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Bulk Herbs for Fall

Can you feel it? The days are the same length as the nights this week. This can be lovely in the way of having more indoor time. Can you find ways to rest more?

It can also be hard because it means we are inching toward winter, which means we are more susceptible to seasonal depression, cold and flue season and have less time to move and be outside after work.

Herbs help us make transitions. Here’s what I’m stocking up on this week from the bulk bins at Rainbow Grocery.

  • Astragalus A gentle sweet woody root, great to build immunity for this “back to school time.” Also used in TCM. There are a couple different cuts; I buy the one that looks like a tongue depressor so it’s easy for me to pull out of soups and such. Astragalus is recommended for people who are healthy to build and support the immune system. Avoid using this herb when immunocompromised. Best prepared as a decoction,* see below.

NOTE: Astragalus is contraindicated for people who have autoimmune disease, including but not limited to leukemia or lyme. Check in with an herbalist about Astragalus if you have an autoimmune disease.

  • Reishi Known as the mushroom of immortality. This is another woody immune boosting herb; I buy it in slices, pictured above. I will add Reishi when I make bone broth. (When I reach for Reishi I’m often also adding astragalus, again when I'm healthy and not in the middle of or fighting off a cold). Best prepared as a decoction,* see below.

NOTE: Avoid Reishi if you are on blood thinners or if you have a mushroom allergy.

  • Bulk Ginger Tea Bags When the days get cooler in fall and winter or if you run cold, or during PMS, it can be nice to cozy up to a cup of ginger tea to warm the body. Traditionally when we prepare ginger, we want to make it as a decoction*, which can take a little longer than I have the time for. I usually let these tea bags sit in my thermos for a few hours and then enjoy after a long steeping. Sometimes I add oat milk.

  • *A decoction is when we bring an herb to a boil and letting it simmer for 20 min or more, rather than letting it simply steep in hot water. You can also add these woody herbs to broths, rice, or anything that gets cooked for 20 mins or more.

  • Turmeric and Ginger Bulk Tea This is another yummy tea that brews a little more quickly because it’s loose, rather than in a bag. It also contains lemongrass which is a lovely synergy of flavor. It is warming, supports digestion and is anti-inflammatory. I like it after dinner, also with oakmilk.

  • Green Tea When there is less day light, it can be harder to find the pep in your step. One cup of green tee (notice I wrote ONE) can help us get going in the morning and is less stimulating than coffee. Plus, it’s got a TON of antioxidants, which are anti-cancer agents and is also beneficial to brain function. My favorites at Rainbow are Milk Oolong, Genmaicha and Sencha.

  • Chamomile Always a superior digestive tonic, and helps people relax, wind down, and get to zzzz, no matter what age. Safe for babies and people who are pregnant and nursing. Also lovely with a spoonful of honey.

Please enjoy these herbs and your indoor cozy fall tea time with gratitude for the plants.

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