Time for Tea & Wellness by Ashley Salem
Tea is kinda my thing. The only thing that makes tea better, besides a great book, is having someone to share it with.
I arose early one Saturday morning to head to downtown to speak with Courtney Allen-Gentry, lovingly known as Nurse Courtney. As I entered the Urban Abbey, a coffee shop adjacent to the farmers market, I saw her commanding the room. Standing barefoot at about five foot two with a mahogany wide-brimmed hat, she beamed a smile from ear-to-ear. Smiling back, I grabbed a cup of tea and she told me her story.
Raised in North Omaha where her family owned the Allen Showcase at 2229 Lake Street, Nurse Courtney is a public health and holistic nurse coach. One of 24 nurses in the country with the dual certification, she is the only women of color with the distinction. She spoke to me about the importance of personal ownership for wellness, explaining that rather than listening to our bodies we have “given up our power to white coats to take care of us.”
Nurse Courtney described that inflammation, tightness and swelling, is often caused by foods we eat and compared the benefits of grass-fed beef versus corn-fed. She said that since corn is hard to digest and less nutrient-rich than grasses it can cause cellular stress and inflammation in the cow's body, in turn, creating inflammation in our bodies when we eat the meat. Whereas grass is easier for the cow to process which leads to softer, leaner beef. Nurse Courtney recommends anyone give grass-fed beef a try and at least taste the difference, “It’s so good, it’s unlike the corn and soy fed stuff we are so used to.”
A practicing herbalist, a person who studies medicinal plants, Nurse Courtney spoke passionately about her studies with cannabis oil which you can explore on her website, nursecourtney.com. She also provided me with a few tips that she calls “Internal Cannabis for Optimal Health and Wellness.”
1. Smile! Smiling is considered the first position in yoga as it causes the body to release anandamide also called the bliss molecule. This THC like molecule can relax, heal and rejuvenate the entire system. This helps to relieve stress, reduce pain and help us come into a balanced heart rhythm.
2. Think good thoughts. Having a happy, grateful and positive disposition is the master key to resilience as it helps us align with compassion and joy, regardless of the external circumstance. The endocannabinoid system is responsible for the feeling of well-being. Anyone can encourage healing on any level by actively using thoughts. The key is believing and focusing on the best possible end result and feeling.
3. Take hot baths. Humans have used hydrotherapy for thousands of years to maintain health and well-being. The endocannabinoid system is critical to thermodynamic flow and body temperature regulation and is commonly activated as we adjust to being immersed in hot water. Add epsom salt and a few drops of peppermint and/or eucalyptus essential oil for added therapy.
4. Eat Hemp. Hemp oil found in the refrigerator section of health stores has the most balanced Omega 3-6-9 fatty acid profile of any oil on the market. Simply by adding hemp oil to anything from salad to smoothies, one can benefit from improved cellular signaling and healing, improved cholesterol, and immune health.
5. Stomp, jump, and move. Active, intentional, and purposeful movement helps to fine tune your human biocrystal body to receive the highest, most loving and beneficial frequencies of the Universe via the endocannabinoid system.
After finishing our drinks we parted ways to explore the farmers market. There I met local farmers and people passionate about their livestock. They could easily tell me which cut of meat would be best and how the animals had been treated. I enjoyed hearing their stories. They spoke of legacy and how their father's father's father started the business, and now with honor, they have decided to carry it on.
My family and I stopped at a water cooler to stay hydrated when were greeted by a woman with long locs down her back, chestnut brown skin, and bright, flickering eyes. It was the lovely Nadirah, creator of Nourishment by Nadirah - a local 100% natural and organic Shea butter line. Her product is so naturally pure, you can even eat it! I asked her to join me for a cup of tea.
Once our cups were filled, we dove right in conversation about the importance of wellness and how it is supported by learning who we are, where we come from, and what we put in our bodies. Nadirah explained she valued teaching her grandchildren about their ancestors, tribes of the diaspora, and some of the remarkable things Black people have created. Her family also helps make and distribute her Shea butter.
As we spoke about the importance of origins, Nadirah told me the story of how her company began. She said it started with a severe case of eczema, dry skin, on the bottom of her foot. Seeking relief from the dry itchy pain, she went to a dermatologist who prescribed her a hydrocortisone cream. He told her not to use the cream too much or it would eat a hole in her skin. The irony of this instruction is that eczema, if left untreated, can get very irritated and those who suffer can feel the urge to constantly scratch the affected area which can lead to the skin breaking and bleeding.
As this was no long-term solution, she took matters into her own hands, literally. With a background in chemistry, Nadirah worked for 18 months to develop and perfect her Shea butter formula. Over that time she claims she was able to cure her own eczema in a little as four weeks.
Years later, she had a terrible accident which left her with third-degree burns on parts of her body. When she arrived to the emergency room the doctors immediately wanted to give her multiple medications and topical ointments. She accepted some of their suggestions and coupled them with her own formula.
During a follow-up the doctors and nurses were amazed at how fast her skin had recovered. They immediately wanted to know what she did. She smiled humbly and let them know the main product was of her own making. Needless to say, Nadirah’s Shea butter formula is popular in local markets and getting even more buzz. As she begins to expand her product line into shaving products and other items, she wants to make her craft and philosophy more widely available.
At the end of the day, I was refreshed and encouraged by these two amazing women. Their insight and zest for life was completely contagious. As we shared our stories, tea, and wisdom, I was compelled to think about how I lead my own life.
I was convinced that we must take responsibility for what we put in and on our bodies. From food and drink to lotions and medication, taking the time to know what it is, where it came from, and what it can do could really make a difference.
By checking labels of products we use, considering how the animals we choose to consume are treated, and buying from local vendors and makers, we can reclaim our personal power. With our own power we become intentional in creating a legacy of wholeness and wellness for our future generations.