Posts in holistic healing
Holistic Healing: Trippy Tress Chronicles
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I had internalized for so long that I would never know my hair. She wrestled with me, cooperated but would then  dehydrate, leaving me confused and like many of us, a product junkie. I was lost trying to figure it out for years. This society has fed us the ideal that Black hair should be straightened, chemically processed, or stored away under wigs and weaves. Although I have grown to love the versatility of my Black hair, I had yet to better understand the science behind my gravity-defying hair. Growing up with a cosmetologist mother, I never had to really do my own hair until I was in college with a box of color and a friend down to do the same. I colored the sides and back of my hair causing my hair to break and shed for the first time in my life. In 2012, I fell into a journey of growth and countless trial and error that has brought me to revelations and new beginnings.

Recently, I unlocked the door to many answers from past and present knowledge. I had searched and struggled, but pushed to reach a consensus. Here are some key nuggets that helped me.

  • Everyone’s hair requires different care and attention. My fellow sister with a similar hair type might not use the same products or regimen for healthy hair.

  • Chemicals are not necessarily bad for your hair. It matters which ones you are putting in your hair. There is a stigma around natural hair that suggests that all chemicals are bad. In fact, our hair needs smaller properties to better receive nutrients from anything we apply to our hair. Some chemicals help restore, revive and maintain healthy hair. Better understanding which ones are good for your hair is key.

  • Moisture retention is key to growth and health in Black hair. Understanding porosity, density, and the climate of your location will help determine what your hair needs for maximum moisture and retention.

  • Protective styles such as twists, weaves, braids, and wigs, are great ways to help growth. Your hair still needs attention. Rule of thumb: After one month, remove these styles to prevent breaking and suffocating your hair as it grows. And most importantly, prepare your hair by deep conditioning before putting in these styles. Oil your scalp weekly. Refrain from tightly pulled edges as well.

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After learning that my hair was actually high porosity and not low porosity like I initially thought, I realized I was doing some things wrong and needed to revisit certain products in my regimen. I live in sunny Miami, Florida and the humidity robs my hair of so much moisture. After three days, my hair would be dry again and thirsty, which I could not make sense of. I learned that I needed to add an anti-humectant to retain moisture which was a game changer. 

Here is my restorative hair care regimen that unlocked a whole new world of healthy hair I’m excited to share!

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  1. I washed my hair with a sulfate and paraben free shampoo called Sayblee’s Lime Shampoo focusing on my roots and edges where I had the most build up. I love this shampoo because my hair is not stripped of all moisture yet clarified. The bottle goes a long way considering a little lathers a lot!

  2. I used a cotton t-shirt which does not snag my coils to remove excess water. My hair was so dry and weak, I applied a ORS Hair Mayonnaise packet which is a medium strength protein treatment. My hair is protein sensitive so my porous hair cannot handle coconut oil or treatments that are too strong. The protein treatment is a repair mechanism that fills protein into the bonds of your hair strands that are missing from breakage and damage. Time: 15 minutes.

  3. I rinsed my hair with lukewarm water and cold water after to close my hair cuticles. The elasticity and curls were popping and defined! I sectioned my hair into four parts and dried off the excess hair.

  4. I applied Mina Organics Hemp Conditioner which includes keratin, hemp seed oil, and rosemary oil. My porous hair needs keratin and loves hemp seed oil which help repair and maintain moisture. After two minutes, I rinsed out the conditioner.

  5. To help rebalance the pH level of my hair, I prepared an apple cider vinegar rinse (acv) with ½ cup of water to ¼ cup of acv. I had refrigerated water to rinse my hair and close all my pores and hair cuticles. I dried my hair and sectioned off my hair.

  6. Here is the holy grail for this humid weather! I mixed aloe vera juice with my Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen, Grow and Restore Leave-in Conditioner. The key ingredients are shea butter, peppermint and keratin which are perfect to assist my high porosity hair. The aloe is a humectant and helps the other products work better to retain moisture for longer and stop humidity from robbing those goods.

  7. I applied Crème of Nature with Argan Oil Pudding Perfection Curling Enhancing Crème. I revisited this product since it has worked beautifully in the past which ingredients my hair loves: argan oil, glycerin, shea butter, avocado oil, olive oil and water.

  8. I use the LCO method (liquid/leave-in, crème, oil) which I learned works best for my porous hair. Oil is a sealant which makes more sense to use last instead of the common LOC method. I applied Black Jamaican castor oil last to seal my ends. Your ends need the most love to keep the dryness away for as long as possible.

I applied all these products generously which left my hair feeling soft, defined, and smooth. No frizz! I did a wash and go style and let my hair air dry. I re-moisturized my hair after five days which is record breaking for me. I hope this helps someone and provides more clarity to better understand your beauty tresses.

~ Much love, TangySpiceTami ~

Holistic Healing: Restorative Resistance Bath

Battling white supremacy is tiring--- physically, mentally, and emotionally. For black folks especially, along with our indigenous & brown sisters, we absorb a lot of toxic energy throughout our day, some that we are conscious of (like people trying to run us over with their cars or yelling slurs at us) and others that we may not necessarily register (like someone glaring at the back of our head or talking ill of us out of earshot). It is critical for any black, indigenous, and woman of color to regularly clear this energy from our aura. It is necessary even if all you are doing is going to work, moving through mundane tasks as there is much dark, shadow energy lurking in the air.

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Of course, we know that many of you do not stop there, and if you do we would encourage you to do a little bit more and reach a little bit more outside of yourself during moments of justified anger and hurt. If you are someone who takes every opportunity in front of you to educate someone, put an ignorant person in their place, and stand up against white supremacy, you know that that takes an additional toll on your spirit and body. Self-care rituals, such as this restorative bath are totally crucial to maintaining your mental, physical, and emotional health necessary for long-term resistance. I would recommend incorporating cleansing baths into your overall routine, maybe once a week or corresponding with the new and full moon. I want to emphasize, however, that self-care DOES NOT mean being selfish and self-centered with your energy. Just because you are sad doesn't mean you can hide away and not fight. We need you to fight, as you need yourself to be your savior. Self-care is the recharging of your bodily battery so you can continue to be engaged and active, and not just when the media gasses you up again.

I love to take baths whenever I am feeling out of whack. I always take a bath on the first couple days of my period as the heat, salts, and herbs work miracles on a heavy, cramping uterus. However, even if you are not on your period or do not get periods, baths can be incredibly relaxing, cleansing (physical dirt and psychic energy), and restorative. Feel free to add whatever you want to your tub, you can be very creative depending on what you want to focus on, however these ingredients are my go-tos for a cleansing bath.

Prepare your tub/ bath space and set the mood with whatever crystals and candles are calling to you. To absorb negative energy and give grounding energy, try working with black obsidian and black tourmaline. To provide overall clarity, try working with reliable crystal quartz. If you're in need of a little extra love, grab some gentle rose quartz.

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restorative resistance bath add herbs:

  • peppermint
  • lavender
  • rose petals (fresh or dried)
  • mugwort
  • sage

add essential oils:

  • tea tree
  • eucalyptus 
  • jasmine

other embellishments:

  • sea salt
  • epsom salt
  • cannabis-infused bath salts
  • agua florida
  • rum (for spiritual cleanse)
  • beer (for skin clearing/softening)

decorate water with any flowers or bubbles you desire.

stay strong, and keep pushing babies! 
xo Kenya Ku$h

 

Holistic Healing: Pussy Power (Period Pain Relief pt 2)

Ok, welcome back, children. I hope you all enjoyed our last post about some of the best strains to use for your period. I want to welcome you to follow the Pussy Power series, which is going to focus on learning natural and alternative methods of healing/caring for our vaginas as part of the ultimate goal of de-colonization and reclaiming our full ancestral/feminine powers. Going through my own journey of learning, unlearning, and experimenting with my sexual/reproductive health has been an enlightening, though often lonely journey, but I feel called to share some of what I've learned so maybe some of you can skip the hardships and get straight to the sweetness ;) Hopefully we can share our knowledge and have the most bomb pussy squad running around town.

I want to stick with our periods for a while because, damn, I feel like everything I learned in middle and high schools are no longer relevant--from what I use to collect menstruation, to the medication I use, and most importantly, my attitude toward bleeding. Last month, we discussed the best strains of weed to smoke as pain pill alternatives for pesky cramps, and this week I want to give some non-weed options for those who don't/can't medicate or those looking for maximum effectiveness. As always living a healthy lifestyle is essential to maintaining your vaginal health. Peep some of my holistic favorites below and let me know what else you use to manage period pain. 

1. Baths/Heating Pad
This is my number one favorite remedy because it works almost instantly. When I feel like I'm gonna die I strip and hop in a hot, hot bath. I change up what I add to my bath, but it usually always includes epsom salts (infused or non-infused), tea tree and lavender essential oils, and some rose petals. As soon as I'm fully submerged, I immediately feel the pressure in my uterus disappear...Water truly heals (in case you need another reason to protect it!). It is also pretty cool to see the different patterns your blood makes in the water :) If you have access to a tub, I would highly recommend relaxing in the tub as long as you can. If you don't have a tub, try a hot shower. If you get caught while out, I find the portable/disposable heating pads to be helpful. 

2. Blackstrap Molasses
This stuff looks like tar and is not the best tasting stuff either (lol). It is a by-product of the sugar refinement process. The sugar cane goes through a series of refinement based on the grade of sugar desired (raw, white etc.) Blackstrap Molasses is everything that gets stripped basically. Because of this, this was what slave masters used to designate for slaves to use as sweetener (though it's not sweet AT ALL and slaves were the ones who produced the same sugar they were denied). Little did the white masters know, this is actually packed full of nutrients including Potassium, Iron, and Magnesium, all of which relieve muscle cramps and soreness (so fuck you!). Taking 1-2 teaspoons (or tablespoons if you're like me) right when you feel cramps coming on actually relaxes the uterus rather than just block pain receptors like pills. 

3. diuretic teas/ water
Drinking tons of water even when you don't necessarily feel like it is always critical when on your cycle. Again, water heals! I find heat in general to make me feel better while menstruating, so I like to drink a lot of tea. Teas such as cranberry and hibiscus help prevent bloating and can help ease cramps. If you're trying to induce your period (when you can tell it's coming and have discomfort) try drinking some dandelion tea. 

4.Deep Breathing
It sounds almost insultingly simple to suggest breathing as a remedy to period pain, but honestly nothing works faster or more directly than focusing on your breath when a wave of painful cramps comes. There is always an instinct to shrink away from the pain, to hunch over, and hold our breath when we feel it hit. However, I want to encourage you to take a deep breath in and when you breathe out imagine your uterus exhaling as well. Come face to face with the pain and keep your deep breathing up until you feel little by little tension ease out of your abdomen and your whole body. If you pair this technique with massaging your abdomen, you can literally feel the cramps dissolve. 
 

5. Sex/Exercise
Ok, let me preface this by saying in regard to sex and exercise while menstruating---sometimes you feel like it and other times you don't. But, if you can muster the strength to work out or you get horny while bleeding, sweat it out (lol)! Exercise produces endorphins and you get the added hot shower afterwards, while sex actually helps clear out what's already trying to cum out (hehe) , giving your uterus less work to do :) 

Holistic Healing: Best Strains for Menstrual Pain

Every woman's experience with her menstrual cycle is different. My college roommate always told me the only difference she noticed during her period was that her gums bled when she flossed and she slept lighter. I, on the other hand, DIE every single month. In high school I used to get sent home every month by the school nurse after catching me sneaking into her office to vomit and lie on the cots during class. I, like a lot of young girls, was put on hormonal birth control with the promise of reducing period pain. This worked for me for a while, but after discovering some of the longterm effects of the pill, I took myself off it. When I relapsed on it out of fear of managing my fertility (another, longer post coming soon) I had horrible side effects---I felt insane from random mood swings and felt suicidal at times. I quickly realized this was not going to work which left me back at square one with dealing with my period pain.

 Luckily around the same time I started working as a budtender and learning about the functions of different strains. A lot of factors including exercise, stress, diet, and sleep can affect severity of cramps, but even leading a healthy lifestyle I still experience intense period pain and rely on my herbal medication as a healthier alternative to pills. Through my research and personal experiences I compiled this list of some of the most effective strains for surviving your period. 

As a general rule, if you're in search of a a strain to relieve pain head for a heavy indica, which will provide heavy sedation and muscle relaxation. Another great thing to look for during your cycle are strains that are high in CBD, which is a compound that though non-psychoactive has anti-inflammatory and analgestic properties, which are both great while menstruating. 

Lavender: This indica has a slightly sweet flavor to it and is definitely my go-to for cramps. Lavender is high in linalool, which is a terpine known for its super calming and sedative properties. I like to mix in actual lavender flowers as well for the added linalool and flavor. 

 Lavender shot: Amongst the Wolves TV

Lavender shot: Amongst the Wolves TV

Dynamite: I don't come across this strain as often as I would like, but when I do it is always a good one for cramps. Some strains actually help ease the physical sensation of cramps, while others, like this one, just make you feel very far away from it. Meaning I am still aware that something is happening in my uterus, but it just doesn't hurt. 

ACDC: This high CBD strain is the bomb diggity shit forreal! If you smoke it by itself you will only feel a slight "high" but your body will feel amazing like you just went on a run and took a shower and had a snack afterwards. If you mix it with one of your indicas this will give you the heavy sedation and high from the THC and the euphoria and pain relief from the CBD. I would highly recommend always keeping some high CBD stuff around and mixing it with your other strains as you see fit.

Blackberry Kush: This is one of my favorites because it is a HEAVY hitting indica and I love weeds with fruity tastes. The Blackberry is a little heavier than Blueberry (my weed wifey) so I turn to it during my cycle. I'll smoke a blunt of this before lying on my heating pad because it makes you stationary, which is fine because on my first day I'm not trying to do much anyways. 

 Blackberry Kush

Blackberry Kush

Check out these strains and see if they provide relief for your menstrual pain. I would also recommend combining your herbal remedies with some topical CBD cream and other natural remedies such as Blackstrap Molasses and diuretic teas such as cranberry and hibiscus. How do you manage period pain? Let us know. 

~Kenya Kush~

Holistic Healing: Herbal Cigarettes

Y'all know we are all about our herbs, but that love extends way beyond just weed. There are so many plants that grow on the planet available for healing and recreational use beyond the effects of THC. Some of these can be eaten, made into a tea, or smoked. Smoking herbal cigarettes can be an incredible addition to your routine especially if you are someone who enjoys the oral fixation and calming habit of smoking, but don't want to consume tobacco or necessarily weed. There are specific herbs that work better than others for smoking, though they have varying effects alone and in different combinations.

Below is an introduction to some various smoking herbs to try out either alone or in a "spliff" mixed with your weed. Because all plants have terpenes, or natural chemicals that connect with different receptors in our brains creating unique effects, combining your weed with some smoking herbs will produce a different, often more intense high. So, if you ever find yourself with some weak weed that you want to make more potent, try mixing a few into your stash and see if the combo works for you. Most of these herbs can be purchased for under $4/oz at an apothecary/health food store or online providers. Our own unique blend of hand-rolled herbal cigarettes includes a few of these magical plant varieties.

Lavender:
The flowers from this plant are high in linalool (a terpene also found in many indica strains of weed) which promotes sedation. Many are familiar with smelling Lavender oil for a headache cure or adding it to a bath for relaxation. Smoking has similar calming effects as well as improving mental clarity. The taste and fragrance are super pleasing and agreeable with most other herbs. Use Lavender if you have stress or are looking for anti-inflammatory and anti-depressant relief.

Lemon Balm:
True to its name this flower has a slightly lemon smell and taste, which comes out slightly sweet when rolled up. The effects are similar to those of Lavender, but also slightly uplifting from the citrus notes. 

 

Peppermint:
These leaves can be shredded and blended with weed for a super nice cooling effect similar to adding ice cubes in a bong. The menthol in the plant is a great tobacco alternative that can actually aid in with decongestion. 

More herbs to experiment with to come.

~Kenya Ku$h~