Real Health

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As with most modern things, what you see is rarely what you get. Here is a snippet from a recent Diverse Health Services blog post worth reading:

“In the early twentieth century, investigators began discovering that certain noncaloric elements in food, or vitamins, are required for the proper functioning of the body. Chemists, following the reductionist thinking of the time, assumed that each vitamin was a single chemical compound, and soon the scientists were not just claiming to have identified these single chemicals but were synthesizing and selling them to the public as nutrients.

There was a problem, however. When nutrition researchers compared the effects of synthetic vitamins with vitamins in food, they discovered that the former did not truly duplicate the action of the latter. In fact, synthetic vitamins appeared to cause some rather troubling health effects. But with the upstart investigators no match for the powerful pharmaceutical companies profiting from synthetic vitamins, this truth was effectively withheld from the public.

Dr. Royal Lee illustrates the profound differences between synthetic and natural vitamins by comparing the single chemical ascorbic acid—what is commonly considered vitamin C today—and natural vitamin C, a synergistic complex of compounds that includes not just ascorbic acid but assorted bioflavonoids, vitamin K, and tyrosinase, an enzyme so critical to adrenal health that it was declared the “active principle” of vitamin C by the country’s top endocrinologist at the time. Over half a century later, Dr. Lee’s words are still as revolutionary as they are illuminating:

OK, natural vs. synthetic.   Let’s start with Vitamin C.   Most sources equate vitamin C with ascorbic acid, as though they were the same thing.   They’re not.   Ascorbic acid is an isolate, a fraction, a distillate of naturally occurring vitamin C.   In addition to ascorbic acid, vitamin C must include rutin, bioflavonoids, Factor K, Factor J, Factor P, Tyrosinase, Ascorbinogen, and other components as shown in the figure below… read more.

saraforestwyfeWe are pretty picky about the ads we allow on Nourishing Days. We’ve turned down lots of ad networks that will not give us control over specific ads that will show. So when people want to advertise on our site that offer truly unique and natural products we get excited about giving them their opportunity to share what they do. So please join us in welcoming Sara of Forest Wyfe Herbals for a brief interview.


Shannon: You say on your site something that really rings true to me – you can find all sorts of opinions on herbs and essential oils all over the internet. As well as having a background in biology and nutrition, you are a trained Clinical Herbalist. Can explain what that means and how all aspects of your education have come together in your work at Forest Wyfe Herbals?

Sara: A clinical herbalist is someone who dedicates their life to working with medicinal plants and acts as a bridge between plants and people by sharing their passion for, and knowledge of, herbs. There isn’t a licensure process for herbalists, so I can’t legally diagnose or treat disease. Instead, I walk with people in their pursuit of vibrant health, entering into their stories in what I hope is a profound and meaningful way. My background in biology and nutrition has provided a firm evidence-based foundation for my herbal practice and all of these things – biology, nutrition, and herbalism – coalesce in my work. All of our products are grounded in clinical research and are formulated to be effective and nourishing, while also being rooted in the idea that beauty calls us back to well being and aids in healing.

Shannon: Your body care products like lip balm and eczema cream are made with a base of pasture-raised lard. While I’m personally pretty excited about the sustainability aspects of that, can you explain to us what drew you to using lard as the fat-base in your products, as opposed to the more common olive and coconut oils?

Sara: I wanted to create skin care products that were deeply nourishing to both individuals and the community – an invitation back to wholeness and health. Rich in nutrients (like the ever elusive vitamin D), pasture raised lard sadly languishes in the freezers at most of our local farms. Using pasture-raised lard in our products supports the families and friends that labor to raise our food, which pours into the health of us all. Beyond sustainability, I believe that pasture-raised lard deserves a hallowed place in the pantheon of high-quality oils and butters. It’s a nutrient-dense oil that softens the skin, doesn’t clog pores and slides easily over the skin – making lard a better carrier for essential oils and potent herbal formulas than other oils – so while I use other oils when they’re appropriate, pasture-raised lard forms the base for most of our products.


Shannon: In your bio you say: “I learned that herbs speak a biochemical language our body hears and understands.” I find this to be a profound statement and one that parallels the principle of the bio-availability of micro and macro nutrients we find in real food. That is, these plants and animals are familiar to our body’s design and therefore we are able to utilize them in an exponentially more effective way than something that was synthesized in a lab. Can you give some background on how you came to that conclusion and how that shapes the products at Forest Wyfe Herbals?

Sara: As I was studying the complex, elegant beauty of phytochemistry in college, I became convinced that nature creates things we may never be able to fully understand, much less replicate in a lab. Even simple weeds are heart-stoppingly complex, containing thousands of different chemical constituents that synergistically balance one another to give us our plant medicines. That complexity protects us and offers us the vibrant health so many of us are searching for. That complexity also explains why prescription drugs (taken appropriately) are one of the leading causes of death in the United States, but adverse reactions to herbs are incredibly rare. When I formulate products, I’m using whole herbs, with all their startling array of phytochemicals and nutrients, to nourish whole people, who also abound in their own complexities. In pairing people and plants with our products, we are building relationships that support the health of people and their larger environment. That makes my work at Forest Wyfe Herbals very satisfying!

You can learn more about Sara’s products and what she does at