Spring Readiness: 7 Ways to Awaken Your Body & Spirit for Spring

It’s almost over! Winter, that is.  And during these hard, cold months, I’ve been in a human winter hibernation of sorts.  But the days are getting warmer, the daylight hours a little longer, and the sun a bit brighter, and it’s time to come out of my home-cave and get ready for the new season.

I’ve come up with some tips to gently help with the transition from cold, sluggish winter, into renewing spring.  These tips are designed to be easy and achievable by anybody wishing to awaken their bodies and spirits.



Of your body that is. A simple detox can mean cutting all processed foods, caffeine, and alcohol from your diet for a week, and focusing on whole foods that will help your body clean itself gently.  Another simple way to detoxify your system is to eat vitamin rich raw foods and juices and lean proteins for 5 days.  If you have never done it before, it is important to check with a physician if your body is ready to handle a detox and what kind of detox would be best.  For me, I know my body can handle about 5 days of raw fruits and vegetables and lean (animal and plant-based) proteins.  After detoxing in this way, my body feels energized, my skin is brighter, and my body just a bit leaner.  It gets me on course to eating right for the rest of the year.  My favorite plan is the 5 Day Slim Down from the Tone It Up program.


Exfoliate.  Exfoliate.  Exfoliate.  My favorite ways to do this is by dry brushing my body.  This not only assists the body’s process of ridding itself of dead skin cells, but it also is a fantastic way to give yourself a gentle lymphatic massage (which also helps detox from the inside!), and energize your body.  I use this body brush in the mornings before I shower and love the way I feel after a good dry brushing!

It’s important to note, though, that you don’t need a super stiff brush or lots of pressure to reap the benefits.  Use a natural-bristle brush that feels good on your skin and soft, gentle strokes.  Starting at the base of your feet, use medium-length strokes to brush up towards your heart, overlapping strokes as you go up your legs, knees, thighs, buttocks, lower back.  Then brush your hands, forearms, upper arms, arm pits, and shoulders. Move onto your belly- sometimes I use long, circular strokes that go clockwise in this area.  I skip over my chest and neck since I feel that skin is very sensitive to even the softest brush.

I follow dry brushing with a nice shower or bath and wrap it up by massaging some warming sesame oil all over.

I also like to use a clay mask on my face.  Of course there is La Buena Botanica’s DETOX mask, but you can also make a simple mask from bentonite clay and raw apple cider vinegar and/or water.  I like this one very much!


A few healthy habits I’m in the process of adopting or re-adopting are:

a) Making my own herbal infusions with nourshing herbs such as nettles, alfalfa, and oatstraw.  I have a ritual at night of boiling some water, throwing some herbs in the pot, put a lid on it and let the pot sit there overnight.  In the morning, I strain the herbs, put a tiny bit of organic stevia, and store it in a glass jar in the fridge to have throughout the day.

b) Moving! Either going to the gym, taking a yoga class, going for a walk outside, or actively playing with my toddler.  Movement and exercise are a necessary part of our health!

c) Taking my multivitamins as advised by my doctor.  I hate taking supplements, but I have found that I can’t function without my daily dose of vitamin D, fish oil and magnesium.  I feel so much healthier when I am consistent about this habit that this spring I am making it more of a conscious effort to take them daily.


Community is such an important part of our health.  Without being able to express feelings and troubles, we tend to keep them bottled up, constantly fueling our stress.  By having a community of family or like-minded people, you can externalize those feelings and you might find comfort that you’re not the only one who’s been through that, or even a solution to a specific issue.  We are social animals, and we need to honor that, as shy as we might be.

“Your vibe attracts your tribe” is one of my favorite quotes and it’s so true!  If you’re a new momma who is into breastfeeding, start going to La Leche League meetings.  If you have kids, get to know their friends’ parents and socialize with them.  If you work from home, then join a WAH group or start one! If your life is crazy and demanding, join your local yoga studio and get to know your fellow students and teachers. Don’t skip out on opportunities to get to know more people who you’ll identify with!

Also, take opportunities to reach out to your friends.  You chose them for a reason and even if time has passed and you are doing your own things, you might find a lot of joy in reviving those connections.


Spring is practically here. Don’t miss out on Mother Earth’s AMAZING come-back by beingstuck indoors and in your own head.  Go outside, be present noticing how She awakens.  New growth is all around us and it is magical to notice how tiny baby leaves sprout, how flowers open with the sunlight, etc.

Notice Her pace and Her “clock” and let it guide the rhythm of your life.  Dim the lights as the sun goes down and gently brighten up your house as the sun comes out.  Being attuned to nature is engrained in us, and all we need to do is tap into that connection in order to feel connected to all living beings.



Breathing- you do it without really thinking about it.  Which is fantastic, right? One less thing to worry about.  But that’s exactly the problem.  Our breath keeps us alive, yet so many of us don’t pay it the attention it deserves.  Short, shallow breaths fool our bodies into thinking we are stressed.  Breathing mindfully helps our body relax, expel toxins, and function to it’s best ability. Breath is the bridge between our body and our minds, it can calm an excited mind, or help us be present in the moment.  If you are mindful of your breath you are practicing self-awareness and you can then take note of what your needs are.  There are a myriad of breathing exercises out there, but simply, pausing often during the day and taking 10 mindful breaths can help you attune to your body and ground your mind.  A simple breathing mantra you can try to get ready for spring is:

Breathing in I revitalize.  Breathing out, I am renewed.

Many of us have been stuck indoors most of the time this winter so, bonus points for practicing mindful breathing outdoors.


Yes, I’m talking about your space.  Your space says a lot about your mind and your ways.  Someone who is efficient and logical might have an organized space… and an organized mind.  And someone who multitasks and has a full plate, might have their belongings and current projects scattered.  By pairing down and being selective about our belongings, we can cue our mind into doing the same.  Take in less things – take on less projects.  Rid your space of things you don’t need or want – Rid your to-do list of those things (by doing them or dropping them) that have been on there forever and have been stressing you out, etc.

So there you have ‘em! My instruction manual on how to gently transition out of winter and into spring.  What are your favorite ways to ease you into spring?



NEW! Monthly Elderberry Syrup Subscription


ElderberryLa Buena Botanica now offers a Monthly Elderberry Syrup Subscription (with free delivery) in select cities of the Metro Detroit area.  Subscribers will receive:

  • A discounted rate on Elderberry Syrup depending on selection and free delivery.
  • 10% discount on all other La Buena Botanica products,
  • Freebies,
  • A full-size La Buena Botanica product for each referral who signs up for the Monthly Elderberry Subscription!


Our delicious Elderberry Syrup is made fresh and in small batches from raw Michigan honey, and the highest quality organic ingredients such as clove, cinnamon, and ginger.  It can be taken once a day, year-round, or 2-3 times per day when the cold/flu strikes.  It keeps 6 months in the refrigerator.

La Buena Botanica’s Elderberry Syrup is made with amazing ingredients AND at the same time is offered at a price that is substantially less than what is offered at health food stores around the area.

Elderberries are ideal for the treatment of colds and influenza.  According to Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs, they have immune-enhancing and antiviral properties that are helpful in treating viral infections including flus, and upper respiratory infections.

Using raw honey allows the preservation of the powerful properties and nutrients of honey.  Here are a few articles talking about the many benefits to the immune system, those with colds/flus/cough, and allergies.

Please note that honey, a key ingredient in LBB’s Elderberry Syrup, is not recommended for children under 12 months.


1) Select a jar size and frequency for delivery.

2) Fill out the form below, or by clicking on Monthly Subscription from the menu above. Don’t forget to let me know which monthly subscriber referred you!

3) Pre-pay in full via Paypal (you’ll receive a request from me), or pay in full by cash or check upon first delivery.

Oh! And customers who select the 16 oz jar / 6-month schedule will receive a FREE full-size product from my shop, selected by me, at the beginning of the subscription and each 6-month renewal period.

8 oz jar / 6-month subscribers may receive a little freebie as well.


Current delivery zones include: Birmingham, Royal Oak, Clawson, Berkley, Huntington Woods, West Bloomfield, Farmington Hills, Bloomfield Twp, Franklin, Bingham Farms, Southfield, Beverly Hills, Bloomfield Hills, and Troy.  Delivery to nearby towns can be arranged for a reasonable fee.


Subscribers get an additional 8oz jar of elderberry syrup or a full size product of their choosing from my shop, for FREE, for each friend that signs up for the Monthly Elderberry Syrup Subscription.  Just tell them to let me know when they fill out the form!


Subscribe by filling out the form below!


I will select the day/time of delivery based on demand and locations. I will do my best to accommodate individual preferences.  Once paid, no refunds or exchanges, although I will allow transferring your subscription to someone in the delivery zone.


1) Please make sure to “Like” La Buena Botanica on Facebook, where I post about new products and Elderberry Syrup availability (for those who don’t wish to subscribe).

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Dream Pillow Tutorial

Dream PillowThese past weeks, my family has been challenged with ear infections, bad back injuries, flu, and croup.  So sleep, even though it’s highly needed, is in very (very) short supply.  Personally, my patience is directly proportionate to the quality of sleep that I get, so its important for me to develop healthy sleep habits that will help me face whatever comes with openness and patience.

One of the useful things I’ve come across in my studies of herbs, is this article from the Mountain Rose blog.  I decided to look in my little apothecary (i.e. a canister full of herbs in zip bags) and see if I had any goodies to make a few little pillows for my family and me.  Now, there are tons of places to get dream pillows online, but I assure you, take a trip to your nearest bulk herb supplier (or links are provided below), and you’re pretty much done!

Here is my recipe, don’t skip the hops, as they are surprisingly fragrant:

  1. Mix herbs together
  2. Add lavender oil and spoon into little cotton muslin pouches.  The ones I used were in the apothecary section at my local Plum Market.
  3. Rub between your hands, place inside your pillow case and breathe in. Zzz zzz.

One of my favorite things to do right before laying down is to rub the pillow in between the hands to release the aroma and then I run my hands through my hair, which lightly scents it.  It’s truly divine!


Cozy Coconut Chai

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The comparatively “warm” spell Michigan was under finally broke and here we are with 14°F temperatures that fall well below zero with the wind factor.  Needless to say, I found myself in dire need of warming up.  As usual, my daily morning exercise routine helped a great deal.  A good cardiovascular workout always gets me warmed up.  If it’s a HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workout, that warmth will last me for hours, since it leaves my metabolism running on high.  But alas, my morning exercise consisted of a 2.25 mile power walk and some light abs and arms work… not quite as intense as to last me for more than an hour or so.

As my poor face got slapped around with the bitter, bitter cold, I immediately thought of making a warm spicy chai.  After digging through my spice pantry, I gathered the ingredients for a nice makeshift chai.  Cardamom and whole peppercorns add such a great flavor profile that went perfectly with my darjeeling tea.  Besides the amazing flavor, those spices + the ginger root + cinnammon, are well-known to be warming herbs, meaning that they help fire-up the circulatory system creating internal heat.  I like the added bonus of honey, which along with ginger, have great immunity-boosting properties.  Also, I feel like I could’ve added more star anise, but I have a low threshold for that spice.  I find it unbearable when it’s too strong, but if you like it, add more.

Here is the recipe, feel free to adjust according to your liking:

Makes 1 serving

  • 1/2 cinnamon stick broken in pieces
  • 1 darjeeling tea bags (a bit under 1 Tbsp)
  • 4 cardamom pods (smashed)
  • 1/2 tsp whole peppercorns
  • 1 or 2 small piece(s) of star anise
  • 1/2 tsp dry ginger root (may use fresh)
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • honey to sweeten

Put everything in a small sauce pan and let it simmer on the stovetop on low while occasionally whisking it.  It’s ready when your house smells heavenly and the milk turns a very warm caramel color.  Strain the milk into your favorite mug, add honey to taste, cozy up however you like and, ENJOY!

6 Amazing Skincare Herbs

While there are all sorts of skincare products out there, I prefer to stick with products I can make at home with natural herbs, oils, and butters.  Herbs are so great for day-to-day skincare because there are just so many options to choose from- each with their own awesome benefits.  The thing I love most about using herbs for skincare is that they are generally gentle on the skin.


I have just recently discovered this bright and wonderful herb (pictured below) and my research has left me hooked.  Calendula, also known as Marigold, is a great herb to have around in dried, and salve forms. It’s anti-inflamatory and helps heal infections and physical damage to the skin, as well as slow-healing wounds and skin ulcers. Dried calendula flowers can be used to infuse your favorite oil.  The calendula oil makes a useful salve to keep handy in the first aid kit for minor burns.

The calendula oil and salves are also gentle enough to use on babies and children for cradle cap and diaper rashes.



I’m warning you, chamomile is one of my greatest obsessions and you will read about it a lot on this site. I recall being in Catholic school as a little little girl and faking many stomach aches so the nuns gave me a chamomile tea.  It wasn’t until recently that I learned that chamomile’s tummy and nerve-soothing properties carry over to the skin as well.  Chamomile is anti-inflamatory (Use those used tea bags on your eyes to de-puff them!), bactericidal, fungicidal, and antiseptic… whew… that’s a lot of wonderful and gentle skin benefits.

I use it in my lip balms and usually have some dry chamomile flowers infusing oil on my kitchen windowsill for my favorite face lotion and healing herbal lotion bars.  It’s gentle, soothing, and wonderful for the whole family.  You just can’t go wrong with chamomile.


Now, this is one helluva herb!  If you live in a warm climate, plant it, and it will reward you with lots of soothing, and skin healing. Aloe is famous for treating both superficial and serious burns, skin ulcers, irritations, cuts, and scratches.

The plant itself is all you need for these treatments as it is free of bacteria and other germs.  Aloe is a healer. A cell proliferant.  And a star.  It doesn’t need anything else to do a phenomenal job.  I’ve used it many times on sunburns and kitchen burns and its pain relieving properties are amazing.  Aloe vera is also a natural sunscreen, blocking out anywhere from 20-30% of UV rays.  On the face, aloe vera gel tightens and tones, which is why this is another ingredient in my fresh facial cream.


This is one herb that sounds too good to be true.  But it is true!

Comfrey “is said to be so powerful to consolidate and knit together that if they be boiled with dismembered pieces of flesh in a pot it will join them together.” – Nicholas Culpeper

Ok, with quotes like these I become a bit more skeptical, but the truth of the matter is that comfrey has been well known as a bone-mender for centuries and it has earned itself nicknames such as knitbone and boneset.  Allantoin, a component of this herb is probably responsible for all of its healing properties.

You can use comfrey oil to make a salve, which can be used on cuts, burns and varicose veins.  And, this is a good one to rub on the skin around the edges of casts in order to support the bone-healing process.  As a poultice, its great on wounds, bruises, sores, and bites.


The oats that we typically eat are fantastic little soothers for the skin.  Put in a bath, oats provide a skin nourishing soak soothing irritated skin conditions and itchiness.  Next time you make old-fashioned oats, skim off some of the “milk” from the top of the bowl, apply it to your skin and leave it on for 10-20 minutes and rinse.  Your skin will thank you!

Oatstraw another component of the plant contains plenty of silicic acid, which makes it suitable for skin conditions such as herpes and shingles.


Chickweed is a little feller that most people are trying to figure out how to get rid of, but when it comes to herbal remedies, it’s a little star.  It’s gentle enough to use on babies and children for diaper rashes, eczema, skin irritation and itchiness.  A salve preparation would be a handy one to keep in the diaper bag or on the changing table.

There are many more herbs that are fantastic for the skin, but these are definitely the all-around stars.  If you are looking for skincare products, don’t forget to check out my shop.  I will soon be expanding my product line to include various salves, so stay tuned.

Note: Please buy your herbs from a trusted, organic vendor.  If you are going to be putting anything on your skin, it is best to use organic, non-gmo.  


Pedersen, Mark. Nutritional Herbology: A Reference Guide to Herbs. Warsaw, IN: Wendell W. Whitman, 1998. Print.

Hoffmann, David. The New Holistic Herbal: A Herbal Celebrating the Wholeness of Life. Longmead, Shaftesbury, Dorset: Element, 1990. Print.

Gladstar, Rosemary. Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner’s Guide. North Adams, MA: Storey Pub., 2012. Print.

3 Easy Natural Health & Beauty Swaps

Here are 3 very easy and natural swaps to get rid of those chemical-laden products you may be using.


Our skin is the largest organ in our body and able to absorb any products we apply to it.  If you wouldn’t put a pump or squirt of that highly-perfumed lotion in your mouth, then why would you put it on your skin?  Instead, reach for some organic coconut oil!  This oil has righteously gained a lot of popularity in recent times.  One of my favorite uses, besides making delicious stovetop popcorn, is as a moisturizer. I keep some in a little 4 oz mason jar on my nightstand and use it as a lip, face, and body moisturizer all the time.

If you want to go a step further…

I suggest gently warming the coconut oil in a double boiler.  Once melted, remove from heat and add a few drops of chamomile essential oil mixing well and pouring into small mason jar.  The addition of chamomile enhances the coconut oil as it is known to reduce inflammation and redness, reduce the appearance of scars and spots when used externally, and has a cheerful subtle scent. Apply it as needed on your face, lips, and body.


Many OTC cough syrups nowadays have fancy packaging with all the desirable benefits one would hope to get from a cough syrup and then some!  The more natural ones, which I’ve tried before, are higher priced and may expire quickly even when kept in the fridge.

While a wet cough is our body’s way of getting rid of all the mucus building up in our system, it can get rather irritating and painful.  I rarely buy cough syrup anymore these days, but rather, I prefer looking in my kitchen.  Instead of suppressing a productive cough, I look to support the body naturally.  Honey is great for soothing sore throats and coughs.  It can also help little ones (over 1 year old) sleep at night.  I like warming some water and adding a couple of teaspoons of honey and a squeeze of lemon when I’m sick.  If my throat is especially irritated, I might just take a spoonful of honey straight up.  And if I’m having a REALLY hard time, I’ll chop up a clove of garlic and add it to the spoonful of honey and swallow it whole.

If you want to go a step further…

I recommend trying out Wellness Mama’s delicious Homemade Herbal Cough Syrup.  I’ve made this recipe a couple of times and I have found nothing that has so many cold-busting, immune-boosting, and great tasting elements.


Ditch that eye cream and check out this simple and relaxing 2-for-1 swap.  Make yourself and a loved one some chamomile tea, once steeped take the tea bags and let them cool until you can handle them comfortably.  Next, leave the tea next to you while you lay back and place a tea bag directly over each eye. Let the gentle chamomile relieve eye stress, strain, dark circles, and puffiness. Sound soothing and relaxing, right? This one is best done when you know you’re not going to be disturbed, like when the kids are asleep!

If you want to go a step further…

Make a Lavender Pillow! Cut 2 silky pieces of fabric roughly 10 x 5 inches, stitch both long sides and one short side.  Then fill the pillow with dried lavender flowers, being careful not to over-stuff it.  Add a couple of drops of lavender essential oil, sew the last side of the pillow and voila, you’re pretty much just a couch, a tea, and some nice soothing music away from relaxation heaven.  For an extra bonus, put the pillow in the microwave to warm up for a few seconds, but don’t over do it!


Hi there! Welcome to La Buena Botánica- a place to talk about all sorts of herbal and natural topics. In the near future, you will be able to find DIY herbal recipes for beauty and home remedies, helpful information about herbs and other good stuff.

I’m slowly working on building this site, so please excuse the mess!