Developing Our Personal Power

I took the words in the below two paragraphs, with permission, from  Elissa Hayman's November blog post.  Elissa is a spiritual healer from New Mexico. I was introduced to Elissa and her work by a fine, local lady and friend.

I was stopped in my tracks by the most fiery blaze of coppery gold color I ever saw, radiating off a long line of cottonwoods on the riverbank.

Someone else had stopped to admire them and we got to talking. He turned out to be an herbalist who lived in the nearby mountains. His renowned company, Dragon River Herbals, was on the scene in Santa Fe; they supplied doctors and health facilities with their high-quality, wild-crafted, organic products.

Through this herbalist, I learned something interesting about wild-crafted herbs: their medicine is so much more potent because in Nature, they go through a lot of stress.  The plants' response to the natural stressors in their environment makes them produce more potent medicinal properties. The "fat cat" herbal plants grown in cultivation don't need to develop the inner strength necessary to BE strong medicine.

That's something to remember in November 2014, when  it will behoove us to see challenges like a plant in the wild, as something that develops our powers.

I love these words. It is the wise woman teaching I do around the foods we eat, the herbal plant foods we use for medicine, and the way we cultivate personal power in our mind, body, and soul.

Organic foods have this magic about them as well! When food is grown organically, the food itself has to fend off foreign invaders. In this dance for survival, the organically grown food develops higher amounts of nutrients and develops nutrients that do not exist in conventionally grown agriculture's foods (because conventionally grown foods do not survive these natural stressors). 

We are approaching the American holiday of Thanksgiving; a time to be grateful for all that we have and have experienced in life. 

Life experiences are the building blocks of who you are as a being; your wild crafting as a human. Take a moment to express gratitude, every day, for your life and all the wild crafting that has made you grow stronger. Life experiences are powerful medicine!

Feed your body, mind, and soul well!

Gratitude for making it safely into the Supai Village in the Havasupai Home, the Indians of the Blue Waters. Gratitude for surviving the long and very, hot trail down into the canyon.  Getting out was easy; we started at 4:30 AM and beat the sun out of the canyon!

Gratitude for making it safely into the Supai Village in the Havasupai Home, the Indians of the Blue Waters. Gratitude for surviving the long and very, hot trail down into the canyon.  Getting out was easy; we started at 4:30 AM and beat the sun out of the canyon!

Happy Thanksgiving with Love!


Herbal Recipe to Clean the Liver from Holiday Eating and Imbibing!


Simple Liver Nourishment Cleanse

Liver Nourishment:  This is a very simple way to nourish the liver as it goes about its non-stop job of filtering your blood.  Your liver is not “dirty.”  Spending a few days focusing on nourishing this important organ is a good way to prevent disease and heal your body.  Love your liver with good food, liver specific herbs, and relaxation. Oh yeah, did I mention fun and laughter? Anger is a toxin to the liver; let go of anger and revel in fun, love, and laughter.

Raw food fast for 3 days:  lots of local and seasonal berries / fruit in AM with nuts and seeds and then vegetable salads and raw nuts and seeds at noon & PM meals.

***If pre-diabetic, diabetic, or you have any metabolic syndrome issues (where you need to not have high levels of blood sugar surging through your system) keep your intake of fruit conservative and eat more vegetables. 

Raw root veggie and cabbage slaws are great in fall and winter for the raw, seasonal veggies.

AM liver flush before any food:  juice of 1 whole lemon, 1-2 tsp olive oil, pinch of unrefined sea salt. You can use this simple liver flush in the PM and/or the AM.  

I have clients who do it in the AM because they drink their Essiac detox tea at night.

Detox infusion:  purchase an ounce of each of these herbs:  cut burdock root, cut dandelion root, nettle leaf, dandelion leaf, and red clover blossom.

Each night heat 1 quart of water, stainless steel pot please.  When water is simmering turn to very low heat and simmer 1 tsp. each of the burdock and dandelion roots for 10 minutes.  This is a very gentle simmer with the cover on the pot.

After the ten minutes, shut off the heat and have 1 tsp. each of the dandelion, nettle, and red clover.  Add to pot, stir to get wet and cover pot.  Let it sit over night to steep, pot covered.  Strain into quart canning jar in AM and drink 3-4 cups over the course of the day.

Relaxing habits when doing a liver nourishing cleanse:  Plenty of fluids; lots of good, restful sleep, eating in a calm environment (without screens) and chewing very slowly and thoroughly, yoga, massage, relaxing by the fire or under a favorite tree (seasonally dependent behaviors!) while reading a good book…the point is to nurture the whole you and make your liver feel at peace and loved.

When to nourish the liver:  Ideally 4 times a year at the spring and fall equinoxes and the summer and winter solstices.  I recommend waiting past the Winter Solstice, after the December holidays, for obvious reasons! 

Milk thistle is a good herb to take for liver nourishing and rebuilding.  It can be added to the above dandelion, etc. herb tea. Milk thistle is a seed and needs to be added and simmer with roots and/or barks.

Capsules, tinctures, teas of milk thistle are good options as a single herb or as a combination herbal formula with turmeric and perhaps ginger…

Taking milk thistle for a couple of weeks after a three day nourishing cleanse can help to nourish and rebuild the liver.  You can make milk thistle into a tea with nettles.  Again, simmer the milk thistle seeds, very gently for 10 minutes before adding the nettle leaves. Shut off the heat before you add nettle leaves and allow the herbs to infuse, covered, for at least 4 hours.

If you would prefer to do a more intense liver nourishing (that is pre-packaged for you, creating ease), go to this website:  and search under the 5 day detox programs for the liver cleanse.  It is a very complete liver cleanse kit with a well written book explaining liver cleansing and its benefits to your health and longevity.  Think of it as nourishing your liver, fortifying it with the nutrients it needs to do its blood filtering job well.

Dr. Schulze’s products are top of the line and use high quality herbs. They tend to be a bit more expensive but quality is quality.

You can do a more intense, longer, liver / organ cleanse by putting the materials together yourself and following the cleanse for more than 3 days

  • Whole foods, raw
  • Herbal teas
  • Fresh made juices
  • Lots of pure water (no chlorine and flouride from municipal water supply; both are toxins to body cells and your liver.)
  • AM flush

If you have diabetic tendencies do not do a "juice or herbal tea" only liver cleanse.  Eat food and keep your protein level up.

Need help? Give me a shout.


Weeds, To Eat or Not To Eat!

Holistic Hugs & Peaceful Blessings!

Paula M. Youmell, RN, MS, CHC

Holistic Health, Nutrition & Fitness Counselor      

(315) 265-0961

"Just lift the corner of the clouds and the sun is 

ALWAYS shining!"          Eli Schechter

Spring Nettles poking out of my home garden plot,  Spring 2014

Weeds to one person are another person's medicine!

I love spring for the wonderful green plants shooting out of the earth around my home, in the woods and fields.  These plants remind me of the ever changing and newness of life, the bounty of good food right outside our doors, and the nutritional value and healing properties of what many people consider weeds.  I personally await the spring's wild leeks, dandelion greens, first nettle shoots, plantain leaves, rhubarb shoots, and so many more spring edibles.

These spring edibles awaken our taste buds, livers, digestive tracts, and each and every body cell.  The incredible amount of nutrients in the plants adds to our nutritional stores and cleans our winter blood, liver, and digestive tracts.

What a relief to move away from my beloved winter root veggies (beets!) and begin incorporating our natural spring foods.

For more thoughts on the whole food-ness of herbs (weeds) click here.

  Dandelion greens and flowers; good for liver health!

Fun Food Focus

Spring Greens Soup

I gather several kinds of spring greens: dandelion, plantain, lambs quarters, nettles, mustard greens, sorrel, violets... the list goes on.  (Learn to identify them, pick and enjoy!)

I gently wash them, throw them in my blender with some raw goat's milk and wild leek shoots and leaves.  Blend into a puree and warm gently.

You can also saute' the wild leek, ever so gently, then toss in the green and saute' for 1-2 minutes before blending.

Easy greens to start with are dandelion, plantain, nettles and violets.

Another idea:  mix them in a salad with local, mixed baby greens - they should be available soon!  Dress with raw - apple cider vinegar, organic - extra virgin olive oil and a few dried spices.  Yummy!


This picture taken today, 5-16-14.  The nettles are getting larger!

Bonus information:  Check out Martin's Farm Stand website, you can pre-order your fresh, local, seasonal produce, on-line!  Cutting edge - local food access!

Burdock Root

burdock 2 Ah, burdock, that annoying plant that sticks those prickly balls on clothing after a romp in the woods and fields.  This plant, that creates burr seeds, is a healing blessing, despite those barbed 'lil balls!

As a kid, I fell into a large clump of burdock plants while romping in the fields. Those burrs make an amazing mess in long hair! Surprisingly, as an adult, I do not avoid them.

Burdock can be utilized in a number of herbal remedies to aid in digestion.  The root is bitter, stimulating the liver, and therefor aids in digestion, enhances absorption of nutrients, and supports your whole digestive tract and colon with the elimination of wastes.


Burdock root, along with dandelion and nettle, are amazing, healing herbs to use in liver conditions.  The liver plays a huge role in removing toxins from your blood, producing bile to digest dietary fats, metabolizing hormones to maintain hormone balance in your body, stores excess carbohydrates, in addition to many, many other functions.

Nourish your liver and heal many "dis - ease" symptoms.  Nourishing the liver is useful in: skin conditions, liver conditions (obviously), hormone imbalances, allergies, infertility, headaches, migraines, digestive problems, chronic gas, constipation....

Need help with herbs for healing? Give me a call.  As an herbalist, I love to help with herbal healing!

Why do I tell you this?  I love burdock.  It makes a yummy tea, it is fun in soups and stews, and I just added a pile of it (grated) to my next batch of fermented veggies. I am curious to see what burdock will add to the final fermented product's flavor!

The brown grated veggies on the top are burdock.


This is a pile of burdock roots, graciously given to me by Dan Kent of Kent Family Growers.  He knows I love burdock!  I have used over half of my burdock gift already. My liver is feeling ready for spring and pollen season!


On fermented veggies: I asked Steve, of The Cheese Maker, if cheese cultures could be used in enhancing the fermentation of veggies. This kind man did a 'lil research and got right back to me.

Our conversation via emails:

Me:  Can any of the cultures you sell be used as a sauerkraut starter?  Thanks, Paula

Steve: I'll also do a little research and let you know what I find out.

Me:  Thanks!

SteveHi Paula:   Some research I found on Wikipedia and other scientific sites show that some of the same species of bacteria that make cheese are similar to those that make sauerkraut, though the sub species are different.  I'm not a biologist,  so I do not know how this will affect the flavor of the kraut.  Only way is to make a small batch and see how it turns out.  As long as the pH is similar in the end product, it is at least safe to eat. The below link is a culture which has similar bacteria, though not sub species.   If you make a test batch, let me know what you find out.  

Me:  I am posting to get other people's experiences, hopefully!
Steve:  Awesome. I would really like to hear from others who use this culture.  I have enough hobbies otherwise I'd also make some kraut.
Anyone ever used cheese cultures in veggie fermentation?
Anyone ever use burdock root in fermented veggies?
Anyone know of a good source for veggie fermenting cultures?
Love to hear from you on any of these topics!  Paula

Seasonal Allergies: Gear Up Now!

nettles What would a healing post, from me, be without my favorite herb... stinging nettles!  It is my "go to" herb for all nourishing and healing needs.  Start with nettles + herbs specific for the health symptoms = healing equation!

Got allergies?  Gear up now to fortify your body before pollen season. (I know, it does seem like winter will never go away, here in Northern NY!  But, pollen season will happen!) This self-responsible, preventative health action will help to ease the seasonal allergy symptoms.  Breathe freely this spring, summer, and fall...

1.  Freeze dried stinging nettles:  Get to Nature's Storehouse, Canton, NY and purchase some freeze-dried stinging nettles.  Start taking them now to calm and heal your immune system and relieve the seasonal pollen allergies.  

freeze nettle

2.  Local, raw honey.  Start eating 1/2 to 1 teaspoon two times daily, now.  Local, raw honey will acclimate your body to the local allergens before they bloom and blossom. This local honey will help to relieve or even rid your seasonal pollen allergies.


3.  Herbal Formula:  Herbs Etc. is a great company.  I use many of their formulas in healing ways with friends, family, and clients.  They work!

Allertonic® Enhances healthy inflammatory responses of the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts. Stabilizes mast cell walls and fixed antibodies found in the eyes and respiratory system, keeping the tissues calm. Normalizes secretion of the respiratory system, liquefies mucus, stimulates its removal from the lungs, and keeps pulmonary tissues hydrated.

Ingredients: Fresh Stinging Nettle herb, Licorice root, Eyebright herb, Horehound herb, Osha root, fresh Horsetail herb, fresh Mullein leaf, Elecampane root, and fresh Plantain leaf.

Suggested Use:

Acute: Take one soft gel or 40 drops with water every two to three hours until comfort is achieved or as directed by your health care professional. Noticeable comfort is attained within the first or second day. Switch to ongoing use.

Ongoing: Take one soft gel or 40 drops with water three times a day.

Proactive: Two months prior to seasonal challenges, take one soft gel or 40 drops with water twice a day.


4.  Yes, you can use all three of these natural, allergy relief "foods" as a preventative measure.  Start now, before the snow melts!

5.  Whole foods:  I would be seriously amiss as a whole food, holistic healer if I did not tell you that the foods you put into your body, every time you eat, affect the way you feel.  Eat crap, feel like crap!  If you over load your body with packaged, factory made foods, you overwhelm your immune system (actually, you overwhelm your whole body, every body cell!).  Your immune response to allergens in the seasonal air will be seriously heightened if your body is already overwhelmed by crap food.  Eat whole, love your body cells!

6.  Liver Nourishment:  As I write this post, I have a draft post on liver nourishment, ready to go.  Be looking for it.  Keeping the liver healthy will cut down on seasonal allergy symptoms.

7. Acupuncture: is an excellent healing tool in the seasonal allergy toolbox. Give Five Elements Living a call if allergy relief is in your plans!

PS:  I can order any product from Herbs Etc. for you.  Check Nature's Storehouse OR the Potsdam Food Coop for a similar product.  Compare the ingredients as many herbal companies make allergy relief herbal combinations.

Need Help? Not sure about herbal healing foods:  what to take, how to take it, when to take it, etc?  As a Certified Herbalist, I can help with this!  Give me a shout.