Five Elements Living: Tastes and Flavors of Nature

Shelby Connelly L.Ac M.Ac

My excitement about Spring rests in the tastes and flavors of nature. Intriguing infusions of various herbs, roots, flowers, fruits, fungi, and spices invoke excitement of what medicine can look like. The beauty of elixirs and tonics are that they hold knowledge that supports our own body’s wisdom. 

Both concoctions, by nature, are delivered to the bloodstream in liquid form. Addressing different needs, elixirs are healing remedies that impact imbalances and symptoms of illness while tonics, on the other hand, are fortifying and promote balance. For example: an elixir is used to treat a headache, a cold, or cramps. A tonic, meanwhile, might be used to improve immunity, boost energy, or relieve chronic stress. 

Paula Youmell is a functional medicine RN, a natural health educator, herbalist, and YogaMentor. She uses her wisdom and experience at Five Elements Living to teach nourishing, lifestyle medicine, which is both sacred and unique. The Wise Woman Nurse® title is her life long learning combined with being a registered Nurse.  

In service of well being, 

Shelby Connelly L.Ac M.Ac 

Redefining Being Alive: The Wood Element 

During this period of intense bloom and beauty, we, like nature want to feel the sun on our face. Plants push through the last bits of frozen earth reaching for the sunshine and warmth. As nature loving humans, we feel this intense need to move from hibernation into the promise of new life. I think that this should be the time to write our intentions and resolutions because 

it’s quite possible that the wood elements strong and unyielding characteristics would support our attitude and intentions. 

Ruby Couverture: Pink perfection 

The “fourth” type of chocolate has arrived! Dark, milk, and white..move over and make room for this beautiful decadent cocoa bean called RUBY. This delicately pink-hued chocolate has no artificial colorants or fruit flavorings. It’s natural shade of pink has intense fruitiness and fresh sour notes of raspberries. And, to be politically correct the FDA isn’t ready to call Ruby chocolate, chocolate. It is classified as a couverture. A French word given to a certain class of high-quality chocolate. 

    Barry Callebaut, a Belgian-Swiss company, introduced Ruby Couverture in 2017. This slightly sweet and sour berry tasting chocolate is being launched here in the United States to mostly chefs and artisan chocolatiers. At Apothecary Chocolate, in Colton NY, we have taken the pairing suggestions of Callebaut and merged this “gift of mother nature” with herbs, pink peppercorns, Himalayan sea salt, and cocoa nibs to make inspiring and creative confections. Looking through the eyes of wellness, I am loving the antioxidant level and mouth feel of this elevated and sophisticated chocolate. The delicate look appeals to me as I envision groups of women gathering to laugh, be inspired, and fulfill their craving of the divine feminine. 

Wish Woman Tonic: For general uterine and reproductive tract health 

What you’ll need:  

1/3 cup of each of the following dried herbs: 

  • Stinging Nettle
  • Red Raspberry Leaf
  • Red Clover Blooms
  • 100-proof Vodka


  1. Place herbs intoa8- ounce mason jar. 
  2. Fill jar to generously cover the herbs with 100-proof vodka, preferably of an organic or small-batch high-quality  
  1. Cover the har and allow to sit for one month in a cool, dark place. Remember to shake the jar daily. 
  1. After one month, strain the liquid out of the herbs and press the wet herb mash to get as much of the liquid out as possible.  
  1. Bottle your tincture in a brown, glass bottle

**Dose: 30-40 drops three times daily**