Winter + Respiratory Remedies

Needless to say, it has been one very strange winter indeed, regardless of what coast you live in. In Los Angeles, we’ve been sadly spared of rain, moisture, and grey skies but given wind, cool air and sun (a lot of sun). Still, winter manages to affect us so I stocked up some tried and true products that helped me this season. Potency and organic ingredients, to soothe the conundrums brought on by the changing seasons be it dry skin, colds, sinus troubles or to keep you warm.

These products I have been using for awhile so I can safely say I find them as go-tow in my ever-growing herbal first aid kit. Before you use any products make sure they are suitable to your needs/conditions!


Badger Aromatic Chest Rub I first got this because I deal with a lot of nasal blockage, especially in autumn/winter when it gets significantly drier at night. This is a chest rub but I apply it atop + around my nose. Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Rosemary, & Tea Tree are a few of the wonderful essences in this blend. Personally, Apply generously tot a greater effect (its a balm)

Moon Valley Organics Moon Melt Lotion Bar : The prettiest packaging, organic and absolutely yummy (it smells like a vanilla birthday cake) ingredients, and the kindest customer service,  I never buy lotions but as the years pass I notice the drier my skin tends to get in dry climate so I found this wonderful West Coast based company who answered my questions with quick response + kindness. It smells heavenly, keeps my skin happy and is botanically derived, I really love that the Vitamin E in this is derived from sunflower, and not synthetic. Vitamin E is an important factor for skin, hair and overall health because of its antioxidant and moisturizing properties. It’s an amazing bar for dry skin

Honey Gardens Wild Cherry Bark with raw honey, propolis and ginger root its a heaven-sent product for scratchy throats and has calming properties, mostly organic-derived.  Wild Cherry bark was used by Native Americans, by stripping the bark and grinding it, learn more about Wild Cherry Bark here

Sequoia Beauty Purity Balm – This is best for the face + neck, I didn’t think I would end up using it much because because my skin isn’t dry so much as it is sensitive, however when I started getting irritated dry patches on my face I was grateful to have this near. Organic, raw and features Rosehip Seed and Tamanu oil that soothe damaged and sensitive skin.

Wish Garden Herbs Kick Ass Immune I really only started using medicinal botanicals such as elixirs and I find them to be really helpful way to ingest all the herbs & botanics. Like tea, except more variance and easy to take with you wherever you are. I love that this features herbs that are great for respiratory health as well as immunity. This features Yerba Santa leaf, Baptisia root, Yarrow and Elderflower which contain a plethora of nutrients! Osha root (a relative to carrots and parsley) is recognized as antibacterial and immune boosting

Fawn Lilly Botanica Facial Steam (c/o) If you’ve never tried a facial steam, please do! I think they are safer alternative to nasal pots, the heat opens up your pores, airways and stimulates the skin. However this is not recommended for irritated skin/rosacea/windburned. I like to also use it in the bath (mine came in tea bags, however, you can easily steep with a strainer or tied up cloth.

Nature’s Rite Sinus Support This features Grapefruit Seed, Yarrow for respiratory health, and Aloe leaf to soothe dry sinuses and bring back moisture. Another great product is Olive Leaf Spray which also features Grapefruit Seed Extract. Try out some botanical based sprays to help allergies and sinus pain just remember consistency is key.

Marble & Milkweed Forest Tea  I have written about this tea before but I can’t help but rave about its wonderful taste and woodland vibes. along as a tea I actually also used it as a facial steam. Completely organic based.

Tea Ceremony: Modern Chai #2

Awhile back i received my tea from Marble & Milkweed and swooned over the packaging and then of course the teas. I have never really have an “authentic” chai. So that being said I wanted something to warm my bones so I headed for the Modern Chai #2 sample (Organic, fairly-traded assam tea organic cardamom, organic ginger and organic ceylon cinnamon, saffron and organic, fairly-traded cacao)

I split this with my mother, hers without milk – just the tea as it is in its exotic, earthy, herbal essence and how delicious it is. Its balanced and not overly spicy (which is why I avoid the boxed ones) and I cannot stress enough how important it is to follow directions while making tea (too hot can make for bitter tea, over steeping can make it overpowering) But I added a coconut milk to mine which I feel is the best non-dairy milk because it is full in creaminess and flavor

p.s. as stated Marble and Milkweed uses ceylon cinnamon, which is the pure/nontoxic form of cinnamon, here is a post on the importance of imbibing pure ceylon cinnamon

it is always tea time
it is always tea time
it is always tea time
it is always tea time
it is always tea time

Interview / Briar of Marble and Milkweed

Sometimes I have a habit of (re)reading certain blogs that genuinely appeal to me, I devour them in like bees do with nectar. Marble and Milkweed is my kind of flower. Run by Briar, who concocts botanical and alchemical apothecary creations for beauty, mind, and soul. What separates her from everyone else is how poetically she captures her creations: teas, body oils, etc- and how she chooses to ethically approach and support her shop. Using organic and plant derived materials, her blog doubles as a peek into her workstyle and individual do-it-yourselfs, like this chocolate enfleurage. I was really happy Briar took the time for this interview – I only wish I could have asked her in person with a cup of her tea.

Briar’s blog:
Instagram at:
Shop can be found at

Hello! My name is Briar, and I am a pastry chef, and the maker behind Marble & Milkweed. I’m in love with plants, and I love helping people discover how pure botanicals can make them glow, inside and out. I keep track of developments in the shop, kitchen and studio on 

My creative process is very fluid. 

There are a lot of things from my formal culinary education that help me enormously in the shop, especially when it comes to staying organized, developing new recipes and creating products that are consistent and have integrity. Most of my inspiration, though, day to day, comes from being around beautiful raw materials. My respect for botanical materials is immense, and I love being able to feel a deep connection to the earth (even while living in the middle of New York City!) through working with them. I work in the studio as often as I can, in between dessert-related projects, and my schedule often varies season by season. In the winter, I love working on new projects in the late morning and afternoon, while in the summer, I often find myself inspired late into the evenings, as the light lingers.
Besides being inspired by exquisite raw materials, I also am in love with my neighborhood (New York’s Lower East Side), and its incredibly diverse and fascinating history. My clawfoot bathtub in the kitchen is my secret hideout, and the community garden that my sweetheart and I are members of is a huge source of inspiration, as well, not just for its natural beauty, but also for the neighborly relationships that it fosters. I’m constantly inspired by my partner, Michael, who is so incredibly handsome, devoted, and the best cook in the world.

Plant inspiration: 
I am constantly in awe of the tea plant – camellia sinensis. It’s such an incredibly versatile plant, yielding completely different products depending on where it’s grown and how it’s processed. And the ritual that it has inspired in so many cultures is something that I love learning about and adapting to my own life.
I try to live as consciously as possible, 
with the understanding that even my smallest actions can make a difference. This applies to the way I source and eat my food, what I put on my skin, how I treat my environment and the people around me. I want to be a source of good energy in the world.

5 Things that Heal me:

  1. good food: lovingly grown, lovingly prepared
  2. a long hot bath
  3. time in the garden
  4. time with my sweetheart and people I love
  5. work that I feel good about doing

Now that I live in New York City
one of my favorite places to visit is the Pacific Northwest, where I grew up. It’s so nice to be between the mountains and the sea, and take in the fresh air, especially when the sun finally pokes through the clouds. Another favorite journey was the trip my sweetheart and I took to Italy a few years back. We stayed in an agritourismo on top of a mountain in Umbria. The hospitality was so warm, the food so delicious, and we slept so well. It was marvelous.
A few neighborhood favorites:
There’s always so much going on, between the Lower East Side where I live, and TriBeCa, where I work. Near home, I love the Essex Street Market with its diverse and delicious shops, and I love dropping into Russ & Daughters for a chunk of halvah. In the East Village, we have a wonderful herb shop called Flower Power, they are so kind and knowledgeable, and I also often stop nearby at Sustainable NYC for earth-friendly gifts for special occasions. I also love my local branch of Organic Avenue, around the corner from my apartment. Their Thai collard green wrap is amazing, and I love being able to drop in for a green juice or a coconut water on my way out the door. In TriBeCa, I love All Good Things, a really special indoor market for food, flowers and more, and I also love to go by Birdbath Bakery on Church Street for my favorite chocolate chip cookie. And wherever I am in the city, I always find myself gravitating to the nearest park or community garden for a bit of green respite.
In 5 years,
I want to grow Marble & Milkweed into a way to share my love of radical simplicity and passion for plants with many, many people. I would love for my studio to be a gathering place for like-minded folks, with classes about herbs and botanical fragrance, wholesome nourishment, flower-arranging and gardening, all the things that bring beauty and meaning to my life.

An ideal day:

I feel like there is no one ideal day, I always want to be able to appreciate each day for whatever it holds and to embrace that fully. That being said, a good day should at least contain a portion each of good food, good love, good work and good sleep. The proportions may vary from day to day, but those things are at the heart of it all.
One piece of advice: Go after what you love, and keep doing it. Making it happen takes time, so try to appreciate that part of the process, too!

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