Episode 080: Getting Started with Herbs for Wellness, with Carly Lockman
In this episode, I'm joined by Carly Lockman, an Integrative Nutritionist & herbalist who specializes in helping women navigate the various stages of fertility including menstruation, preconception, pregnancy, postpartum & menopause.
Investigating your ancestral history for healing traditions
Getting started with herbs
Reputable herbal sources
Botanicals best for Spring
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Naomi Nakamura: It was about it a year ago, I was visiting an herbal shop in Portland, Oregon and they sold all kinds of herbs and botanicals for medicinal purposes. And there was such a peaceful healing presence about this shop that ever since then I have had this fascination with herbal medicine, which is why I am so stoked to share this episode with you.
So joining me is Carly Lockman.
Now, before I get into Carly's bio, I just need this how you that I really, really dig Carly. Not only did we go to the same nutrition school, but we're both also 21 day sugar detox coaches. And we're both leaders on the same beauty counter team.
So Carly, she is an integrative nutritionist and an herbalist, and she specializes in women's health. She helps women navigate the various stages of fertility from menstruation to preconception, pregnancy, postpartum, and menopause. And what I absolutely just love about Carly's work is that like me, she really does take a root cause approach to helping her clients discover the origins of their health concerns. And then she relies on holistic principles, incorporating mind, body, and spirit to facilitate sustainable healing and growth.
So in this episode, you're going to hear us discuss a whole bunch of stuff, specifically about the mind, body, and spirit connection, how to investigate your own ancestral history for healing traditions. How to get started using herbs for healing, reputable sources for where to get herbs from. And then what herbs and botanicals are best for the spring season? I love Carly's down to earth, no nonsense ability to see the big-picture approach. And I know that you will too. So without further ado, let's get to the show.
Hi Carly, welcome to the show.
Carly Lockman: Hi, thank you so much for having me.
Naomi Nakamura: I am so excited because I have been wanting to talk to somebody about herbs, and so I'm so excited for us to finally have this conversation.
Carly Lockman: Well, I'm so honored that you chose me to be on the show. I know you said when you messaged me, you said that you wanted to have an herb expert on. And I was quick to tell you that I don't consider myself an expert, but I do have, I can't speak from my own experience, so I will aim to do that today.
Naomi Nakamura: Well, you know more than I do, that's all that counts. But before get into herbs, why don't you share with us just who you are and your story and how you got into this work of nutrition and wellness and herbs.
Carly Lockman: Yeah. I'm an integrative nutritionist and herbal practitioner. I've been practicing for a little over seven years now, and my emphasis is on women's health, particularly supporting women through the various phases of fertility. So menstruation, trying to conceive pregnancy, postpartum, and menopause. I really have a heart for postpartum work because I find that that's just a hugely overlooked area in our culture and women who aren't properly supported postpartum or at high risk for developing physical and mental health problems in the future. So that's kind of been my micro focus in the last couple of years. But overall, my content and work is geared around women's health. In terms of how I got into nutrition and wellness, I actually went to school for public relations.
Naomi Nakamura: I didn't know that.
Carly Lockman: I went to Columbia and Chicago. Once I got in the workforce, even though I really excelled in school, once I actually got in the workforce, I just felt really stifled. And I had this nagging sense that I wasn't really contributing to anything important. When I got pregnant with my daughter, that sentiment just really intensified and I felt so strongly that I needed to get clear on my direction in life. I had always had an interest in nutrition, so I started researching nutrition schools. Ultimately, I decided on the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. I went through their program and graduated. However, it wasn't until I was diagnosed with neurological TMJ in Lyme disease when my daughter was, I guess she was about a year and a half old that the work was really catalyzed for me. And I know this is the story for so many alternative health practitioners, it's sort of like that wounded healer archetype. But I really had to go through my own dark night of the soul to become an effective practitioner.
In the beginning of my journey with those disorders, I was really frantic because I was losing control of my nervous system. My vision was extremely distorted, I had terrible vertigo. I always describe it as being on sort of a perpetual acid trip, and I was very much looking for some kind of magic bullet. What I learned of course was that there was no magic bullet, and there was no one person or specific method that was going to fix me by itself. So I really had to come to a place of acceptance about that. And from that point, then explore various modalities and really just treat my condition holistically, addressing my mind, body, and spirit. And that's something that I had really preached to my clients in the short time that I was doing one-on-ones after I got sick, excuse me, before I got sick rather.
But I didn't really fully understand it until I had to put it into practice personally, until I realized that I wasn't going to heal if I didn't incorporate all aspects of myself and treat myself in a truly holistic way.
Naomi Nakamura: I think what you just shared is the story of many of us who do this work. I didn't know you went to IIN, I did too.
Carly Lockman: I feel like everybody around me is an NTP, so I love to hear IIN grands.
Naomi Nakamura: Yes, I went to IIN. And like you, it's like there was something working in the corporate world, feeling like you could really just contribute more. Like there was something more to this And so we find this work and then like you said, the wounded practitioner, we have our own things that we go through. And I love what you said about realizing that the mind and the spirit work ties so closely with the bodywork because I guess I'm kind of going through that myself. I mean, I kind of always been aware of it. But right now, I'm going through a period where I realized that if this part of me is not going to be strong, then how can I expect my body to be as well?
Carly Lockman: 100%. I mean, they're really tied together in intricate ways that defy explanation. I mean, we're starting to see some emerging research about it. Bruce Lipton is a researcher, I believe he's a neuroscientist that has done research on the mind, body connection. He has a book called the Biology of Belief. I mean, if you have anyone in your life that thinks that stuff is woo-woo, this is the book for them because he cites the specific research he's done to show one's thinking and one's mental state directly to the body's ability to heal or not heal. And especially, gosh, when I got sick, I mean it's being talked about a lot more now.
But when I got sick, I mean, this was a really out there idea. I was also living in Chicago as opposed to southern California. So much more kind of old school mentality. And there was a lot of judgment around my approach to integrating all aspects of myself, including this mind spirit work. But it was ultimately something, that was, it really propelled me into true healing. I mean, I was sort of floundering until I started incorporating, again, all aspects of myself really taking that holistic approach, mind, body, spirit. As a nutrition practitioner, of course, I had just thought, well, if I can just hit the right diet. And I went, AIP, tried all of these things.
And it was interesting because a lot of the therapies that I was trying didn't really start to take off until I integrated the mind spirit work. So it really, in my experience and in my study is so intricately linked. And we're remiss as practitioners if we aren't taking that into consideration every time we're working with a client.
Naomi Nakamura: Yes. And I love that you brought up that word woo. Because they feel like everyone is so apologetic for saying, "Sorry, this is a little woo-woo, I don't want to get woo-woo." But no, that is the missing part. And when you understand how the body works with the brain function and how it functions with all the other systems in the body, there's nothing woo=woo about it.
Carly Lockman: Yeah. And if you look at any traditional system of medicine, they are incorporating all aspects of the person, including the mind and spirit. So this idea of woo-woo being goofy or taboo. I mean, this is very recent. This is kind of an adaptation of like, I mean, you know the western medical system and to knock that again, thank God for extreme situations. But it has perpetuated a lot of unhealthy beliefs I think about how physiology works and what all impacts our physiology. Because the minute you start looking at ancient systems of medicine, they all include a mind spirit component. So I mean, it's not goofy at all.
Naomi Nakamura: It's not. There was a point in my own journey where I was just taking so many supplements. And the amount of pills I was taking, it was just unreal. And I see this on Instagram, somebody is planning out their week and they have all of their pills they're planning out. Some of this medications, some of these supplements. And I'm like, "That was me." And I had to stop and think, "How am I using this, and what is missing from this situation? And why am I not getting better?" And that's when I had to really focus on, well, where is my mind? What is my attitude? How am I approaching this? What is my mindset? So I love that you have this in the forefront of your approach.
Carly Lockman: 100%.
Naomi Nakamura: Getting into herbs. So how did you get into herbs?
Carly Lockman: So a decade ago I was living in Chicago, that's where I'm from. I started seeing a traditional Chinese medicine practitioner. And part of the protocol I was given included powdered herbal blends that I was to dissolve in hot water a couple of times a day and drink. And I was just so intrigued by them.
First of all, they were highly effective for me. I had been dealing with an irregular cycle for many years, and that was totally rectified within a couple of months. But also there was this mystical and sort of ancient quality about them that I couldn't totally put my finger on that just really resonated with me in a deep way. And it piqued my curiosity. At that time, traditional Chinese medicine was really the only context I had for herbalism. So I started looking into becoming a TCM practitioner, and then I quickly realized that I was not up for the intensity of the schooling required for that. Props to the TCM practitioners out there.
I don't think people realize how much training they actually go through. So I scrapped that idea until I was introduced to the concept of Western herbalism on my journey with the TMJ and Lyme disease. And I had sort of had this gut feeling that herbs were going to play an important role in my healing. And from there I decided to take Rosemary Gladstar's training, her herbalism training. She's a highly regarded Western herbalist, she's been around for decades. And there was something so empowering about the process of making my own medicine, which is part of what I was doing is I was going through this training. And it was just really an extension of this lesson that I was learning through my illness about taking charge of and accountability for my own health and wellbeing. And you know, there was just something really ancestral about it that I resonated with.
Not too far back in our history, our ancestors were regularly practicing herbal medicine. They knew intimately the bio landscape around them and they had been taught by their parents and grandparents how do identify and utilize the plants around them to bolster their health and to treat illness. I always tell people that if you have living grandparents, unfortunately I don't, go interview them now, ask them if they remember their parents or relatives using 'home remedies' and what that looked like. Because it's a really beautiful way to connect to your lineage. And personally, I have just found it to be so profound. There was a time when the general population was empowered to heal themselves. And that's again not to discount the application of Western medicine because we need it for these extreme situations.
But I think the fact that Western medicine has in many cases usurped the generational knowledge of self-healing is really problematic. And the general consensus among herbalists is that herbalism is the medicine of the people. It's your birthright to use herbs to heal your body and mind and to bolster your general health. And like any practice that involves a natural world, you need to take a conscious and respectful approach to procuring your herbs. But otherwise, you, this is something you can do yourself. You don't necessarily have to have formal training. I mean, certainly our great grandparents didn't have formal training in herbalism. This was generational knowledge, it was available to everybody.
Naomi Nakamura: I love how you bring that up. I was fortunate enough to grow up with not just my grandparents but my great grandparents. And when I think about it, my great grandparents lived to be, they lived long lives. My great grandfather lived to be 100 years old. And they were very much into the, they lived off the land, they were farmers. And they had their herbs and their concoctions. And then I think as I see generations come after them, my grandparents and even more so my parents now they're getting sicker a lot younger. And there is something which you just said about that ancestral knowledge that I truly, truly believe. And my mother is a genealogist. We have a deep connection to our ancestral history, and I 100% percent agree with everything you said about that.
Carly Lockman: What is your ancestry, Naomi?
Naomi Nakamura: So my father is family is Japanese, and I don't know that much about that side of the family. But my mother's side of the family is Filipino. And they had these family friends who were very much, my mother would go to them when she was ill or, I think I even remember when she was pregnant and they would do massages and body work and they would give her herbs. And I remember thinking, "Oh, my gosh, they're so weird." But little did I know, I was just a kid back then. What did I know? But now that I look back, I think, "Wow, they had so much wisdom."
Carly Lockman: So much. I mean, that's really amazing to hear. I find that the Asian cultures have done a much better job of preserving this wisdom that we have. In the West, we've really sort of thrown the baby out with the bath water unfortunately, and it's harder to find those ancestral practices and learn about what people in your family were doing. I know before my grandmother that raised me more or less passed this last year. And before she passed, I had asked her if she remembered herbal medicine being used in her home or her grandmother. And she really struggled to come up with anything. But she finally did say that she remembered a poultice being made. And we figured out together as I kept asking her questions that it was a mustard seed poultice that was made to put on the chest to help move out congestion in a case of pneumonia.
And so it was interesting because at first she was like, because she's had been living in this western society for so long and really only being treated by Western doctors, she thought immediately that, "Oh, no, we don't have that, I don't think so. We don't have any herbalists in our lineage." But the more I probed her, we were able to discover that no, there absolutely were herbalists in our lineage. Perhaps they weren't formal practitioners treating other members of the community. But our family knew how to identify plants on the land and use them for healing purposes. So you might have to do a little prodding, I tell people when you're interviewing. But if you use words like home remedies or phrases like, what did your grandparents do when people were sick? That can kind of jog the memory. And then you can get some of that information hopefully.
Naomi Nakamura: I love it, I love it. Now, before we got on this interview, when we were just kind of talking about what things you could talk about. You shared with me your approach to herbs and this very, very much aligned with this functional approach that I like to take it for health. So I would love for you to share it with us. I mean, I just thought it was just so fantastic. Everything you were saying, I was like, "Yes, yes, we need to talk about this."
Carly Lockman: Yeah. I'm currently going through my clinical herbalism training through the School of Evolutionary Herbalism. It's run by this really brilliant herbalist, Sajah Popham. If you want to dive more deeply into understanding herbalism, hop on YouTube and look at any of his videos because he's really fantastic. He does a killer job of integrating both the clinical aspects and the energetic aspects of herbs, which I really appreciate. But what he teaches is vitalist herbalism, and it's a very holistic approach. It's definitely what I aim to do in my practice. So the thought process is we don't just blanketly suggests X herb for Y symptom because if you're following that model, you can end up with a situation where, an example that I use is if you're someone who deals with nervous system burnout or what mo most alternative health practitioners like to call adrenal fatigue and you start taking Siberian Ginseng because you feel like you have no energy and you just really want to increase your energy. What you're actually going to do is stress the nervous system out further.
And that could really have serious implications if the nervous system is already burned out to begin with. And so the proper approach in a scenario like that would be to bring in nervous system soothing herbs. Those are called nervine, so maybe chamomile, valerian, [inaudible 00:18:39], catnip. It's really depending on the person and their particular constitution what you might choose. Some adaptogens might also be in order, maybe ashwagandha, tulsi, reishi. But again, this would depend on the person's particular constitution and what else is going on with their body and mind. But that's just an illustration. If you're just saying, hey, this herb is good for that and you're not looking at what the underlying cause of the symptom is, you can actually worsen the situation. So what we do then is we go through as a vitalist practitioner, we're going through a very thorough intake in health history process so that we can hopefully identify root causes and then treat from that place.
Naomi Nakamura: And love that approach because I didn't realize when you shared this with me, I thought, you know what, those of us who are very intrigued by herbs, we could almost be using it in the same way that people might be overtaking supplements or even using just more traditional conventional medications where we're taking it to treat a symptom, but we're not necessarily addressing the root cause.
Carly Lockman: Yes, absolutely. I mean, that is a big part of when I'm kind of educating about bringing herbs into your experience that I talk about is not using herbs in an allopathic way. You're not taking herbs like you pop aspirin, it's a very different process. Again, we do want to look at what is the originating point of the dysfunction. So we're not just putting a bandaid on symptoms and letting that root cause get worse.
Naomi Nakamura: And I think that's really important to point out because even for those of us who are really big believers in holistic approaches, we might think, well, I'm having problems sleeping. I heard that valerian root is really good for that, so I'm going to go to wholefoods and I'm just going to get that.
Carly Lockman: I'm guilty of that too, truly. And I know better because that allopathic conditioning is so deep. It really takes conscious effort to undo that thinking. So like I said, I'm still working on it myself.
Naomi Nakamura: So then it really behooves someone to work with a practitioner, what approach would you recommend to someone who has real problems and really wants to address it through this approach? Is it best to just work with a practitioner?
Carly Lockman: Again, it's like I always like to say that herbalism is the medicine of the people. So I wouldn't want someone to feel like they're beholden to working with a practitioner. If they intuitively feel called to herbs and are willing to do some self-study and maybe willing to like I said, interview grandparents, see if there's anything, any knowledge that's available in their ancestry that they can learn from their elders, that's amazing. I know that's not available to a lot of us. But if they're comfortable with self-study, there's a lot that they can do even just from an intuitive place I think because we know our bodies better than anybody. That being said, if someone is dealing with a chronic condition, something that has really sort of stumped them, maybe stumped doctors, that kind of thing. I do think it could be very useful to see a practitioner who takes a root cause approach. I mean, that's the important part is that the practitioner is not just going to be looking at the forward facing symptoms, but is going to be thinking about what might be driving those deeper in the body.
Naomi Nakamura: I was going to say, so to mixing with a whole bunch of questions. And I'm seeking totally selfishly from my personal experience. So if I wanted to get started in self-study, where would I go? What are some good resources?
Carly Lockman: I mentioned that I had taken Rosemary Gladstar's course a few years ago. That is really designed as a, in my mind at least, I felt that it was very much a beginners course. I didn't know a thing about herbs when I took that. So that might be an option. Again, you can take it not with the intention of, oh, I have to get out of this and be a practitioner. You can take it just for your own knowledge, for healing yourself and your family. I mean, that's something toO in our culture I feel like we're constantly chasing credentials, myself included. But I challenge people sometimes to go take the training and don't worry about the homework. Don't worry about the certification, just go get the information, you know. So that's an approach you could take.
I mean, there are many renowned Western herbalists out there. Like I said, Rosemary Gladstar is a favorite of mine. She has several really fantastic books you could look into. Those are some of the places that I've learned from. And like I said, Sajah Popham, he puts out, actually the School of Evolutionary Herbalism puts out a lot of free courses so you could get on Sajah Popham's newsletter and see what he's offering for free through the School of Evolutionary Herbalism. That would be just some sort of off the cuff thoughts. I really think a cool place to start though is to talk to your parents and grandparents, see what they remember, see what may have been commonly done in your lineage.
Because there's also thoughts about how specific medicines, specific plant medicines that have been used in your ancestry. There's thought that perhaps your DNA might respond differently to those.
Naomi Nakamura: Oh, I love that so much.
Carly Lockman: That's conjecture, I couldn't point you to a study to back that up, but I find that interesting. So I always tell people to start there and then be willing to look into some of these more beginner level trainings with the intention of self-study versus chasing a credential and practicing.
Naomi Nakamura: And that's a good point because I think when you take something with that intention of chasing credentials, at least for myself, I feel like I get so much more out of the experience.
Carly Lockman: Yes. Yeah, absolutely. I agree completely. It gives you the freedom to totally immerse yourself in it.
Naomi Nakamura: Yes. Without that added pressure. I am someone who I'm very interested in this, and I have been for a long time. And I spent a lot of time in the Pacific northwest, and they have a lot of really good herbal stores there. Now, back here in the Bay Area, I really don't know of any. I think there's one in the Oakland area, but how does one go about finding fresh herbs? And how do you know if they're from a reputable source? I would assume getting organically grown herbs is a really big deal. I don't know, talk to me about the quality of herbs and where you can find them.
Carly Lockman: Yeah. Fresh herbs is difficult. For fresh herbs, you'd probably need to look into either, you'd maybe need to put some feelers out for people that grow herbs in the area. And you'd want to look into their growing practices, making sure that those growing practices are concurrent with your beliefs if you want organic, et cetera. You could also look into community share associations and see if they offer herbs, herbs subscriptions. Or you can grow your own, that's always an option. A lot of herbal medicine is made with dried or powdered herbs or rather a lot of herbalists practicing now use dried herbs or powdered herbs because they are easier to obtain.
So there are a few herb companies that are highly regarded by herbalists for their very conscious growing practices. And the first is mountain rose herbs, they put out are really fabulous product and they also do a lot of work through the United Plant Savers Organization to help protect endangered and exploited species. I really try to support them whenever I can. And they have an amazing selection. It's rare that they don't have something that I need. Otherwise, a couple of others would be Starwest Botanicals, Frontier Herbs. For Ayurvedic herbs, which are herbs traditionally used in Indian medicine, Banyan Botanicals is my go-to source.
If I can find organic, that's what I choose. But it's not possible for all of the herbs I use. And I find that if you're purchasing from one of these reputable sources, they really do their best to limit the herbs exposure to possible unsavory contaminants. I hesitate to say toxins because I feel like that's a nebulous term these days. But I find that they do their best to limit exposure and even if they don't have the express organic certification.
Naomi Nakamura: Are these brands available to the public or do you have to go with a practitioner?
Carly Lockman: Yes. No, totally. The thing about herbalism in America that is, I guess it's a kind of a blessing and a curse depending is that herbalism is completely unregulated. Anybody can say that they're an herbalist, doesn't mean they have formal training. And again, I'm not. I don't think formal training is the end all be all because, I mean, personally I'm certainly not going to act like I know more just because I've had clinical training than someone that's studied under three generations of practitioners. Again, it's like we have to kind of this obsession with credentials in this country and I don't think it's always founded or valid rather. So anyway, herbalism the sun regulated, you can get whatever you want pretty much in terms of herbs that are considered safe to consume.
Naomi Nakamura: Okay. I have to admit, I go into wholefoods and look for stuff there, but I have always wanted to know, is there a better source for me to get some of these things and where to find them? And I really did not know, and that is really why I wanted to have a conversation about herbs on the show.
Carly Lockman: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think Mountain Rose Herbs is a great starting point for people. And I know before the show you had sent me some questions over too and you'd asked if I grow my own herbs. And currently, we're selling our condo, I was telling you earlier. So I replaced everything with cactuses and succulents so they don't die while I'm frantically trying to prepare for showing the two children. But typically I do grow some of my own herbs. And I find that if you really want to get to know herbs, growing them is the best thing you can do. I definitely have a different relationship and a different understanding of the herbs that I've been able to grow myself. And I also find that the medicine I make with fresh herbs has a more vibrant quality to it.
And that's not to dismiss using dried and powdered herbs because I do that all the time. Most herbalists do, and it's great. But there's something special about growing your own herbs and then making them into medicine for yourself and your family. And for anyone that's interested in herbs, I encourage them to do that if they're able.
Naomi Nakamura: Oh, I love that so much, I love that. One question I had is that if someone is interested in getting started with using herbs for their wellness regimen, how would you just recommend someone get started?
Carly Lockman: So an idea for integrating herbs into your daily life that I've really been loving lately is from a long time herbalist named Cammie McBride. And she suggests creating 'herbal sprinkles' to put on your everyday foods, so sort of like spice blends. And you do this with powdered herbs. You can get bulk powdered herbs from Mountain Rose Herbs and then pick up her book Kitchen Herbalism on Amazon. And actually, it was released 10 years ago, but it's going through this reprint now where she's updated it and it's got all of this beautiful photography. So it's in pre-order right now, I think it releases April 1st. Don't quote me on that. But when you pre-order, she sends you a couple of great free eBooks.
One of them is on herbal honeys, so how to incorporate these powdered herbs to make into honey to make these like fabulous herbal honeys. And one is on pestos, and they're both amazing. So worth the price of the book alone. But anyway, her book has several recipes for these herbal sprinkles. And it's just such an easy way to get them into your daily routine, to put them on your eggs or chicken or whatever. Another great way is experimenting with making your own loose leaf teas, so you can check out Rosemary Gladstar's book, Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health. She has some great options in there. In herbal tradition, we don't necessarily subscribe to the idea that stronger is better. Even though a tincture provides more medicine at once, teas are their own unique delivery system. They're gentle on the nervous system, but over time they can have really profound effects.
And also that ritual of making and drinking the tea really matters. So it matters that you're taking time to dedicate to your healing and wellbeing versus just popping a pill. And in my experience, the body and mind really respond to that dedicated attention.
Naomi Nakamura: I am so glad you shared this with us. First of all, I love the ideas of sprinkles to put on food because I live in California, you live in California. Sometimes when it's really hot, the last thing I want to do is drink tea.
Carly Lockman: Totally, yeah. I thought that was really just fun kind of whimsical idea when I heard her talking about it. She said her kids really like it as well.
Naomi Nakamura: And when it comes to loose leaf teas, does it matter if it's hot or cold?
Carly Lockman: No. I mean if you want to make your hot tea and then chill it, go right ahead. That's how I consume my tea a lot of time. Well, okay, let me back up a little bit because certainly if you are trying to actively warm the body. If it's winter, I don't suggest that. You live in a cold climate, cooler climate, whatever, I don't suggest that you're mainlining cold drinks during that time. I mean, that's again if you look back at traditional systems of medicine, they're very concerned with the temperature of the body.
Naomi Nakamura: And that goes back to if you're familiar with Chinese medicine, they talk a lot about dampness in the body too.
Carly Lockman: Totally. 100% yes. You would not want to exacerbate what's already, you know, sort of prolific in that season. But in the summer, this is a perfect time to drink ice teas. In Ayurvedic Medicine, we would call it Pitta season, which is kind of like this season of heat. We've already got so much heat going on outside, we don't necessarily want to put more heat into our bodies. So consuming, I mean, not necessarily with ice, ideally they're sort of cool. But consuming cooler beverages during that time is more appropriate and balancing to the body.
Naomi Nakamura: I've always wondered especially during the summer, I'm like, "I really want to be drinking these fabulous herbal teas, but it's hot." And I didn't know if it like oozes potency or effectiveness if the temperature was a little bit cooler.
Carly Lockman: No. I mean, as long as you're brewing hot because the hot water is sort of the solvent. So if you're brewing it hot and then chilling it, you're fine. Otherwise, if you are wanting to do, you could do it just in cold water. You could do a cold steep, but you would have to do it much longer. With an herbal tea, with hot water, you're looking at a 20 minutes steep typically speaking, give or take depending on the herbs. But that's a good rule of thumb. With a cold infusion, you're looking at maybe 8 to 12 hours to extract the same amount of medicinal properties, if that makes sense.
Naomi Nakamura: Oh, I like that. I actually got this infusion water bottle thing for Christmas, and I'm totally going to use it for that.
Carly Lockman: Yeah, 100%.
Naomi Nakamura: Now, out of curiosity, and I really have no idea, I'm genuinely curious about this. Essential oil is just booming right now, and I use them, and I love them. What role do they play, if any, in the work that you do using herbs for your clients?
Carly Lockman: Yeah, this is such an important question. I personally don't work a lot with essential oils because I've had so many teachers discuss the importance of using medicines that pull from the whole plant versus just a particular part of the plan. The reason for this is that the whole plant contains particular cofactors to help us properly assimilate the medicinal compounds in that plant. So we see examples of this in food all the time. It's why many vitamin supplements aren't effective until they begin to include some of the cofactors that are typically present with that particular vitamin in nature. AN example of this would be now we know when you're taking D3, you want to take K2 with it.
So we have all these supplements available that combine D3 and K2. In nature, we see those two combined in an egg yolk, and we've learned that they're most effective when they're taken in tandem. So it's sort of the same concept. Also right now we're seeing a lot of curcumin supplements on the market. Curcumin is a compound in turmeric that's responsible for it's anti-inflammatory action as you likely know. However, my herbal teachers would say that curcumin compound is not going to be as effective as it would be if it were consumed within its whole plant context, within that turmeric root because of the other compounds in the turmeric that support the action of that curcumin. So that's a lot to take in, but the basic idea is let's not even play we're smarter than nature. Plants have hundreds of unique compounds, and we don't even come close to understanding the function of them all.
Where I do see application for essential oils is to add fragrance to skincare products or candles. What you absolutely do not want to do is take essential oils internally. That's a weird contemporary practice that has no basis in herbal history. But I don't have a problem with conscious topical use of essential oils, I think that's fine.
Naomi Nakamura: Okay. I primarily use it in a diffuser to just freshen the air in my home.
Carly Lockman: Yeah, I think that's okay.
Naomi Nakamura: When you talk about growing your own herbs, for someone who's a novice like me, what ones would you recommend starting with?
Carly Lockman: I really love to recommend, and it depends where you're at too because there are different, if anyone gardens out there, there are different challenges depending on where you live. But I always like to recommend stinging nettle because it is so hardy. It's just really hard to kill. I mean, we deal a lot out here in San Diego with a white mold. And I've had white mold kill off more herbs, but stinging nettle always makes it through.
Naomi Nakamura: Is that the same as like drinking nettle tea? Is it the same herb?
Carly Lockman: Yeah, absolutely. It grows really well I find, at least out here. And it's quite hardy, it will hold up to a lot. And yeah, I mean, you can just cut it, you can dry it if you like. But really an easy use for it would be to just make tea out of it or you could do an infusion. An infusion is basically, it's essentially a tea that's steeped for a really long time and just to extract more of the medicinal compounds. You could take the nettle and you could steep it in, you could either do hot or cold, either way. Different herbalists will have various opinions on which is better. But I've done it both ways and seeing benefit. And you can let that steep between 8 and 12 hours. And then the next day you can sip that throughout the day, and it's really highly nutritive, has so many benefits.
So that's what I always recommend just because it's hard to kill. And I feel like nothing will put a damper on your herb journey faster than going through the process of planting all of these herbs and then watching them die.
Naomi Nakamura: That's a good one because I tend to kill things easily.
Carly Lockman: I mean, some other great things or things I've had luck with. Chamomile tends to grow really nicely, I've had good luck with motherwort out here in San Diego. Those are both herbs that you can use for a variety of ailments and just to bolster general health as well. Most of us need nervous system support in this day and age and both chamomile and motherwort do that. Motherwort specifically would be indicated primarily for women and women that require nervous system support. But yeah, those are some I can kind of think of off the cuff that would be good.
Naomi Nakamura: So what about herbs for the spring? At the time of recording, we're just about a couple of weeks away from the first day of spring. So what herbs would great for this time of year?
Carly Lockman: So typically in the spring you want to consume bitter herbs. That was what has been traditionally done because bitter herbs clear out the liver. They support that detoxification process. The body gets sort of stagnant throughout the winter and the bitter herbs really help to move out that stagnancy. Some examples would be Dandelion, burdock, mustard greens, yellow dock, Nasturtium. I actually just had the good fortune of going to forage in my friend Brielle's yard. She has an incredible wild herb garden growing in her yard. If you want to follow her on Instagram, she's a medicine ethereal. She's really amazing.
Anyway, she had all of these fabulous bitter green sprouting up. And I was able to pick quite a few of them, and I'm making right now what's called an oxymel. So I took those bitter greens, basically just shoved him in a mason jar, filled it up with apple cider vinegar. And then I'm letting it ferment for about four weeks, and then I'll strain it. I'll probably cut it with like the tiniest bit of honey and then that's something I can take daily as kind of this bitter tonic for spring. You can use it in sauce, salad dressings, soups and stews, that kind of thing. So I really love bitter herbs, I find that especially after we've been stagnant through the winter, they're very energizing.
Naomi Nakamura: Do you do videos of this? I would love to do a video, to watch a video of you doing that.
Carly Lockman: You know, I do sometimes on stories. If I'm making something, I try to put it up on stories. I need to do more of it though because I always appreciate it when other herbal practitioners are showing their process. So definitely need to do more of that.
Naomi Nakamura: Or even masterclasses. Here I am telling you what I want you to do.
Carly Lockman: Yeah. I mean, it's funny because I was so flattered when you reached out to me because of course I'm studying under these people that have decades of experience. So it's like the idea of me doing a class seems ridiculous, but I'm very flattered. And I guess I shouldn't discount my knowledge.
Naomi Nakamura: No, because here's the thing, these people who are teaching schools and educating mass amounts of people, I mean, it's great to hear from them. But I want to see somebody who's actually doing it now in active practice. You know what I mean?
Carly Lockman: Yeah, I know. Bringing it closer.
Naomi Nakamura: Yes, you're more relatable to me. Well, you have shared so much great information. For me, this all came about, it was about maybe a year ago actually. I was spending, I think I was in Portland for like four weeks. And there was a store there, I think they shut it down in Portland and they're now in Bend but called the Fettle Botanic Company. And you walk into the store and the whole thing is just herbs and you're like, ah. And you feel so happy and at peace that I'm like, I don't even know what all this stuff is for, but I know that it makes me happy being here. And I want to learn, and I don't even know where to get this stuff back in the San Francisco Bay Area. So this has been on my mind for a very long time.
Carly Lockman: Yeah. I mean, it sounds like the herbs are calling you.
Naomi Nakamura: I guess so. So how can people connect with you and just learn more about what you have to offer.
Carly Lockman: So you can find me on my website at carlylockman.com. And then I'm also on Instagram @CarlyLockman, that C-A-R-L-Y-L-O-C-K-M-A-N. And I try to story almost every day. I typically take Sundays off, bu I have a whole highlight called herbs that would probably have helpful information for people getting started.
Naomi Nakamura: Awesome. And I will link to all of these things as well as all the other resources you mentioned in the show notes.
Carly Lockman: Great. Well, thank you so much for having me, Naomi. This was fantastic.
Naomi Nakamura: Oh, thank you for coming on. I have just so enjoyed our conversation.
Naomi Nakamura is a Functional Nutrition Health Coach. Through her weekly show, The Live FAB Live Podcast, programs, coaching services and safer skincare solutions, she helps people with chronic skin issues clear up their skin by teaching them where food meets physiology and how food, gut health, stress, and toxins are intricately connected to the health and appearance of our skin. Naomi resides in the San Francisco Bay Area and can often be found romping around the city with her puppy girl, Coco Pop!
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