Categories
Juice

Holy Basil: Uses, Benefits, and Recipes

For thousands of years, holy basil has been used in recipes to reduce stress, boost immunity, promote better sleep, and overall health and well-being.

I first discovered holy basil (also known as tulsi) at the same time I also found ashwagandha, both are ingredients in an ashwagandha tulsi tea that I tried. I discussed tea previously in another World of Adaptogen blog series article, you can read it here: Ashwagandha: Benefits, Uses, and Recipes.

holy basil tulsi herb growing outside

A short time after I started taking daily doses of both ashwagandha and holy basil extracts, I noticed a great improvement in my body’s performance and general health. Because this has been so beneficial for me, I am excited to share more about what holy basil does, what it is used for, and ideas for how you can work it into your daily regimen!

Use these links to jump to different sections of the article:

tulsi holy basil herb flowers outside

What is Holy Basil?

Holy basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum)is an aromatic flowering plant of the mint family that is native to India, found throughout Southeastern Asia. It is not the sweet basil leaves you put on your margarita pizza, or the Thai basil herb you use to garnish your pho! It is a different plant that is grown for religious purposes, essential oils, and its medicinal qualities as an adaptogen.

Within Ayurveda, tulsi is known as “The Incomparable One,” “Mother Medicine of Nature” and “The Queen of Herbs,” and is revered as an “elixir of life” that is without equal for both its medicinal and spiritual properties.1 Ayurveda is one of India’s traditional health care systems and one of the oldest medical systems in the world. Taking a holistic approach to health, Ayurveda encourages regular consumption of adaptogenic herbs that enhance the body’s capacity to maintain balance while being exposed to a range of stressors.

In the Hindu religion, tusli is a sacred plant, as it is believed to be the personification of the goddess Tulasi. This is why holy basil is sometimes referred to as tulasi, or tulsi.2 The tulasi plant is considered as the holiest of all plants, and is seen as a threshold point between heaven and earth. For this reason, it is grown next to Hindu temples and houses and is often worshiped twice a day (morning and night).

Health Benefits of Holy Basil

Cognitive Booster

Supplements that improve cognitive function are referred to as nootropics. Holy basil is considered a very powerful, herbal nootropic because of its positive effects on cognitive functions such as memory, focus, creativity, and motivation.

Calming + Antidepressant

Holy basil has been successfully used to relieve mental fog, cloudy thinking, poor memory, attention deficit disorder (ADD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and mild depression. 3 studies have shown that combining botanical nootropics has helped those with moodiness and chronic depression. Holy basil is a stress relieving adaptogen, reported to improve general stress scores, and therefore promotes calm and clear thinking.

“Like yoga, tulsi has a calming effect that leads to clarity of thought, along with a more relaxed and calm disposition.” Prof Marc Cohen, RMIT University, MBBS, PhD, BMedSc

Anti Inflammatory

Tulsi (holy basil) exerts anti-inflammatory effects comparable to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as phenylbutazone, ibuprofen, naproxen, aspirin and indomethacin.4
The clinical effects demonstrated in studies suggest tulsi may have an important role in addressing other inflammatory disorders and that the Ayurvedic tradition of consuming tulsi on a daily basis may be an effective lifestyle measure to address many modern chronic diseases.5

Blood Pressure + Blood Sugar

The findings from 24 human studies published (as of 2017), suggest that tulsi is a safe herbal intervention that may assist in normalizing glucose (blood sugar) and blood pressure, along with dealing with psychological and immunological stress.5

Immune System Support

In clinical studies, enhanced immune response and improved immune functions were reported. This included symptomatic improvements for those already with viral infections.5 Tulsi has also been shown to boost defenses against infective threats by enhancing immune responses in animals and healthy humans.4

How to Grow Holy Basil

If you live in a warmer climate, zones 10 to 11, you may want to try your hand at growing holy basil from herb seeds in your outdoor garden. Holy basil loves full sun and it will come back every year if you live in the aforementioned zones.
It makes a great addition to your herb garden and can even be grown in a pot for use indoors or outdoors, which makes it suitable for apartment or tiny home gardens.

  1. Start the seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before the end of the frost season. Use a good seed starter soil and cover the seeds with ¼” of the soil.
  2. Keep the soil moist but not saturated until germination occurs.
  3. Once the leaves appear, fertilize every other week.
  4. When transplanting outside, allow about 6” between plants.

Where to Buy Holy Basil

Since I live in Buffalo, New York, where we average about 155 sunny days per year, I find it easiest to purchase my holy basil instead of growing it.

I take a daily dose of holy basil extract and drink tulsi green and tulsi ashwagandha tea every day.

Some of my favorite sources for holy basil are:

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How to Use Holy Basil

Traditionally, holy basil (tulsi) was made into essential oil or dried for tea. Today, adding to juice, smoothies, and snacks are some of the best ways to incorporate this adaptogen into your daily life. It is available in whole form (fresh or dried), powder, and extract form.

Form Works well with…
Powders smoothies, smoothie bowls, plant-based milks, raw snack bars, baked goods, nut butters
Extracts juices, smoothies, plant-based milks, most applications
Whole tea

Holy basil is intensely spicy, with a flavors of black pepper and clove. I personally like the way it tastes, but I am the kind of person that loves black licorice, fennel, anise, clove, and chai flavors. When mixed in with green tea, like Organic India’s Tusli Green tea, it has a more subtle taste and complements the flavors perfectly (my absolute favorite green tea out there).

Possible Side Effects

If you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant, you may want to avoid consuming holy basil. Some studies have shown tulsi to have antifertility properties, affecting the male reproductive system.6 Other contradictory animal studies have shown that holy basil may be toxic to embryos.

Holy Basil Juice Recipe

two glasses of holy basil tulsi herb green juice on a wooden platter

Typically holy basil is made into a tea, commonly known as tulsi tea. Luckily, we have Chef Ari to help come up with amazing recipes and he created a light and refreshing green juice featuring holy basil with other fine herbs.

Holy Basil & Herb Green Juice Recipe

  • Yield: About one 12 oz serving

Ingredients:

  • Holy basil leaf extract – 0.5 ml (1 serving)
  • Pear – 8.7 oz (1 1/2 medium pear)
  • Green apple – 7.7 oz (1 1/4 medium pear)
  • Snap pea – 3.3 oz (12 snap peas)
  • Spinach – 1.6 oz (1 1/2 cups spinach)
  • Parsley – 0.33 oz (about 1/4 cup chopped parsley)
  • Basil – 0.27 oz (about 9 leaves)
  • Lemon – 0.29 oz (1/8 lemon)
  • Tarragon – 0.1 oz (1 large pinch tarragon)

Directions:

  1. Wash and weigh the produce.
  2. Quarter the lemon (leaving skin on) and place directly into the press. If you don’t have a juice press, peel the lemon and juice with the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Grind remaining ingredients, including the herb stems, and press.
  4. Add the holy basil leaf extract to the juice and mix.

Other Articles in This Series

THE WORLD OF ADAPTOGENS BLOG SERIES

References

  1. Singh, N., Hoette, Y., & Miller, DR (2002). Tulsi: The mother medicine of nature. International Institute of Herbal Medicine.
  2. Littleton, C. Scott; Marshal Cavendish Corporation (2005). Gods, Goddesses, And Mythology, Volume 11. Marshall Cavendish. pp. 1124–26. ISBN 9780761475590.
  3. Ayales, Adriana (2019) Adaptogens, Herbs for Longevity and Everyday Wellness. Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.
  4. Cohen, Marc M. (2014). Tulsi – Ocimum sanctum: A herb for all reasons. J Ayurveda Integr Med
  5. Jamshidi, Negar & Cohen, Mark M. (2017) The Clinical Efficacy and Safety of Tulsi in Humans: A Systematic Review of the Literature PMID: 28400848
  6. Sethi, J., Yadav, M., Sood, S., Dahiya, K., & Singh, V. (2010). Effect of tulsi on sperm count and reproductive hormones in amle albino rabbits PMID: 21455446

The information shared in this post is a combination of my personal experience, research, and knowledge as a certified holistic health coach, and is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or to be considered a substitute for professional medical advice.

Categories
Juice

18 Healthy Chocolate Desserts – Easy + Delicious Plant Based Recipes

  healthy chocolate desserts on a table

Whether you just want a sweet treat or you’re looking to satisfy a crowd, I’ve got a chocolate dessert that will fix that craving. These healthy chocolate desserts give you the sweetness you want while also giving you natural ingredients you can pronounce.

I believe in a balanced diet, and that balanced diet includes sweet foods too! I don’t need all the artificial ingredients or dyes in my desserts. Scroll through the recipes below and pick out your favorites to try this week. Don’t forget to let me know how they turned out!

Shareable Healthy Chocolate Desserts

If you’re looking for chocolate desserts to share with that special someone, then the following recipes are perfect. The vegan chocolate chip cookies are my favorite recipe, while my husband can’t get enough peanut butter fudge.

Fudgy Gluten Free Brownies

Thick, fudgy brownies that also happen to be vegan and gluten-free. (No one will be able to tell!) Loaded with delicious chocolate flavor and a great texture, this Fudgy Gluten Free Brownie Recipe really hit the spot.

MAKE RECIPE

Recipe for gluten free fudgy brownies
Peanut Butter Fudge- 4 Ingredient Dessert!

You’ll definitely wanna include this vegan peanut butter fudge into your holiday menu this year. This decadent recipe is easy to make and provides a beautifully rich treat. Plus, it’s only 6 ingredients!

MAKE RECIPE

peanut butter fudge
Chocolate Covered Banana Bites

Grab a friend and whip up these delicious bite-sized snacks. Chocolate covered banana bites are super easy to make, and oh so fun!

MAKE RECIPE

vegan snack recipe
Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

These are simply THE BEST vegan chocolate chip cookies around! We’ve given them another upgrade by adding in toasted coconut (you can buy it or make it) and toasted almonds for extra flavor and crunch. Use your favorite dark chocolate chips and bake up a batch or two. They make great gifts and store well in the freezer for when a craving hits.

MAKE RECIPE

Vegan chocolate chip cookie recipe
Soft Ginger Cookies with Chocolate Chips

These soft ginger cookies are also naturally gluten free. The flavor of warm ginger shines through thanks to both dried ground ginger and freshly grated ginger. The second best part might just be the pockets of dark chocolate in each bite. These are sure to become a favorite!

MAKE RECIPE

Gluten-Free Vegan Ginger Cookies with Chocolate Chips |  SimpleGreenSmoothies.com #vegan #glutenfree #cookies
Ultimate Gluten-Free Crepes

Get ready to experience the best gluten-free crepe recipe. The nutty, earthy taste of the quinoa marries well with the homemade chocolate hazelnut spread (hello, healthy nutella!), and fresh fruit. Feel free to use pre-made chocolate hazelnut spread from the store to save time.

MAKE RECIPE

How to make gluten free crepes
Healthy Zucchini Bread

A fun bread the whole family can enjoy (and help make!). I love that this bread contains a whole cup of veggies, and that it’s vegan… though you can’t even tell!

MAKE RECIPE

Healthy zucchini bread, ready to eat

Drinkable Vegan Chocolate Desserts

Mint, nut, fruit… I’ve got you covered with all the flavors you love pairing with chocolate. Feel free to top these with cacao nibs, extra fruit and coconut whipped cream for a fun and healthy chocolate dessert.

Red Velvet Smoothie

Give your heart a healthy boost with cacao (unsweetened cocoa) in this green smoothie recipe. Serve it in a fancy glass with two straws so you and your loved one can enjoy it together!

MAKE RECIPE

Chocolate Protein Shake

Blend up a creamy, cold chocolate protein shake smoothie made with plant-based superfood protein powder for a delicious meal or snack, or before/after a workout. Includes adaptogens to help ease inflammation.

MAKE RECIPE

chocolate protein shake
Chocolate Smoothie Bowl

Cacao adds rich chocolate flavor as well as a big boost of iron and other vitamins and minerals coupled with healthy fats to this chocolate smoothie bowl.

MAKE RECIPE

Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie

Better than a milkshake! This plant-based peanut butter chocolate smoothie is so creamy and decadent, you’ll think it’s ice cream. Your body will thank you for enjoying this all-natural, no-sugar-added sweet treat.

MAKE RECIPE

chocolate peanut butter smoothie
Hot Chocolate Smoothie

This dessert-like smoothie is perfect for a cool day or healthy treat. It’s packed with chocolate-y flavor as well as ingredients like spinach and hazelnuts.

MAKE RECIPE

Chocolate Covered Cherry Smoothie

This antioxidant-packed Chocolate Covered Cherry Smoothie is a healthy indulgence that will satisfy any sweet tooth.

MAKE RECIPE

Cacao powder chocolate dessert smoothie
Energizing Mocha Coffee Smoothie

Sip on this cool and creamy coffee smoothie for breakfast or as a mid-afternoon pick-me-up.

MAKE RECIPE

Healthy Coffee Smoothie using protein and caffeine
Coconut Joy Vegan Smoothie Bowl

Blend up some plant-based goodness for a delicious, nutrient-rich dessert or snack. The flavors of coconut, chocolate, and almond come together quickly in this vegan smoothie bowl.

MAKE RECIPE

Coconut Joy Vegan Smoothie Bowl
Skinny Mint Smoothie

The combination of cacao powder and fresh mint leaves will give you that chocolatey-mint flavor you’ve been craving, but instead of packing in the fat and calories, you’ll be packing in nutrients from spinach, and avocados! It’s really a win-win. When the Girl Scout cravings hit, reach for this smoothie instead.

MAKE RECIPE

Like the cookies, only healthier!  Skinny Mint Green Smoothie |  SimpleGreenSmoothies.com
Banana Split Smoothie

Blend up this sweet banana split smoothie and watch your kiddos sip up some leafy green goodness without even knowing it! Top with a spoonful of coconut whipped cream and place a cherry on top for a fun, healthy treat.

MAKE RECIPE

Nutritious banana split green smoothie with coconut whipped cream
Homemade Hot Chocolate

Take a spin on the classic hot chocolate recipe and not even miss a beat with this homemade hot chocolate recipe. This one is even better tasting AND twice as good for you. Let’s cheers to that!

MAKE RECIPE

Vegan Dessert FAQs

What dessert is the healthiest?

Choose the dessert that makes you happy, and eat it with no regrets. Seriously! These vegan chocolate desserts are made with plant-based ingredients and, hopefully, love. If you feel guilty about eating something, then don’t eat it. Life should be balanced, and it is 100% worth it to me to enjoy chocolate chip cookies with my family.

What is the healthiest chocolate?

Look for dark chocolate with real sugar or natural sweetener in it. There is no need for any weird ingredients or preservatives in your chocolate. Most of these vegan chocolate desserts are made with cacao. Look for unsweetened cocoa or cacao powder.

Can I still have dessert and lose weight?

Honestly, yes. Instead of focusing on weight loss, I look for chocolate dessert recipes made with real ingredients, mostly plants, and taste the best. It’s not worth it to me to eat dessert just to eat it. I want to love what I’m eating. I enjoy all the healthy chocolate desserts on this list.

Which recipe are you going to make first? I can’t wait for you to share these healthy chocolate desserts with your family and friends; tag @SimpleGreenSmoothies so I can see your lovely creations!

Categories
Juice

15 Hot and Cozy Winter Drinks Recipes

Check out the collection cozy, hot / warm winter drinks recipes to make and enjoy at home!

You could also find more drinks at Recipe Collections.

Collection of hot and cozy winter drinks
Winter Drinks

15 Hot and Cozy Winter Drinks Recipes

Check out the collection cozy, hot / warm winter drinks recipes to make and enjoy at home!

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Categories
Juice

7 Best Chocolate Drinks Recipes

Here you will find a collection of different chocolate drinks recipes from classic to starbucks drinks to try and enjoy at home. I have each recipe with simple and easy instructions for you prepare and delish these drinks during winter and summer days. So, let’s dive in.

7 Best Chocolate Drinks Recipes

Here you will find a collection of different chocolate drinks recipes from classic to starbucks drinks to try and enjoy at home. I have each recipe with simple and easy instructions for you prepare and delish these drinks during winter and summer days. So, let’s dive in.

Reader Interactions

Categories
Mocktail

Weight Loss Drinks: 5 Best Homemade Recipes

The New Year is right around the corner and many of us are contemplating our weight loss goals. The new year is always a good time to assess and reset your health goals. If losing weight is one of your goals, then you have come to the right place! We have lots of delicious drinks that will help aid with weight loss.

Each of these drinks has different benefits and health advantages. They are all flavored differently as well. There is sure to be at least one or two drinks that you will enjoy on our list.

Before we dive into all the weight loss drink recipes, let’s talk a little bit about drink ingredients that help with weight loss and what you should look for in a good weight loss drink recipe.

Can Drinks Help You Lose Weight?

Healthy, nutritious drinks can help you lose weight. Drinks made with certain ingredients known to promote weight loss will definitely help you reach your weight loss goals. We will talk a little bit more about the ingredients you should try in the next sections. But first, let’s look at ingredients you should avoid.

Drinks That Make You Gain Weight

It is hard to believe that a drink could make you gain weight. Most people automatically look at what foods to eliminate from their diet to lose weight but certain drinks are also loaded with sugar, calories and other ingredients that will cause you to gain weight. You may not know that the soda you just drank had hundreds of calories or that the lemonade you sipped was full of sugar. Here are drinks to avoid when you are trying to lose weight.

  • Alcoholic drinks cause weight gain.
  • Sodas are full of sugar and unhealthy calories
  • Commercial fruit juice is often made with added sugar and corn syrup
  • Milkshakes are full of calories and sugar that will lead to weight gain.
  • Coffee with creamer or sugars can cause you to gain weight.

Lots of drinks may taste good but are actually very unhealthy. Avoiding unhealthy drinks is the first step toward losing weight.

Weight Loss Drink Ingredients

There are a surprising number of natural ingredients that can help with weight loss. Take a look at these spices, herbs and fruits that have been proven to help you shed pounds. You may learn something new!

Cinnamon– Cinnamon adds a lot of flavor to drinks and foods without adding any calories. Cinnamon has a natural spicy sweetness that will make your drinks quench your thirst and also curb and cravings for sweet foods.

Cayenne Pepper– Cayenne is another calorie free ingredient that has lots of flavor. Sipping on a drink with cayenne pepper will help you feel full. All that spice will curb hunger which can help you ultimately lose weight.

GingerGinger is a natural digestive aid. It can help boost your metabolism and also reduce bloating and gassiness. Not only will ginger help you lose weight, it can make you look more svelte in the process!

white garlic on brown wooden table

Mustard Seed– Mustard seeds are full of a nutrient called selenium. Selenium encourages healthy thyroid function which helps regulate weight. Mustard seeds also have anti-inflammatory properties and can help keep your joints and muscles working well!

LemonLemon is a classic weight loss ingredient. Lemon adds a lot of bright flavor without adding any calories. Lemon water is much more satiating than regular water and can help you feel full.

two lemons

Cocoa Powder- The flavanols in cocoa powder has been shown to lower blood sugar and also decrease body fat. It is definitely a great ingredient to help with weight loss and it tastes delicious in drink recipes.

Ground Flaxseed– Flaxseeds can help you feel full and also add fiber to your diet. Just a teaspoon of ground flaxseeds will fill you right up. They also have a very mild taste and mix right into drinks.

There are a lot of amazing ingredients that you can add to your favorite drink recipes to improve weight loss. Try a few or try them all! Each one will help you in a different way and also add a unique taste to your weight drinks loss.

Drinks that are Good for Weight Loss

These top five drinks are amazing for weight loss. They will help you reach your weight goals and they also taste amazing! Take a look at each recipe and try them all. You may be surprised by how delicious a weight loss drink can be.

Carrot Detox Juice Recipe

Carrot Detox Juice

Our recipe for carrot detox juice is perfect for helping you meet your weight loss goals. The juice is made with ginger, turmeric and lemon, all ingredients that are known to promote weight loss. The strong taste of these yummy ingredients will help you stay full without needing a big meal.

Many of the ingredients in this detox juice are also anti inflammories. They help reduce inflammation in your muscles and joints, keeping you moving and your body functioning well.

Carrot detox juice is also very tasty. There is a lot of flavor in this glass of orange juice!


Spicy Green Monster Drink

Start your day with one of these amazing green monster drinks and you will be on the path toward weight loss. The spice of the ginger and the jalapeno will give your system a kick start. Both ingredients are known to boost metabolism and help improve digestion. All of this means your body will shed those pounds more easily!

Spicy green monster drink is also very tasty. Apples and cucumbers make a good base for the drink. Spinach is a very healthy green that will turn your drink a beautiful color. Sipping on this drink will also fill you up. No need for a big breakfast when you have a glass of this juice.

Green Monster Drink

Honey Lemon Barley Water

Drinking a lot of water always helps with weight loss. When you are well hydrated, you won’t be quite as hungry. However, drinking just water can get boring. We like to drink lemon barley water to switch it up a little.

Lemon barley water is flavorful and also healthy. Barley water can help regulate blood sugar levels and improve cholesterol levels. The small amount honey adds a nice natural sweetness. Sweetening drinks with honey is also much healthier than using corn syrup or processed sugar. Honey lemon barley water will help you stay hydrated, level your blood sugar and also fill you up!


Fresh Homemade Grapefruit Kombucha

Regular grapefruit juice is always touted for its healthy benefits. However, grapefruit kombucha is even better for you. Kombucha is full of probiotics that help improve your gut health.

When your digestive system and stomach are healthy and functioning well, you will be more likely to reach your weight loss goals. Your belly needs to be working if you want to process food efficacy!

Our homemade grapefruit kombucha is really incredible. It is made with all natural ingredients like fresh grapefruit juice, honey and a little rosemary for extra flavor. Give this delicious, bubbly drink a try and it very well may become part of your daily routine.

Fresh Grapefruit Honey Kombucha Recipe

Purple Power Juice

We love drinks that taste great, are healthy and also beautiful. This purple power juice is all three of those things! The bright purple color comes from shredded purple cabbage. Cabbage is a fantastic, healthy ingredient that has lots of health benefits.

Cabbage has lots of healthy fiber. Adding fiber to your diet will improve your gut health. Cabbage also has a high water content. It will keep you feeling full without having to consume lots of empty calories.

If you are wondering how a cabbage juice would taste, the answer is that it tastes delicious. Cabbage takes on the flavor of anything it is mixed with. In this case, the cabbage is combined with sweet, nutritious blueberries and apples making for a very tasty drink. You are going to love every sip!


It isn’t always easy to lose weight. Anything that can help you reach your weight loss goals is something you should try! These amazing drinks should definitely be incorporated into your weight loss routine. Give each one a try and see which you like best. They will all help you drop pounds while still enjoying yummy drinks.

Categories
Mocktail

Cinnamon Whiskey Mocktail Recipes – Escape Mocktails

Cinnamon Whiskey Mocktail Recipes

Here’s some recipes with our non-alcoholic Cinnamon Whiskey

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Cinnamon and Spice Egg Nog

Fill a glass with egg nog, top with a shot of Escape Mocktails Cinnamon Whiskey and Spiced Rum liqueur.

Holiday Sangria Mocktail – Cranberry and Orange Mocktail

Mix a bottle of Fre Merlot, cranberry juice, Escape Mocktails Orange Cognac (3-4 shots), Escape Mocktails Cinnamon Whiskey, add Cranberry sparkling water, cherries, orange, and cranberries. For extra sweetness, add in honey or agave.

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No Boos Punch

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I was lucky enough to get one of these coveted ghost mugs from Target last year. My sister actually drove to the next town to get us one.

.

This year, I thought I’d make a mocktail with it. Here’s how I made it:

Spiced Chai tea (got mine from Trader Joe’s)

1/4 cup cranberry juice

1 shot Escape, alcohol free Cinnamon Whiskey

1 shot Escape, alcohol free Orange Cognac

Serve warm and enjoy this warm mocktail on the cold night of Halloween. 👻

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Sparkling Apple Cinnamon Mocktail

Sparkling Apple Cider

1 shot of Escape Mocktails Cinnamon Whiskey

Grab your pretty glass and add some sparkling apple juice and our Escape Mocktails Cinnamon Whiskey. Top it with an apple slice for a touch of fall.

Sparkling Apple Mocktail

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Apple Ginger Mocktail

I love Reed’s Ginger Beer with 0 sugar. It’s my go to drink and it pairs well with a lot of our mocktails.

Pour 3/4 of a glass with Reed’s Ginger Beer

Add 1-2 shots of Cinnamon Whiskey

Apple Ginger Mocktail

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Peachy Cinnamon Twist Mocktail

Country Peach Juice, from Trader Joe’s *

Shot or 2 of our Escape Mocktails, Cinnamon Whiskey (depends on how much cinnamon spice you like)

Country Peach Juice is made up of pineapple, mango, peach, apple, grape, and pear juice.

Ginger Cinnamon Twist Mocktail

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California Sweet Tea

Ingredients:

Peach tea

Shot of Escape Mocktails, non-alcoholic Cinnamon Whiskey

Fresh mint

Brew a cup of peach tea.

It was peach tea, with a shot of our non-alcoholic Cinnamon Whiskey, and mint from my garden. It looks like a drink, tastes like a drink, but it wasn’t a drink with alcohol.

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Sangria Mocktail

Above are the ingredients that were used in our Sangria Mocktail.

Ingredients:

Escape Mocktails, non-alcoholic Cinnamon Whiskey

Escape Mocktails, non-alcoholic Cognac

Cranberry juice

Sparkling orange water

FRE, alcohol removed wine

Fruit slices

Fill a pitched with a half bottle of alcohol free wine, add in 3 shots of Cognac and 2 shots of Cinnamon Whiskey, top with sparkling water and add in fruit slices.

Categories
Juice

Chaga Mushroom: Benefits, Uses, and Recipes

King of Medicinal Mushrooms

Chaga is an extraordinary functional mushroom that grows primarily on birch trees and has been used since the 12th century for its medicinal compounds. It is well known for its antimicrobial, antiviral, and antitumor activity. 1, 2 I’m really excited to share what I’ve discovered about this “King of Medicinal Mushrooms” with the intention that you will learn how to enjoy the benefits of this amazing adaptogen for yourself!

Use these links to jump to different sections of the article:

What is Chaga Mushroom?

Chaga (Inonotus obliquus), is a fungusand the Chaga “mushroom” is not technically a mushroom but a sclerotium (a mass of Chaga mycelium and wood from the tree that it grows on). Mushrooms are the fruiting bodies of fungi. Chaga does have a fruiting body, but for most of its life it grows underneath the bark of the host tree and is rarely seen.

A pathogen to the birch tree, the spores of the Chaga fungus typically infect the tree through its weak spots like wounds and dead branches.
Once the fungus takes hold, it causes the center of the tree trunks and branches to start to rot. The fungus spreads inside and grows toward the outside of the tree until it eventually bursts through the bark and a burnt charcoal-looking mass (a “conk”) appears. The conk will continue to grow on the tree’s trunk as the inside of the tree continues to decay. This can go on for ten, twenty, or even eighty or more years.
As the conk grows, the medicinal compounds of the birch tree become concentrated in the Chaga mass. 3, 4

Because the tree can live for a long time after being infected with the fungus, some people believe that the relationship between Chaga and the birch is symbiotic in nature. While this is a nice theory, I have not found any scientific evidence to support this idea.

Health Benefits of Chaga Mushroom Extract

Chaga has been used for centuries to help improve the body’s response to stress, boost immunity, reduce inflammation, promote healthy skin and hair, fight and prevent cancer, and as a remedy for many other ailments.

ANTI-INFLAMMATORY

In its true adaptogenic style, Chaga has a way of balancing inflammation, allowing the “good” inflammatory responses to occur while preventing the “bad” inflammation from developing. 5, 6

ANTI-CANCER

Chaga has long been used in folk medicine for cancer treatment in Russia, China, Korea and Japan. Studies show that Chaga contains large amounts of betulin or betulinic acid, a compound that has anti-cancer properties. In other scientific studies, Chaga extract demonstrated antimitotic activity on human cancer cells, as well as reduction of tumor growth, which could be useful in stopping the spread of cancer. 7, 8, 9

BOOSTS IMMUNITY

Chaga is rich in polysaccharides, especially beta-glucans, which are responsible for stimulating the immune system by activating adaptive immune cell responses. 10, 11

ANTI-VIRAL

Chaga mushrooms have a powerful enzymatic system and a strong system of defense, due to their parasitic mode of life. Insight into the connection between Chaga mushroom and its antiviral effect has proven to be promising. Some studies show that Chaga extract fights against viruses, including herpes, hepatitis C, and HIV. In other studies, Chaga extract prevented infection by blocking viruses from attaching to cells. 12, 13

ANTIOXIDANT

Antioxidants molecules that work to neutralize free radicals (unstable atoms that can damage cells) in our bodies. These free radicals can contribute to heart disease, cancer and other illnesses, and keeping high levels of antioxidants in our bodies helps to keep us healthy and balanced.
Surprisingly, Chaga is loaded with more antioxidants than berries! Many people use Chaga for anti-aging and to help promote healthy skin and hair. 14

“The study also found that Chaga has 3 times more antioxidant power than the next strongest food of any kind (wolf berry). So according to the study, Chaga is the #1 best antioxidant source in existence. Additionally, Chaga provides 19 of the 20 amino acids required by humans, making it a valuable supplement for vegetarians and vegans.” — University Health News

While some scientific studies indicate that Chaga extract may provide these health benefits, there is definitely a need for clinical trials to help determine dosage and potential side effects. Most people do well at the recommended supplemental doses, however, as with any type of new food or supplement, start with a small amount to make sure that you are not allergic. You should also talk with your doctor before adding any new supplements to your diet, especially if you are on medication.

Where To Find Chaga Mushrooms

Chaga grows mainly on birch trees in the northern climatic zones, including the northern United States, Canada, Russia, and northern China.

Last month I had the awesome opportunity to go Chaga hunting in the forests of Vermont with an amazing bunch of people. It was definitely an adventure, and let’s just say I have some new campfire story material!

I learned that the best way to locate Chaga is to find a stand of birch trees. Then, look high and low for a black clump that looks like burnt charcoal. It will have a cork-like, golden-colored inside. Full grown Chaga usually averages around 15 to 20 inches in size. The first Chaga mushroom we found on our trip was too small. Check out the short video below where Josh, (our forage leader and founder at Life Itself), explains what we should be looking for.

Sustainable Chaga Harvesting