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Self-Care Made Simple

Last night as I was coating my face in a newly formulated clay mask and getting ready to hop into the bath, I was reflecting on the whole nature of self-care, and bath and beauty products serving as a tool for self-care.

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During my soak I thought a lot about how my own personal self-care routine has evolved over the years. I was ridiculously insecure in my early teenage years, totally and completely body and image-conscious (as most adolescent girls are, god bless their souls).

Any time I had a bad day at school and was feeling especially uncomfortable in my own skin, my very first means of coping was to draw a hot bath and indulge in some serious self-care. Many of the beauty tips I practiced at the time were gleaned from the pages of Seventeen Magazine and involved scalding one’s face over a steaming pot of water or slathering one’s skin in a mealy blend of egg whites and oatmeal (thank all that is good and holy that I never ventured as far as the peanut butter hair mask).

At 13 and 14 years old, I quickly began to understand the lengths that showing oneself a little love go toward learning how to better care for and appreciate ourselves, particularly when we find it hard to do exactly that.

Of course, my self-care routine evolved the older I got. In later years I fought stubbornly to iron out the natural waves in my hair, over-plucked my eyebrows into non-existence and doused myself in a sinful amount of Calgon body spray (“take me away…”). I remember thinking how clever I was for devising how to “wax” my upper lip with masking tape (ha!) or using copious amounts of white pencil to “brighten” my eyes (but seriously, we all did this one at some point, right?).

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In spite of all these misguided attempts, I feel a strong need to disclaim here that I am not by any stretch what one would call a high-maintenance person. I’ve never been one of those people with long-winded beauty routines overflowing with products and cosmetics and regularly-scheduled grooming appointments. All the make-up I own fits into one modest case, and as tempted as I’ve been to have my brows micro-bladed, I just can’t make that kind of commitment.

In fact, working for home (hullo, day job), I spend most of my week outfitted in jogging pants with my hair un-styled and my face free of make-up. And I actually don’t mind this fact because I like simplicity. I love simplicity. I downright cherish simplicity.

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Beauty and self-care is a big industry. There are a lot of businesses out there competing to be the best, most inventive, most ground-breaking and transformative on the market. That’s just never been my bag.

I learned that lesson when, during my second year of college, at a time when money was tight and luxuries were few and far between, I splurged on an $18.00 can of gel that promised to erase the cellulite on my thighs. What an utter disappointment to discover that what I’d purchased was, in essence, an over-glorified bottle of mousse with a crackling additive not unlike the Pop Rocks of my youth. Snake oil, I tell ya.

I suppose what I’m trying to express here is that self-care doesn’t need to be overly complicated. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

There are passing moments when I feel at odds with my identity as a co-creatress of a self-care business. How can someone who spends the majority of her day in sweatpants claim any right or knowledge to self-care? But this is, in fact, precisely what’s inspired me to continue channeling my energy into this little endeavour of ours. I want to be able to show that self-care is simple and available, and to be able to help create the tools to prove it.

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I love that we’re able to use ingredients from nature to create something clean and simple and effective. Our aim is not to deceive you (CELLULITE GEL!) or lead you to believe that one single product can change your life. Rather, it’s to be able to highlight just how much can be done with simple, natural ingredients.

I tend not to think of self-care as a means to an end, but as a process. It’s about taking the time to tend to your own sense of worth, to love and appreciate yourself. Yes, I smell downright fantastic after I’ve covered myself post-shower in our Bees Knees Ultra-Hydrating Lotion Bar – but the joy isn’t solely in the fact I smell pretty (though that part’s nice, lemme tell you).

The joy comes from the time I take to show myself a simple act of self-care – to take those few minutes after my shower to mindfully massage my arms and legs, or that little bit of time in the evening to apply a face mask and pause for a brief meditation as I wait for it to dry or even that brief moment of rolling perfume on my wrists and stopping to inhale the floral goodness.

It’s sensory, it’s special, and it’s simple. And that’s what we love: self-care made simple.

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Growing Up: A 2DW Update

You may be aware we held our second official Two Drunk Witches’ gathering last week, which was – to say the least – surreal. Mostly on account of that nerve-wracking period in the days, hours and minutes leading up to the event where you can’t help but secretly fret whether anyone will show up – and then, the immense swelling of gratitude and elation to discover that WHOLLY EFFBALLS, not only are people showing up, but they’re excited to be there!

The two of us are nearing our one-year anniversary of starting this little endeavour of ours, and the gathering was the perfect occasion to reflect on just how much we’ve learned, evolved and especially grown over the past year.  There’s no way on goddess’ green earth we’d have got to this point without the incredible support we continue to receive from the family and friends rallying behind us.

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To our husbands, whose faith in our success gives us the encouragement we need to keep at it (the fact that we’ve got a skilled craftsman and videographer on hand between the two of them is certainly an added bonus!). To our wonderful family and friends, who continue buying and trying our creations, no matter how uncomfortable the names might make you (we came thisclose to calling our Femme Fatale Seductive Massage Oil “Crotch Rocket”, for the record), and who help us with the unglamorous crisis-mode tasks that literally save our butts (THANK YOU FOR HELPING CUT LABELS, Christal!). And to our exceptionally talented and OH-SO-PATIENT friend and graphic designer, Andrea, for taking this whole operation crazily next-level (WE HAVE BARCODES NOW, YOU GUYS, CAN YOU EVEN???).

We aren’t exaggerating when we say say that we literally celebrate every ounce of support we receive, in every single form. It hasn’t stopped being surreal, that’s for sure.

This has been a tremendous experience of growth. For one, I’m being forced learning how to step outside my comfort zone and interface directly with people…and, like, it’s not horrible! Apart from the fact that it’s been nearly a year now of familiarizing ourselves with the processes and establishing our groove, it has become so much easier to share something I’m passionate and confident about. I’m excited about how the products work, and that makes me excited (okay, marginally less self-conscious) about sharing this excitement firsthand!

It’s all such a trip, really. When I was nearing the end of my herbalism apprenticeship, I was uncertain how to find a way to continue consciously connecting with my teachings in my day-by-day life. When Two Drunk Witches first came into being, there was a lot of effort in trying to integrate as much plant medicine as possible into our creations, and that’s how we developed some of our favourite products, like our Boo-Boo-Begone Healing Salve!

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Over the last while, however, we’ve started expanding to include more skin and body care products into our roster, and what has evolved is this really lovely balance of being able to offer a wider array of both traditional healing blends as well as products that are formulated for a more natural approach to skincare and beauty. Both types of products remain equally popular, and that is really the best thing these witches could ask for!

IMG_1385 EditedOn that note, we figured it was high time to introduce some of the ingredients that have made their way into our latest offerings – and to also mention that we’ve updated our Etsy shop with all the items we debuted at our recent gathering! We’ll be sure to share spotlights on these various products via our Facebook page over the next bit!

We’re also planning another gathering in Victoria for mid-December in time for the holiday season to be able to offer some of the gift-type items that were popular at last year’s December event, including seasonal bath salt blends and our citrus sugar scrub, so stay tuned for more details on that, dear ones!

Alas, without further adieu, welcome to some of our newest favourite ingredients!


Coconut Oil (Cocos nucifera)

  • Coconut oil is rich in antioxidant Vitamin E, which helps combat signs of aging.
  • It’s also antimicrobial, making it a gentle treatment for troubled skin.IMG_1415 Edited
  • It’s anti-inflammatory, which helps to minimize skin redness and promote healing.
  • It is lightweight and easily absorbed into the skin, making it deeply hydrating.

Find it in: Citrus Goddess Soothing Lotion, Citrus Goddess Purifying Body Scrub, One Last Kiss Lip Shimmer, Secret Garden Roll-On PerfumeThe Bees Knees Ultra-Hydrating Lotion Bar


Neroli (Orange Flower) (Citrus aurantium)

  • Neroli’s potent antioxidant properties make it soothing and reparative for the skin, helping to minimize wrinkles, fine lines and even stretch marks.
  • It helps to balance sebum production and promote skin elasticity
  • Its antimicrobial properties are well-suited to treating skin irritations.
  • From an aromatherapy perspective, neroli has been traditionally used to calm anxiety and overcome insomnia, and has even been used as an aphrodisiac.

Find it in: Naked Solstice Hair and Body Wash with Vitamin C and Neroli, Naked Solstice Facial Serum with Vitamin C and Neroli


Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin)

  • Helps to soothe inflammation and irritations, including chapped or cracked skin.
  • It is also said to protect against infection.
  • Patchouli helps stimulate circulation and thereby promote cell regeneration.
  • In aromatherapy, its exotic scent is celebrated for its antidepressant properties – it helps enhance mood and is used as an aphrodisiac.

Find it in: Colony of Hippies Calming SprayThe Bees Knees Ultra-Hydrating Lotion Bar


White Willow Bark (Salix alba)

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  • Willow bark contains salicin, which has gentle anti-inflammatory properties to soothe and heal acne-prone skin.
  • The salicin also loosens dead skin skills to rejuvenate and brighten the skin.
  • As an astringent, it helps to tighten pores and control excess oil.

Find it in: Love Drunk Moisturizing Facial Toner, Love Drunk Facial Cleanser with Green TeaCitrus Goddess Soothing Lotion,Naked Solstice Facial Serum with Vitamin C and Neroli


Ylang-Ylang (Cananga odorata)

  • Ylang-ylang is said to be a potent antioxidant, helping to rejuvenate the skin and counteract signs of aging.IMG_1297 Edited
  • Helps to balance the skin and control the production of excess oil.
  • Its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties work to soothe skin irritations.
  • In aromatherapy, it’s known for its ability to battle stress and anxiety, stimulate circulation and overcome feelings of anger and resentment.

Find it in: Secret Garden Roll-On PerfumeThe Bees Knees Ultra-Hydrating Lotion Bar


For a little throwback action, check out last January’s post on some of our original favourites by clicking here!

Botanical Self-Care for the Win

One of the main reasons people aim to incorporate natural products into their self-care routines is to minimize exposure to harsh and potentially harmful chemicals.

Just like processed foods, most commercial products are designed to remain stable on store shelves for long stretches of time, meaning that they’re usually made up of a list of mysterious and unpronounceable ingredients that, quite frankly, you probably don’t want near your body. (Have you ever gone poking around the Skin Deep Cosmetic Database? I mean, that shit is bananas.)

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I was listening to an interview recently with Nadine Artemis of Living Libations, speaking about her new book, “Renegade Beauty” (which I’ve got on pre-order, hul-lo!), and one thing that really struck me was her description of our body’s skin as its own unique microbiome.

Have you heard the word “microbiome” before? I hadn’t until just over a year ago, when I started learning about leaky gut syndrome and heard the word microbiome used over and over to describe the “gut microbiome“, or rather, the countless micro-organisms that reside in our gut. As it turns out, these microbiota play a big role in our overall health and how conditions in our body manifest.

So – back to Nadine, who suggests that our skin can also be considered its own microbiome consisting of its own microorganisms that play a big role in shaping the unique ecosystem of our skin health. To be fair, the interview only touched briefly on this concept, which is why I’m looking forward to getting my hands on her book next month, BUT one thing she did make clear is that chemically-laden self-care products are as detrimental to our skin health as processed foods are to our gut health.

I mean, she really touched a chord here, particularly as I was one of those teenagers that endured a horrible period of acute acne, to the point of taking prescription antibiotics and swiping my face with chemicals on a daily basis. I remember sloughing off a layer of skin every night with Benzoyl peroxide-soaked cotton pads so harsh, they literally made my eyes water. And all the while, my skin microbiome was simply responding to the treatment I was giving it – by repeating the awful pattern of eruption and imbalance.

1506641053255As Naomi pointed out in the interview, the sheer beauty of natural, botanical-based products is that they work in harmony with our body’s make-up, rather than fighting aggressively against it.

Think of jojoba oil, for instance, an ingredient most of us are familiar with (though only few can pronounce) (heh). Did you know that the chemical make-up of jojoba oil is similar to the make-up of the sebum oil produced naturally by our skin? In fact, if you’ve ever applied jojoba oil to your face, you’ll notice it doesn’t sit heavy on your skin like you’d expect, but rather, readily absorbs into the surface. This makes jojoba an excellent hydrator for the skin, PLUS its antioxidant properties help counteract yucky free radicals (unstable particles whose life mission is to bond to organic substances and cause destructive oxidation – think of the way an apple turns brown when you slice it – and create a damaging inflammatory response, THUS all the buzz about anti-oxidants) (and yes, I double check this stuff to ensure I’ve got it straight, ’cause science, you guys!).

So in short, botanical ingredients are great, not simply because they originate from nature, which alone is already a spectacular reason to embrace them, but because this fact inherently makes them better-suited to our biological make-up than any synthetic ingredient that could ever be dreamed up in a lab!

Of course, without depending on chemicals to keep products hyper-stable, there are some extra things to consider as you welcome naturally-based alternatives into your self-care routine.

  • Avoid storing your natural products in the washroom. The temperature and humidity in our washrooms changes frequently with the running of baths and showers, and these fluctuations create an unstable environment for products. I mean, we’re all guilty of this – it’s just downright convenient having your salves and serums and perfumes at hand…but think of it as an excuse to go hunting for that vanity dresser you kind of always wished you had. At the least, store natural products in a drawer or closet, away from fluctuating heat and humidity.
  • Avoid prolonged exposure to direct sunlight. Sunlight degrades and destabilizes natural ingredients, so avoid leaving them stacked on your washroom windowsill if you want to get the most bang for your buck.
  • You can even refrigerate your products. I actually really love refrigerating lotions at the peak of summer, when every little bit of cool-ness helps take the edge off the suffocating heat. If your salves get a bit soft, you can also pop them in the fridge for a couple hours and they’ll firm right up again!
  • Use clean, dry hands or a clean applicator to apply products. This helps minimize the introduction of bacteria into the container, helping to make your products last longer and go further. It’s also a good rule of thumb to avoid getting any water into the container, as it becomes a breeding ground for the gross stuff.

Hello, September: A 2DW Update

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Okay, we have to ask: is anyone else in total disbelief over the fact that suddenly it’s September? Officially-speaking, summer may not be over quite yet, but it’s hard not to surrender to the deep sigh of relief that comes hand-in-hand with the waning of the bustling summer months.

It’s no secret these last few months have been a whirlwind for the two of us, and as much as I’ve always considered myself summer’s Number One Fan (that person who goes following the blistering sun when everyone else is hiding in the shade bemoaning the heat!), I literally have never been more ready for fall. Not only did my hubby and I undertake a major house move this past season, relocating to a brand new space in a relatively unfamiliar location, all the while navigating the always-fun-but-compoundingly-exhausting activity of the high season, Two Drunk Witches has been growing and expanding with astonishing force!

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F-Bomb Bath Bomb, and our Black Magic Drawing Salve

Much of this is owed to Brenda’s incredible ability to face the world boldly and brazenly and charm the socks off all those she encounters with a friendly confidence I’ve admired since Day 1. If you’ve been following our journey over these past months, then you’ll know that as of recently, our products are now available locally on Victoria’s Westshore at The Market Stores’ Market on Millstream location.

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Stand made by Brenda’s talented hubby! #husbandsoftwodrunkwitches

Truly, this is not something I could’ve accomplished if it were solely up to me to put myself out on the line and (probably very awkwardly!) try to make a go of it. In fact, it all feels quite surreal to see our display perched adjacent to the tills, showcasing our products to the community at large.

We also want to take a moment to share some love for our friends and partners at the Market on Millstream, who have been so exceedingly supportive of our little enterprise, even running a piece on us in their recent self-care flyer (I mean, can we talk about a pinch-me-moment over here!). We feel so deeply grateful to be welcomed into The Market Stores, featured with so many other wonderful and locally-created offerings.

(Also: let’s take a moment to talk about just how much you guys have loved our Colony of Hippies Calming Spray – the stuff has been flying off the shelf almost faster than we can keep up!)

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Excuse the fact I look as exhausted as I felt when this picture was taken, heh.

There are plans in the works currently for us to take part in the Market on Millstreams’ upcoming demo-day on September 23…at which time I will be scarily forced to overcome my profound anxiety of “peopling” as Brenda and I exhibit some of our products in person, including some new stuff we’ve been working on behind the scenes lately (but seriously, I’ll probably let Brenda do most of the talking as I gesture at the products Vanna-White-styles and try not to make eye contact) (joking) (sorta).

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Inside Hidden Gem – swooning!

Speaking of growing and expanding, one of my very dear friends and her business partner recently opened up a shop on the Westshore – Hidden Gem Metaphysical Store – which is both a blessing (because crystals! and tarot! and jewelry, oh my!) but also, a curse (BUY ALL THE CRYSTALS AND TAROT AND JEWELRY, OH MY).

All kidding aside, the two have created a truly magical space between them, and we feel very blessed to share that you can now also find our products at their shop, located at 104-688 Granderson Road in Langford (just a couple buildings down from Goldstream Bicycles). If someone had told me we’d one day wind up on the shelves of such a dreamy, ethereal space (and that said space would be owned by someone near and dear to me), I’d probably refuse to be convinced. (Also, be sure to check out their workshops via their Facebook event page – there are some pretty extraordinary offerings coming up!)

With all the hubbub of the last bit, Brenda and I decided to postpone our September 2DW gathering to October, on the very same night as the full moon! Planning is still underway, and we look forward to an opportunity to give folks a chance to try our products, and to see how we’ve evolved over the past year (because my oh my, evolved we have!).

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Beaty Swollocks Healing Salve

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned myself over the past year is that when it comes to building this type of endeavour from the ground up, there is such a critical need to be flexible and adapt to the inevitable change and flow of things. I’ve said before that I used to naively think handmade businesses like ours were meant to be seamless and polished right from the start, and while I think there certainly are some who succeed on this model, it’s much more likely that things will change based on shifting circumstances.

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Smoky Cauldron Face Mask

Our new labelling is a prime example of this. We knew we wanted to streamline our packaging to make it more coherent, but also lend it some of the traditional aesthetic of old world apothecaries. Cue our decision to switch primarily to glass amber packaging, which created an issue because our former black and white logo just didn’t pop against the darker background. It all starts with a vision, and we have to say we’re pretty enamoured with the way the packaging has ultimately evolved, thanks in large part to the talent and skill of our friend and graphic designer, Andrea (like seriously, hit us up for her details if you’re looking for someone to work with you on your design project, because she’s amazeballs).

It’s always a process of learning and evolving, and one that never stops. Currently, I’m in the process of navigating the seemingly never-ending checklist of our new home along with an extremely demanding (and lately, extremely tiring) full-time job, alongside a recent and severe bout of the stomach flu; and then trying to fit in Two Drunk Witches where I can find the space…and it’s tough, I won’t lie. There are many days I feel inadequate or like I’m not “pulling my weight” in terms of our partnership, so to speak, and there’s that tiny little voice in my head that whispers, “Who do you think you are” and “Maybe you just need to give up.”

It takes STRENGTH, my friends, to tell that little voice to fuck right off, NOT TODAY! It takes strength to cultivate a vision and see it through, and sometimes it’s easy to forget to celebrate the victories, however seemingly trivial.

And so here’s to the victories, big and small! May there be many more to come. ♡

Summer Lovin’: A 2DW Update

Hello, dear ones! It’s Megan here, dropping in to say we hope you’ve been having an amazing summer so far, and to give you some details on what exactly we’re up to currently.IMG_0643 Edited

So, summer is kind of crazy, ain’t it? It’s amazing how much stuff can get packed into such a short span of time! On top of the usual activities that fill these glorious, sun-soaked weeks – beach days, camping, road trips and wedding celebrations – my husband and I are also in the process of relocating from our condo in the city to our new house in the country! This means that every so-called spare moment has been quickly filled up by packing, cleaning and prepping to help ensure our move next week (and the countless hours of painting that await us!) all goes as smoothly as possible (the fact that I’m a self-proclaimed Type A means there’s no chance of winging it for this overly-prepared gal!).

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Dreamy yarrow.

In addition to the whirlwind pace of my personal goings-on this past while, things have been steadily (and pleasantly!) gaining momentum with respect to Two Drunk Witches! For one, we recently filed a trademark for our business name, something those around us have been urging us to do since we began this endeavour. (As a side note, you wouldn’t believe the number of businesses registered in Canada containing the word “witch” in their name! I was outright tickled by this fact!) We’ve spent so much time over the last months working to establish ourselves and our little business, but with the trademark having finally been filed, things are feeling truly next level. It was official before, sure, but now it’s, like, really official.

And also, surreal. For so many years I’d dreamed of finding some way to merge my passion for creating with my drive to be an entrepreneur. Let me tell you, there were a fair share of failed attempts over the years (though I say “failed” lightly, for I cling to the belief that every step we take along our journey is guiding us towards something bigger, something truer).

One of my biggest challenges in the past has been trying to overcome my introversion. This time last year, for example, I was vending some of my handcrafted items at market, and while I outright adored the process of creating, I struggled with the difficulty of being “on display.” I think this is the reason that even though Two Drunk Witches feels more real, more tangible, to me than anything else I can ever recall, I still feel self-conscious about declaring myself a creator, about calling myself an entrepreneur.

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Borage for courage!

Cue Brenda, who’s already, in the relatively short time we’ve been working together, helped me leaps and bounds in working past this block. It seems I never shut up marvelling over how well-matched the pair of us seem to be, her with her outgoing confidence and knack for getting people excited, and me with my preference for words and pictures and functioning steadily behind the scenes. Honestly, when we started this project, I never would’ve believed how quickly and spectacularly things would progress, nor would I have believed the outstandingly positive response we continue to receive from those who’ve tried our products. And certainly I couldn’t have dreamed we’d be contacted by a major local retailer asking to place an order for products.

Things have been ramping up for us in an unbelievable way, and on the one hand, it has its challenges. For one, it’s just the two of us working together currently to create our products, with everything we produce lovingly made by hand. There is no fast-tracking this process, not in order to create products we believe in and which show themselves to work.

The things we make require time and attention to detail, they require planning and the opportunity to get it right. With our time together being so limited over the summer, Brenda has been going above and beyond to allow us to continue to grow and meet new demand for our offerings.

So, in essence, what this is is a heartfelt shout-out to my witchy sister, for her readiness to invest her time and energy into building this little business of ours at a time when I’m not able to be there for every moment.

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Fireweed!

It was Brenda, in fact, who awoke at 4:30 a.m. earlier this week to venture over to the mainland for the day to pick up a large order of supplies – the jars and beeswax and oils and essences that, over the coming months, will alchemize into the magical offerings overflowing in our hearts and minds. It was Brenda, as well, who met with the aforementioned local retailer to showcase our creations and kick-start the process of seeing Two Drunk Witches appear on store shelves (surreal!). How did I get so fortunate to find someone so considerate, so enthusiastic, so completely dedicated?

Here I am, raising an imaginary toast to you, my friend! (And soon enough we will celebrate with a real-life toast, to be sure!)

In the meantime, progress is ticking along on the redesign of our labels, thanks to the talent and creativity of our friend, Andrea, who just gets it. Each and every label she’s debuted for us, from our Boo-Boo-Begone Healing Salve to our Sun Bummed After-Sun Skincare Balm, has blown us away (just wait until you see the grooviest-ever label she created for our Colony of Hippies Calming Spray!). We’re so thrilled to share her hard work with you all as our vision of Two Drunk Witches continues to grow increasingly more cohesive each and every day (it’s surreal, y’all!).

Brenda and I have a day dedicated in early August for brewing up a whole bunch of new products and, once summer winds down and things start to level out in terms of my move, we look forward to prepping for our planned September gathering. Until then, we’ll be sure to let you know once our items officially hit store shelves here in Victoria (ermahgerd!).

And as always, much love to you, dear hearts, for helping turn our dreams into reality.

 

The Magic is Real: A 2DW Update

It’s actually kind of hard to believe it’s been ten months since the two of us started this wild and wonderful journey, and to reflect on how much we’ve learned and grown over a relatively short span of time.

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Presenting our newly-designed logo!

One of the first questions we’re always asked when we share with people our shop name is, “So do you guys, like, drink wine while you work?” While certainly that would equate to much merrymaking, the truth of the matter is that we in fact have yet to imbibe whilst on the clock (the other obvious truth is that were this the case, you can be guaranteed very little work would be accomplished, and that which would, would likely wind up with some disastrous results).

That aside, our name – Two Drunk Witches – continues to be extremely well-received and even celebrated by those around us, which shows us two things: that people relish not having to always take things so seriously, and that the notion of sisterhood and community is as alive and thriving as ever! I think it’s for these reasons that word of our humble little business has spread so quickly – the fact that we strive to embody this cheeky, playful energy into the products we create, backed by the power and meaning that underlies the wise woman healing tradition.

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Our wild rose harvest this past June.

We also believe it’s important to highlight our story as we continue to move forward on this journey, for one, because our modern culture tends to function from a mode of faceless anonymity and lack of transparency (think, for example, of all the mystery surrounding the origins of our food, clothing and other consumer goods – though to be fair, we love that people just don’t seem willing to tolerate this kind of secrecy any longer!). It could be said we are a species starved for meaningful connection, which is why sharing our narrative is part of our efforts to cultivate a deeper relationship with the people around us.

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The other reason we continue telling our story is because we want to offer a lens into the beautiful chaos of our unfolding. To say that we have evolved over these past ten months would be a gross understatement. It had always been my belief that businesses needed to be polished and impeccable straight out of the gates, and that to deviate from this image would signal some kind of failure.

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Favours created for a family member’s upcoming wedding!

Let us tell you, friends, that this journey has been anything but impeccable and polished! You may already know the story of our bath bombs, for example, which is just one little sample of things not always turning out like expected. Cliché as it may be, flexibility has shown to be the key to success – a lesson we’ve had the privilege of learning firsthand many times over.

It’s only been six or so months since our launch party last December, but it’s pretty crazy to survey all the little changes that have taken place in the time since. Recipes have been edited; packaging has changed; even our logo and labelling has been undergoing a re-design.

The thing as, the more you experience and the more you learn, the better able you are to simply go with the flow. Things look much different than they did six months ago, and I expect they’ll look even more different six months from now. It can be easy to get caught up in the details and to allow those details to limit your ability to expand, but I always promised myself from the very outset of this venture that I would simply let be; and oh, how good the reward has been!

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Flexibility also applies to our evolving knowledge and awareness of both plant medicine and our endeavour to keep our products as natural and hands-on as possible. Our offerings are based on a blending of knowledge, creativity and intuition, and the response we’ve received has been truly magical.

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Thrilled about our new labels!

Inherent in this process of creation is the need to embrace imperfection and not fuss overly much about the mistakes. True, there are some very expensive ingredients at stake when things go sideways, but that’s where the sense of humour comes into play.

I can imagine, were I to be doing this all on my lonesome, the defeat that would come flooding in with every failed undertaking. There is so much to be said for having an accomplice by one’s side, excited to experiment, and keen to laugh when ingredients don’t emulsify, fragrance blends wind up smelling like pee and your ingenious Christmas-themed bath bombs resemble raw Italian meatballs (true story x 3). Our mistakes are our best teachers, as someone wise once stated, and they couldn’t have been speaking a more real truth.

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Coming soon – Black Magic Drawing Salve!

We are proud of what we’ve accomplished over these past months. What started as flicker of creative inspiration has bloomed into something so big and so special, my heart is brimming with the magic of it all.

I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: the two of us make a pretty rockin’ duo. And still, none of it would be possible without the extraordinary love and support of all the wonderful people rallying behind us! The fact you guys believe in us, and in the nurturing and healing energies of the plant allies, means the world to us.

You can look forward to some new products taking shape over the next while, new amber glass packaging adorned with re-designed labelling, and a good possibility of seeing our products on the shelves of some local Victoria retailers – plus, we have another gathering planned for this September! (And, in case you missed it, we migrated our online shop over to Etsy, so feel free to poke around!)

So thank you, to every one of you cheering us on. The adventure’s just getting started!

Ashwagandha Energy Bites!

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I’ve been making energy bites on a regular basis for years now, mostly on the premise that if I have something easy and satisfying to grab at the ready, then less likely are the chances I’ll succumb to inhaling a bag of tortilla chips or a half-block of cheese. Energy bites are easy to make – in fact, I literally never use a recipe, instead gathering up whatever I may have in the pantry at the time and creating something a little different every couple of weeks.

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I’ve also been trying to find as many ways as possible to integrate herbs into my daily diet, not only for the maintenance of good health, but because I also feel it’s important to gain as much firsthand experience working with and consuming plants as possible in order to inform my own understanding of how they work in my body, and so that I’m able to offer an honest and personal account of these experiences. Which is how it occurred to me that I could be adding Ashwagandha root to my much-loved recipe!

Chances are you’ve probably heard of Ashwagandha at some point, likely in relation to something called “adrenal fatigue syndrome.” Put (somewhat) simply, adrenal fatigue is a term used commonly since the late 90s to describe symptoms associated with long-term stress wherein the body’s adrenal grands, which produce stress hormones such as cortisol (which modulates the body’s response to stress) and aldosterone (which regulates blood pressure), are not able to keep up with the body’s demand for these hormones. Thus, under constant stress, the adrenal glands are unable to produce enough of these hormones to overcome the effects, thereby leading to a variety of general symptoms, including chronic tiredness, mood disorders, cravings for sweet or salty foods, compromised immune response, difficulty concentrating or thinking clearly, trouble sleeping and an inability to cope with further stress.

And here’s the thing: based on the kind of world we live in – the kind where we’re expected to be “on” all the time, where we do more work for less pay and where we’re constantly reminded of our own failings by a stream of curated, idealized images in the media and beyond – well, it’s no wonder adrenal fatigue syndrome has become synonymous with the modern condition.

There are plenty of herbs well-suited to remedying the effects of adrenal fatigue, many of which serve to nourish and restore the body. Some of my favourite go to’s include richly nutritive nettle leaf, oatstraw and burdock root, all of which iconic herbalist Susan Weed refers to as our common, North American version of adaptogens (and which you can find more about in one of my favourite books of hers, Healing Wise).

Wait, what’s an “adoptogen,” you ask? It’s exactly as it sounds – an adaptogen is an herb that aids the body in adapting to the effects of stress by nourishing and helping to regulate the adrenal glands. Adaptogens are key component of Ayurvedic medicine, a traditional system of practice originating in India that aims to bring balance back into the body and mind through food, herbs and meditation (mind you, this is an intensely oversimplified explanation of Ayurveda, which is a deeply complex – and truly incredible – practice). With “adrenal fatigue” having found its way into our popular vernacular, many traditional Ayurvedic adaptogens have increased in popularity over the past years as the next best thing – plants you’ve probably heard of and seen promoted in magazines and health food stores, including Maca Root, Schisandra, Holy Basil and Cordyceps (which is in fact a fungi that grows on a caterpillar host – so, now you know).

I tend to be fairly dubious of turning to the next big trend promising to answer the world’s problems, especially when little to no time is spent examining the deeper impact of these trends (take Maca Root, for example, which has grown so popular in North American markets that indigenous cultures in Peru who rely on it as a staple food source can no longer afford to eat it) (source).

Also, I didn’t mean for this to morph into a political post on the importance of being diligent consumers, but when it comes to sourcing herbs, it’s something that needs to be mentioned. What’s cool, however, is that some of the plants known for their uses as traditional Ayurvedic medicines can, in fact, be grown right here on Vancouver Island, including both Ashwagandha (a member of the tomato family!) and Holy Basil. In fact, our previous herbal instructor, the lovely Jessy Delleman of Fireweed Farm and School, has both available via her business, Ravensong Seeds.

For me, there’s an important level of comfort that comes with being able to grow plants myself, in my own environment: it comes down to a matter of accessibility. Susan Weed teaches that many practitioners of the Heroic tradition deliberately convey their medicines as exotic, proprietary remedies in order to maintain the veil of mystery and ensure you remain bound to these medicines, particularly if they’re effective. The issue is that not only do you not know why the medicine is working, you’re prevented from cultivating a deeper relationship with the medicine itself; rather, your relationship is with the purveyor of the medicine, and that limits the freedom you have to connect meaningfully to your own state of health. So even though I don’t have the means currently to grow my own Ashwagandha, I like knowing that I can; that it’s something that’s available for me to do on my own, should I wish.

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All that aside, as adaptogenic herbs become increasingly common in response to our chronically stressed out modern condition, organically-grown Ashwagandha can easily be found at your local health food store, which is exactly what I did in this case.

As is characteristic of adaptogens, Ashwagandha root (Withania somnifera) is a restorative herb that helps to calm the nervous system while replenishing the adrenal glands. In Ayurveda, it is used to help bring Vata constitutions into balance to remedy tiredness, lack of focus and a general sense of ungrounded-ness. The herb is described as astringent, bitter, and sweet, and is said to be slightly warming (for all you fellow herb nerds out there).

Now, when I say I don’t use a recipe to create my energy bites, I’m not exaggerating – it’s literally a process of eyeballing all the ingredients I happen to have on hand, and adjusting proportions as needed.

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I start off with a generous amount of nut butter – I’d estimate just short of a half cup’s worth, which, depending how many other ingredients you have, will equate to about 9 to 12 bites. For this batch, I chose almond butter, as I’d scored some on sale for a good price recently, but other nut butters will suffice – I’ve used natural peanut butter (which we generally avoid now due to aflatoxins – but that’s for another time), cashew butter, and pumpkin seed butter, and I also like to supplement with some tahini if I’ve got it on hand.

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Next, I add a generous sprinkle of ground almond, followed by whatever other ingredients I fancy – in this case, unsweetened shredded coconut, dried cranberries, chopped cashews, sesame seeds and dark chocolate chips (I’d guess roughly a scanty quarter cup of each, although, as I’ve said, it’s really a matter of eyeballing).

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Lastly, I added a couple tablespoons of my Ashwagandha powder, then started mixing everything with a wooden spoon. If the blend ends up being too dry, I like to add a dollop of maple syrup or honey, or if you prefer to avoid the sweetness, you can just add a smidgen more nut butter. The consistency should be a bit like raw cookie dough, so that you’re able to easily roll it into balls between your palms. The size of the bites is up to you – I keep mine just over an inch round, as I like to maximize my ingredients, and I find the size to be good enough to sustain me when I need a quick pick-me-up.

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I finished by rolling the balls in sesame seeds (shredded coconut works, and even ground almond in a pinch!), and then placed them in an airtight container. I’ve kept them on hand in the fridge for up to two weeks, although it’s good to remember they can soften quite a bit if they’re outside the fridge for too long.

What I really love about energy bites is that they’re protein-rich and calorie dense, meaning they sustain me for a good, long time between meals. Ever since my blender broke about a month ago, I stopped being able to make my daily Bulletproof Coffee (also another story for another time), and have found these energy bites work much in the same way when I pair one with my morning almond milk latte.

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The Ashwagandha itself doesn’t much affect the taste of bites – if anything, it gives it a subtle kind of earthiness – with the energy bites serving as the perfect vessel for a daily dose of vitality-giving goodness. I’ve also incorporated Ashwagandha into another of my favourite snack recipes, Tosca Reno’s Lifestyle Bars, which are as equally decadent and delicious.

So I dare you, friends: have a go, and let us know what you think!

What’s all the fuss ’bout Activated Charcoal?

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Smokey Cauldron Face Mask

As far as beauty trends go, activated charcoal is dominating the shelves these days. In fact, we’ve probably all seen our fair share of activated-charcoal-peel-off-mask-fails, including this cautionary tale, which will have you squirming with distress:

Instead of blindly jumping aboard the beauty bandwagon like the poor, misguided YouTubers showcasing their error to the masses, however, why not first find out a little more about what makes this ingredient so popular.

Activated charcoal is created by burning carbonaceous materials (including wood, nutshells, coconut shells and even petroleum pitch) at ultra-high temperatures and then “activating” it by either a steam or a chemical process in order to create tiny pores and thereby substantially increase the surface area of the remaining substance (source). This porous surface area makes activated charcoal extremely adsorptive, meaning that substances such as contaminants and pollutants easily bind to its surface.

Activated charcoal (also called “activated carbon”) is non-toxic and is regularly found in water and air filtration systems, but is not (we repeat: IS NOT) the same thing as the charcoal briquettes used for barbecuing, which can contain fillers, chemicals and additives you most definitely don’t want to be introducing into your health and beauty regime.

We likely all remember as teenagers hearing horror stories about a friend of a friend in high school who was taken to the hospital with alcohol poisoning and required to drink charcoal. While I’m not sure about the validity of hospitals specifically using activated charcoal to treat alcohol poisoning (any nurses reading this, please feel free to chime in!), it is said to be helpful for treating cases of accidental poisoning, and some experts recommend having it on hand particularly if there are young children in the house (though I’m sure this doesn’t need to be said, but please don’t depend on this information alone to treat a suspected poisoning!) (source).

Visiting my sister last summer, I complained to her about feeling “off” (probably due to a holiday diet of decadent food and drink), to which she responded by giving me a few activated charcoal capsules, swearing they help get rid of the icky feeling. Since then, I keep a bottle in my cupboard at all times (this one, to be precise), and find it to be invaluable if my digestion is feeling off or if I’ve indulged in one too many glasses of wine (in fact, I now take my capsules in advance if I know I’ll be having a drink or two or treating myself to a rich meal, as well as before I go to bed that night, and even my husband now asks for it any time he’s feeling off himself).

Activated charcoal is also said to offer relief from bites, stings and burns – it can be mixed with a bit of coconut oil to make a paste and applied directly to the skin. Do be warned, however, that it stains like a mofo, so this one is perhaps best avoided with active kids!

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You may also be familiar with drawing salves, an herbal remedy wherein activated charcoal is blended into an ointment and applied to the skin. In the same way activated charcoal taken internally draws impurities out of the body and passes them through the digestive system, it is likewise said to draw impurities out of the skin, such as splinters, boils and insect venom. (We certainly have plans in the works to offer something like this in the future, combined with the magic of some of our favourite soothing, healing herbs).

Now it makes sense why we’ve been seeing activated charcoal featured in so many skincare products as of late (seriously – I reckon they rival only beard oil as the most celebrated skincare product of present!).

The premise of activated charcoal as an ingredient in your cleanser or face mask is that it works to draw dirt and pollutants from the skin like a magnet, resulting in a clearer, brighter complexion. As someone prone to blemishes all her life, it’s indeed one of my trusted treatments any time I’m having a particularly bad flare-up.

It’s worth noting, however, that over-use can also draw out all the good stuff from your skin, so it’s best to incorporate products containing activated charcoal for occasional use, rather than as part of your every day routine. I also like to follow my face mask with a balancing toner and super hydrating moisturizer to ensure I’m not leaving my face totally stripped. (Also: I recommend giving yourself a few hours in advance of when you need to be somewhere to do a face mask, as the powerful clarifying action can make your skin red for a short time, particularly if you’ve used a facecloth to wipe away any residue).

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Smokey Cauldron Face Mask

As for other uses, activated charcoal is used by many as a tooth powder to lift stains and impurities – simply dip your toothbrush in the powder once you’ve applied toothpaste and brush away (do take care to warn any loved ones who may walk in on you foaming black at the mouth, however!). Some folks have also experimented creating an all-natural eyeliner with activated charcoal, while others add it to their shampoo for an occasional clarifying treatment.

In case you’re ready to give it a go for yourself, we’re pleased to report we’ve been incorporating activated charcoal into some of our own offerings, including our Smoky Cauldron Face Mask, which also includes the purifying action of bentonite clay, as well as anti-oxidant rich rosehip and ginseng. We’ve also incorporated activated charcoal into some of our most recent bath bomb recipes, and let me say that it goes a long way in enhancing the detoxifying effects of a hot bath – in fact, we call these blends “Phoenix Rising” for their ability to revive the feeling of being dead-to-the-world.

We love your feedback – let us know if you’ve tried activated charcoal for yourself, and what you’ve discovered!

A 2DW Update

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It’s been awhile, hasn’t it, friends? It’s hard to believe, in fact, that spring has officially arrived, although we’re still eagerly awaiting warmer temperatures here in Victoria (having been teased, especially, by the occasional sunny day, with a subtle scent of cherry blossoms drifting in the breeze and the pleasure of warm sun on bare arms!).

Our time together over the past months has been spent crafting the products you all can’t get enough of (our Boo-Boo-Begone Healing Salve, in particular, has been well-celebrated; thank you all so much!), and meanwhile visioning what kind of direction we see ourselves moving in. Each of us is busy with our own family and friends, with the pleasures and demands of our day-to-day lives, and while it can be challenging at times to come together and focus our efforts, there is also such an incredible harmony in the collaboration. The time we spend together crafting our offerings allows us the opportunity to revel in alchemy and inspiration, in sisterhood and imagination. And all along, we never cease to be amazed by the level of love and support shown by the people around us. So please, let us say thank you, again, for your kindness and encouragement.


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As far as products go, we recently created a large batch of the famous Boo-Boo-Begone on account of the positive feedback received from those who have used the salve to treat stubborn skin issues, including eczema and similar irritations:

This gentle blend is great for kids, and aids in healing skin wounds and irritations.

It is created with locally wildcrafted usnea lichen, which serves as a potent antimicrobial; soothing calendula, which aids skin healing and has a gentle anti-inflammatory action; and burdock root, which also contains anti-inflammatory properties and helps to alleviate skin irritations. Batch #2 + #3 include the addition of gentle and soothing chamomile, which is well-known for its effectiveness in combatting eczema.

We’re also in the process of evolving our packaging, with the intent to switch over primarily to amber glass jars and bottles, which means Boo-Boo-Begone is now offered in a 50 mL glass amber jar for $15. Not only do we favour the whimsical old-timey-apothecary aesthetic of the amber jars, but the colour of the dark glass reduces the amount of light able to penetrate the contents inside, thereby helping to prolong the lifespan of our creations (and as a sidebar tip: you can always pop your salve jars into the fridge if you find they’re too melty during warmer spring, and particularly summer, days!).

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Those who loved our “Sentir Les Roses” solid perfume may be interested to know we’ve created two additional scents, both of which we also offer in slider tins for easy transport (I often carry my own tin with me when I’m out and about and reapply if I stop by the bathroom – rose scent is said to hold the highest vibrational frequency, and true to form, it never fails to revive me if I need a little boost!). Rose features again in both our newly available scents: Midnight Rose, with an alluringly spicy, floral scent of vanilla and rose; and Patchouli Rose, a romantic blend of floral rose and sultry patchouli.

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We’ve also been perfecting and re-perfecting our bath bomb recipes, and are excited to report we’ve come up with the fizziest, most fragrant bath bombs ever – you may have even caught our recent side-by-side comparison posted on Facebook capturing the difference between a product we purchased out of curiosity, and our own creation!

Speaking of Facebook, we also want to share a sincere thanks to everyone who offered suggestions for shops in Victoria and the South Island that you could imagine Two Drunk Witches products in! We’ve started the process of contacting some of the shops that were suggested…and while it’s always a bit scary putting yourself out there, we continue to be encouraged by your enthusiasm (and plan to offer a Two Drunk Witches gift of gratitude in exchange for any suggestions that work out!).

We’re also hoping to host another in-person event in the months ahead, likely in late May – we’ll be sure to keep you all updated as plans shape up!

Please don’t hesitate to let us know if you have any additional suggestions or leads on shops you can envision seeing Two Drunk Witches products in, or if there are certain products you’d like to see us offer.

Meanwhile, spring’s arrival means reacquainting ourselves with some of our much-loved plant allies, including exquisite wild rose, and we’re excited to continue to share our makings with you all in the seasons ahead.

Until next time, stay magical, friends!

Free Fire Cider!

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This winter has been especially nasty when it comes to colds – the kind of colds that linger for weeks, sapping every last ounce of energy with bone-aching tiredness; the kind of colds that, just when you think you’ve emerged out the other side, come surging back in with twice the ferocity. Few of us have been spared this living hell over the past season.

One of our favourite ways to arm ourselves against the ugly throes of a winter illness is an ancient, folk-style remedy known as fire cider. Though herb-infused vinegar is a medicine of the ages, the term fire cider itself first reached the mainstream by way of iconic herbalist Rosemary Gladstar, who, in the early 1980s, shared her own recipe for a fiery, potent blend designed to stave off sickness.

You may be aware there’s a lot of controversy surrounding fire cider these days. This is because, in 2014, a Massachusetts company named Shire City Herbals decided to trademark the name Fire Cider.

See, herbalists around the world had always universally referred to the traditional remedy as fire cider ever since it gained in popularity via Rosemary Gladstar. The whole premise of herbal medicine is built on a foundation of empowerment and accessibility – empowering people with the knowledge to make their own remedies with accessible and available ingredients.

In putting profit before people, Shire City Herbals’ move to trademark the name stood in stark contrast to the very foundation of what so many herbalists had been striving to do. To make matters worse, in April 2015, the company proceeded to sue three separate herbalists for boycott and trademark infringement, with a trial date tentatively set for this year. We encourage you to visit freefirecider.com to read more about the herbal community’s efforts to free the trademark.

One of the biggest ways people are getting involved in this movement is by learning to make their very own fire cider, and sharing this information with their family, friends and community at large – in fact, on February 2, people everywhere took part in celebrating World Fire Cider Day to help spread knowledge and awareness. And though you may have missed it, it is definitely not too late to get in on the action!

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Fire cider is a versatile blend that lends itself well to the folk tradition. Rosemary Gladstar’s recipe (which you can find here) calls for ½ cup each of fresh horseradish root and chopped onions, and ¼ cup each of chopped garlic and grated ginger, with fresh or dried cayenne pepper added to taste.

We didn’t have any horseradish on hand for the batch we made last Friday, so instead subbed in fresh turmeric root, as well as fresh ginseng root.

We admittedly also didn’t bother measuring out the portions, instead eyeballing our ratio of ingredients to apple cider vinegar (use the organic, unpasteurized version, the kind “with mother”) to ensure all the ingredients were covered by several inches of liquid. We also took our preparation a step further by throwing everything in the Vitamix until pureed, to make sure we get every last ounce of goodness from our fresh roots (this isn’t necessary, of course, but we’re a pair o’ keeners!).

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The pureed blend was added to a giant-sized, repurposed sauerkraut jar and will be left to infuse for at least one month. It’s important if your jar has a metal lid to use a piece of parchment as a barrier, as vinegar will corrode the metal (you definitely do not want rusty scum tainting your labour of love!).

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Fire cider is taken as both a daily tonic remedy to help prevent illness, as well as during colds, to help shorten their duration.

The combination of antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and circulatory herbs are what makes this blend such a trusted remedy to have on hand during the peak of cold season.

  • Garlic: known for its ability to fight off bacterial infections and enhance the body’s immune response. Not only is it detoxifying, it also promotes digestive and cardiovascular health.
  • Ginger: ginger is a great aid for circulation, helping to warm the body and get things moving. It’s also a carminative, which means it’s soothing to the digestive system.
  • Horseradish: I admit I don’t love the taste of horseradish, but in terms of its effectiveness, it is known to not only have powerful antibiotic properties, but aids in removing mucus from the body.
  • Turmeric: turmeric is celebrated for its ability to ward of infection and prevent inflammation, as well as boost circulation.
  • Ginseng: a great addition to fire cider for its ability to both enhance the body’s immune response, as well as restore one’s energy.
  • Cayenne: the spicy heat of cayenne is effective for increasing circulation and promoting sweating, as well as relieving inflammation.

You can also add or substitute whatever other ingredients are speaking to you, such as onions, black pepper, citrus or rosemary.

Fire cider can be taken daily (I take between a teaspoon and tablespoon’s worth) or, in the midst of sickness, as frequently as every few hours. It also makes a tasty salad dressing and one heck of a marinade, and, if you don’t love the taste (but really, how can you not), can be mixed into hot water with some added honey.

We urge you to try making your very own batch of powerful fire cider – and be sure to share your stories and experiences! ♥