Drawn by the lovely Libby Vanderploeg

Drawn by the lovely Libby Vanderploeg

THE 15 MEND ME MINUTES

Laena's 15 minute core self-care routine: 5 minutes of Ayervedic self-massage, 5 minutes of restorative yoga, 5 minutes of mindfulness meditation. 

 
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HERBAL TONICS FOR WOMEN

Recipes for healing herbal tonics (aka, healthy non-alcoholic mocktails) to alleviate common illness and party in health.

HERBAL medicine Cheat Sheet

Want to dabble in DIY herbal medicine? Start with this cheat sheet.

cramp tincture recipe

A recipe to make your own cramp relief tincture.

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HAPPY BELLY = HAPPY WOMAN :: BAEK WHITE KIMCHI RECIPE

Laena's recipe for Baek White Kimchi is gingery, mild, and chock full of vitamins A, B, and C, and "healthy bacteria" called lactobacilli (i.e., probiotics). 

 

self-care for women

mindfulness, Cycle Awareness, clean beauty

I've written this guide to help you deepen your practice, build a set of rituals for your daily life, become stronger and more resilient, and enhance your relationship with yourself.  

Use these tools to harness your unique powers and build a resilient life-scaffolding. 


SELF-CARE RESOURCE GUIDE

My resource guide for buying herbs, oils, spices, essential oils, and medicine making supplies, in New york and online. 

Scroll down for "12 meditation podcasts that don't suck" to help get your mindfulness practice going, and to access my reference library of books on herbal medicine, Cycles, essential oils, fermentation, and meditation. 


If you have questions about any of the information below, let me know.

If you want to treat hormonal imbalances naturally, make your own personalized teas and tinctures, or get guidance on taking charge of your reproductive health...


SOURCES FOR HERBS, OILS, SPICES

MOUNTAIN ROSE HERBS [ONLINE]

Organic medicinal herbs, spices, oils, extracts, essential oils, aromatherapy, herbal supplies and resources. The best and most comprehensive source. Their cold-pressed organic oils are the best and they detail storage recommendations (i.e., refrigerate). 

RADICLE HERB SHOP [HERB SHOP]

Simple store offering organic dried herbs, teas, spices & extracts, plus herbal medicine classes. A great spot to get loose, organic, dried herbs! You can get everything you need to make tinctures here.

394 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217 | (718) 422-7981

FLOWER POWER HERBS & ROOTS INC [HERBAL MEDICINE STORE]

Shop stocking a vast collection of dried herbs & extracts for culinary, medicinal & beauty uses.

406 E 9th St, New York, NY 10009 | (212) 982-6664

SACRED VIBES APOTHECARY [HERB SHOP]

Small, laid-back storefront carrying a range of medicinal dried herbs, spices & herbal teas in bulk.

376 Argyle Rd, Brooklyn, NY 11218 | (718) 284-2890

LIN SISTER HERB  [CHINESE MEDICINE STORE]

Snug, old-world herb shop offers traditional Chinese formulas & teas, plus acupuncture supplies.

4 Bowery, New York, NY 10013 | (212) 962-5417

KAMWO MERIDIAN HERBS [CHINESE MEDICINE STORE]

High quality products, along with professional resources and patient guides make this a one-of-a-kind pharmacy. On-staff doctors and specialists will help you find the treatment you need based entirely on diet and natural supplements. Also available are personal care products, home goods and massage equipment.

Kamwo Meridian Herbs, 211 Grand Street, New York, NY +1 212 966 6370

KALUSTYAN'S [SPICES, ONLINE + NYC]

Specialty market known for Indian & Mideastern spices, teas & other global food items, plus a cafe.

123 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016 | (800) 352-3451

LA BOÎTE À EPICES [ONLINE + NYC]

724 11th Avenue, New York, NY 10019 | 212-247-4407

THE SPICE HOUSE [ONLINE + LA/CHICAGO]

Spices, cooking herbs, seasonings. Great quality. This is one of my favorite sources for quality spices.

Other

COLD-PRESSED OILS: you can find great organic cold-pressed oils in the FOOD aisle of stores like Whole Foods. Hain is a quality natural brand that sells avocado, almond, coconut, and olive oils that are all great to use as cleansers, moisturizers, and massage oils. These can be ingested or used for skincare, so double duty. Food-grade oils are actually higher quality than oils marketed as "beauty", as they are actually regulated and have expiration dates. 

FRESH HERBS: you can get fresh and dried herbs, teas, and tinctures at the Union Square Greenmarket on 14th St in Manhattan :: Furnace Creek Farm on Wednesdays; and Tweefontein Herb Farm on Fridays.


SOURCES FOR BUYING ESSENTIAL OILS

Counterfeit oils are often toxic, entirely synthetic, diluted, or expired, and they can be dangerous to use. Buy from a reliable source. It takes 250 pounds of rose blossoms to produce one (1) ounce (30ml) of rose oil, which explains the very high cost of pure rose otto or rose absolute (Encyclopedia Brittanica, 2015.) Some oils are easier to produce, but every oil requires a large amount of plant matter to produce a small amount of oil. This means that good quality essential oils will never be cheap. This does not mean that more expensive oils will always be better than less expensive ones, but the old adage, “if it seems too good to be true, it probably is,” definitely applies here. Do not be fooled by discount retailers, big box stores, or random vendors who offer essential oils at very low prices or charge the same price for all of their oils. An essential oil business that cares about selling only pure essential oils will have their oils tested with at least two tests, usually run simultaneously, the gas chromatography and mass spectrometry tests, or GC/MS. Many offer the results of these on their website. 

INDEPENDENT SUPPLIERS (LISTED ALPHABETICALLY):

Aromatics International – Batch-specific GC/MS reports for every oil posted on the website. Organic, unsprayed, and wildcrafted oils available in various sizes. Owned and run by certified aromatherapists.

Stillpoint Aromatics – Batch-specific GC/MS reports for every oil posted on the website. Organic, unsprayed, and wild-crafted oils available in various sizes. Company owned and run by certified aromatherapists.

Florihana – A modern French distillery that sells organic and wildcrafted essential oils. GC/MS and other test results are available on their website for each batch of oil.

Native American Nutritionals/Rocky Mountain Oils – Organic and wildcrafted essential oils sourced from small farms around the world. GC/MS tests available upon request.

Essential Elements – Organic, wildcrafted and unsprayed essential oils. GC/MS tests available upon request. Certified aromatherapist, massage therapists, and aesthetician on staff.

Essential 3 – Staff has clinical aromatherapists, a massage therapist, an aesthetician and an RN for customer support questions. Oils are GC/MS tested.

Plant Therapy – Certified aromatherapists on staff for customer support. Batch testing GC/MS results of pesticide-free oils on their website. Supports a broad variety of charitable organizations world-wide. These are on the cheap side, and you can find them on Amazon.

Pompeii Organics – Owned and operated by a certified aromatherapist. Organic and wild-crafted essential oils are third party tested for quality. Batch-specific GC/MS test results on the website.

Elizabeth Van Buren – Long-time established company owned by a certified aromatherapist and a chemist. GC/MS results available upon request.

AnimalEO – Owned by a holistic veterinarian who has studied the effects of essential oils on both livestock and pet animals. She acquires oils directly from distilleries to create animal-appropriate blends and dilutions.

Aura Cacia – Sustainably sourced essential oils that are often sold locally in health food stores (as well as Whole Foods/Amazon). On the cheaper side, but still fine. 

Mountain Rose Herbs – Dedicated to sustainability and fair trade. Organic and pesticide-free essential oils with GC/MS reports available upon request. This is a great, reputable website for all your self-care needs. 


12 Meditation Podcasts That Don't Suck

I've made this list so you don't have to wade through all the crazy wackos on the internets with terrible voices (not a great way to relax, imo). These podcasts are all really interesting and helpful. I've listed them in order of my own personal preference. 

1. Tara Brach Podcast

This is the one I listen to most often. Tara Brach is an incredible meditation teacher. This podcast has both guided meditations and lectures she gives. Her work is grounded in both Western and Eastern Buddhist thought. Her podcast is a great place to start for those looking for more information about their practice. Many of her podcast episodes are from her recent lectures, which are great as well. And she's got a nice, calm, not-annoying voice.

2. The Meditation Podcast

The Meditation Podcast was founded way back in 2006. The goal of this podcast is to help people have extraordinary meditation experiences in their everyday lives, sounds good to me! Jesse and Jeane Stern have created a great guided meditation podcast that immediately puts you into a meditative state of mind. It’s highly recommended.

3. Meditation Oasis

Meditation Oasis is all about helping you cultivate a sense of mindfulness in your own life. Mary and Richard Maddux will guide you through various guided meditations that will help you relax. You’ll also find instructions for practicing on your own. 

4. The IDP Podcast

The Interdependence Project offers a "glimpse into 21st century Buddhism". This podcast features a wide range of guests, from, best-selling authors, to world-renown teachers and speakers. They also infuse spoken word pieces and sound collage pieces for a truly immersive and awakening listen. 

5. The Daily Meditation Podcast

The Daily Meditation Podcast is home to over 400 different daily meditations. Each podcast is around 15 minutes, which is perfect for most of us.

6. Meditation Minis Podcast

The Meditation Minis Podcast by Chel Hamilton is a great podcast for those looking for simple guided meditations to get started with. Each podcast is designed to help with a specific facet of your life. 

7. 10% Happier Podcast

If you’re looking for the perfect dose of ambition and enlightenment, then check out this podcast. Hosted by Dan Harris, author of 10% Happier, this podcast features insightful interviews with guests ranging from bestselling authors, to entrepreneurs, to meditation teachers, and much more. 

8. On Being

On Being isn’t technically a meditation podcast. But, it’s a thing of pure beauty, so it had to be included in the list. I listen to this podcast every week. Krista Tippett navigates through life’s biggest questions in interviews with leading artists, teachers, theologians, and scientists. The sound of her voice is sweet, buttery perfection. Every episode is a fascinating listen and you’re bound to learn something new about yourself and your place in this world. 

9. The Greater Good Podcast

The Greater Good Podcast is produced by UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center and hosted by Michael Bergeisen. It shows how science can help us all live a more meaningful life. This podcast showcases half-hour interviews with leading thinkers on the topics of compassion, morality, and happiness.

10. The Self Help Podcast

The Self Help Podcast is brought to you by Live in the Present. This podcast is dedicated to spreading emotional health and well-being. The combination of entrepreneur Edward Lamb and psychotherapist Sean Oxford is quite interesting and provides a unique perspective on what actually makes human being tick.

11. Natural Meditation Podcast

The Natural Meditation Podcast is hosted by Stephan Wormland who has an MA in clinical psychology and is trained in Gestalt therapy. He’s also practiced and studied various forms of Buddhist meditation for over 30 years, on top of being a monk in the Tibetan tradition for 11 years. Put simply, he knows his stuff. This podcast is filled with plenty of lectures, guided meditations, and other wisdom to help you along your spiritual path.

12. The Rubin Mindfulness Meditation

The Rubin Mindfulness Meditation podcast is hosted by the The Rubin Museum of Art. Every Wednesday you’ll find a new meditation session led by a prominent meditation teacher in the New York area. Visit the museum too, it's one of my favorites in NYC.


LAENA'S LIBRARY

It's true, i'm a book nerd with an mS in Information science. Here's my library:

Herbal Medicine for Women

BOTANICAL MEDICINE FOR WOMEN’S HEALTH BY AVIVA ROMM

A comprehensive resource of medical and herbal interventions related to women's health issues, Botanical Medicine for Women’s Health provides a unique combination of traditional and modern scientific data on herbal medicine. Written by Aviva Romm, MD, an experienced herbalist, physician, and midwife, this guide blends a clinician-sensitive and patient-centered approach to women’s health issues. Coverage of menstrual health, fertility, breast conditions, and more makes this an essential resource for everyday practice.

HERBAL HEALING FOR WOMEN BY ROSEMARY GLADSTAR 

Comprehensive and easy-to-use, Herbal Healing for Women explains how to create remedies—including teas, tinctures, salves, and ointments—for the common disorders that arise in the different cycles of a woman's life. By explaining the properties of specific herbs and the art of preparation, Rosemary Gladstar demonstrates not only how to achieve healing through herbs but good health as well.

HEALING WISE BY SUSUN WEED

A classic herbal book that sets forth the foundations of the Wise Woman tradition and uniquely describes the personalities and uses of seven nourishing herbs.

THE COMPLETE WOMAN’S HERBAL BY ANNE MCINTYRE

A thorough reference book of simple and effective herbal remedies for health conditions and symptoms faced by women from puberty through menopause and elder years; beautiful plant profiles discuss history, energetics, chemistry, and uses to give a thorough picture of the plant.

 THE NATURAL PREGNANCY BOOK BY AVIVA JILL ROMM

A comprehensive guide to pregnancy, the ailments a women may encounter, and dietary suggestions and herbal therapeutics to promote wellness and ease the journey.

 WISE WOMAN HERBAL FOR THE CHILDBEARING YEAR BY SUSUN WEED

In the wise woman tradition, shares simple and safe herbal support prior to and during pregnancy to ease symptoms and promote health of mother and baby.   

 WOMEN, HORMONES, & THE MENSTRUAL CYCLE BY RUTH TRICKEY  

Discusses common conditions and complex disorders women face from puberty through menopause and dives into the endocrine system and hormonal replacement therapy; offers information on allopathic treatments as well as dietary and herbal therapeutics; includes a materia medica organized by herbal actions. 

DIY Herbal Medicine

THE HERBAL MEDICINE MAKER’S HANDBOOK: A HOME MANUAL BY JAMES GREEN

This book has step-by-step instructions for making any kind of herbal preparation you could possibly think of. It also explains why you should do certain things, not just how, which is handy to know if you find yourself faced with the need to improvise. The Herbal Medicine Maker’s Handbook is extremely detail-oriented, but still very readable – Green is authoritative while still being lighthearted. A prime example of this is the chapter on herb jellos, an unexpected and surprisingly useful way to prepare herbs for kids – and one that he stumbled on quite by accident! The book also contains a brief overview of 30 plants that he and the other co-directors of the California School for Herbal Studies developed for use as part of the school’s curriculum.

MEDICAL HERBALISM: THE SCIENCE AND PRACTICE OF HERBAL MEDICINE BY DAVID HOFFMAN

This textbook is not for the faint of heart, but it provides an incredible amount of information on the more medical side of herbalism. This tome is a great resource if you are interested in learning the chemistry behind herbalism, as it explains the different types of chemical compounds and goes into great detail for pharmacology, toxicity, and safety issues, formulation, and chapters for treatment approach by body systems. An extensive materia medica with herbal profiles is included at the end. It’s a fascinating and extensive look at the scientific side of herbalism.

THE EARTHWISE HERBAL, VOLUMES 1 AND 2 BY MATTHEW WOOD

One of the most thorough resources on herbal materia medica available anywhere, The Earthwise Herbal details historical use of many herbs and includes Wood’s personal experiences in working with the herbs in his clinical practice. Volume One focuses on Old World, European plants, while Volume Two discusses the New World plants of North America. Wood has focuses on western herbalism and a more folk-style approach, but his books are an excellent resource for herbalists of any tradition. These references are valuable both for beginners and experienced herbalists alike, as they provide valuable insight and lesser known perspectives on many well-loved herbs.

THE HERBALIST’S WAY BY NANCY AND MICHAEL PHILLIPS

One of the best volumes for folk herbalists searching for their path, the informal but detailed exploration of the art of herbalism in The Herbalist’s Way leaves you with the sense that you’ve spent the afternoon across from a wise elder, chatting as you both enjoyed tea. In fact, the authors highlight conversations with many herbalists throughout the book, so by the end of the book you have learned from the experiences of many others.  This book explores how to become an herbalist and why – from an overview of the many possibilities, to finding your niche, legal aspects, and more.

MEDICINAL HERBS: A BEGINNER’S GUIDE: 33 HEALING HERBS TO KNOW, GROW, AND USE BY ROSEMARY GLADSTAR

In this introductory guide, Rosemary Gladstar shows you how easy it can be to make your own herbal remedies for life’s common ailments. Gladstar profiles 33 common healing plants and includes advice on growing, harvesting, preparing, and using herbs in healing tinctures, oils, and creams. 

Chinese Medicine

 THE WAY OF CHINESE HERBS BY MICHAEL TIERRA

Informative yet easy-to-follow, details the uses of herbs used in Traditional Chinese Medicine and how to integrate them into daily life, includes recipes and formulas.

Foraging for Herbs

PETERSON’S FIELD GUIDE: EASTERN/CENTRAL MEDICINAL PLANTS AND HERBS BY STEVEN FOSTER AND JAMES A. DUKE

Geared toward the eastern and central United States and Canada; plant photos organized by color; text outlines plant traits, habitat, uses, and warnings for more than 530 important medicinal plants.

Herbal Nutrition

FOOD AS MEDICINE: THE THEORY AND PRACTICE OF FOOD BY TODD CALDECOTT

Using the theories of Ayurveda and modern science, offers practical nutritional guidance (and recipes) to support individual wellness.

THE HERBAL KITCHEN BY KAMI MCBRIDE

No herbal home should be without this delightful book, which provides simple and creative ways to use herbs in the kitchen. Detailed profiles of many common cooking herbs and spices explain how these often over-looked plants are useful for health.  Delicious and unique recipes include cooking oils, seasoning salts and sprinkles, herbal honeys, cordials, and vinegars.  

Herbal Medicine for Children

HERBAL HEALING FOR CHILDREN BY DEMETRIA CLARK

A practical guide, this book gives parents an introduction to herbalism and teaches them how to make simple herbal remedies for common childhood conditions.

NATURALLY HEALTHY BABIES AND CHILDREN BY AVIVA JILL ROMM

Offers easy-to-understand herbal and dietary recommendations for the common health conditions and symptoms children face as babies through pre-adolescence

HERBS FOR CHILDREN’S HEALTH BY ROSEMARY GLADSTAR  

Recipes and instructions for making herbal remedies for common childhood ailments, offers clear dosing guidelines, and profiles 24 herbs especially suited for children.

Aromatherapy + Essential Oils

AROMATHERAPY: A COMPLETE GUIDE TO THE HEALING ART BY KATHI KEVILLE AND MINDY GREEN

In this encyclopedic guide to the most fragrant of healing arts, master aromatherapists Kathi Keville and Mindy Green draw on their extensive expertise with botanical therapies to provide a one-stop resource for students and practitioners. 

THE COMPLETE BOOK OF ESSENTIAL OILS AND AROMATHERAPY BY VALERIE ANN WORWOOD

A necessary resource for anyone interested in alternative approaches to healing and lifestyle, this new edition of Valerie's must have aromatherapy book contains more than 800 easy-to-follow recipes for essential oil treatments. This complete volume explains, in practical and easy-to-understand terminology, how to incorporate essential oils and aromatherapy into everyday life for personal care, physical, mental, and emotional health, and a safe home environment.

THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF ESSENTIAL OILS: THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO THE USE OF AROMATIC OILS IN AROMATHERAPY, HERBALISM, HEALTH, AND WELL BEING BY JULIA LAWLESS

This is the definitive A-Z reference guide to essential oils commonly used in aromatherapy. In this detailed and systematic compilation of nearly 200 essential oils, aromatherapy expert Julia Lawless shares her extensive knowledge of oils both common and uncommon and their many uses. Easy to use, this volume lets you access information in a variety of ways with a therapeutic index, a botanical index, botanical classifications, and safety information.

Fermentation

THE ART OF FERMENTATION: AN IN-DEPTH EXPLORATION OF ESSENTIAL CONCEPTS AND PROCESSES FROM AROUND THE WORLDBY SANDOR ELLIX KATZ AND MICHAEL POLLAN

Winner of the 2013 James Beard Foundation Book Award for Reference and Scholarship, and a New York Times bestseller, The Art of Fermentation is the most comprehensive guide to do-it-yourself home fermentation ever published. Sandor Katz presents the concepts and processes behind fermentation in ways that are simple enough to guide a reader through their first experience making sauerkraut or yogurt, and in-depth enough to provide greater understanding and insight for experienced practitioners.

Meditation

REAL HAPPINESS: THE POWER OF MEDITATION: A 28-DAY PROGRAM BY SHARON SALZBERG

Thousands of years prove it, and Western science backs it: Meditation sharpens focus. Meditation lowers blood pressure, relieves chronic pain, reduces stress. Meditation helps us experience greater calm. Meditation connects us to our inner-most feelings and challenges our habits of self-judgment. Meditation helps protectthe brain against aging and improves our capacity for learning new things. Meditation opens the door to real and accessible happiness. And there's no better person to show a beginner how to harness the power of meditation than Sharon Salzberg, one of the world’s foremost meditation teachers and spiritual authors.

THE MIRACLE OF MINDFULNESS: AN INTRODUCTION TO THE PRACTICE OF MEDITATION BY THICH NHAT HANH AND VO-DIHN MAI

In this beautiful and lucid guide, Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh offers gentle anecdotes and practical exercise as a means of learning the skills of mindfulness--being awake and fully aware. From washing the dishes to answering the phone to peeling an orange, he reminds us that each moment holds within it an opportunity to work toward greater self-understanding and peacefulness.