3 Health Benefits of Herbal Teas


Most of us are fascinated with rainbows, are we not? Thunder, lightning, swirling storms clean the air. When conditions are right a rainbow forms giving us a spectacular show of color that can simply be enchanting even magical. Of course legends abound about the significance of this phenomena perhaps a gift from the gods. Beautiful and majestic a rainbow feels like a gift.

In the field of nutrition and herbs rainbows have an interesting place. The rainbow is an arc of light whose colors are sunlight refracted by water molecules. When we look at the world of herbs, keeping with this theme, we see the same colors reflected in the edibles and medicinals in nature. We know from nutrition studies that each color in foods signifies a variety of nutrients but especially an array of anti- oxidants. From purple to red and all colors in between we have a compliment of  substances that have the unique ability of scooping up harmful byproducts which leads to a healthier environment within our cells, our biology. Oxidants contribute to the aging process. Whether flowers, leaves or roots we see antioxidant vitamins such as vitamin A, C, E represented, sometimes in trace amounts sometimes in significant amounts. For example, dandelion leaves, 1 cup chopped, have 112% RDA of Vitamin A not to mention 19 mg of Vitamin C.

These leaves also have a wide variety of B vitamins and minerals. This compliment of nutrients is recognized by our biology and though dandelion may have an affinity for the liver, gallbladder and kidney systems it does contribute its nutrients and support to the whole body.

When we eat a variety of foods from the color spectrum we support foundational health and vitality. When we choose different herbs varying our choices the same thing happens: we ingest a variety of nutrients in various amounts that supports our biology. Homeostasis is maintained, synergy occurs in a holistic way.  Holism, the third concept I wish to highlight, is a concept I will repeat over and over in that we are a part of the whole. The macrocosm, the universe, is in the microcosm, the individual,  and all that that implies.  A holistic approach to health means we choose those modalities that support us on a mind, body, spirit level.

In the not so distant past, herbalists chose some herbs for their effect on the psyche, to enhance romance and chase away the blues. With our mechanization of the herbal industry we take away some of the spirit, the energy of  the plant that goes beyond the science. My teachers have taught me to give thanks for everything I pick, harvest and use, for my food and my medicine. It is said that when we acknowledge this plant kingdom in this way they can work more holistically within us. Holism is about relationship.

Homeostasis, synergy, holism, three broad concepts incredibly relevant in the understanding and application of herbs in our healing and in our kitchens.

My Native American elders often referred to the merging of cultures here in North America as the place of the rainbow people. Isn’t fitting that science is meeting the legends and confirming that when we eat a rainbow of colors we are supported on all levels of our being. As above so below, comes to mind.

Maybe rainbows are the gift of the gods.

Autumn is here. Many plant cycles of bloom have ended. Yet our eyes will feast on the vast array of colors in the natural world around us as autumn dazzles us with her dance. . I ask you to give thanks today for the food and medicines you need.

Enjoy your day. Judith




Ending 2016 with Dreams for 2017

(white water-lily and its reflection)



Sitting in the stillness is a practice, a marker along the way for getting in touch with our Self. Stillness can feel awkward at first since our mind thoughts occupy and demand our constant attention. In the Buddhist tradition they refer to our mind chatter that hops from thought to thought as our “monkey mind.” It takes practice and commitment to sit quietly each day and tune out and turn off the daily world especially the daily world that replays itself in our minds. The Chopra Center offers many meditation practices I find helpful, calming and peaceful.

The water lily is found as a symbol all over the world. Its symbolic meaning ranges from unity to enlightenment, creation and creativity, universality. Its a great symbol to meditate on. As our world changes and can appear chaotic, meditation gets us to our heart and the heart of things. We connect to our Divine essence and maybe glimpse the idea, the feeling  “we are one”. Before the festivities begin can you spend a few quiet moments? Sit with a candle, soft music and allow yourself to be still. What are your dreams for 2017? What are your dreams for your self, family and the world? Feel your desires, send prayers out for others, be still for a few moments and let your Soul speak to you.

I wish to thank all my readers for their comments this year. It’s been a productive and prosperous one filled with many wonderful surprises.

May 2017 see your best dreams come true. Judith.


A Dream come True: Turtle Teaching Circle at TYG



“The TURTLE TEACHING CIRCLE is an exciting new learning space at the TYG. The Circle was inspired by Judith Dreyer, MS, BSN, Master Gardener and teacher with over 20 years’ experience speaking and writing about holistic health, edible and medicinal plants and author of “At the Garden’s Gate”, a guide to self discovery in growing a meadow garden.
With Judith’s guidance the circle was installed in the image of the Eastern Box Turtle. The 13 markings on the top of its shell were used by Native American ancestors to teach children about the 13 moons in a year and how survival of native tribes depended on the cycle of the seasons, the land, plants and animals. The 12 seats in the circle mark 12 compass directions and the colors, plants and animals associated with each. The center represents the 13th moon of the year. Plants associated with the four compass directions: east, west, north and south, are planted around an analemmatic sundial created by Jack Robinson, a TYG volunteer and avid sundial enthusiast. Google for more information about this unique sundial and how it is best suited to our location on the globe.

A Plant Fact Marker at each of the 12 seats help to broaden our awareness of species that are being over harvested, losing habitat and depleting plants that support a variety of wildlife.




Come and enjoy the quiet beauty of this new space and learn what you can do to help replenish plant species important to a sustainable environment.”

This project is a joy to work on and truly a dream come true. We sat in the circle, adults and children alike, and gave thanks. A blessing for all of us and the community as the Tolland Youth Garden borders a walking trail, includes protected meadow land, and houses a vegetable garden and colonial herb garden whose bounty is given to a local soup kitchen.  A teaching circle for orientation and community building skills is part of this dedicated area as well as a remembrance of ancient wisdom.


Many thanks to the adults who manage the garden and the young stewards!


Judith Dreyer, MS, BSN, Writer, Speaker, Holistic Health Consultant and Workshop Presenter, Master Gardener. © all rights reserved. Including photos.


Varney Farm in South Windsor CT: A Vision




I mentioned the Varney Farm in South Windsor CT in my last post. This farm, a small but remarkable farming venture that seeks to help reduce hunger, provides food for Foodshare. Foodshare is the coordinator and collector of food from farmers and stores in Hartford and Tolland counties. They  disperse collected food to various food banks, soup kitchens etc in these areas.

Sandy Varney and I met the other day so I could see the operation first hand and maybe help get the word out for volunteers. (see previous post) and see the following:


However in our discussions she asked me to highlight a dream of hers. She notices fallow land on her drives through north central CT. She envisions this land converted to grow food crops. Could retired farmers help out in some way? This sounds simple but retired farmers are an untapped resource. Maybe for various reasons they can no longer farm but could oversee, counsel those of us who want to get back to the land. How about organic growers, nurseries donating seedlings, seeds to get the farming going? Who will take over Varney Farm when she can no longer oversee and manage her own operation? Will her land go fallow too? She also reminded me that converting used land into food crops is tax deductible which can be a further incentive to considering this option. Lastly, could a person or a group step forward to pull this together?

I know of a small organic grower in VA who put up a 8 x 10′ shed for a helper to use. This young man has access to water, toilet but doesn’t want conventional work. He helps tend and harvest all that is appropriate to her farm. Young graduates cannot easily find work. Agriculture is a field that is expanding. I could add my own vision: home schoolers, a high school or college graduate wanting to use their education in creative ways seeking out this kind of opportunity, a grassroots adventure, working the land.

We do this in cities. Bette Midler comes to mind.  This well known actress put  her money to work and began to clean up four blocks in Harlem, NY several years ago of trash. This one idea has led to NYC being replanted one tree at a time, community gardens and rooftop gardens flourishing. The question is: what can we envision for our smaller farms, fallow land in smaller communities? how can we use resources more sustainably and contribute to healing our environment not just in donations, but in education, in a  hands on community approach?

We can and do think outside the box when need arises. Please send comments to Sandy at Varney Farm to her facebook page.

Comments can be added here too. Let’s get a dialogue going. . .  who knows what dreams will manifest.

Enjoy. Judith

Judith Dreyer, MS, BSN, Writer, Speaker, Holistic Health Consultant and Workshop Presenter, Master Gardener. ©all rights reserved. Including photos.

GMO’S: The Science and The Myths: Part 5

GMO’s: The Science and the Myth: Part 5
In my last post I discussed the detrimental role from the use of genetically modified organisms (roundup that is genetically placed into our seeds) and the use of roundup on our crops, specifically as related to the increases in Autism and Alzheimer’s diseases.

Today I would like to go one step further and look at the implications of the disruption of essential amino acids, specifically tryptophan.

Essential amino acids have to come from our diet. Our bodies take the amino acids from our food during our complex digestive process. These specific amino acids are the building blocks for many substances in our bodies. Tryptophan, for example, is one of the key building blocks for synthesizing serotonin, an important neurotransmitter. Glyphosate disrupts the ability of our gut to utilize tryptophan in the manufacture of serotonin.

Serotonin helps regulate appetite, sleep, and prevents depression. It has been proven that it is vital to a positive human experience.  Its inhibitory action promotes reduction in pain, fear and increases dopamine levels. Dopamine is associated with normal drives and pleasure.

What researchers are discovering is that low serotonin levels in the brain lead to deficient impulse control, intermittent explosive disorder, and severe unrestrained aggression. We have had deep tragedies in our country. It is hard to understand the level of aggression and destructive behavior we see seem to see nearly every day in our news. If glyphosate disrupts the gut bacteria synthesis of tryptophan from food then how do we maintain our serotonin levels? And could many in our society, be eating the wrong type of food such as fast food, non-organic food, be experiencing some of the effects of low serotonin levels? How many folks do you know with bipolar disease? Is it well controlled with medications? Which clinics are creating dietary plans that are free of GMO substances? What results are they having?

  1. Glyphosate disrupts the amino acid synthesis into more complex molecules such as serotonin and results in low serotonin levels.
  2. Serotonin system can be damaged in utero. Evidence points to a correlation between high use of alcohol, cocaine and inescapable fear when pregnant, which can lead to post natal traumas. ADHD, disruptive behavior in pre-K are not uncommon today. They can be the result of this disruption in the manufacture of serotonin from an essential amino acid, tryptophan, not only from drug use and fear but from diet.
  3. Low serotonin levels linked to depression, insomnia, obesity.
  4. Low serotonin is a marker for autistic disease.

The good news is that there is a food revolution happening. As Ocean Robbins and his father John Robbins reminds us:


And finally: “The planet is under pressure and our choices have never been more important. The Food Revolution Summit is an informative and empowering platform which highlights ways to set a new pattern for the future of the planet.”

– Paul McCartney

Check it out. We can make a difference. Judith

Happy Valentine’s Day : Hafiz: All the Hemispheres

                                                                      All the Hemispheres by Hafiz

                                    Leave the familiar for a while.

Let your senses and bodies stretch out

Like a welcomed season

Onto the meadow and shores and hills.

Open up to the Roof.

Make a new watermark on your excitement

And love.

Like a blooming night flower,

Bestow your vital fragrance of happiness

And giving

Upon our intimate assembly.

Change rooms in your mind for a day.

 All the hemispheres in existence

Lie beside an equator

In your heart.

Greet Yourself

In your thousand other forms

As you mount the hidden tide and travel

Back home.

All the hemispheres in heaven

Are sitting around a fire


While stitching themselves together

Into the Great Circle inside of


 Dear Family, Friends, Readers, I send love and blessings this Happy Valentines Day to all of you.