Managing Stress

Stress is a major contributing factor to overall health, as well. Today’s world is full of constant change, increasing demands and an abundance of frivolous distractions. Most of us find it hard to keep up with even the most basic tasks of the daily grind like eating right and taking proper care of ourselves and our home. It is widely accepted that high stress levels and poor health are woefully linked but much can be done to counteract the effects.

Sitting in an apple tree

Spending time outside, walking barefoot on soft grass, daily prayer, meditation or simply sitting silently and peacefully for an extended period of time can be refreshing and will help to keep you centered as well as mentally sharp.

Hobbies are another great outlet for releasing stress. They might be as simple as listening to music or reading a book, or more interactive like playing a sport, practicing handcrafts or gardening. The intent is to give your mind and body a change of pace and a chance to relax, as well as the opportunity to meet new people with similar interests. If you don’t already have a hobby, experiment with new activities until you find something that appeals to you.

Real, Clean Food ~ Nutrition Naturally

Fresh fruit displayed in a traditional compote

Natural nutrition can be thought of as “real” food that is derived from a living and breathing non-human source. “Real” food includes…

  • a wide variety of vegetables,
  • nuts and seeds,
  • herbs and spices,
  • certain grains and starches,
  • seasonal fruits,
  • seafood, and
  • a minimal amount of meat and dairy.

Nutritious food does not cause harm or an inflammatory response in the human body. Food should be “clean” in the sense that it is not artificially augmented or modified. Therefore, ingredients that should be strictly avoided include…

  • Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs),
  • foods grown using harmful pesticides,
  • gluten,
  • sugars,
  • caffeine,
  • nitrates,
  • artificial additives such as MonoSodium Glutamate (MSG, which goes by many other names as well) and
  • patented natural flavors.

Physick Herbs of Early America

Copyright 2020, Ruffin Associates, LLC. All rights reserved.
Garden rue is visited by a lady bug
© 2020, Colonial Botanicals

Physick herbs of early America were used medicinally for healing various ailments, and commonly used as ingredients for tinctures and teas. The following list comes from famous botanist Leonard Meager. While not all of the botanicals listed here are advisable for healing uses nowadays, it is interesting to note that many of today’s synthetically produced pharmaceuticals are based on extracts or derivatives found in nature.

  • Angelica
  • Asarabacka
  • Bears-foot (Setterwort)
  • Carduus
  • Dragons
  • Dittander
  • Elecampane
  • Fetherfew (Feverfew)
  • Goats Rue
  • Germander
  • Garlick (Garlic)
  • Harts tongue
  • Horse radish
  • Liverwort
  • Lavender Cotton (Santolina)
  • Liquorish
  • Master-wort
  • Marshmallows
  • Mother-wort
  • Pelletary of the Wall
  • Pionies (Peony)
  • Rubarb
  • Rue
  • Solomon’s Seal
  • Scordium
  • Scorsonera
  • Scurvy-grass
  • Southern-wood
  • Smalage
  • Sneese-wort
  • Tansie
  • Greek Valerian
  • Great Valerian (or Setwell)
  • Winter Cherries
  • Wormwood (both English and Roman)

How to Make Fresh Herbal Tea

Fresh herbs such as mint, lemon balm, chamomile, catnip, ginger, anise hyssop and holy basil make delicious, soothing, relaxing tea. Try them individually or in combinations that suit your taste.


  1. Pick 1-2 teaspoons of fresh leaves, flowers and or roots.
  2. Gently bruise by rolling in hands.
  3. Drop into cup of hot water.
  4. Cover and let steep for a few minutes.

Tip: Smaller, finer leaves should steep for 3 to 5 minutes, while larger leaves and flowers should steep a bit longer, up to 10 minutes. Roots should be steeped longest and may even be boiled for maximum potency.

  1. Sip and Enjoy!

Natural Home Remedies for Cold & Flu

If you or a loved one are experiencing the dreaded sensations of a cold or the flu (also known as the grippe) coming on, consider turning to nature rather than big pharma.

Maybe you have reservations about subjecting yourself to potentially harmful vaccines, chemically manipulated panaceas and costly doctor bills?

If so, you will be pleased to know that there are quite a few easily obtainable, surprisingly powerful natural options that not only help you cope with the symptoms, but also target their cause. Best of all, you may have some of the most useful natural ingredients already in your kitchen cupboards!

Copyright 2019, Ruffin Associates, LLC. All rights reserved.

Here are a few ways to incorporate natural home remedies when managing a cold or the flu.

Herbal Tea – Keep a mug of warm herbal tea nearby for sipping. The best options for cold and flu include ginger, echinacea, elderberry and lemon.

Soup – Enjoy a big pot of broth or soup made with lots of fresh garlic, ginger, oregano and thyme. Miso is also very nourishing.

Over the Counter Tonics – A few doses of elderberry syrup, homeopathic Oscillococcinum or liposomal vitamin C can prove especially helpful.

Honey – While sweets are not advisable during times of illness, a spoonful of raw, unfiltered, local honey can soothe a raw throat and, when added to teas, can “help the medicine go down”. Garlic fermented in honey is also a great option.

For best results, always attend to maladies as soon as possible.

And, of course, if your condition does not improve or worsens after your best attempts to remedy, do not hesitate to seek professional medical assistance.

Note: Please refer to Colonial Botanicals Legal Disclaimers for important details about health related information provided on this blog.

Making Healthier Choices

Breaking old, unhealthy habits is hard work. How do you even start to make these kinds of life altering changes? The short answer is: One step at a time, in a way that makes the most sense to you.

You may decide to start by focusing on just a couple of the most offending habits in your life, or you may go all out with a fully documented plan to tackle them all. Either way, as you gain confidence and begin to notice improvements, you will be encouraged to continue making changes.

Copyright 2019, Ruffin Associates, LLC. All rights reserved.
Colonial Garden Bench
© 2019, Colonial Botanicals

You might find it helpful to write a letter to yourself so that when setbacks or doubts creep up, you’ll have a reminder of why you wanted to make such a change in the first place.

Take into account your true motivations, realistically recognizing your own personal strengths and weaknesses, and reasonably considering any other opportunities and limitations that may affect your desired outcome.

Give yourself credit for the healthy habits you already have and define achievable phases or steps to improve in other areas.

Whether you write it all down or not, planning and thinking through the implications of these changes before you get started will raise the level of your success.

At first it may take a little time and effort to change those old habits but before long, you’ll begin to realize positive results and an efficient routine will evolve.

It is true that transitions on this scale can be overwhelming, but they don’t have to be. Listen to your heart. If you know that changes are necessary, you can find the right way to make them happen.

An Old-Fashioned Approach to Life

If modern life seems to be twisting you around in a perpetually out-of-control tailspin, then it is time for you to take control ~ of you!

Slow down, take a break from the madness, reflect and dig deep into yourself. You must identify the things in life that are most important to you and focus your energy on them.

Make the choice to consciously and actively pursue a more deliberate existence and you will discover clarity, more meaning and purpose in your life. As a wise soul once advised: all the answers are within… trust yourself!

Your lifestyle directly affects your health. How you nourish your body, interact with your environment, heal your infirmities and manage stress will determine your level of health not just for today, but for the rest of your life.

Colonial Botanicals is about intentionally choosing a simpler, old-fashioned and more natural approach to life, adopting what might have been the mindset of our great grandparents.

Effective solutions for a healthier life often can be rediscovered from various cultures, time periods, natural sciences and through plain old common sense.

This blog shares just these kinds of tried and true ideas for improving your health in many ways including how you eat, clean your home, care for your body and reduce stress.