good medicine everyday

Good Medicine Everyday: Cranberries by emily penn

When you think of cranberries you probably think of two things - Thanksgiving and Urinary Tract Infections. But cranberries deserve so much MORE credit than that!

Cranberries contain one of the HIGHEST levels of antioxidants of any fruit! This means they’re stellar at fighting inflammation and boosting immunity. Here’s a few other things cranberries are awesome at (1):

  • Preventing and treating UTIs. It’s true - cranberries have earned their reputation for a reason. They contain a specific compound that prevents bacteria from attaching to the inner surface of the urinary tract and bladder.

  • They fight cancer. Human and animal studies show that cranberries may help slow tumor progression and block the growth of cancer cells.

  • Cranberries contain high levels of polyphenols, vitamin C and combined with their ability to fight bacteria, they make a great ally during cold and flu season.

  • They support your GI tract. Cranberries help optimize the balance of bacteria in the digestive tract while also having anti-diarrhea, anti-septic, and diuretic properties.

My favorite way to incorporate cranberries into my life is with unsweetened cranberry juice (Trader Joe’s makes a great, inexpensive one). I add 1-2 oz of cranberry juice to a regular glass of water or to plain kombucha. Avoid those cranberry juices that are heavily sweetened. Sometimes I’ll buy frozen cranberries to throw into smoothies - only a small handful is necessary.

Good Medicine Everyday: Breath by emily penn

We do it all the time, whether or not we’re aware of it. But that’s just it - bringing some awareness to our breath can have huge pay offs for our health.


Notice your breath now. Where do you feel like you’re breathing? Your chest? Does it feel shallow? That’s how most of us breathe throughout the day. Putting some effort into breathing deeply and into your belly (basically slow, long, deep breaths) has a tremendous impact on the state of our nervous system.

When it feels like you’re breathing into your belly, you’re actually breathing into your diaphragm, which is located near the bottom of your rib cage. Your diaphragm is a muscle and it’s important to keep this muscle strong! Just like other muscles, it can atrophy when not used. Doctors see atrophied diaphragms during surgeries.

Let’s look at some of the benefits from deep belly breathing (1):

  • lowers heart rate

  • lowers blood pressure

  • helps you relax, which helps lower the stress hormone cortisol

  • keeps lungs and diaphragm strong

  • activates the parasympathetic nervous system - our rest + digest state

Perhaps the biggest benefit is stress reduction, which in turn also helps reduce anxiety and depression. It’s so simple, yet so many of us forget to breathe deeply!

I love my friend Emily’s tip - bookending your day with breath. She suggests taking 5 deep breaths in the morning before you get out of bed and 5 deep breaths before you go to bed. I personally focus on my breath during meditation. Kundalini yoga uses a whole slew of breathing techniques that activate energy, detox, boost immunity and a bunch of other really cool things. You may have heard of Wim Hof, who uses breath to help his body endure insanely cold temperates.

Breathing changes the brain, and while I’m not going to get into all the heady details in this post, just know that your breath is perhaps the most powerful tool you have when it comes to your day to day mood and experience of life.

Good Medicine Everyday: Rosemary by emily penn

Rosemary has been my favorite herb for a long time. I love it with vegetables - especially roasted potatoes, I make a rosemary cashew sauce, I even make granola with rosemary in it! It’s just got such a satisfying flavor and aroma.

And - you guessed it - rosemary has some impressive health benefits. It’s packed with antioxidants and polyphenols. Rosmarinic acid is the primary compound that gives rosemary its health punch. This is what rosemary means for your health (1):

  • One of the oldest medicinal uses of rosemary is for improving memory and boosting brain health. It’s protective against Alzheimers and cognitive decline. I like to diffuse rosemary essential oil if I’m studying or anytime I want to enhance my memory.

  • Mood boosting - rosemary reduces cortisol levels and has a calming effect, making it great for those suffering from anxiety and depression.

  • Rosemary has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. It selectively kills cancer cells.

  • Rosmarinic acid prevents accumulation of fluid in the lungs, making it a great remedy for a cough, cold, flu and even asthma.

  • Boosts immunity - like so many other herbs, the antimicrobial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties of rosemary make it a great herb to consume regularly for immune protection.

  • It increases bile flow and gallbladder function, resulting in overall improved digestive health.

  • It supports the liver, especially the healing of the liver.

  • Rosemary essential oil promotes hair growth, slows graying and helps treat dry scalp. Try adding a few drops to your shampoo or doing a hair mask that includes rosemary.

Use rosemary in any savory dish where you want a pop of flavor or a boost in brain power. Marinate and cook meats with it - the high antioxidant content can help offset any potential carcinogens produced by cooking the meat (especially grilling).

This super herb is easy to access and also super easy to grow! Here in the PNW it grows everywhere, but it’s super hardy so will grow well in many regions, or you can always grow indoors!