I caught up with Sara Chana Silverstein, master herbalist, classical homeopath and general all-round superwoman about her new book, Moodtopia. The book is a beautiful handbook about how to manage and control our moods, with tips and tricks to help you get back to your best self with nature’s best medicine. Detailed without being too confusing to read, Sara Chana Silverstein offers plant-based remedies designed to ease stress, soothe moods and support the liver, which, as the body’s main detox organ, helps clear out noxious substances that can affect mental balance.
If you’re looking to think outside the box with regards to your wellbeing, this book provides straight answers about how to get “unstuck” quickly and transform your mind and mood into one of positivity and calm. It’s also packed with hundreds of tools, tips, and strategies on easy-to-use guide to herbs, adaptogens, aromatherapy, color therapy, feng shui, intuition, homeopathy and so much more!
What made you want to write Moodtopia?
After 25 years of working with people in my office, I learned that many people feel ‘stuck’ by their moods! That they felt their ‘moodiness’ often gets in the way of their success in their job, their relationships and their life! That’s why I designed a 90-day plan to help people feel more stable emotionally!
What does Moodtopia stand for, if you could describe the book in a sentence?
It means, “learning to be in control of your moods, so they don’t control you.”
When did you first become interested in the power of herbal remedies to heal?
I was invited through Yale University to go to Oxford University to study Shakespeare, but when I was in the library I found the books on herbal medicine much more exciting and spent the summer exploring the amazing plants that are here to help heal us! Sorry William!
What herbs do we have in our kitchen cupboards right now which will help us get started immediately?
Begin to add as many spices as you can. Dried Parsley can help with gas, reflux, bloating, and if you relieve these you can be in a better mood! Cumin, turmeric, garlic, onion and paprika all have antioxidants which swallow up the bad cells in our bodies.
Can you overdose on herbs? Are there any side effects if you have too much of one?
Yes, you can overdose on herbs but who would want to?! Herbs taste bitter and believe me, NEVER take more than suggested. Less is often more when it comes to taking herbs, especially when they are in a tincture form. The side effects are explained in my book, but most of the herbs that I recommend in Moodtopia are safe and without any side effects when taken in the way I suggest.
If you could give one piece of advice to people who might not have read Moodtopia yet but who are interested in using herbal remedies, what would it be?
Herbs have been used for thousands of years and they are our gift from nature. Begin slowly introducing herbs into your life in teas and tinctures and you will be thrilled to feel how they resonate in our bodies.
Sleep deprivation is all too common in this day and age. What is your favourite herbal remedy to help you sleep better?
I am passionate about passion flower! This herb is gentle and helps you fall asleep without feeling groggy in the morning. I also love kava kava which will help with muscle tension. So many people feel their stress in their neck and upper back and kava kava helps their muscles relax so it is easier to fall asleep.
You’re a successful business woman, novelist, mother and master herbalist. How do you fit it all in without becoming burnt out?
Well, being a mother of 7 I have really learned the importance of being organised and planning ahead. I make lots of lists and keep my things very orderly. To prevent burnout? I get massages whenever I can and I have a lot of help around the house. I also always have an essential oil with me and breath in essential oils when I feel stressed. And of course, I take de-stressing herbs every day! (I live a very busy, fast-paced life!)
You talk about the “Cycle of Sanity” in your book. Can you explain this to someone who might not have read your book before?
Our moods always cycle. We are never experiencing one mood for too long. When people become aware of their moods they will notice that they have a cycle that is specific to them. For instance, a person may be feeling happy, then get frustrated, which throws them into anger, then sadness. Suddenly they find a resolution to the initial frustration and figure out a solution which allows then return to happiness. If you take a week and chart your moods you will see your personal pattern and this will help you feel more in control!
Do you follow a certain diet to help stabilise your moods?
Yes, I personally have found that eating for my blood-type really helps. I feel stronger with more energy. (I’m an A/B which is the rarest blood type).
How important is colour in your life? Do you have different colours in different rooms of your house?
I love colors and see how they affect my mood. Firstly, I had my color palette done by a professional and only dress in the colors that compliment my skin tone. Last week, I had just finished filming a show for CBS and I needed to run into a mall to pick something up. I put on my sneakers and had my hair up in a ponytail but still had on the dress I wore for filming. I was rushed and didn’t look great, but a woman stopped me to tell me I was wearing the BEST colour. Even if I am exhausted and not wearing makeup, if I wear the correct colours people will always stop me to say how ‘great’ I look! It really is amazing! All the rooms in my house are in different and unique colours, and for my office, I found a colour that is calming, soothing but also invigorating (it may shock you, but it is the colour pumpkin and everyone that comes into my office says they love the colour!)
What’s next on the horizon for you?
I would love to set up a curriculum for schools from kindergarten through college to teach everyone about moodiness, how it affects us, and solutions so the world could begin to feel less stressed and less moody. To be good at anything, even being in control of our moods, it takes lots of practice. People should be practicing the skills discussed in Moodtopia from age 5-105!