What with the holidays coming up and everyone scrambling to find the perfect present, I’d be remiss if I didn’t offer some wellness suggestions from just a few of my favourite experts.
Don’t get me wrong. They’re all my faves! Every week I ask a bunch of health professionals for advice and perspective, and every week these kind, selfless souls are willing to give it to me – even though I know some of them roll their eyes when they see my number on call display and think, “What does she want now?”Anyway, fresh from the folks with the know-how, here’s a sampling of keep-well gift ideas. Yup, I heartily encouraged shameless plugs.
I make a digestive cordial that I give as a gift, because everybody eats too much. The herbs are galangal, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Get fresh galangal in Chinatown. Put a teaspoon of each in high-proof vodka or Everclear in a 1 litre Mason jar. Let it sit a minimum of two weeks [if you make it now, they can have it on New Year’s], or if you use powders and shake it every day it can be ready in one week. When ready to be used, pour through a coffee filter, warm in a double boiler – the warmth keeps it from settling – and add honey. Drink a couple of tablespoons after a meal to aid digestion, warm your centre and clean your breath.’’
JOHN REDDEN, herbalist, Toronto
“If you have a parent or loved one with osteoporosis, we offer special classes called Bones For Life. We also have some wonderful classes for people who can’t sleep. And we’ll be doing special yoga classes, one for people who have tissue issues who aren’t already lithe, slim and flexible. They’re specifically geared to those with a special need.”
REBECCA KELLY, the Feldenkrais Centre, Toronto
“We offer pure incense – including frankincense and myrrh. I love the idea that these were the gifts originally given to the Christ child, and when burning them you’re doing something people have been doing for thousands of years. The resin form is the most natural way to use incense. We’ve even got a a Frankincense Nourishing Cream.”
CELINA AINSWORTH, the Herbal Clinic and Dispensary, Toronto
“I always had this idea for guys to get their wives or girlfriends a get-rid-of-your-PMS gift. Maybe give her some herbs or pay for acupuncture for PMS or stress. For anyone interested in Chinese medicine, The Web That Has No Weaver, by Ted Kaptchuk, is a good general introductory book.”
, Chinese medicine practitioner, Toronto
“We have bath bombs for babies and young children with Roman camomile to help them sleep and for aches and pains, with therapeutic essential oils. All the fruit scents are good air fresheners. You can make something out of cinnamon and orange that would be really Christmasy. We have kits for making your own creams and soaps as well. A favourite book of mine is Aromatherapy For Women, by Maggie Tisserand. It’s got lots of tips for mothers and children.”
JAN BENHAM, the Aroma Shoppe, Toronto
“A large amethyst crystal cluster or geode will boost the vibes in a room. A glass bowl filled with different-coloured smooth crystals will uplift energies. Or how about a Swarovski crystal prism that will cast brilliant swaths of coloured light on the walls? A necklace of jewels and gemstones in the wearer’s favourite colour is a beautiful idea.”
KAREN RYAN, the Crystal Tiger, Toronto
“You could give a gift of an overall health checkup or a detoxification treatment plan – particularly after the holidays and the bingeing! Everybody should do a liver detox twice a year. I have a whole protocol for helping people stay healthy through the winter. Things like throat sprays with echinacea make good gifts – things to prevent and be prepared, plus great first aid products, remedies for joint pain or antiseptics like Calendula Mother Tincture.”
ZORANA ROSE, naturopath, Toronto