Danielle Brooks is a Nutritional Therapist, Clinical Herbalist, Professional Speaker, and founder of Redmond Nutritional Therapy, Lake Washington Massage Therapy, and Good Decisions Inc. She is also the author of bestseller Good Decisions…Most of the Time,
Danielle’s approach to diet combines nutritional science and the psychology of food and reminds us that looking at our relationship with food is as important as the food itself. She is always looking for new and effective strategies to help her clients self govern effectively around food and emphasizes that food should be enjoyed not something we feel guilty about.
In this interview you’ll learn:
- What is the Zombie Apocalypse Metaphor? What you can learn from The Walking Dead about a powerful anti-viral herb.
- Chew these seeds to relieve gas Take this to stop food poisoning (also great to stop hangovers).
- Two powders that can sooth your digestion, relieve inflammation and more This can get rid of hemorrhoid symptoms within two weeks.
- The best restorative herb for the liver How to deal with pain, cuts and burns.
- The top two herbs for women’s hormones A 4-step process for herba
lists to follow.
- What overdosing on poppy seeds and nutmeg can do to you! The importance of getting results fast.
- When to use Turmeric and when to use Curcumin The best questions to ask yourself to stop emotional eating.
- And much more
Click the link below to access the complete transcript.
The content found on the Vital Way podcast in Superman Herbs is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice, for the diagnosis or treatment of a health condition or as a substitute for medical counseling. Please review any information with your qualified healthcare provider before making any decisions concerning your health. You assume all risk for use, misuse or disuse of this information.
Logan: Hello, welcome to The Vital Way Podcast. I’m Logan Christopher from Super Man Herbs as well as LegendaryStrength.com and we should have a very fun call today, an interesting topic or a couple of different interesting topics but something people have not really talked a lot about before and that’s zombies and Herbalism but we’ll get to that in a second. Joining me on today’s call is Dani Brooks who is a nutritional therapist, a clinical herbalist, professional speaker and founder of Redman Nutritional Therapy, Lake Washington Massage Therapy and Good Decisions, Inc. She’s also the author of Good Decisions Most of the Time and we’ll be talking about some of those good decisions today. Thanks for joining us, Dani.
Dani: No problem. Thanks for having me.
Logan: Yeah. I met with Dani, I guess, that was a few weeks ago and we got in a very fun conversation. Obviously, she’s into herbs and she’s taken this in kind of a different way that grabs people’s attention. I think that will be a good place to start if that’s fine with you, Dani?
Dani: Sure, you bet.
Logan: Okay, so zombies and herbalism, how do these two things go together?
Dani: Well, it’s really interesting. I threw out the idea of herbs for the zombie apocalypse and the more people I talk to, the more I realized that the zombie apocalypse is actually a metaphor for a lot of what we’re experiencing today. I mean when you think about when we get sick, we walk around like zombies. When we’re on our cellphones, we’re walking around like zombies. Sometimes the health conditions that we have, when we look at our society and how we’re functioning right now as far as our diet, I mean we are literally the walking dead.
And so as I was putting together Herbs for Living Now and After the Zombie Apocalypse, I thought well how fun would it be to take a zombie and make a zombie be human again through using herbs. So that’s kind of how I use herbs. It’s to take people on a journey. These are herbs definitely that can make you feel human again if you feel like you’re a part of this current day zombie apocalypse but also really fantastic herbs to have on hand. If you’re a prepper and you’re stocking up for things that you just want to in your medicine cabinet, these are fabulous herbs that you can have on hand for any situation when it arises.
Logan: Yeah, I thought it was really interesting. I know a few are actually a fan of that show, The Walking Dead but in it, at one point, basically this virus ends up killing people and then turning them to zombies and they turned to herbs in order to help because they don’t have enough medicines. So they turn to elderberry and some of the people are surprised it works because oh, it’s just a plant, right?
Dani: Right. Yeah. No, that’s one of my favorite herbs. In fact, I am sipping on elderberry tea right now because I’ve got a little bit of a cold. Yeah, elderberry is fantastic. It’s got the ability to prevent a virus from infecting a cell. So yeah, elderberry is fantastic.
Logan: Yeah, absolutely. So let’s go a little bit deeper in this because I like that and yeah, the zombie apocalypse is a metaphor but if we do get to some sort of apocalyptic end time, which people are always predicting is going to happen but hasn’t quite happened yet, knowing your local herbs is very useful in that time as well as now because there really is all these great stuff around us. Without growing up with it and learning about this stuff, we just have no clue about what’s there and what we can use it for.
Dani: Right. What’s even in our backyard? Yeah.
Logan: Yeah. I did an article a little while ago, just less than a mile from where I live I walked to a forest and there were like 20 herbs that can be used for different things just along the pathway there and that’s the stuff I know about. I’ve only gotten into this in the last couple of the years and started learning about it so I’m probably missing a whole bunch of things. But it’s interesting that there’s all these stuff that’s just available to you but you have to know about it. You sort of need to be initiated in order to access it.
Dani: Right, and you have to go through the process of picking the herb, experiencing the herb and going ooh. Or how do I want to cook this? How do I want to prepare it? Do I want to drink it as tea? Or do I want to make it into a salve? How can that herb be useful? Yeah, you bet.
Logan: Absolutely. So you also talk about this idea of curing a zombie using herbalism. So what are some of the herbs that would be useful for a zombie, whether an actual zombie or a person that’s feeling zombie-like?
Dani: Oh my gosh, well let’s take your followers on a journey. How’s that?
Logan: Okay, sounds good.
Dani: So let’s say that we’ve got a zombie and let’s call our zombie, Zoe. So we’ve got this female zombie. Her eyes are bloodshot. Her skin’s all gray. She’s totally the zombie, right? The first thing that I would want to do with zombie and I’ll kind of go through some of the herbs that I keep, the herbs for now and after the zombie apocalyptic medicine cabinet so we kind of take Zoe on a journey and see if we can get Zoe to feel better again.
So Zoe, the first thing that I want to do with Zoe is she’s been eating brains and god knows what else Zoe has been eating. So there’s a really good chance that she’s going to have like food poisoning. So one of the most fantastic things to have on hand in your apocalyptic herbal medicine cabinet is going to be charcoal tablets. And while it’s not an herb, it’s still really huge because in any case of accidental poisoning, let’s say that you’re out and you are picking herbs and you’re playing with them and you eat one and you’re like oh no, I shouldn’t have eaten that herb, you can reach for charcoal because it’s got such phenomenal absorptive qualities. So for Zoe, the first thing I’d do is I’d give her a couple of charcoal tablets to help absorb the toxins from what she’s been eating.
Logan: Absolutely. Charcoal, that’s one thing I try to always bring with me when I’m travelling because you never know what you might encounter. That’s great. I like to use the broad definition of herbalism. Most people think of herbs as just little plant parts but Chinese medicine, Ayurvedic medicine, they’ve got animals, they’ve got minerals so yes, I’d say charcoal is an herb in this sense.
Dani: Yeah, and very valuable, another thing that would be very valuable if you’re in your safe space and you’re of course passing time and you’re drinking too much, alcohol poisoning is something that a lot of us can be familiar with. Often times if we drink too much, sometimes if you just take a couple of charcoal tablets at night before you to bed, down a bunch of water with it, it can prevent a hangover the next day. So that’s kind of a fun little tidbit of charcoal.
Logan: Yup, I’ve definitely used it for that.
Dani: Yup, me too. Me too. So now that we’ve got Zoe’s food poisoning under control, we know her digestion is probably not doing all that great either. She’s probably feeling really gassy. She’s probably feeling really bloated, the same way that we would feel after we’ve eaten a large meal or we’ve eaten something that’s maybe not been so healthy for us. So in this case, we can use fennel seeds and fennel seeds is an herb that most people have in their spice cabinet at home. They use it in sausages and all kinds of other food stuff. You can take literally just a small little half a teaspoon of seeds. Put it in the palm of your hand and pop it into your mouth and chew it up coarsely. Then just swallow some water to chase down the fennel seeds and the gassiness and the bloating will be gone within a half an hour. So fennel seeds is a really—and if we’re in amidst of a zombie apocalypse, the fennel seeds can be planted so you can grow your own food.
Dani: That’s really handy to have on hand. Other things, so now Zoe, now that we’ve got kind of her digestion calmed down a little bit, we’ve got her food poisoning kind of under control, her digestive tract may be a little shredded from all the body parts that she has been eating. So she might have a little bit of maybe irritable bowel going on, right? So irritable bowel, Crohn’s disease, food allergies, food sensitivities where anybody gets cramping with certain foods, typically two herbs that I will reach for in a heartbeat is slippery elm powder and marshmallow root powder to heal the gut. So for Zoe, we definitely need to heal her gut.
So with slippery elm bark it’s a really nice mucilaginous herb. You can mix a teaspoon of it in water to create kind of a gruel and I’ll add a little bit of cinnamon to it and then just drink it down. This is a cooling herb. It’s a demulcent herb, meaning it’s kind of got that nice slimy quality to it, where a lot of people g ooh, slimy. I’m like no, that’s what you want because that’s what really soothes irritated and inflamed tissues. So I would mix this gruel of slippery elm. Marshmallow root powder does the same thing. These are two really great herbs that are fabulous for putting out the inflammation in the GI tract. So those would be two things that I would do.
These are herbs that I will actually use a lot with my elderly population as well. I’ll have them mix that with their morning oatmeal because what they do, the slippery elm bark powder and the marshmallow root powder, not only does it calm and soothe any inflammation but it also moistens and moisturizes tissues. As we age, we begin to lose moisture and so these two herbs are really fabulous for returning moisture back into the GI tract and through the rest of the body. So these are demulcent herbs that they can be used to calm down the fire of a urinary tract infection. If you get sick and you’ve got this really dry hoarse cough and you want something that’s really cooling and soothing, slippery elm and marshmallow root are fabulous for that.
Logan: Yeah, I’ve certainly used those before and it’s interesting when I first heard about marshmallow, I was buying like the whole roots or chopped up roots and then you have to let them basically soak overnight in water and then the water will kind of become viscous. But yeah, using the powder is just so much easier. I heard about that. I was like oh, that makes so much more sense. It’s pretty amazing stuff because very few things have these properties. There’s nothing really that I’ve seen in Chinese or Ayurvedic medicine that’s quite the same as these two herbs from western herbalism.
Logan: That moisturizing quality is so important. It’s often overlooked but yeah, it’s very important.
Dani: Yeah, especially for inflammation. So with Zoe then, now that we’ve got kind of her digestive tract kind of calmed down and healed up a little bit, let’s say that she’s out and let’s say she chews on another zombie’s toe for some reason and all of a sudden she’s got this chronic case of diarrhea. She’s like oh no, I’ve got diarrhea! Most cases of diarrhea typically indicate that there’s some kind of infection present and it’s the body’s way of kind of getting rid of something. So most of the time, we would just kind of let Zoe’s diarrhea just kind of take its course.
But over time, if the diarrhea becomes chronic she could be dehydrated, severely dehydrated and that could be a problem. So any situation where the diarrhea has gotten to the point or any situation where you’re dehydrated from chronic diarrhea, carob powder is a fabulous herb. Again, it’s more of a food-like herb but basically one to two teaspoons, or even up to a tablespoon or two—you want to just kind of titrate so start off with one teaspoon with lots of water. If that doesn’t stop the diarrhea, do another, then do another one and then do another one. You can go up to six tablespoons of this if you want to and basically what it does is it absorbs the moisture and it acts like a binding agent and it firms up the stool and prevents diarrhea.
Logan: Very interesting. I was not aware of that with carob. I’ve only ever used it as sort of a substitute for chocolate a long time ago.
Dani: Yeah, which is really great. When you think about it, you’re like oh my gosh, this is a diarrhea brownie. Oh I’ve got diarrhea, maybe I should have that brownie.
Logan: Okay, excellent. What’s next?
Dani: Okay, so now her digestive system is all trying to heal but her liver is just maybe a little congested, right? She’s been eating brains, toes and who knows what else. So I think protecting and supporting her liver would be a really great step to getting her to feel human again. So I would look at milk thistle seeds. Now milk thistle seeds are fantastic for protecting and repairing the liver. There are not many herbs that can really claim to actually work on repairing the liver but milk thistle seeds do fabulous at this. I’ll use them in a tea. I’ll steep a teaspoon of the herbs in a cup of boiling water and just kind of sip it throughout the day. Sometimes, I’ll make a huge batch of it and I’ll turn it into like an iced tea, like a milk thistle iced tea and then I’ll sip on that throughout the day.
Logan: Milk thistle is pretty amazing. Like you said, it’s really one of those ones that you can take long term and there are some other liver herbs that are more for kind of for if like the liver is sick or needs help in some ways but you won’t necessarily want to take them. But milk thistle just has that like restorative ability. It’s pretty unique. I think a lot of people don’t realize just how important the liver is, how much the liver does. So it’s a great herb. I’ve never really used it as a tea. I’ve had ground up powders and tinctures but the tea sounds pretty good.
Dani: It’s a nummy tea, too. It’s not one of those that taste really yucky. So Zoe, our zombie has been on like a whole brain diet so we want to start introducing some more vegetables. So some vegetables and some foods that would be really supportive for the liver would be dandelion greens. Most people don’t think—we were just talking about herbs that are just in our backyard. Up here in the Pacific Northwest, we can go out into our backyard and dandelions just grow rampantly. Every time I see one, I think oh wow, what a fabulous salad that that would make because dandelion greens are so nutritive and they have an affinity for the liver so they’re very supportive for the liver.
Logan: Yup, absolutely. I have a bunch of those just growing right outside my door.
Dani: Yup, I do, too. Beets are another good one that’s got an affinity for the liver. Beets are fabulous for actually hemorrhoids. So if Zoe has been straining and she’s got a couple of hemorrhoids, eating a small portion of beets every day is fabulous for getting rid of the symptoms of hemorrhoids. Literally within a week to two weeks, the hemorrhoids will basically kind of heal up and all of the symptoms will go completely away. That doesn’t mean that we’ve taken care of the underlying problem, which is the congested liver but it means that you’re on your way towards doing that. So I love beets. I’m a beet girl.
So let’s say that Zoe is running through the forest and she’s getting tired of dandelion greens and beets and all of a sudden she sees a mouse. This mouse is like running across the fields and she runs after it. She dives onto it and she just goes for it. Then afterwards, she realizes that she strained her hamstring muscle. Then what we can do is we can pull out some arnica flowers. We can go out, we can pick some arnica flowers and we can start to make our own herbal salves.
Salves are really easy to make. You just pick a few flowers, let them dry out and then just soak the herbs in the olive oil or you can use a coconut oil. You can do it over the stove at a very, very low heat or you could just put it out in the sun for six to eight weeks and then strain out all of the herbs and just massage that oil into the injured tissue or the muscle. It can really help to alleviate muscle pains or strains or bruises, all of that good stuff.
Logan: Interesting because I’ve mostly heard of arnica for this purpose but mostly in homeopathic formulas.
Dani: Yeah. No, they’re fabulous for salves. Especially with your crowd, when you guys are throwing your dumbbells around and get those strained muscles, an arnica salve is really nice to just massage into that sore muscle and it can really take the soreness out within a day.
Logan: Okay. Excellent. I will have to try that the next time I hurt myself.
Dani: There you go. Calendula flower is a nice other flower, dried flower to have on hand in case she cuts herself. Let’s say that she scraped up her knee. Calendula flower has antiseptic qualities so this can be used on cuts and scrapes and abrasions. It could be used for burns and it’s nice because it prevents infection. That’s another nice herb to have on hand.
Lavender is a real fabulous herb for burns. I keep lavender essential oil in my kitchen. So any time I burn myself when I’m cooking, I’ll just grab out the lavender, put a little bit of the essential oil on my burn and it will take the sting out immediately and it will immediately go away.
Logan: Excellent. I’ve just started playing around with essential oils a little bit more and I do have some lavender but I was not aware of that use. Now I’m excited. Next time I sprain a muscle or next time I burn myself, I’ve got some things to do.
Dani: When I do these workshops, everybody is like so excited. They’re like oh, I’m going to go burn myself.
Logan: I’ve used raw honey on burns before but maybe I’ll definitely do the lavender next time.
Dani: That’s fabulous as well because that’s got the same anti-microbial properties. It’s very cold, very soothing. That’s a great remedy for burns as well. Okay, let’s see. We’ve worked with her digestion. We’ve improved her liver function. We’ve taken care of some of her cuts and her bruises. But she’s starting to kind of feel moody now that she’s kind of starting to feel better, right? She’s kind of on her way back to feeling a little human but she’s having some mood swings, maybe some hormonal imbalances. Some zombie hormones are going up.
Then I would totally reach for two herbs that I absolutely adore for female hormonal imbalances and the first one is dong quai. I know that you have a lot of these herbs on your website, which is fabulous and I love your female combinations. You’ve totally got it going on there.
Logan: Yeah, and one of my favorite reviews was like, “For a man, you put together a really good female one.”
Dani: Yes, you got it. So dong quai is a lovely herb. It’s an adaptogenic herb, which basically means that you don’t have to do a lot of extensive testing to find out is the hormone up, is the hormone down, where is she in the hormone tree? Hormones can get really complicated. Dong quai is an herb that is called the queen of herbs and it’s an adaptogen, meaning that if it’s up, it’ll bring it down; if it’s down, it’ll bring it up. The thing that I love about dong quai is it’s got an affinity for the uterus like milk thistle seeds have an affinity for the liver. Certain herbs have different affinities for certain things and dong quai just loves the uterus. So that’s a fabulous herb for women. Then the second one that I love is the shatavari. That’s another one that is also fabulous for balancing female hormonal systems. It’s actually really nice for boosting sex drive, too. That’ll kind of give Zoe a little boost in the right direction.
Logan: Yeah, one of the nicknames for or what shatavari supposedly means is she who possesses a hundred husbands, something along those lines.
Logan: So yeah, that speaks to that quality.
Dani: Yes. Let’s see. Okay. So now we’ve got her hormones all balanced up, she’s got a little bit of inflammation maybe left over. She’s still got the virus going on that we’re going to take care of in a few minutes but in order to deal with some inflammation, it’s always handy to have anti-inflammatory herbs on hand because inflammation can come from so many things, so many conditions. We could strain a muscle and we could have some inflammation going on. We can get a cold and we can have some inflammation going on, as that mucus kind of builds up. Eating sugar, coffee and too much wine can all create inflammation in the body.
So turmeric, and if you were to ask me if you had one herb that you could use what it would be, it would be turmeric because turmeric is an astringent herb, meaning that it will really tighten up weepy cellular junctions. So when I think of inflammation, I think of two cells that are just kind of weeping out their fluid. Any herb that’s got an astringent quality basically kind of works to tighten up that cell and really stop that weeping, which is really lovely. Turmeric is also a very cooling herb which is lovely to put out the fire of inflammation. It’s a powerful antioxidant herb. It’s fabulous. You could use turmeric for the leaky gut. You could use turmeric to support the liver. You could use turmeric as a poultice on a strained knee. There are just so many different conditions that you could use turmeric in. It would definitely be one of my go-to herbs.
Logan: Yeah, it’s great, those herbs that can be used for just about everything. You were mentioning how different herbs have different affinities for things. That’s why turmeric it’s going to be included in lots of formulas. If you have it with something like milk thistle, that’s going to drive turmeric’s action along with the milk thistle more straight to the liver, whereas if you combine it with something else, maybe the marshmallow, that’s going to help with the digestion a little bit more. To me, that’s one of the most fun and exciting things about herbalism. It’s just learning how you can use them in all these different ways. Just one herb can have so many different things that it does.
Dani: Yes, and how one can affect the other one. In fact, that’s the next herb that I was going to talk about was cayenne pepper. Cayenne pepper is a driving herb also. So any time I have someone that does have something going on with their liver and I really want to drive that milk thistle to the liver, I’ll layer it with some cayenne. Any time, I really want to drive dong quai towards the uterus I’ll layer it with some cayenne or some turmeric. So yeah, those are absolutely fabulous.
Okay. So now let’s get down to the nitty gritty. We’ve helped her digestion and her liver. We’ve taken care of her cuts and her bruises and her hormonal imbalances and some inflammation but really when we look at what a zombie is, a zombie is a viral infection, right? So as an herbalist, what we want to do–
Logan: Right. We’re talking like a zombie is a viral thing. Yes, that’s absolutely true.
Logan: Sorry, it’s just that—
Dani: This is our world, right? Can you know that that’s true? Yes, that’s absolutely true. So when an herbalist is formulating different things, there’s kind of a method to our madness. The formula is typically, number one is boost the invader. If it’s a food allergy, get rid of the foods that’s causing the irritation. What is the substance that’s really creating havoc? So with Zoe, it would be a virus. So that would be the first thing that we want to do is boost the invader.
Now because it’s a virus, viruses are not killed by drugs. They’re not killed by food. They’re not killed by herbs. But what we can do, and herbs are phenomenal for this, is supporting the immune system and preventing the cells from getting infected. So boosting the invader in this case would be bringing in some of those elderberries that we talked about before and using that to prevent the cells from being infected. So it’s kind of like saying all right, the cells that are already affected are going to die off but I’m preventing my new cells, the other cells from being infected, which is just as good.
The second thing that we want to do is you want to support the infected tissues. We want to decrease the inflammation and we want to nourish those infected tissues. Licorice root is fabulous for inflamed mucus membranes, coughs, urinary tracts, throats and bronchial irritations. It’s an immunomodulator so it can really help kind of stimulate the immune system. It also has some antiviral properties to it. So I would layer the elderberries with a little bit of licorice root and it’s also a nutritive herb.
Then what I would do is I would take some astragalus root slices or some astragalus root powder, and you could do it in capsular form or you can make a tea out of it, and astragalus is phenomenal for boosting the immune system. It’s an immune system enhancer. It’s a building tonic. It also inhibits viral infections. A lot of people would use astragalus for HIV, AIDS, fatigue, asthma, arthritis, chronic colds and flus. So that’s really fabulous for really supporting and boosting the immune system.
Then the fourth thing that we do as herbalists is we relieve the symptoms because let’s face it, if people come to us then we say okay, this is what we’re going to do, we’re going to do this, this and this but they walk away and they’re still sniffling and sneezing and their throat still hurts, they’re going to go, I’m not going to see this person. Forget about it, right? So what I would do in this case is put in maybe some mullein leaf. I like teas. I’m a fan of teas. I’m also a fan of capsules and salves but mullein leaf tea is wonderful because mullein leaf is one of the few leaves—it’s not a root—but it’s a leaf that has the mucilaginous properties to it. It’s also cooling and soothing, really great for dry, hacking cough, bronchitis. Even heartburn or acid reflux, mullein leaf tea is really good for that.
Now we’re kind of getting down to the nitty-gritty of it, right? Now Zoe is like oh my god, I’m like three-quarters of the way human, right? So now let’s say that Zoe is on her way. Her jaundiced face is all better. Her complexion is starting to get back. Her liver is starting to become happy and the viral infection is pretty much under control but she’s got a hell of a headache from everything that she’s been through. In fact, now she’s all of a sudden starting to get migraines.
An herb that’s fabulous for migraines is feverfew. When I work with people who have migraines, I have found that feverfew, either in capsules or as a tea—and it’s a tasty tea; most of the herbs that we’ve talked about can be made into tasty teas except for the slippery elm and the marshmallow, those kind of make more of a gruel—but feverfew is a nice tasty tea. One cup of tea a day for about a month can really prevent migraines from coming back. It’s fabulous for getting rid of migraines. It’s good at getting rid of some of the symptoms at the onset of a migraine but long term use of feverfew seems to work really well with preventing migraines from occurring.
Logan: Interesting. I was not aware of that one.
Dani: Yeah, that’s a good one. White willow bark is really good for pain. That’s kind of like a derivative that they use to make aspirin so it’s really handy to have on hand in your zombie apocalyptic medicine cabinet for anything you might have to deal with which would be painful. Other things that are really great for like sleeping, Zoe might not be sleeping really well now. She might be having flashbacks of all the memories that she stole from other people’s minds and whatnot. One of my favorite—I have to tell you a story. This is really funny.
So when I was going through my herbal training course, my mentor was talking about sleep aids and he was talking about poppy seeds and nutmeg. He was talking about how the two of them combined are fabulous because poppy seeds can help you fall asleep and nutmeg will help you stay asleep. He said these are really great and if you mix it with like some half-and-half or some warm milk, the cholesterol in the warm milk or the half-and-half helps build that cholesterol tree, which can make sleep all of a sudden just absolutely fantastic.
I misheard what he had said. I thought he said the dose was a tablespoon of each. So I went home and I mixed a tablespoon of ground-up poppy seeds and a tablespoon of ground nutmeg in about I would say 10 ounces of nice warm organic half-and-half. I steeped it for a little bit and then I curled up in a little ball and I sipped it. It was so delicious. It was really nummy. I think I added a little bit of vanilla to it as well. It was so good that I got my spoon out and I spooned up all the particulate matter at the bottom of the glass and I ate it. I did not wake up the next day until 2:00 in the afternoon and when I woke up, I was high. Literally, I hopped in the shower. I was like oh my god, I’ve got to go into work. I got into the office and I stopped and I said whoa, I need to go home.
Logan: Right, because nutmeg also has some psychoactive effect at large dosages.
Dani: And poppy is a derivative for opium.
Logan: Opium. So yeah, that definitely has some effects there, too.
Dani: So caveat with those two: start off with a small dose.
Logan: So what is the recommended dose? Not one tablespoon each.
Dani: Not one tablespoon. The recommended dose would be start off with a quarter teaspoon and then if that doesn’t work titrate it up a little bit. Maybe go to half a teaspoon and if that doesn’t work—it depends on body size, too; a big guy is going to have a lot more than a little petite grandma—titrate up until you have your best sleep. When you wake up groggy, you’ve had just a little bit too much and then you want to back down just a little bit. That’s kind of how I use a lot of herbs. If I’m using feverfew or dong quai or mullein, I’ll titrate until I get the symptomatic relief that I want and then I’ll kind of step just below that.
Logan: Okay. Well, I guess we’ve pretty much covered every symptom or possible thing just about there.
Dani: There’s only one more that’s remaining. Now that Zoe’s gone through her journey, she might be feeling a little unworthy because she’s been eating other people’s brains. So she might be having problems reintegrating back with society and those feelings of unworthiness and depression, that can be debilitating for the zombie trying to reintroduce herself back into society. So St. John’s wort is a fabulous herb. For some reason, we still don’t know exactly what it is, but St. John’s wort has got an affinity for the nervous system. It likes the brain and the neuroreceptors and it just does wonders at reducing depression and feelings of unworthiness.
Logan: Excellent. It’s interesting. Some of these plants get reputations for different things. St. John’s wort and depression, a lot of people have heard that but that whole nervous system component, I’ve heard it being used for nervous system pain, also to other things along those lines as well.
Dani: Shingles. It’s phenomenal for shingles. Any kind of nerve pain, it works really great with. It’s also got some really nice antiviral properties to it. Yeah.
Logan: Once again, one of those herbs. . Excellent. Okay, so you mentioned a little bit that you like capsules and you like tea. I’m curious. Do you keep all these things on stock at your house in raw form? What’s your sort of personal dispensary look like?
Dani: Well, my personal dispensary at home I have an encapsulator. I try to incorporate them in foods as much as I can. Like slippery elm bark, I’m a 50-year-old woman and I’m kind of going through that, as I age, that drying out stage is starting to happen and I’m starting to see the wrinkles in my face. So I put the slippery elm bark and the marshmallow root powder, I just have it in powder form and I just add it to my oatmeal or I’ll just add it to my smoothie.
With the turmeric, I’ll do it like a turmeric chai cooler, especially over ice in the summer time, which is really lovely. With the milk thistle, I’ll keep the seeds on hand and I’ll make those as a tea. Most of the herbs that I have, it’s kind of a combination. If I can incorporate it into a food and it tastes good then I will do so. If it’s extremely messy and I can’t incorporate it into a food then I will encapsulate it and put it in capsule form. Most of the time I’d just buy wholesale. I have an encapsulator at home that I’ll use for certain herbs but it seems to be really labor-intensive now and so I’m kind of past that. But I use all forms.
Logan: So is there a few herbs that you are taking pretty much every day versus other ones you reach to when you need them?
Dani: Well, yeah. Every day, I tend to love turmeric on a daily basis. I’ll do my slippery elm bark or my marshmallow root powder on a regular basis. I love food and I love to cook and so sometimes I will eat too much and I’ll get a little bit of gassiness and a little bit of bloating and I’ll reach for the fennel seeds. Then in capsular form, I’ll use dong quai and my shatavari as a maintenance. Those are long term herbs that I can use. That’s pretty much it. Most of the time I try and if I can mix it in my food, I’m a golden girl with mixing it into my food with these.
Logan: Nice. I know it really depends but when you’re seeing clients and recommending them to get started because herbs most people are not used to them. Like make a tea, I don’t even know how to do that. How do you get people kind of started in using herbs?
Dani: Well, the first thing that I found is that I’ve got to get results fast; otherwise, they won’t believe me and they won’t buy into me. So what I’ll do is I’ll look at what’s going on. If I’ve got someone that I see with irritable bowel, the first thing that I’ll do is just really slam the gut healing nutrients. So I’ll do a turmeric and I’ll do maybe some marshmallow root powder and then start worrying about what’s the underlying condition. Is it a food sensitivity that’s causing it? Do I need to remove the gluten? Then I’ll kind of go head-hunting for what’s the underlying cause. If I’ve got somebody that’s got diabetes, the first thing that I’ll do is start titrating off of the sugar and then starting incorporating some things that can help balance out the blood sugar levels and adding a little bit more protein-rich foods into their diet.
So it just kind of depends upon the person and what’s going on but yeah, most of the time I’ll look at how can I have a big effect fast and give the relief so that they’ll buy into their own health and continue with the protocol that I would like to have them on long term. Especially for hormonal imbalance for women, that’s one of those things that if you don’t give a woman that’s going through PMS or menopause relief within a couple of weeks, you’ve lost them as a client. When you look at the underlying or what’s really going on with congested liver and what they’re eating and their lifestyle is like, it’s kind of hard to get at that within two weeks. So herbs are phenomenal for that.
Logan: I like what you said there, getting results fast. I feel that’s what we strive to do, too. With men, it’s the same thing and their hormones. Although men’s hormones are not as complex as women’s, they’re still pretty damn complex. If we can take some of the more powerful herbs that really can deliver benefits right away, I feel that is really important because once people can experience what herbs can do for them then they become open up to using more herbalism, doing some other natural things. But you’ve got to do that thing because I feel most people are like, “This is alternative medicine.” Some people probably feel it’s quackery for some reason but if you can give them that experience, that can flip things over.
Dani: Absolutely. I think it’s really important, too, to say that herbs have a synergy to them, whereas prescription drugs or isolated constituents, they may have one thing but herbs have that synergy. There’s more than one constituent. Like turmeric, there’s just such a complexity to it and there are aspects of turmeric that are antimicrobial, or anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and astringent. There’s a synergy to herbs and whole plant medicine that affects the whole body differently than any isolated extract or constituent I believe.
Logan: Yeah, absolutely. So I’m curious. With the turmeric, are you mostly using the fresh roots yourself or dried powders? Because a lot of supplement forms, they’re going standardize. Some of them are even just curcumin, which is the so-called active component of turmeric. So what are you using?
Dani: So I use basically turmeric powder unless I’ve got something. If I’ve got a huge case of inflammation where I know, I can see it on the person’s face when they’re walking in my door, then I’ll use some curcumin. But most of the time, I’ll just do high doses of just straight turmeric powder. I’ll use anywhere up to, depending upon the size of the person, 10 to 20 grams because it’s a food-like herb. It’s just like ginger. It’s a root that you can go out, you can buy it at the grocery store. You can put it in your smoothies. Most people would think oh my god, you’re using 20 grams of turmeric and I’m like well, let’s go out to the grocery store and get this little root of turmeric. There’s your 20 grams right there. Let’s just throw it into your smoothie and badabing-badaboom, you’re golden.
Logan: Right. That’s going to be safer than even just popping aspirin or inflammatory drugs.
Dani: Aspirin will shred up your stomach. Turmeric would heal your stomach.
Logan: Yeah. It’s important. People don’t realize over-the-counter drugs, they think they’re safe but how many people die every year just because of aspirin causing liver failure or other issues. It’s pretty crazy.
Dani: Right. Yeah, it is.
Logan: There’s a whole bunch of other stuff we can go in. I guess we’ll just touch on it a little bit because we’re coming up near the end but you also talked a lot about the psychology of eating, how this is really the root of many of the problems people have, not necessarily the food. Obviously, the food is important but the psychological part is not covered nearly as much as it ought to be based on its importance.
Dani: Yes. When I first became a nutritional therapist, one of the biggest challenges that I faced was not putting together the customized eating programs for my clients. It was figuring out how to get them to implement those customized protocols. I found that I was having problems too where literally I would tell people to eat their vegetables during the day and then I would go home at night and I would binge on bacon cheeseburgers and french fries and beer. And I couldn’t stop. So I was definitely an emotional eater and I also had problems with implementation.
That led me down a rabbit hole where I started, I went and saw a psychologist for four years and that’s where I learned that everything that I was learning about the psychology of me also pertained to the psychology of food. I started gathering all of these different strategies that I could use to help people to tune into their physical bodies and overcome the emotional eating aspect of it. In today’s world, there are so many foods that have addicting properties, qualities. Sugar is very addicting, breads and a lot of the refined foods that we eat. Manufacturers make food now, knowing that if they combine a certain amount of sugar, fat and salt, it’s going to tickle the dopamine center in our brain and go bing, bing, bing and they just want more. That can be difficult for some people to overcome.
When you look at you know the 45 million Americans every year that try to lose weight 4 to 5 times unsuccessfully, it’s a big deal. So let me give your community maybe three really big tips that they can use to begin, if they want to make some dietary changes but they’re just having problems implementing those changes. The first thing that I would say is not to judge food, not to make it “this food is good” or “this food is bad.” It’s not good or bad. It’s just cause and effect. For instance, in my body when I eat fruits and vegetables, I tend to feel light and energetic. When I eat processed foods or refined foods, my body feels really heavy and really lethargic. I begin to lose mental clarity. So there’s no good or bad involved with it. It’s just cause and effect. Then that eliminates the guilt and the shame that we experience when I say to myself, I’m going to eat good this week and then all of a sudden I fall off the wagon. Then I experience the guilt and the shame. Not labelling food as good or bad helps to eliminate the guilt and the shame.
Then the second thing that I would say is to really begin to tune in to your physical body. We used to navigate the world and when we come into this world as babies, we eat because our physical body is hungry and we stop when our physical body is satisfied. We listen to those cues. But as we grow up and our parents tell us, I don’t care if you’re hungry or not you eat your dinner anyway, we’re trained away from our own satiation signal. If we say, “Mom, I’m not hungry” mom will say, “I don’t care if you’re hungry or not. You’re going to eat your lunch.” So we learn not to trust our physical body.
So coming back to the physical body as something that can be trusted, get out of the head and back into the physical body and ask yourself: Am I really hungry? Is my stomach growling? What does my hunger really feel like? Do I wait until my stomach growls? Do I feel a little queasy? What going on? And then asking the question okay, if the answer is yes, I’m hungry, what is it you’re hungry for? Listen to the body. Don’t listen to the mind. There’s a shift that can take place there, so eating when you’re hungry.
Enjoying your food, we eat so fast today that we just shovel food in that we don’t even enjoy what it is that’s in front of us or appreciate what that food had to go through to gets to us. When we slow down and we appreciate our food, we’re more likely to tune in to our satiation signal and hear it when our bodies say okay, I’ve had enough; that was really enjoyable but now I’m full. It prevents us from over-eating.
So when you tune into the physical body and eat when you’re hungry, enjoy your food and stop when the physical body is satisfied, it puts you in the driver’s seat where all of a sudden you can literally navigate the world going huh, am I hungry? Yeah, I’m going to eat. Am I hungry? No, I’m not hungry. And if I feel compelled to eat anyway, it’s an opportunity to ask myself, what is it that I’m really hungry for? What is it that I really want? Am I bored? Am I just wanting relief from my boredom? Am I wanting to soothe myself with this food? Am I wanting to avoid something that maybe I should be dealing with instead? What is it that I’m trying to feed, soothe or avoid by eating this food?
So food can be this really cool gateway to what it is that we really want in life, what we really hunger for in life, which I think is really, really cool. I’d say that probably 90% of the work that I do with my clients is when they first come in to see me, I first customize their diet and I put them on an herbal protocol and then typically the second, third, or fourth visit, depending upon how well they’re implementing, it can be more work on okay, let’s get to work on the psychology of food and overcoming the emotional eating aspects that are involved.
Logan: Yeah, it’s such a hugely important part and I know I’ve definitely had some issues with it. Anyone that gets into like health and nutrition probably has some neuroses around food, I think, because we get in and it’s kind of like okay, these foods are good for us and these foods are bad and that starts that whole journey of judgment. I know personally myself when I did like emotionally eating, I’d eat to stop feeling things so much. Once the belly is full and even too full, overstuffed, I’m feeling that and not whatever thing I was trying to.
Dani: Oh, then you can pass out.
Logan: Yeah, exactly. So I like that question, what am I really hungry for? That’s probably the other thing. People have trouble with this because they don’t want to look in the mirror and actually be honest with themselves. But if they’re willing to do that then these things can really begin to be transformed.
Dani: Yeah, and everybody is where they should be. Some people don’t like to hear that either but people get there at their own pace and their own time and that’s okay, too.
Logan: Right. We all have our own journey.
Dani: We do.
Logan: Excellent. Well, this has been a lot of fun. I know we could talk about so many more things. Maybe we’ll have you on in the future, if you’d like. Once again, where can people go to find out more about you?
Dani: They can go to GoodDecisions.com where they can follow, I’m getting ready to launch an online overcoming emotional eating course in July. So they’ll be able to check that out if they’re interested in the emotional eating aspect of it. The herbs for the zombie apocalypse is going to be coming up probably around that same time. That might turn into a book. I’ve got so much interest in that. I’m not quite sure what’s going to unfold from that. If they’re interested in one-on-one consultations, I have a wellness clinic here in Washington State and I also do consultations via Skype, long-distance consultations. The website to schedule an appointment with me is at www.LWMT.com.
Logan: Okay. Excellent. Thank you so much for this. I think people will really enjoy it. For whatever reason, this whole zombie idea has kind of hooked on to the collective consciousness and I think people will find it fascinating. I know I did. I like me some zombies for some reason.
Dani: It’s fun, right?
Logan: Yeah. If you can really bring it, have more fun with this and really I think that’s what herbalism is about. For me, it’s fun to experiment and try out new herbs. Put them together in different ways. Take them. Notice how it’s affecting my body and all that. Absolutely. Thank you so much, Dani.
Dani: You bet. I love what you’re doing, Logan.
Logan: Thank you. Thanks everyone for listening. We will have another exciting episode for you in a couple of weeks. Bye.
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