In pursuing a more natural lifestyle, many of us want to move away from conventional forms of medicine and healthcare. After her first daughter’s birth, Arielle de Martinez dove deep into the world of natural medicine which ultimately led her to herbalism. You will be fascinated by our conversation about using herbs for everything from washing your hair to relieving bee stings to supporting fevers. If you have never explored the world of herbalism, Arielle shares her best advice for those just starting out, including the top five herbs you can start growing in your backyard today!
In this episode, we cover:
- Going beyond natural shampoo to an even cleaner hair routine
- The surprising ways you can use plants from your own backyard
- How to begin replacing the items in your medicine cabinet with herbs
- Top five herbs you should be growing in your garden and how to use them
- Why you should be cautious about using oregano essential oil and colloidal silver
- How using herbs can be more gentle on the body than using essential oils
- Which herbs offer the strongest antimicrobial benefits
- How to determine whether to take herbs via tincture, infusion, capsule, etc.
- Ways to achieve a pleasant scent without using essential oils or harmful fragrances
- Why fevers are beneficial to the body and what you need to know about treating them
- Where to source herbs for making your own herbal remedies
Arielle is an herbalist and hair healer whose passion is helping women to find sovereignty when it comes to the health of themselves and their family and to break free of the beauty industry and the toxicity that comes with it. Her passions are whole plant medicine, the microbiome, and healing the hair from a root cause perspective.
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Feral Herbalism Series | Use code FARMHOUSE50 for $50 off your purchase of this series
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Lisa Bass Welcome back to the Simple Farmhouse Life podcast. Today, I’m really excited to bring on Arielle de Martinez. We are going to talk all about herbs. So this is something that a lot of you are interested in learning more about from gauging from the community. Also it’s something that really needs to be simplified because it sounds very overwhelming to get into herbal medicine. We’re not used to going out into our backyard, identifying something, and then figuring out how to actually make that into a tea or a tincture or dry it, and it’s all just very overwhelming and confusing. I love the way Arielle breaks it down over on her Instagram, and in this podcast, she really narrows it down to some of the basic herbs to get you started, which I like because it doesn’t sound so overwhelming. They’re all things that you’ve heard of, things that you probably already have used in some way medicinally if you’re naturally minded like I am. And so she really breaks down how to get started with it. At the end of our conversation, Arielle did offer for her Feral Herbalism Series course, which is currently open for enrollment, that she will offer the coupon code FARMHOUSE50 for $50 off. So if you are interested in learning more about herbalism, that would be a really good resource, and you can get that discount as well. So we’ll leave a link down in the show notes and in the description, depending on if you’re on YouTube or on the podcast app, so that you can check out where the course actually is and then enter the code FARMHOUSE50 to get that discount so you can start learning more. All right. Let’s dive into the conversation.
Lisa Bass All right. Well, thank you so much, Arielle, for joining me here. I’m really excited to talk about herbs and hair care and glean all this wisdom that you have. So can you start by telling us a little bit about your story and how you got interested in herbs?
Arielle de Martinez Yeah, definitely. Thank you so much for having me here. My name is Arielle. I’m a mother of two. And everything kind of started with my first daughter, with my pregnancy with her, which is how I find a lot of women kind of generally tend to get into the more natural way of life or looking for alternatives to kind of how we do things mainstream. So I was definitely looking for just alternatives to— you know, even just you’d get sick and you can’t take a decongestant when you’re pregnant. So just kind of trying to find those natural remedies. And I had planned an unmedicated hospital birth with my first daughter, and that, of course, was totally derailed. And so it got to the point where I realized after that experience that I needed to take as much responsibility as I could for my family’s health and wellness because ultimately, dealing with the system isn’t going to serve me if I’m looking to go beyond in a more natural route. And so I really dove deep into how to really set myself up for success so I didn’t have to rely on the medical model when I needed to or when I had something come up. And it’s served us really well because we haven’t had to really do any— you know, we’ve never had to go back into the system again. So my little eight-week-old daughter Cleo was born at home like eight weeks ago. And I successfully, lovingly took care of both of us with herbs during my whole pregnancy and postpartum.
Lisa Bass Yeah, it’s just kind of been like an evolution over time. I know you specialize in hair too, so you also teach women how to naturally take care of their hair for people who have issues with that, because I do find that that’s challenging. So I guess we’ll go more into that. We can go into that now if you want to. But I’m reading on your website you worked in hair in a salon for a really long time, and you found that there weren’t any great options. And I’ve had the same experience. I’ve tried doing like natural shampoos and I always have to wash my hair twice to get it to really feel clean. So yeah. Do you wanna share anything about that whole journey and what that looks like?
Arielle de Martinez Yeah. So I worked in a salon behind the chair for 12 years. You know, I graduated high school, I went to hair school and started working right away. And then ultimately through this journey, you know, I got to the point where I realized that my hair care, like the hair care I was using, that was like really the last realm of like mainstream personal care products that I was using. You know, I wasn’t using the soaps and I wasn’t using lotion and I wasn’t using medicine. But I’m still using— and I’m using this on my clients, you know. And so as my clients were starting to recognize me as a healer, they were coming to me not just for hair advice, but also for health advice. And, you know, there were times when I was starting to feel like there was a really big conflict of interest because what am I supposed to say to my client who thinks she has PCOS when my first recommendation would be to look at endocrine disruptors, but everything I’m using on her is an endocrine disruptor, right? So I started really looking for natural options. And there’s just not. There’s not natural options in the hair care realm. If there are, like traditional shampoos and conditioners are usually—if they’re natural—are filled with products that coat the hair or they are really fragrance heavy with essential oils. And so ultimately I ended up connecting with a woman at just the right time. She was teaching me about herbal hair color and coloring herbal plants and flowers, and I had been kind of experimenting with not using shampoo at all. And I’ve come up with a really great routine for— pretty much it’s the purest form of hair care that I’ve ever heard of. It’s literally just using clays and plants and flowers and to take care of your hair. And my hair has never looked better in my life. And I hear a lot from the women I work with, too.
Lisa Bass Awesome. So what is that routine, that hair care routine that you recommend to so many people? Or is it a little bit different based on their hair type?
Arielle de Martinez It can be different. It involves using an herbal cleanser. So the two that I really like to work with are either like a clay, like rhassoul clay. That specific clay has a pH that’s really close to your natural hair pH, and so it’s not as drying as other types, like bentonite. Or a plant or an herb with a lot of saponins in it, like wild sweet William— some people know it as soapwort. And so what you do is you use these to get the dirt and the grime and excess oil off of your hair. But it’s not stripping your excess oil like a shampoo would because the shampoo is— I mean, it’s a chemical detergent, you know, no matter how natural it is. That’s really what it is. And that’s stripping this natural oils. And so then once that happens, you have to replace them. So what do we use? We use conditioner to put those oils back in. And so when you’re using a natural cleanser, an herbal cleanser, it allows your oils to naturally coat your hair strand and you’re not messing with those. So what you end up with as a result is you get a really nice— it’s like your hair’s natural product. A lot of people find they have a lot more volume, movement, natural body, more soft shine, shiny hair with less static issues like that. Curly haired people see a lot less frizz. And then so you use these herbal cleansers and then you’d follow up with either an apple cider vinegar rinse or a nice strong herbal infusion, just kind of geared towards what your hair goals are.
Lisa Bass Okay. Yeah. That’s a good primer on that because that’s something that I have not like branched into at all. So whenever you’re talking about those specific herbal cleansers and all of that, how do you recommend someone does that? Now you offer some of this in the shop, correct?
Arielle de Martinez Yeah. So I have an apothecary, and I actually don’t offer— a lot of the stuff that I teach about with the hair healing, you can usually buy in bulk pretty easily and make yourself so I don’t sell that, but I do sell some hydrosol and like flax seed gel and some of the stuff that is a little bit harder to get your hands on or is a little bit more time consuming to make yourself. But yeah, with the rhassoul clay, you can order it bulk. Soapworts a little bit harder to find, but it can be done. And then, yeah, with your herbal infusions, you’d literally just use raw, organic apple cider vinegar, and then you could even use a teabag. It’s just whatever herbs are in your backyard or whatever you have at home already, and just kind of using those herbs to figure out what they do and what qualities you want for your hair and choosing those. So it can be really customized, which is nice.
Lisa Bass Yeah, that is nice. So that kind of leads us into— I wanted to talk a little bit about herbs and getting started even with ones in your backyard because that’s something really, really foreign to people. You were talking about—on one of your Instagram stories—how this person came to you and they were distraught because they didn’t have any more oregano essential oil, and they had some kind of issue that they were used to treating with the oregano essential oil, and they had oregano in their garden but didn’t know how to utilize it. So let’s talk a little bit about that, like starting to identify herbs, knowing how to use them. So though we see them and we might know what they are, then what do we even do with them? How do we branch from needing a little bottle of something or a little baggie of something to actually going out into the yard and utilizing herbs?
Arielle de Martinez Yeah. So yeah, the first thing I always tell people when they’re wanting to start learning about herbal medicine is just to go in your backyard and look and take pictures of things so you can identify them. You’d be very surprised how many medicinal things are in a backyard that we usually, typically as a society call weeds and want to destroy or keep out of our perfect manicured green gardens. Plantain is a really big one that generally grows all over the US and I’ve even found it in the Dominican Republic where my husband’s from, too. So it has a very broad growing range. But there’s two major kinds: plantago major and plantago lanceolata, so broad leaf and narrow leaf, and that is I think the best one because— just like one of the best ones to start with, because it’s really easy to identify. Your kids will—if you have children—will naturally learn to identify it because what it works best for is it has a really strong affinity for bee stings and mosquito bites and stuff like that. So if you’re out playing in the backyard and you know you have plantain around and somebody gets stung by a bee or bit by a mosquito, you can literally just put the plantain in your mouth, chew it up, and apply it to the area. And it stops the sting, it takes it away, it draws out the venom. It is an anti-inflammatory, it has some pain relief. And so now my four-year-old will run around at school and all the kids— it’s really buggy here right now, and all the kids get little plantain poultices that she’ll chew up and put on them, so now they all know about it, you know? But yeah you can just— taking pictures. Some herbalists are purists and they say don’t identify with an app, but I think an app is a great way to start and then confirm it by another source. So using an app like Picture This is a really great one to just take pictures of what’s in your yard, see what comes up, and if it’s something that piques your interest, then you can go online or in a book and reference it and confirm that that’s what it is. And then from there just start working with it. There’s so many different forms of preparation. You can dry it and see what happens. You can burn it, see what happens. You can simmer on your stove, see how it smells. Start working with teas, you can infuse it in vinegar. There’s so many different preparations. And you know, once you’ve done a few of these, you generally have a pretty good idea of how it’s going to work, and you have a new tool in your toolbox. So it doesn’t have to be all bookwork, you know?
Lisa Bass Right. Yeah. I love the app Picture This. I use it all the time, too, because we have so many things I don’t even know what they are. So what, other than plantain? Because I know that one. I’ve used that one. I’m comfortable with it. But I can’t say that I have a knowledge of a lot of the other ones. So where would somebody like me who isn’t really sure where to start on that? Like what would be a good resource to get me thinking about it? Like which ailments would be something that—as a go-to—that you encounter all the time? Other than like bee stings and first aid type stuff?
Arielle de Martinez So usually illness is a big one. And generally I would say what do you reach for the most in your house? Like what do you use? So if you’re an essential oil user, are you reaching for the lavender? Are you reaching for oregano? Oil of oregano? If you are a over-the-counter person, are you reaching for the Tylenol? What are you using it for? So essential oils, it’s easy to swap out because you literally just look for the plant of your favorite essential oil. So if that’s lavender, I suggest to get your hands on some dried lavender and experiment because you’ll get a much more well-rounded medicine using the whole plant and not just— you know, because the essential oil is just one part and that has one property, but you’re not getting all the properties of the plant. Whereas with— you know, or like Tylenol being a fever reducer, anti-inflammatory, you can look up herbs by their herbal action. So you’re not necessarily doing herbs for a fever, but herbs that do support fevers are called diaphoretics. So if I’m using Tylenol to reduce a fever and I don’t want to use it in my children anymore, I can look up diaphoretic herbs and get a list of different herbs that help support the fever. And then from there, when you look at that— so let’s say sage is a really great one. Culinary herbs are great because even though people are comfortable with them and they use them a lot and a lot of them have them growing in their garden, if they do that, they don’t realize how medicinal they are. So sage is a perfect example because sage has a lot of different herbal actions that apply to different systems of the body. So when you look at identifying an herb by those actions, you can apply it in a lot of different ways. So sage— like its biggest promotion in the herbalism world is that it’s an antimicrobial, so it helps with— like it’s really good for the throat, it’s really good for oral health, strep throat, sore throat in that realm. But it can also be used topically, like on wounds, like you could brew a tea with it and use it to disinfect anything. It’s a great hair rinse. Sage does really well with gray hair. So doing a sage rinse on gray hair can kind of blend the gray and the darker hair a lot better. But sage is also an anti-spasmodic. So what that means is it’s relaxing the body. And so how that works on the body is if you have that sore throat and you also have a cough, sage is going to relax that respiratory tract so your cough isn’t as harsh or you’re not coughing as often. So that’s really nice to take at night. Or if you are— an anti-spasmodic, it has an affinity for the womb. So if you are someone who has really severe menstrual cramps, you can use sage when you’re bleeding to help reduce that pain that you’re experiencing. And then sage is a diaphoretic, so it also speeds up blood flow in the body, which will in turn move your temperature up and get your body to break a fever faster rather than bringing that fever temperature down so that bacteria can multiply and continue to prevail in your body and then eventually your fever will spike back up. The sage will help you get to that point that your body needs to get to to kill the pathogens in your body, and then your fever will break faster. So it’s looking for those things that you want to replace and starting there and finding a couple of herbs that work and then taking it one herb at a time and really getting to know them.
Lisa Bass Yeah, that is such a good answer. I had not thought of that. But yeah, what are you using that you could replace with herbs? So that’s a very simple but practical answer for somebody to start doing the research on that, because the research is out there. It’s just finding out what it is that you actually need. And also I need to go make a million things because I have a huge sage patch in my garden. It just took over the whole thing. What are the top five herbs? If somebody was going to start a small little herb garden in their backyard, what would be your top five recommendations to start with?
Arielle de Martinez Yeah, sage is a great one. I really like yarrow. It’s really easy to grow. It takes off really quickly. I like to use yarrow for a bug spray, so it’s really good like first aid medicine. So you can keep it in your bag when you’re hiking and use it to keep bugs away and any— it stops bleeding. So any cuts, scrapes, anything that you get. It’s a really good instant disinfectant and styptic, which means it stops bleeding. And it can also be used internally as well as kind of like an antibiotic alternative in a way to healing, so like healing gut and kind of managing issues with that. Yarrow does a lot of things. It has a lot of different herbal actions. It’s really great fever support. I love lemon balm. Lemon balm is great. It’s a great kids’— it’s just really friendly for all different types of people, but it’s really gentle for kids and it has a lot of different affinities for the nervous system and the brain, so it’s very uplifting. I say it kind of tends to cool really hot emotions. So like excitation, irritation, anger, things like that. Hot headaches, hot fevers. It’s very cooling to the body. Makes a really nice lemonade. Even has benefits for memory and degenerative memory diseases. Can help support that. And also has an affinity for dormant viruses. So people who are dealing with herpes simplex viruses or HPV, those— it can be really supportive for things like that that keep coming back up. So that’s a really good. So we have sage, yarrow, lemon balm. I like to keep a nutritive herb around. Nettle is really great. It’ll take over your garden if you just have a small space. So you want to make sure you kind of give it its own corner to go wild. But that’s a really great one for herbal infusions, which is a really good way to get— for me, it’s a great way to get nutrients in my daughter. She’s in the really picky stage of toddlerhood right now. And then also for myself when I’m pregnant and breastfeeding and need more mineral intake, herbal infusions are a really good thing to go for. So we have nettle, sage, yarrow, lemon balm, and then I’m trying to think of what else I started with. Calendula is a really nice one for healing the skin topically. Rose is really beautiful. If people have like— if you have a really nice fragrant rose bush in your backyard that you don’t spray, rose is an amazing one to work with. But yeah, I would— I think we have the mood covered. We have the nutrients covered. We have healing. Yeah. Lavender, calendula, a type of flower.
Lisa Bass Nettle is another one of those that are everywhere. So once you learn how to identify that, it’s kind of like plantain— you can find it all over. And as you mentioned it, I have pretty much all of those planted, and they’re all very prolific. Let’s talk a little bit about oregano essential oil. That seems to be like a hot button issue. That and colloidal—actually might not be pronouncing that right—silver. Can you speak to the precautions on some of that?
Arielle de Martinez Okay. So when it comes to essential oils, anything that has a high fragrance or like is pretty fragrant, generally has some sort of anti-microbial affinity, whether it’s antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, sometimes antiparasitic. And that will vary based on the herb and the plant. But those qualities are contained in the volatile oil compounds, which are what we refer to as essential oils. And what volatile oil means is basically that they evaporate very easily, which is why essential oils can be distilled. But the problem with the way that we use them now mainstream is that a volatile oil is found in a plant and a very, very low percentage. Like 0.02% of a plant actually has the volatile oil compound. So we’re going through a lot of plant matter to get just a few drops. So if I’m going to distill a pound of oregano, I’m going to get not enough oregano essential oil to fill one bottle. But if I’m going to take a pound of oregano and tincture it, I’m going to have a gallon of oregano tincture. So that’s going to last me a lot longer. It’s going to extract a lot more properties, and it’s only going to extract the amount of volatile oil. You know, there’s only going to be like those two or three drops in that whole gallon versus the essential oil, even just one drop can be equivalent of like a half a pound of oregano. And we would never eat a half pound of oregano if we were feeling sick. You know, we’d take a drop of tincture. We might use a teaspoon in a cup of tea. But it’s the equivalent of coming into that much quantity of the natural plant. So it’s kind of in the way how like you can overdose and die from drinking too much water. You might not die from taking in too many—well, you could—from taking in too many essential oils. But it’s too much of a good thing. So that antimicrobial quality can get exploited and it really has a hard time distinguishing from good and bad bacteria. It can damage gut cells. And the arguments I always get against this from people is that either the purity matters or only use them externally. Different things like that. But the truth is, is actually the more pure the essential oil is, that means you have a higher concentration of those volatile oil compounds. It’s more antimicrobial, right? Like you’re having the strength— it’s the plant matter that is antimicrobial. It’s the volatile oil compounds. So it doesn’t matter how pure it is because it’s always going to be antimicrobial, which antimicrobial things work, right? They work for strep throat, they work for ear infections. So do regular antibiotics. So we’ve kind of come to use essential oils as a alternative to mainstream medicine, but very much in the same way we’re using mainstream medicine and it has similar effects. It will have side effects because it’s just like this very isolated part of the plant that we’re using a lot larger than it’s intended to be. And now it’s kind of like— I call it like a big experiment because it’s being used all the time and everywhere. And we’re constantly inundated with essential oils, whether— you know, if you’re in the natural world, whether it’s in your hair care or your skin care. You know, I know teachers who diffuse them in the classroom. You know, you go to the spa, they have an essential oil diffuser. They’re in cleaning products. And so we’re being exposed to the equivalent of thousands of pounds of plant matter on a daily basis. And we know now how important the microbiome is, right? We have it on our skin. We have it in our nasal passages, and we have an oral microbiome. It’s all over our body, not just inside. And so diffusing these herbs— diffusing essential oils, you know, that comes into contact with our respiratory tract, which has its own microbiome. Using them topically can affect the skin and it kind of just disrupts the homeostasis. So with oil of oregano, it’s been touted as this big natural supplement that can work for a lot of the issues that have been caused by antibiotics. Right? So like H. Pylori, Candida overgrowth, stuff like that. But it’s a very natural version of allopathic medicine because all it’s doing is going in and wiping out all the bacteria, just like a standard course of antibiotics would. So in the research that I’ve done on essential oils in general, but speaking about oil of oregano specifically, it has been shown to not be able to distinguish between good and bad bacteria in the body. When they’ve tested it on different animal species, it shows lower lactobacillus counts in the body, damage to gut cells, situations like that. Even maternal toxicity in I believe it was rodents. It showed maternal toxicity in rodents. And I’m having a lot of people come forward now saying, “I had a naturopath put me on oil of oregano and now my gut is worse. It’s kind of like a hot supplement right now. So I think that’s why— and it’s like blowing up about it. But the problem is, is that this is kind of the gap that I’m trying to bridge is people are very empowered by using essential oils and oil of oregano, and they feel really great that they can use these medicines for their family as an alternative to allopathic medicine. So when I am telling them that it’s actually not good, then they get really upset, right? Because of course, like you think you’re using something on your family that’s helping them, but they don’t know what the next option is. I say that like, you know— they’re like, “Okay, well, I was using oil of oregano for this. What do I do now?” And it’s become so disconnected, you can actually just use regular, oregano, you know? You can use regular oregano. You can use— there’s plenty of other whole plant herbs that you can use in ways that are a lot better for the body and have a whole wide range of constituents that are made to work together in harmony and not be exploited. And then it’s— colloidal silver is the same story, basically. It has a little bit different of a story because— I mean, silver is obviously not from a plant. And I think it’s generally known that silver does carry some risks because silver is not generally exported by the body well. It can cause silver toxicity. It can react with other elements in the body and turn into toxic particles. But the biggest thing with colloidal silver is—no matter how it’s prepared—is it has been shown to be about 10 to 20% of silver that you take internally is shown to be absorbed by your gut cells. In animal studies, it’s shown that it does create strains of antibiotic resistant bacteria. It does kill gram positive and negative bacteria, which those gram positive bacteria are the good guys that you’re feeding in your body. And it— yeah, just less diverse strains after taking it, and gut cell damage, and antibiotic strains of resistant bacteria. Plus all the other crazy stories that you hear about colloidal silver. And so those are the two ones that I’m finding a lot. Speaking out a lot in the natural health community where they’re not necessarily— people think that they’re really great and they feel really empowered by them because they don’t have to use antibiotics. But in turn, they have their own other risk of side effects that are very similar to antibiotics. So the goal with that is to get them using herbs that don’t have those side effects because they are a lot more gentle on the body, but they work really well. And, you know, in turn, their bodies are able to handle the resiliency and continue the resiliency where they have the good gut bacteria. They’re able to bounce back easily. So if they ever are in a situation where they need antibiotics, it’s not going to create the mass bodily trauma that we’ve come to assume goes hand-in-hand with antibiotics. I have stories of people who have experienced— you know, gone on some really serious rounds of antibiotics and are experiencing, really serious chronic depression, autoimmune issues like SIBO, intestinal problems, digestive issues. And so you want to be able to not have to deal with that if you have to take a lifesaving course of antibiotics, you know what I mean?
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Lisa Bass All right. So what are some of the examples of herbal antibiotics?
Arielle de Martinez So, yeah, I like to kind of refer to them more as like herbs with an antimicrobial affinity. That way we’re kind of staying away from that idea of referring to it as allopathic medicine. So you’ll hear me refer to antimicrobial herbs a lot. That’s what I mean in kind of those like— that fit the antibiotic category. But echinacea tincture—the root specifically—is my favorite in terms of supporting things that you would typically go to the doctor and they would give you antibiotics for. So like things that— and the things that a lot of people think can only be treated with antibiotics. So things like strep throat and mastitis and situations like that, echinacea can be really powerful for. Anybody who’s tried a fresh echinacea root tincture, you find it has this really tingly, numbing kind of quality in your mouth. And so that is really powerful for strep throat. I’ve used it for mastitis several times and that’s something that I recommend to new moms a lot. And it’s a really powerful lymph mover, too. So it kind of helps clear that like clogged affinity here in your chest. So echinacea is pretty my go-to, and I say, if you don’t have that, it’s a really good one to get. And I always do the root— echinacea root tincture specifically. And the tincture is my favorite. A lot of people will ask, “What about capsules?” Or “What about tea?” And tea is fine. But I find the tincture you get a lot better quality because you get it when it’s at its— it’s preserved when it’s at its freshest and you have to take less of it. Whereas like with tea, sometimes you’d be drinking like quarts of at a day. Tincture you just have to take a drop or two throughout the day. So echinacea is a great one. I mentioned yarrow. Yarrow is really great. I love to use yarrow topically and internally as well for a lot of terms— it’s used for what we would call bad blood. So when there’s any sort of risk of sepsis or things like that, Yarrow has a strong blood affinity to kind of get in and purify that. There’s a lot of herbs that have different affinities for different parts of the body. So like goldenrod and plantain, those have a really strong affinity for antimicrobial quality in the urethra. So for people who experience UTIs, those can be really supportive. And I just kind of say, when you’re kind of trying to choose how you want to take these plants, a really good thing to think about is how it’s going to pass through your body and where you want it to work. So if you’re trying to get these plants in your bloodstream, a tincture is going to be great because it’s going to go straight there. Like from your oral tissue into the blood. It’s going to be absorbed under the tongue really easily. Same with if you want it to go to your head, a tincture is really great. So basically like yeah, is your blood system going to distribute it? Or is it going to go through your digestive system? So if it’s going to go through your digestive tract, be on your stomach, you’d probably want to drink it. So like with your urethra, if you’re having urethral irritation and you think you have a UTI, you don’t want to take just a couple of drops of tinctures. Chances are it’s not going to— you know, it can’t help, but chances are it’s not going to end up making its way all the way through the body, right? But if you’re drinking a lot of infusions that have antimicrobial affinity, that is going to pass through the digestive tract and you are going to get some benefit there in that way. So that’s usually how I kind of recommend is like just kind of using your own common sense and intuition to determine how to take it. Capsules are a different story because capsules can be very not reliable, really. Once an herb is powdered, it breaks down so fast that a lot of times you’re getting older medicine that’s not quite as potent. It might be cut with things you don’t really know. Sometimes those herbal capsules, depending on your digestive stance, they just pass through your system undigested. So they’re not very reliable in terms. Some people have had really good experiences with them, but I generally just say infusion or a tincture, which is an alcohol extract is the most reliable.
Lisa Bass Yeah. Awesome. Yeah. I like how there’s a lot of common herbs that you’re speaking to for a lot of different things. And so it’s not as overwhelming. I feel like we can master using just a handful of herbs for a lot of things before branching out, and that builds your confidence in knowing how to work with some of that. So what are some of your most frequently asked questions? I’m sure as someone who has a presence on your website and on Instagram, there are certain things that people are asking you over and over again. And so can we address some of those?
Arielle de Martinez Yes. So I think my most common question in referring to avoiding essential oils and getting the essential oils out of your house is like, “What do I use to make my home smell good?” Or like, “What do I use to smell good?” Like I like to smell nice, which is fair. And so there’s two ways to approach the question. I can give you the answer of what to do to smell nice, right? So alternatives to diffusing herbs essential oils in your diffuser would be to make a simmer pot on the stove with fragrant herbs, using hydrosol sprays— which hydrosol is a byproduct of the distilling process, but it’s a lot more— it uses like the water soluble extracts, and it’s a lot more naturally proportionate to the whole plant. So like a pound of plant matter gets you about a gallon of hydrosol, which is much more proportional than just like a few drops. But you know, you can use hydrosols, you can infuse oils with herbs and get some nice light scent, can throw a sachet of lavender in your dryer when you dry your clothes. But the biggest thing—I like to really kind of play devil’s advocate here with this situation—is to really look at our relationship to scent as a society and kind of deconstruct that. Like, what does smelling good mean? Does smelling good mean that it has always has a fragrance that it isn’t naturally have, you know? Like does our home always have to smell like lavender to smell good? Or can it just smell like our homes? You know, what does the absence of added scent mean? Like, does that mean it smells bad? It doesn’t. I think that we’ve become really conditioned to expect everything to have this added scent to it. And I mean, it’s really not good for us. I mean, that’s how we got in this position in the first place with using essential oils and added artificial fragrance that’s messing up our bodies a lot. And so I encourage people to kind of work on deconstructing their relationship to scent first and then kind of working back in the things that they find that smell good. A lot of times they find they actually don’t want it and are really a lot more sensitive to scent after. But it’s proven that scent is addictive and it lights up the same parts of our brain that happens when we’re consuming addictive substances. And so you can become addicted to scent and you can become desensitized to scent. And so that I think, yeah, like I said, that’s why we’re in the position we are today. So you want your home to smell good. There’s nothing wrong with that. But I want my home to smell fresh and clean. So like I say if you want your house to smell good, open a window. Get some fresh air in there. Clean your house. If you want it to smell like flowers, then buy fresh flowers or simmer them on your stove or use a floral hydrosol spray.
Lisa Bass Yeah, that makes sense. I’m sure you probably get a lot of questions about kid stuff because I know moms are always very concerned, and so that’s who I get questions from the most— moms who are worried, concerned if they’re not doing things, you know, how they want to do them or how they should be doing them. And you earlier mentioned—we won’t go on this very long, but I just thought it’d be a good thing to bring back up—about fevers. And in some cases, you like to bring the fever up. I feel like we should talk about that just a little bit because there’s probably some moms who are very surprised to hear that, because I’m in a few naturally minded groups on Facebook and things where a mom will say, “Okay guys, what do you use to bring the fever down?” And I’m like you. I have the opposite approach. I don’t necessarily try to bring it up, but I don’t treat fevers. I mean, basically, ever. There’s not really— so what what is your take on that or when would you recommend treating a fever or why are fevers good?
Arielle de Martinez Yeah. And I probably honestly hold the same opinion as you. I hardly ever even use herbs to support a fever because I think the best thing you can do is just sit back and let the fever do its thing. As moms, I think that’s really hard for us because, of course, fevers can feel really dramatic. They can have really dramatic symptoms. And we just want to make our kids feel better. So of course, things like skin to skin and nursing and stuff like that, but really we’re just there as like space holders—right?—while the body does what it needs to do to get better. But a fever is an immune system response usually to some sort of pathogen. And so what the body’s doing is it’s raising the body temperature and for two different reasons. One, when heated, that kills bacteria. So it’s either heating the body to a certain level where the bacteria can’t multiply and will die off, or it is also in heating, it allows your blood to move faster in your body, which in turn allows immune cells to get to where they need to be faster and do their work better so that— you know, a fever is actually really intelligent on behalf of the body to facilitate the healing process and get what’s supposed to be out of the body out. Now, times when you would want to support a fever would be— I mean, really for me, the only time I would support a fever is if we’re going on multiple days of no sleeping because with my daughter, she’d have these famous four or five day fevers. And she always slept really well through her fevers. Like she’d basically just sleep for four or five days. But there’s some parents who say, “My kid is agitated. They’re not sleeping. It’s terrible. And I just want to give them some Tylenol so that they’re comfortable and they can get some rest.” Which I think is fair because sleep is very restorative, and that’s a medicine on its own, right? So if it’s affecting the comfort dynamic of the family and preventing the child from getting good sleep, that’s when I would choose to support it so that they feel comfortable enough that their body can do the work it needs when it’s resting. Or yeah, just one that’s just really dragged out and doesn’t seem like it quite is getting to where it needs to go. And then at this point— you know, I used to let my daughter’s fevers ride out, but at some point I realized that they don’t need to be five days. They can be two or three, and then you’re like, okay, let’s get this moving on. And then you can just kind of budge it a little bit. So the things we have to deconstruct here with fever is that a lot of times— I mean, you know, I just throw my thermometer away. I don’t even look at the temperature anymore because, to me, behavior matters a lot more than the number.
Lisa Bass Same. Yeah.
Arielle de Martinez And I’m sure, you know, if you have multiple children, each kid is going to respond to fever differently. So like if one kid might sleep for five days, the other one sleeping for five days, that’s like maybe a little bit more alarming. You know, you just don’t know until you get to know your children. But a lot of moms will be like, “Their fever is 101.5. What do I do? It’s so high.” And it’s like that’s actually not high at all. You know, that’s actually barely considered a fever from allopathic standards. So totally just like deconstructing your relationship to the number, deconstructing your relationship to fever, welcoming that it’s a good thing from the body. And even the stuff that’s scary like febrile seizures are actually— like when you look at the research— and these are on mainstream medical articles. They’re not even natural news articles. You know, febrile seizures don’t have any sort of— they’re not shown to cause brain damage. They’re not shown to cause people have a higher chance of having seizures later in life. Like they’re literally just a symptom of the fever. And the biggest issue is that the child, while they’re seizing, could hurt themselves because they fall or something like that. And the body naturally has mechanisms in it to protect the temperature from raising too high. And usually the only time that it will raise above that certain too high mark, which is I believe about 108, is when there’s like some sort of defect or genetic issue that prevents that body’s failsafe from kicking in. So those instances are very rare. But I do know a mom who had a son who was— his temperature went up to 108 degrees. And he was sitting at the kitchen counter laughing and drinking a glass of water. And you never would have known unless you took his temperature.
Lisa Bass Wow. He had to be burning up. Like you, I don’t have a thermometer anymore, but it’s always— I feel like whenever they have a fever, it’s always low grade. You know, I can— a little bit warm. And then I just— they always stop after a few days. It just works, you know? They sleep. They’re whiny. I get it. But it works so well. And I’ve done this myself. I had mastitis a couple of years ago. I didn’t go in and get diagnosed, but it very much was mastitis and it was awful. Having a fever is so bad, but it worked. Heating the body worked and I came out of it good to go. And so I’m a big proponent of that. And I think it’s hard and scary and not mainstream and all that kind of stuff. But I think it’s worth talking about because especially a first time mom or even somebody who just hasn’t had a whole lot of experience with fevers and sickness. Obviously, at this point, we’ve had so many fevers over the years and I know what I’m looking for, but it’s hard and you need some other moms to give you the confidence to kind of know how to move forward that is a little bit hard to do.
Arielle de Martinez Totally.
Lisa Bass So outside of growing an herb garden, identifying things that grow wild or just in your yard, what are some of your favorite sources for herbs?
Arielle de Martinez So I like to use fresh herbs a lot when I’m making tinctures and preserving them because once they’re dried, they just lose some of those properties and it’s water content that’s dried out. So fresh herbs I personally source from a woman. She’s a female farmer in Georgia. The name of her farm is Crystal Organic Farm. And I found her through Instagram and she’s great and she has a website as well. So a lot of smaller farms will do that. If you look for them, they’ll have a fresh herb list that, if you’re interested, you can get on and then as things become available, you can purchase from them. Usually they’ll want you to purchase at least a pound, but some will do less. And then I also like to purchase dried herbs from small bulk farms. So Foster Farms Botanicals is a really good one. They have a farm in Vermont, and they actually— it’s funny, when I first contacted them— they do a lot of growing for the bigger bulk herbs like Mountain Rose Herbs and Star West. They actually sell their herbs to those those bigger companies, so that was kind of cool to find the middle man for me. But there is a blog that I like to share with people from Sun Trap Botanicals, and I can send it to you so that you can link it, but it’s just a directory of small bulk herb farms around the United States. And so I just encourage people to kind of use that and find one that’s close to you so you’re still getting the— you know, like if it’s an herb that has a high pollen content or something that can be relevant to your environmental issues and stuff like that. So getting an herb— finding a farmer that’s close to where you live so you can work with them. And if not, these farmers are all great from anywhere. And then yeah, if I can’t find them a good fresh source, then I’ll go to dried, and if I can’t find a good dried source, then I’ll end up going to the larger bulk companies like Mountain Rose Herbs, Star West, Frontier. There’s some herbs that I won’t buy from there that are I think best grown in small amounts. Like yarrow is one that it’s very fragile once it’s dried, and it breaks down really quickly. And there’s a huge difference in fresh, dried yarrow that you dry yourself at home than yarrow that you buy from a big bulk herb place. But things that are more hearty like roots and seeds and barks— those you can generally get from those bigger companies and the quality difference isn’t that different.
Lisa Bass Those are all really good tips, because I was thinking we were just going to refer to Bulk Herb Store or Mountain Rose or something. Yeah. So where can we find you? What products do you offer to support women as they want to start learning more about herbs and natural hair care? Just share where to best follow up with you on all of that?
Arielle de Martinez Yeah. So Instagram’s probably the best place. So my Instagram is @ArielledeMartinez. And that’s my website, too: ArielledeMartinez.com. And I have a pretty decent variety of resources for people. I have a few different free guides on my website. I have taken full advantage of the Guides tab on Instagram so that I’ve organized everything, so that if someone’s really interested in hair healing, here’s all my posts about that. And then from there, I have a couple of different courses. So I have a course that’s available all year round called The Wild Mothers Medicine Chest, and that’s a remedy based course. So moms— it’s geared towards moms, but you don’t have to be a mom to use it. But it talks about the illnesses and the symptoms and the physiology, kind of like what we just did with fever. And then it’ll kind of go through different herbs and how they work to support the body. And I also have interviews and that one, which is pretty cool because, like with the fever, I have a whole chapter on fever, and I talked to a mom whose son had a really intense fever and he did seize, and it just kind of gives that community aspect to it. When you need more support and you’re in the moment, you can watch an interview and actually feel a lot better in those situations. And then I have a group series that I do a couple of times a year that is for people who are wanting to kind of jump start learning about herbs, but they don’t know how to start. And so this is what’s going to be— it’s a six-week group series. It’s called Feral Herbalism, and that’s where people are going to be learning— like we’re going to dive deep into herbal actions and preparations. And so by the end of it, you should be able to look at any herb or read about any herb and know exactly how it works in the body and where to use it without ever actually reading, like, “sage is for fevers.” You’ll be able to read about sage and know that it can fix a fever, you know.
Lisa Bass Awesome. Well, so many good resources. You really just kind of probably whet people’s appetite, in a way, to exploring more into this. And I know that I’m excited to learn more about herbs, and I’ve been lately. It’s been something that I’ve been seeing a lot more of. And I’ve been into herbs for a long time. Back whenever I was pregnant with my second child, I did the whole pregnancy with tinctures for iron. But it’s just something I need a refresher on, so I’m sure that’s going to be very encouraging for a lot of people. Thank you so much for joining us.
Arielle de Martinez Thank you. I appreciate you having me.
Lisa Bass As always, thank you so much for listening to this episode of the Simple Farmhouse Life podcast. If you want to dig deeper, head on over to Arielle’s website, Instagram. If you want to dig real deep, check out her course that’s currently open for enrollment. It’ll be linked down below and you can use the code FARMHOUSE50. As always, thank you so much for listening and I’ll see you in the next episode of the Simple Farmhouse Life podcast.