at us all the time? There is too much information out there to take in and process! The human nervous system has never had a physiologic ‘upgrade’ to be able to handle this level of over-stimulation.  As a result, a lot of us feel overwhelmed, anxious, and have difficulties concentrating and sleeping well.

Because the nervous system isn’t fully developed until age twenty-five, the impact of our modern lifestyle is felt even more deeply by children and adolescents.  A striking example – digital screens affect the frontal cortex of the brain and alter dopamine levels much in the same way that stimulating drugs like cocaine affect the brain.   This level of sensory data in combination with the added burdens of environmental toxicity and nutritional deficits are compromising children’s nervous system health.  They are at a disadvantage for todays’ rigorous (and often unreasonable) classroom demands.  It’s not surprising at all that attention, focus and behavior are common concerns.

As a naturopathic physician in practice for over 15 yrs, I have seen just how dramatically the lives and health of children have changed.  Anxiety levels in little ones have risen remarkably.  In supporting children and adolescents to feel clearer, calmer and more focused, I like to focus on boosting brain health,  managing daily stressors, and building nervous system resilience.

In supporting overall brain health – I encourage parents to eliminate foods with additives, dyes, processed sugars and taking a look at potentially  inflammatory foods that can impact focus, energy and mood.  I encourage parents to take a look at protein content of foods – making sure there is protein at each meal.  This balances blood sugar – which works wonders for balanced energy and moods.  The developing brain requires a plethora of natural plant based vitamins and minerals for repair and essential fatty acids for optimal nerve cell membrane function.

I love making nature prescriptions to help children and families manage stress – children thrive in the outdoors!  There is so much great information out there about the healthy benefits of earthing – or connecting our body’s electromagnetic field with that of the earth’s.  It is powerful for discharging stress and reseting the nervous system.  Think bare feet in sand or grass for 10-15 minute daily.

Because children and adolescents are so open and sensitive, they respond really well to energetic bodywork.  I incorporate craniosacral therapy in my practice – a gentle system that eases the nervous system out of fight or flight and back into the restorative parasympathetic state.  This modality in combination with guided visualization is really effective for improving adaptation to stress, boosting concentration and improving sleep quality.

Our children don’t have to be at a disadvantage as we life life in the fast lane.  We just need to implement wellness strategies at a much earlier age.  Gone are the days when kids could get away with fast foods as a nutritional mainstay, and no one is too young to begin a daily mind body practice for calming and strengthening the nervous system.

The Mayan Yoni Steam

In traditional Mayan culture, the ‘womb’ or uterus is considered to be the center of a woman’s power. If her womb was out of balance her life would also be out of balance. For this reason, ancient Mayan women took great care to maintain the health of their wombs, and as a result, they rarely experienced cramps, fibroids, PMS, or even menopausal symptoms!

One of the treatments they utilized was the vaginal steam – also known as the ‘yoni’ steam. This ancient herbal hydrotherapy treatment involves steaming a variety of herbs that are cleansing, nourishing, promote circulation, improve moisture and hormonal balance. I have seen many of my female clients heal from painful periods rather quickly by simply incorporating this ancient ritual once or twice a month.

The first steam I did has a powerful effect, I could feel a palpable sense of groundedness rise up me as the steam rose. It felt like I was tapping into and re-activating an ancient part of myself. I also had zero PMS symptoms the cycle that followed! That is worth it’s weight in gold.

Here’s how to do you first yoni steam:

You will need a chair with perforations, or you can sit at the edge of a chair – they make special chairs with holes in them, but for beginners it may be easier to work with what you have
one large thick blanket, comforter or quilt
Put 1 cup herbs – I like the blend by DeviSteam – in 2-3 cups water and simmer for 15 minutes until steam is rising – do not boil
Place pot under chair (if there is a hole) or right at the edge of the seat
Undress from waist down, sit over steam ‘path’ and wrap your blanket completely around you for a steam tent effect
Sit for 20 min and enjoy