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Healthy Lifestyle - Harmonic Arts Botanical Dispensary

Healthy Lifestyle


(As published for Plant Healer Magazine‘s Winter 2018 edition)

There is an enchantment I’ve had with the concept of spa time, perhaps because I see it as indulgent self care- something this momma and herbal dispensary navigator needs dearly during precious moments to herself. When I combine this desire, along with my fascination with all things from the sea, I naturally gravitated to an old world treatment which combines the two, known as Thalassotherapy. If this comes as a new term to you, in breaking down the word we have “Thalassa”, meaning Sea, and “Therapaeia” to mean healing treatment. The word spa comes from the Latin acronym of “sanitus per aqua”, which translates as “health through water”.

Thalassotherapy treatments can be offered in many forms, which traditionally require elements that come from the ocean, or sea. These elements include seawater, seaweed, marine mud, sand, and whenever possible, a humid coastal climate- or a humid environment recreated in the spa using steam, and filling the environment with an abundance of plant life. Divine.

As an herbalist, and for the purposes of this paper, I want to focus primarily on the aspect of Thalassotherapy that is known as Algotherapy; the healing properties of seaweeds, and how they can be used externally in a therapeutic manner. When speaking of seaweeds, I am referring to all of their colour categories: reds, greens, and browns, unless otherwise specified.

Historically, Thalassotherapy’s first recorded cultural use was in ancient Egypt, although all coastal people that have been studied throughout time show evidence that their cultures celebrated the ocean as a vital part of daily life, and basked in the health benefits from ocean waters, and the life contained therein.

It is well known that health practitioners throughout history have recommended that those dealing with serious illness go to live by the sea. As Plato once put it; “The sea cures all ailments of man”. Spending time on the coast, where land life originally emerged, is going back to the elements of our nature’s deepest roots. It is, after all, the birthplace of humanity. Similarly, I know of no better comfort than that of the mother to an ailing child.

These elements, of our nature’s deepest roots, are the minerals and trace minerals that nourish the human body, and are found in a concentrated amount in marine plants, known as seaweeds, or more technically, macroalgae. Seaweeds are shown to have, on average, 10-20 times the amount of vitamins and minerals than land plants. The body uses these nutrients to support all of our essential biological processes. When we receive the necessary amount of minerals and trace minerals, it optimizes our ability to function as healthy, happy, whole human beings. This is the primary and most potent way in which using seaweeds in Thalassotherapy are so beneficial to the body. The skin absorbs these elements directly into the bloodstream, and delivers them where needed very quickly, without having to go through the slower processes of digestion, such as when ingesting seaweeds in dietary therapy. Often the feedback I receive from clients, upon recommending the addition of seaweeds to their baths, is how quickly they feel their bodies are able to get into a state of relaxation. Specifically, the high levels of magnesium, calcium, potassium, and zinc available in seaweeds plays a strong role in both the body and mind’s ability to relax. Minerals have a very grounding effect, calming the nervous system as a whole.

The delivery method of the therapeutic constituents in Thalassotherapy is mainly through the epidermis, as the skin absorbs the nutrients from the seaweeds. Another therapeutic factor received from the seaweeds is their skin softening hydrocolloid properties when applied and absorbed topically. There is also an exfoliant factor in some specific species of seaweeds, as well as localized circulatory stimulant effects on the area of application, all of which we will explore further along through this article.

Because of the minerals and trace minerals that are available from these ocean plants, their effect on mental health is seen to be quite significant. For example, Iodine, which is a key trace element attributed to the human brain’s development and evolution, is easily absorbed through both the skin as well as can be absorbed through the lungs when inhaled, as it evaporates in hot water. Inhaling iodine can be soothing to our lungs, and helps to eliminate any potential pathogens that are lingering in the respiratory system. Iodine has been found to be deficient in people that do not regularly consume ocean sourced foods, and as it is an important factor in the function of the thyroid, it’s optimal levels are paramount to healthy metabolic function. Iodine is also important for breast health, both in the treatment and prevention of fibrocystic breast tissue, and very importantly lowers the risk of breast cancer.

Seaweed has been shown to act as a local stimulant when applied topically, increasing blood flow to the area. This supports the theory that seaweed wraps have been successful in diminishing cellulite, as the extra blood flow helps to move out stagnation. This localized stimulant effect is also part of the mode of action for treating arthritic conditions- this, along with it’s anti-inflammatory properties, antioxidant benefits, and highly nourishing compounds. The increased circulation to the area brings needed nutrients in, drives toxic particles out, soothes the inflamed tissues, and decreases the effects of stress on the area.

Thalassotherapy can be a very simple process, as easy as adding kelp fronds to a hot bath and soaking up it’s goodness, or creating some basic seaweed wraps and masks, directly applied onto the skin, and allowing it to penetrate for a reasonable amount of time. Below I have listed some of the basic ways in which you can start to work with Thalassotherapy in the sanctuary of your own spa room, create spa ritual gatherings with community, or recommend clients to work with this effective therapy to support the improvement of health concerns.


Seaweed Baths: This is the simplest way in which you can incorporate Thalassotherapy into your routine. It is a formidable experience of rest and relaxation, a truly enjoyable way to experience the health benefits of seaweeds! You can add any full seaweed fronds to your bath- I do recommend including kelps (brown seaweeds such as Kombu or Wakame), for highest iodine availability. You do not need to worry about absorbing too much iodine and getting over stimulated- The skin’s wisdom and protective mechanisms will only absorb the amount of iodine needed (think about the red iodine tincture you can paint a spot on your arm with;  if the spot disappears quickly, it shows you have a great need for iodine, if it lingers, you are likely not deficient. This is a great example of the skin absorbing only how much iodine the body requires.) Some spas have had a clawfoot bathtub out on the beach, a fire underneath the tub to warm the water, and cedar planks lining the bottom so as not to burn the skin when lying down in the bath. This has an added layer of being out in a natural surrounding, with the sounds and songs of the sea adding to the medicine of this ritual of relaxation. The heat from the water opens the skin’s pores and encourages absorption of seaweed’s health benefits. Once the bath is complete, the tub can drain back out onto the shore and the seaweed can directly return to the earth. If you are in an indoor bath using seaweed, ensure that you remove as much of the seaweed as possible prior to draining, as it will clog up the drain if left to go down into the pipes.

Waterbirth: During waterbirth, seaweed is an exceptional addition to the birthing waters as it mineralizes the waters and can help to relax the mother during labour. The quality and fluidity of the seaweed can be a special focal point, as when it is immersed in water, it’s fluidity, flexibility, and graceful flow helps demonstrate as a guide to the mother, showing her the same qualities that can bring ease to the process.

Footsoak: Creating a footbath is a sure way to do away with sore and tired feet. Adding seaweed to the soak speeds up the time in which it takes to feel relief, and is something you can do to help re-mineralize your body with the simplest of supplies. A large bowl, bin, or any old bucket will do!

Seaweed Body Wraps and Masks: This is a fun one to play around with, as you can create a whole variety of different wraps and facial masks with either seaweed being the only ingredient added to your blender with water, or getting more creative with your recipes and mixing it with some of your other favourite topical ingredients. Kelp powder mixed with honey and ground oats is one of my favourites, but really any natural ingredients that have beneficial properties for the skin can be used. Once you have your chosen blend, grind into a powder, mix with water into a paste that you can apply all over your body and face, allow to let penetrate on your skin for at least 10-15 minutes, up to as long as is comfortable, and rinse off once you are complete. This can be an effective treatment for both acute and chronic dermatitis issues.

Exfoliants: There are a couple of unique red seaweeds known as Turkish Towel (Chondracantus sp.) and Turkish Washcloth (Matocarpus sp.) that have this unique property. They are covered in little papillae that act as scrubbing exfoliants on the skin, sloughing off dead skin cells. All seaweeds also have emollient, skin softening properties to them, and so using these seaweeds as washcloths very much brings in an ebb and flow, cleanse and build effect in benefitting the health of the skin.

Emollient Gels: One of the most popular ways in which seaweeds are used around the world is for their gelling properties, which is found in both brown and red categories of seaweeds. They contain a starchy carbohydrate substance, known as phycocolloids, that give them their smooth, slippery texture, and cooling nature. Within the brown seaweeds, the phycocolloids are called alginates, and in the reds they are the agars and carrageenans. Because of this gelling ability, they are added to most things on store shelves that are “thick”, for example: toothpaste, ice cream, paint, and lotions. It is fun and easy to make gel out of seaweed by slowly warming it up in water, bring to a boil, strain, and set in the fridge. You can use this gel for your hair and face and will notice it’s highly emollient, softening properties that moisturize dry, brittle hair and skin.

This gel also reinforces the hydrolipidic (protective) barrier of the skin. Pure luxury from the sea!

Skin creams and lotions: For those of us that feel happiest and at home in the outdoors, adding seaweed to lotions can bring an extra level of protection from extreme winter and summer weather patterns. Specifically, this protection comes from the phenols found in the browns, especially species that grow in the intertidal zones. A great example is Bladderwrack (Fucus sp.). As this species is exposed to strong weather patterns during low tide, it contains protective chemistry that also protects our skin when applied topically. It has been shown to protect against both sun and wind damage to the skin.

Seaweeds also regulate sebum levels, making it an effective addition to minimizing acne.

Although traditional Thalassotherapy centers are generally located within 500 meters of the sea, this practice does not need exclude the people that live inland. If anything, it is even more important for those that do not live close to the coast to get proper amounts of iodine in their systems. Seaweed trade has been found to go back as far as we have anthropological studies for- something the Kelp Highway theory has proven to show as early as 14,000 years ago.

Seaweed took up a big portion in many traditional people’s trading baskets, as it dries easily, shrinking down to one tenth of its fresh state, and it’s density of amino acids and trace minerals make it an ideal substance to carry for optimal nutritional needs. Currently it is reliable to access clean sources of seaweed from committed, ethical suppliers of botanical medicine and is indeed one of my strong commitments to providing in our dispensary.

As you play with some of these seaweed bathing and health practices, bringing in the aspect of spirit creates a foundation of wholism to one’s entire being. The rituals that spring forth from the deeper subconscious, while working with these ocean wonders, can have a spiritually hygienic effect. Caring for, and cleansing our bodies and minds, can become a sacred ritual that nourishes us deeply within, carrying forward into our entire way of being.  

The mythical nature that comes from the sea is a gift that we can harness to spark magic in our lives, drawing in the ocean’s forces through working with seaweed.

She imbues us with her qualities that are captured so well by her marine plants. Flexible, fluid, calm, cool natured; gifts we so dearly need in a society that has become so fast and inflamed.

The Celtic story of the Selkie is a heart touching teaching of staying true to your roots, and moving freely through life in the truest form of your nature.

Getting into communion with seaweed, by applying it to one’s body, is a way of putting on your sealskin, as the selkie so craves and desires getting back to her truest nature, in union with the sea.

Beltane… The Initiation of Summer

solar yearLike many old world traditions, the days of celebrating Beltane have come and gone. There was a time in Northern Europe though, when Beltane (May 1st) and Samhain (Nov. 1st ) were considered the most important dates in the calendar year. These dates are mid-haven between Equinox and Solstice, and carry an important traditional significance as the beginning of Summer and Winter. As such, they were celebrated with many rituals and ceremonies to ensure a prosperous and healthy season to come. Beltane also served to connect everyone in the community with the importance of giving thanks for the abundance they already had.

#teafortrees: An Exciting Initiative to Help Protect the Cumberland Forest

Since the inception of Harmonic Arts in 2009, our dream has been to support the health of individuals and the environment. We believe businesses can be one of the best avenues of real and lasting change, and see it as our responsibility to find creative ways to “be the change we want to see in the world”.

Inspired by the actions of the Cumberland Community Forest Society, we’ve found a number of ways to support their work in our hometown. The organization works to buy back biodiverse forest lands that are scheduled to be logged, preserving hiking and biking trails enjoyed by the community. Between 2013-2016, Harmonic Arts contributed to many community events- raising close to $10,000 in donations from our artisan tea blend sales, and the bi-annual non-profit Vancouver Island Herb Gathering we help organize.

Eager to do even more in 2017, we committed to giving profits from all of our tea blends to the forest initiative in a campaign we called #teafortrees. This allowed us to raise an additional $10,000 this past year. Thrilled with these results, Harmonic Arts is hoping to have an even bigger impact with our #teafortrees campaign in 2018, with a goal of raising $15,000!

When you enjoy any of the Harmonic Arts Artisan Tea Blends, 50 cents goes to protect the Cumberland Forest. Our tea blends have been uniquely crafted for taste and health benefits, using only the highest quality herbs, while drawing inspiration from our sweet little mountain town with a big love for nature.

You can purchase the mug in the photo here – all proceeds go to support CCFS.

To further support this effort, please share our teas with your community, let us know your experience with a testimonial on our website, or use the hashtag #teafortrees to share on social media.

To contribute direct donations to the Cumberland Forest, visit

Botanical Blessings in 2018 from all of us at Harmonic Arts.

Categories: Blog, Healthy Lifestyle

Hygge: Creating Well Being, Connection and Warmth

If you can imagine content moments, gathered around the hearth in good company, with a warm cup of tea held in your hands, you can quite likely feel what the concept of hygge means, right down to the marrow.

As we are coming to a place of realization and understanding that the importance of quality supersedes quantity, embracing the concept of Hygge has become something of great value while the daylight hours subside, and the temperature starts to drop.

The term Hygge is a word new to the trends of well being in North America, coming from a traditional practice in the Northern European country of Denmark, and is still commonly celebrated amongst the people in its native homeland. It is something that we all do in cold climate countries really, although acknowledging it as a practice, further cultivating its qualities, and embracing it as something that is good for us is just the medicine we need while life continues to quicken.

Etymologically speaking, it stems from the roots of a hug, to comfort, and a great source of wellness that comes from the original depths of the holy water well itself. Hygge represents the sacred familiar that we feel in the temple of our homes amongst friends and family. It is a concept that appeals to the cultures of colder northern climates, as winter can be felt as a time of significant challenge. The way of Hygge has shown to be a valuable way of being, mastering the art of feeling into a state of wellness during winter months. Much of the explanation as to why the people of Northern Europe are considered some of the happiest on earth is due to this lifestyle.

So how do we practice this art of Hygge? More than anything, it is in choosing less, scaling back, slowing down, and connecting in. Essentially, it is simply getting cozy that best describes the how and the what of it all. Why has this simple concept become something that so many of us are drawn to? Looking at how, as a society we have moved away from our varied traditional roots, the old stories have become lost- those stories that once spoke of familiar ways that nourished it’s people for thousands of years. Many of those traditions and stories revolved around the seasons, specific to the land, unique to each bio-region. Colder climates require a much different lifestyle approach than that of tropical or desert landscapes. As the world has decentralized and the entire planet has become humanity’s home, we are now looking to relocalizing some of the basic lifestyle practices that our sense of wellness dearly misses, and wildly needs. Embracing Hygge is an opportunity to connect into the dark hours, the cold temperatures, and the deep nourishment that we need to give and receive together amongst loved ones. Igniting the light from within is what is nature’s invitation, as the sun’s energy retracts in winter months. Reflecting this practice of igniting the inner light brings the central focal point of warmth and brightness into our hearts, hearths, and homes. It is, in essence, another way in which we align our lives with the land, the seasons, and the cycles of the sun and the moon.

Some of the ways of feeling nourished and connected associated with this idea are…

  • Gathering around a fire, indoors or out.
  • Holding and sipping a warm cup of tea.
  • Lighting soft candles.
  • Burning aromatic herbs.
  • Sharing nourishing food.
  • Telling stories, old and new.
  • Engaging in playful games.
  • Playing music together and singing songs.
  • Dancing.
  • Laughing.
  • And any other expression of Nourishing our Joy while it is cold and stormy outside!

Really what this all means to your intimate self can only be defined by you, however focusing on bringing this concept into the slow, steady rhythm of your world, is the idea we hope to share.

Winter time is an incredible opportunity to go inside, and to find the deep inner meanings and messages that are cast aside during states of strong outer movement throughout summer. Now, as we contrast with the winter movements that we so enjoy carrying out in the strong elements, it is balanced with slow, warm, deep, spicy, toasty, snuggly, fuzzy, soft, cozy, comfy, gentle, creative, engaged, and loving, face to face connections.

Gather on in. Gather in hearts, minds, and souls. Let us unify closely together so that the kinetic energy contained amongst one another works to keep us warm.

angela willardAngela Willard became a Clinical Herbalist through the Wild Rose College of Natural Healing in 2005. She has since practiced as an Herbalist through many avenues including consulting, growing herbs, wildcrafting, and co-creating Harmonic Arts Botanical Dispensary. Angela actively adds herbal and health tools to her basket of wisdom by continually upgrading her knowledge with a strong focus on Women’s health and wellness. Sharing information that empowers people to live with integrity and reach their highest potential is a true calling, one which fuels her on her path. She balances her time between raising a young family and nourishing her passionate purpose as an herbalist.
Categories: Blog, Healthy Lifestyle

The Sacred Masculine; Supporting Our Strong Warrior From Within

The Sacred Masculine; Supporting Our Strong Warrior From Within

By Angela Willard

I’ve recently come out of a long cycle, firmly planted on purpose, where I had surrendered myself and my abilities towards growing and cultivating the things I held dearest to my heart. Throughout this journey, I hadn’t planned on sacrificing my well being in the process, which is what began to happen as I ploughed on at full fight and flight speed, in order to get things done.  

Eventually, my plate became so full that something had to give- although I realized that between the commitment to my family, and the responsibility to my business, I couldn’t find an area of least importance I wanted to release. In acknowledging this truth, I needed to assess the ways in which I was showing up, and how I could enhance my energy reserves out of a constant state of overwhelm. How could I shift the feeling of “I can’t handle this” to “I got this”? I eventually realized it came down to perspective. Not only is perspective a way of mind, it is also connected to a way of physical being. When the body is overwhelmed by stress, it directly affects the mind’s eye in which it views the world. hand holding globe at sunset

We can change our external lives to mirror a more zen, minimalist tone in many arenas, but there are some areas that we hold so dear to us, in which our passions can express themselves, that we strive to fill them to the brim with strong efforts. Calling on and drawing from our inner reserves to manifest our soul’s purpose needs core strength to keep us well connected to mindful ways.

Experiencing this process has taught me much about balance, give and take, presence, wellness, and to how to be there to nourish myself as much as I do for others. In practicing what I have learned, I am able to bring my wellness forth as fuel to accomplish my goals.

What I’ve come to realize is this:

When I feel supported, nourished, and strong from within, I experience my day with an open flow that simply feels right.

In times when I feel stretched to my fullest while carrying my strengths capacity, I need to lean into the support of the net I’ve woven of loved ones, plant allies, personal prayers, and rooting practices that carry me through.

Currently, a support I lean into are the tonic herbs in the Sacred Masculine formula.

Essentially, this formula has been created to work on the stress response, recalibrating the perception of stress to the modern day culture we now live in. It helps to re-wire our nervous system to respond appropriately to today’s world, versus automatically switching into a fight or flight mode of fear based, protection perception. The Sacred Masculine blend opens up our view finder to see that our full plates serve our highest purpose, uses stress to our benefit to create focus and concentration, and helps streamline all efforts in the direction of what we are here to create.

I’ve broken down the components of this blend below to describe their actions and uses, and how they all blend in harmony to create the above desired effect.jar of sacred masculine tonic blend

  • Eleuthero: Soothes nervous exhaustion and adrenal fatigue. Balancing to an under or overactive thyroid due to hypothalamic stress. It is an energizing and uplifting herb, and is especially helpful during times of melancholy and depression.
  • Pine Pollen: An androgen to help keep testosterone levels in balance; testosterone can enhance the positive effects of cortisol such as strength and concentration.
  • Astragalus: This is the herb of resilience, allowing us to bounce back from challenging circumstances.
  • Reishi: Calms states of hypertension, autoimmune issues, and frayed nerves.
  • Chaga: Offers stress management for the body and mind, minimizing the effect of oxidative damage from physical stress.
  • Fo-Ti: Rejuvenative to the nerves, brain cells, and endocrine glands.
  • Nettle Root: Supports water channels, which are affected by the moon, as are women (kidney/bladder health), and integrity of connective tissues (nourishing muscles and joints).
  • Shilajit: Enhances energy, memory, and mood!
  • Cayenne: Gets the system moving (especially cardiovascular and digestive); De-stagnates.
  • Licorice: Contains steroids that increase the function of the adrenal cortex. Harmonizes all botanicals in an herbal formula.

The times of our modern culture have called us to reclaim our natural ways that allow us to exceed in our lives- no longer by the measure of material success, but by how deeply we love, how hard we laugh, and especially how much we’ve shown up for the things that matter to us most in this world.

Allowing the grace of the Sacred Masculine, within ourselves, and within our relationships, offers us the knowing of both how to be strong, and how to be soft.

This is key to the long term resilience women need to show up, be the change, and lead by example. It’s time to join the movement, and start caring for your self, so that you can be fueled and charged to follow your dreams, experience life fully and reach your highest potential for the benefit of yourself, and all the living beings of this world.



“I felt the effects of Sacred Masculine within a few days time. Where I had been stressed out, burned out and fatigued, I now felt energized, and capable of handling my responsibilities and schedule. Sacred Masculine has been such a support and me and my adrenals are so happy to have it in our pantry!”

-Harmonic Arts Customer

To purchase your jar of Sacred Masculine click here.

Summer Health Alignment

This is the 2nd of a 4-part blog series from Harmonic Arts and Herbalist Yarrow Willard. The intention of these blogs is to deepen our understanding of ways to show up in optimal health during each season of the year. When we choose to align with the natural energies of the season, we are proactively reducing imbalance and disease in our body, mind, and spirit. Please Check out part one on Winter Health Alignment 

Did you know that Yarrow has a new blog? Check it out at

Summertime, and the Livin’ is Easy…

Breathe deep, smell the flowers, listen to the birds. 

Let the timelessness of these long days sweep you away in blissful moments of joy and relaxation…

When it comes to health it’s not uncommon for people to think of summer as the glory days of good health. The weather is warm, the plants are out, there are less colds and flus and overall people seem happier. It’s the season for picnics, camping, vacations, festivals and all sorts of outdoor activities. Getting out in nature is one of the easiest and most effective ways of helping one feel better. In fact, the concept of “forest bathing” (going for a gentle walk in the woods) has been proven to show significant health benefits, including lowering blood pressure, heart rate, and correcting other cardiovascular imbalances. Regular walking in Nature has also shown to calm anxiety, stress, nervous tension, and improve immune function. One way the health industry sees the effects of this, is that all around the northern hemisphere, the sales in supplements drop dramatically during summer months. Only to pick right back up again in the fall when the weather shifts and flu and cold season starts up again.

What if we were able to use the energy we can feel and tap into during the summer months as a way of supporting our bodies health needs throughout the rest of the year?

This is not such a hard thing to achive, in fact we are intuitively guided to do this, as it is how our ancestors have utilized the power of summer manifestation for thousands of generations. They would make the most of the summer season and store its energy in the from of ferments, preserves, canning, drying and other means of making it last and be accessed throughout winter months.

If we are to maximize the benefits that can be found in summer months, we are best to come into seasonal alignment and live in accordance with the energetics that govern the world around us.  Our connection to the abundance available in summers manifestations will then help support our health during this season and beyond.

So as we travel down this road of Summer Health Alignment, I would first like to introduce you to the 4 basic Energies of Seasonal Alignments:4-energetic-seasons

-Spring Activation,

-Summer Manifestation,

-Autumn Accumulation

-Winter Decline

When looking at working with the seasons, it is also important for us to have a basic sense of the Fourfold landscape of Holistic Health, which it Physical, Mental, Emotional and Spiritual.

Each of these are aspect of who we are and as so, require a different type of nourishment in order to properly maintain our health and vitality.

By looking at wellness through the lens of Holistic health, we realize that it is a dynamic layering of many interactive parts.

On one hand we have seasonal alignment as mentioned above. Where finding the right mix of fourfold-landscape-of-the-self-1ingredients to take in from our outside environment is the filter for choosing our path.

On another hand we have this fourfold landscape of our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual selves.
Our choices therefore should ideally be rooted in an understanding of how they affect each aspect of oneself. By using these filters to help guide us, we naturally gravitate to the right tools and practices for generating a long and fulfilling life.

So lets take a deeper look at these four aspects of ourselves and how they can be nourished by aligning with the power of Summer Manifestation.


Summer is the season in which we can maximize our efforts physically. The days are longer and warmer, which brings our energy levels up and can allow us to be more physically active. What we see in many cultures in hot countries is that they ideally work in 2 cycles; a morning and an early evening shift. This is because the days are too hot and the body too fatigued for strong work in the afternoon. I believe this is an ideal way to really benefit from the manifestation power on summer. With long days we can often get two shorter working days out of one. So it’s time to take on those projects you want to do and make the changes to your physical world you want to see. One of the best ways to use this extra time is to get out and grow a garden, harvest more foods and medicines from your environment, and process, preserve, ferment, or store some of this abundance for use later on. With this direct connection to the food and medicine you are able to save money in the summer, and it gives you much more healing benefits than store bought food when it is consumed at a later date.

As the weather becomes warmer, it is important to remember that the bodies ecology and energetics need time and some effort to adapt to this changes. So be careful of internal imbalances related to heat that may come up in the summer. Specifically inflammation, irritation, heat rashes, brain fog and summer fevers. Also if you are from a northern ancestry, it is likely that your body was not as adapted to heat, and so these people can have a harder time with it. Drink lots of water, practice more exercise, and sweat out those toxins and that heat as it builds up in the body. This can also be worked with by introducing cooling and bitter foods, as well as diaphoretic/diuretic plants. Favourite plant medicines for summer at our house are Elderflower cordial (video link), Digestive Bitters, Hibiscus, Gynostemma, Peppermint or Atmospheri-tea, and Green Smoothies. Some cooling foods we can add to our diets are local fruits and their juice, fresh leafy greens, avocados, cucumber, coconut, sea vegetables, and fish.


Our mental health can often become exhausted in the “dog days” of summer. Heat rises and guess what’s at the top of your body… your head! It’s common for people to feel more mentally lethargic during the summer season. Often this is coupled by the fact that because it’s nice outside we are continually distracted by wanting to get out and enjoy it. Especially when we see others around us planning their own extra curricular activities. The fact is that most of us are much less mentally productive in the summer. This is not a bad thing, it can actually be a much deserved break from the constant mental work that the modern world often demands of us. Instead, summer should be a time for action, and a time to create all of your ideas and plans that came from mentally active times of the year, such as the winter months. So if strenuous mental activity is not working for you in the summer months, don’t bang your head against the wall. Get out and do things! Be active and use that energy to build happiness and accomplishments that you can be proud of when you think back on them from slower times of the year spent indoors.


In Traditional Chinese Medicine it is believed that the summer is ruled by the heart, which governs the emotions of joy and has the voice of laughter. So enjoy yourself, have fun, connect with others, do things that bring more joy into your life. This is a time for merriment, a time for celebration, a time to take in all the magnificent colours and fragrance of the natural world. Get out and nourish these aspects of your life. Vibrant living starts from creating the time in our lives to enjoy ourselves. Spend time building your connections with plants, animals, people and all the life around you. There is no person or thing that will be wearing a sign on them that says friend of _____, will make you laugh and experience joy if you spend time with me. It is up to you to go out and create those relationships if you want to have them in your life.


Similar to Emotional, the spiritual aspects of summer are those of connection, community and celebration. Find your spiritual fulfillment in the world you build relationships with. Part of why we get less sick and generally feel happier in the summer is because we have more opportunity to build nourishing relationships. This may be with a garden and the plants you grow, it may be with the plants and animals you see in the natural world, or it may be with the people that inspire you and bring more enjoyment and purpose into your life. Take the time to allow these aspects of connection to nourish your spiritual needs.

Taking a vacation is as much about spending time with those we love and doing things that make us happy, as it is about releasing ourself from the burdens of stress and commitments that we so readily take on. Committing to less in the summer months can make us more available for joy and good flow in our lives.

For this reason I am a big fan of the “stay-cation”. Which to me means coming home early from work, or taking time off just to putz around the yard or laying in a hammock and reading a good book. Be good to yourself in the summer and the rest of your year will be rewarded with more productivity and value.

Image from The Vancouver Island Herb Gathering

My hope for you this summer is to get out and really make the most of its powers of Manifestation, enjoy yourself, laugh a lot, and connect with like minded individuals. May you carry the energy of abundance that summer offers with you into the rest of the year to come..

In Health,





About the Author:

Yarrow Willard Cl.H. (Herbal Jedi)

Yarrow is a Clinical Herbalist and the co-founder/formulator of the Harmonic Arts Botanical Dispensary at . From an early age, he was raised in the ways of herbs and natural medicine. Yarrow is highly edu-taining and carries a wealth of knowledge and insight into upgrading health and vitality and deepening our connection with the natural world. He is continually sharing the “Herbal Jedi” life path through his many events, classes, blogs, YouTube channel and other social media.

Yarrow also has a brand new blog where he will be adding all sorts of great insight into deepening our connection to the natural world. Check it out at



Dealing With Cravings On A Cleanse

During a cleanse it’s inevitable that some cravings will come on, especially when we may not be eating as much calorie dense food as we’re used to. Sometimes cravings come on so strong you feel like you’re turning into a ravenous beast that simply MUST have whatever it is you’re craving in that moment.

Moments like this are normal…but the first thing to do is catch your thoughts, examine them, and determine if you’re just hungry and your body/brain are defaulting to the calorie dense foods that they remember. Consider if you truly do want to eat these foods or if it’s just a passing craving, if you’re feeling emotional, stressed, or are simply just hungry and need to eat something healthy to curb your craving.

Breath deeply and think about how you will feel after you eat whatever it is that you’re craving, and if the consequences are worth a few moments of temporary pleasure.

Here’s a list of common cravings that could come up, and some cleanse friendly alternatives that can help you curb that craving, and keep you feeling great:

  • Bread: Eat quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, millet, rice, or root vegetables. These foods are  a good source of gluten-free carbohydrates, loaded with fiber to fill you up, and vitamins, minerals and protein. If you simply must have some bread look for gluten-free breads/wraps but preferably the ones with the fewest ingredients, and organic ingredients. You can also bake your own yeast-free gluten free bread using gluten free flours. There are many great recipes online.

  • Cheese – Try making your own nut cheese (eat in small amounts), or sprinkle some nutritional yeast on your meal (goes great on salads, steamed vegetables or whatever you can think up). A craving for cheese could also be a need for healthy fats, so eating foods like Avocado, Coconut, hemp seeds, chia seeds, flax, or small amounts of cold-pressed oils can help nourish your body and curb your desire for cheese and other dairy products.

  • Alcohol – Try fermented beverages like Kombucha or Jun, fresh coconut water, or make an herbal soda with carbonated water and Harmonic Arts Herbal Root Beer Syrup or Chaga Kola Syrup.

  • Coffee – We often use caffeine as a stimulant when we are tired. One way to rely less on caffeine is to get adequate sleep. Caffeine is a poor replacement for rest that our body needs. Earlier bedtimes, using less electronics and artificial lighting in the evening, and relaxing evening teas like chamomile can help create a better night time routine to help you get to sleep earlier. As a replacement for coffee try Harmonic Arts KickStart, Herbal Teas, Matcha, Yerba Mate, Guyusa, or Herbal ElixirsRoasted Dandelion Root also makes a great coffee substitute that is very cleansing. Water can also be a great resource for helping you cope with consuming less caffeine. Every time you crave coffee or other caffeinated beverages just sip on some water. Being hydrated will help you stay more alert, improves digestion, and is essential for cleansing.

  • Sweetener – Dates, Molasses, Maple Syrup, Honey, Stevia Leaf, Berries, Yacon

  • Dessert – There’s nothing wrong with craving something sweet after a savory meal. The key is to avoid the heavy, sugar laden common dessert foods like cake, cookies, ice cream, pie etc. You could have a piece of fruit and a cup of herbal tea with some honey, or make a small dessert smoothie with some frozen berries, almond milk or water, and banana. Eating it out of a small bowl with a spoon makes a smoothie seem more like dessert, especially if you make it thick.

  • Salty Crunchy Snacks – Try replacing things like chips, crackers, and other salty snacks with fresh vegetables like carrots, celery, snap peas, and cucumbers. If you prepare them in advance and have them ready in the fridge or in your lunch bag, they’ll be ready and easy to grab when you’re craving a crunchy snack. You can also try healthy snacks like brown rice cakes,  and for something salty dried seaweeds like dulse and nori are a great way to get those ocean minerals into your body and curb a salt craving. Upgrade your salt with high quality mineral salts like pink crystal salt, smoked sea salt, black lava salt, and other sea salts that are much better for your body than standard table salt. Avoiding heavily salted, processed foods will help your taste buds adapt to less salty food. That way, when you do use salt, you need less.

    The key to dealing with cravings is to figure out the source of the craving and what the best option is to overcome it. If it’s stress or emotions you can try some physical activity, or something calming like yoga or meditation. If it’s true hunger then you definitely need to eat, just choose the best, healthiest alternative possible and you’ll stay on track.

    We don’t always choose the best options. We aren’t perfect beings, so if you do give in to a craving, don’t beat yourself up over it. Simply examine the source of the craving, how/why you gave into it, and what your intentions are to deal with those cravings moving forward.

Have you joined our Facebook group yet? If you have any questions, please ask them there or email us at [email protected]

Happy Spring Cleansing!!
The Harmonic Arts Team

Tonic Immune Protective Soup Recipe

Tonic Immuni-teaAt Harmonic Arts, one of our favourite Winter Tea Blends is Tonic Immuni-tea.

This deeply nourishing, earthy flavoured blend has a few sweet notes consisting of Wild and Organic Adaptogenic/Tonic herbs and mushrooms used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) including Chaga, Reishi, Eleuthro, Astragalus , Rehmannia, Codonopsis, Goji, and Wild Yam.

Tonic Immuni-tea is the perfect base for creating immune protective elixir drinks and soups…

Strengthening Commitment to Your Self

The earth has circled around the sun yet again, and many of us find ourselves in a similar place as we did this time last year; ready to make a commitment to that which is important, and close to our hearts. Perhaps it is a desire to more deeply commit to your health, to your relationships, or to your career. What you are committed to does not measure the success of your intentions. It is the strength of your commitment that will determine success.


How can we fortify the agreement we decide to make with ourselves, in order to bring to fruition the important matters of our hearts?

Winter Health Alignment

winter alignmentWinter’s Decline

When it comes to health, many people see winter as the toughest time of the year. It’s not uncommon to feel challenged with immune issues, stress, depression or a lack of energy in the winter months. Partly this is because it’s the natural completion of the life cycle. The world around us is retreating into sleep mode. If our actions and choices are not in alignment with this seasonal tone, our health and wellness will suffer.

4 Favourite Natural Cold and Flu Fighters



This time of year I actively add an ounce of cold and flu prevention to my family’s daily regime.

As our bodies adjust to the shifting seasons and the retracting light, fortification to the immune system becomes an important intention.

In that, I choose anti-microbial herbs as defense, immune boosters as offense, and deep immune tonics for conditioning and maintenance.



Cold Defense– When we feel a hint of the winter wetlands hit with stormy cold symptoms, we pull out this blend to come in strong with support to our natural defenses. This blend is ideal to take when sensing oncoming symptoms of a potential cold or flu.



Immune Boost Tea– This tea is a favourite for it’s healing essence that permeates the air while it brews up on the stove during colder months. It boosts our resistance to winter bugs while warming the body from the outside-in.immune boost tea


Elderberry Syrup– This one is always welcome to all members of our family, even the choosiest of palates enjoy the sweet berry flavour of this classic syrup. Elderberry is said to have a center of gravity on the lungs, and its anti-viral properties either keep colds and flus at bay, or lessen the impact of such symptoms.Elderberry-Syrup


Viral Support– This blend has a deep penetration to trigger the immune system. It lends support to the body in conditioning for its best defenses yet.Viral-Support-50ml


Rolling through this winter cycle, you may also find some of these products to be especially helpful, assisting you through the season with a lowered level of stress on your health and wellness!


angela willardAngela Willard became a Clinical Herbalist through the Wild Rose College of Natural Healing in 2005. She has since practiced as an Herbalist through many avenues including consulting, growing herbs, wildcrafting, and co-creating Harmonic Arts Botanical Dispensary. Angela actively adds herbal and health tools to her basket of wisdom by continually upgrading her knowledge with a strong focus on Women’s health and wellness. Sharing information that empowers people to live with integrity and reach their highest potential is a true calling, one which fuels her on her path. She balances her time between raising a young family and nourishing her passionate purpose as an herbalist.


5 Ways to Encourage Kids’ Summer Enjoyment, Naturally!

angie and lindenFamilies and friends of children are beginning preparations for the coming summer holiday months. Kids of all ages will be home from school during 10 warm weeks, and keeping them engaged and cool are keys to everyone’s happiness.

In our home, we aim to guide our children through their senses, the gateways to communing with nature. Facilitating nature connections allows these budding beings to learn from the original guru, mother nature herself.

Planting the seeds to ignite children’s imagination takes a little intention and inspired invention on the homefront.

Beltane… The Initiation of Summer

solar yearLike many old world traditions, the days of celebrating Beltane have come and gone. There was a time in Northern Europe though, when Beltane (May 1st) and Samhain (Nov. 1st ) were considered the most important dates in the calendar year. These dates are mid-haven between Equinox and Solstice, and carry an important traditional significance as the beginning of Summer and Winter. As such, they were celebrated with many rituals and ceremonies to ensure a prosperous and healthy season to come. Beltane also served to connect everyone in the community with the importance of giving thanks for the abundance they already had.

Spring Health with Harmonic Arts

It is getting close to the end of the dark and cold northern season.

In the next few months life will be unfurling its leaves and reaching out for the sun after its long winter’s rest. With this burst of Spring sun comes a renewed source of energy and drive in ourselves and the world around us.  

arnica flower patch mountain sunshineThis natural regeneration of life makes it the opportune time of year to work on ourselves and enhance healthy practices over the coming season. Traditionally, at this time of year people would be mostly fasting and grazing on the young shoots and fresh greens as they started to become available.

Many of the first plants that come up naturally stimulate our body’s cleansing mechanisms. Specifically the liver and eliminatory channels, helping to shed the accumulation of toxins and stagnation we’ve built up over the winter season.