Entries categorized "herbs"

sore throat tea

Tea-1

Tea3

 

One of my challenges as an herbalist (and mama!) is often getting the herbs into the body that needs them. Some herbs are very lovely tasting and others, well, as my kids would bluntly say: taste terrible.

They are pretty good about taking tinctures - even the "terrible ones". Teas, on the other hand, must be tasty if I want them to be drinking cup after cup - which is exactly the case when they are fighting off some sort of virus.

This is our current throat soothing tea. Rosehips & orange peel offer vitamin C to boost your immunity, cherry bark and marshmallow soothe coughs and inflamed tissue, and we love the earthy spiciness of the ginger + cinnamon + fennel combo! My youngest is prone to respiratory illnesses, so we tend to be super proactive at the first sign of a sniffle in hopes of catching it before it settles into his chest. I've used both slippery elm and marshmallow root in this recipe with wonderful results - I have read that Slippery Elm is endangered, so while I will use up what is in my apothecary, I do not plan to buy more. Marshmallow is a wonderful substitute and easily cultivated. (We grow our own!)

 

Tea2

 

Warm & Spicy Throat Soothe Tea

(adapted from a recipe in Healing Herbal Teas)

 

4 parts rosehips

3 parts cinnamon chips

2 parts wild cherry bark

2 parts marshmallow root

2 parts orange peel

1 part ginger root

1 part fennel

1 part licorice root

 

Use 1 TBSP of the tea blend per 1.5 cups of hot water.

This tea is best as a decoction - where all the herbs are simmered for 15 minutes. We also make it in our little teapot (see above) and let it steep in freshly boiled water for 15-20 minutes. I usually put two batches of hot water through the teapot with the same herbs, as I feel like root based tea blends keep on giving up their flavor.

Also, We mix up a jar at a time so it's ready and waiting when we need it. It's no fun trying to mix up sore throat tea when you're under the weather.

 

Enjoy. 

xo,

s

 


chai spiced adaptogen herb blend.....

I'm head of over heels in gratitude for the warm reception our CSH received. If you didn't snag a share, there are a few left as of this morning. If you missed out, there will be partial shares again in September and December. I'll let you know when sign-ups open for those.

Today I wanted to share an adaptogen powder recipe I recently crafted up for the Herbal Academy blog. Adaptogens are a category of herbs that help your body adapt to stress. Head on over to read the herbal infused snacks article I wrote for them where you can find two really yummy recipes with this adaptogen blend : Chia Pudding and Protein Power Bites. (think tiny balls of energy, yum!)

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5-herbal-bites

2-herbal-powder

 

Chai Spiced Adaptogen Powder

    1 tablespoon ashwagandha powder

    1 tablespoon astragalus powder

    1 tablespoon triphala powder

    1 tablespoon marshmallow powder

    2 teaspoons ground ginger

    2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

    1 teaspoon ground cardamom

 

Stir these together & keep in an air-tight jar. I like to add this to smoothies, oatmeal, granola bars, baked goods, chia pudding and energy bites. It's a great way to add more herbs to your diet.

And speaking of herbs, I just got home last night from a weekend at Herbstalk. What a great little herbal event! I attended a few classes and bumped into some of my favorite makers at the market. Best of all, I got to see several of my herbal sisters - so good to see their smiling faces.

I'm off to tuck baby motherwort into the garden......

xo

stephinie

 


if you can't find it, make it.......

I spent a good deal of time this winter trying to find a fresh herb CSA in our area. There is a lovely one in Western Massachusetts, but their drop offs were all in locations over an hour away from us. On Fridays. Which can get pretty crazy in the summer vacation traffic surge we see around here.

My goal this summer was to start a Community Supported Herbalism project. I want to create access for others to fresh organic herbal products. While I do have access to some wonderful land for wildcrafting..... there are also so many lovely cultivated plants I wanted to work with.

Then I had an idea. If I couldn't find a grower, I would become the grower....

Herb seedlings

Herb bed

Herb bed 2

Herb bed 3

Chive flowers

This year in our garden, aside from 4 cherry tomato plants and a row of peas...... the rest is ALL herbs. (we're fortunate to have a wonderful csa that provides us with fresh vegetables all year!) A good handful were perennials that came back from last summer, but the bulk was sourced throughout my area from small farms and friends. And the weeds were free.... goodness I have a lot of weeding to do this week!

This is what we currently grow on our little one-acre plot (wild & cultivated):

Chamomile, comfrey, catnip, echinacea, nettle, goldenrod, lemon balm, jewelweed, red clover, tobacco, yarrow, teasel, horseradish, lavender, calendula, poke, dandelion, violet, elderberry, valerian, st. john's wort, holy basil (tulsi), rue, spilanthes, peppermint, spearmint, white sage, bee balm, mugwort, marshmallow, plus some culinary favorites : cilantro, chocolate mint, pineapple sage, culinary sage, dill, thyme, rosemary, oregano, parsley, chives & basil.

I spent the weekend tucking the new ones into the garden with a little prayer, feeling so grateful to have this bounty to teach me over the next few months. I always learn so much more about a plant when I am able to see it and touch it. I feel grateful to have found such an incredible selection of herbs all grown within an hour of our homestead and can't wait to make fresh herbal products all summer right from my backyard.

I look forward to sharing garden walks and recipes with you as we go along.

xo,

stephinie

PS - Signups for the CSH begin tomorrow. We have very limited membership this year, so if you are interested act quickly!

 


something new.........

CshNettle

 

This is the pre-launch teaser for the project we have going on. We're starting a CSH : Community Supported Herbalism! Much like a vegetable CSA - Our CSH members will receive shares of handcrafted herbal goods at each change of the season to nourish and support them through the next one. We're already crafting up exclusive apothecary items made from locally wildcrafted plants for our summer delivery. Sign ups will be limited to only 18 members. Be sure to join our newsletter as we'll be announcing registration there first.

More details in a few weeks.... 

xo,

stephinie

  


instagram ate my blog, and i'm really becoming an herbalist......

First (I feel kinda bad about this, but it's the truth) instagram ate my blog. I'm not alone in this. It has eaten several. It's so ridiculously easy to stay connected over there, and I've turned into the worst blogger ever. Such a bad blogger that in this post I am sharing all instagram photos in this post of the last month's herbal on-goings. (you can fire me, I totally understand! or better yet, join me!)     

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Now to the fun part. The herbalist journey is in full swing my friends.

This weekend is my second apprenticeship month with Boston School of Herbal Studies. Last month we talked about digestion and herbs to balance/nourish it. We made some delicious teas and I came home to rummage through my herbal pantry to make my first bitters tonic loosely based on one we tasted in class by our teacher Madelon. (first photo up there)

I've been playing around with small batches of tea blends. Both to see how I feel drinking them and how they taste. Some combinations have been very yummy. Others, while having wonderful medicinal properties, were not as fun to drink. Easy on the dandelion leaves, lessoned learned.

I had the amazing opportunity to attend the International Herb Symposium a few weeks ago (opening ceremony in that beautiful church photo above & most photos above from my weekend there). I really had no idea what I was signing up for back in March, I only knew everyone was raving about it in the herbal community. Oh. My. Goodness. It was total magic. I met some very inspiring herbalists, even got my books signed by several (Rosemary Gladstar, Holly Bellebuono, Mindy Green, & David Winston!) I took several classes :  aromatherapy, women's health, FDA regulations for small herbal businesses, palm reading, soap making, spirit & rituals of herbs, stress & herbs/aromatherapy, herbal formulas, free fire cider, and plant walks (phew!). This was the first herb event I have ever attended, and all I can tell you is : wow. I have never been received into a community with such kind, welcome, open arms. Herbalists have a family and they all love welcoming newcomers, they readily share they're wealth and knowledge. I walked around all weekend thinking, this is it, this is my tribe. I finally found them.

My heart feels like it has found a friend it has known for ages. Which of course, it has. As David Winston shared in his class on the spirituality of herbalism : Somewhere many generations ago there was a healer in my family, and in yours too, in everyones. And some bits of her DNA have been passed down and down just waiting for someone to find them again, waiting for someone to remember. Doesn't that just sound completely amazing? I can't even begin to tell you how this resonated with my soul.

It has been, and will continue to be, a lot of hard work. Learning the names of plants. Anatomy. Medicine making. Taking notes and having real homework for the first time in years. It feels a bit like magic, and the beginning of something right.

xo,

s

 

P.S. - super cool teapot "steeped" tshirt in that last photo can be found here. I bought two shirts AND a skirt from her at the Symposium - her prints are fabulous!! and she's having a sale right now!

 


diy apothecary......

I had fully intended to get rid of this cabinet. We moved it into the corner of the apartment to get it out of the way when we moved in, and that is where it sat for the next nine months. I tried to find a before picture of this project. The first picture is as close as I got. If you look close, you can see that the bottom left cabinet has a big hole cut into it. Someone had long ago installed a record player in the left side and a fabric covered speaker behind the door. I guess they cut some of the door off so they could hear it better? I'm not sure. 

When we moved things for the studio swap I knew I would be loading it into the van for a trip to Salvation Army. Somehow quite luckily a light-bulb went off in my head and told me "hello, this is the apothecary you've been looking for." Actually that sounds more like Jedi mind trick. Anyhow, I had my heart set on finding a shelved glass cabinet of some sort. I hadn't even thought of using this cabinet. Even though I swooned over the latches on the lower cupboards. As it turns out, a quart mason jar fits perfectly on the lower shelves and essential oils on the shallow top shelf. A good scrub and a few MINER minor modifications turned it into just the thing I was looking for. My Jedi light-bulb was right. All for free too, as it was left behind by the previous owners..... 

apothecary (before studio project, cabinet in the left corner) (also summer *gasp*, oh how i miss her.)

apothecary (after studio project)

apothecary(in progress : hemming curtains for studio shelf, covering cardboard for cabinet doors + Joe's tools say hello)

apothecary(cabinet gets a new home in the kitchen)

apothecary

apothecary

apothecary

apothecary

apothecary

apothecary

apothecary

Joe cut the rest of the center door pieces off and I scrubbed the whole thing nice and clean. I used some home dec weight fabric from my stash to cover cardboard and then slid them into the groove of the door. I couldn't find this print on etsy, but I did find this one (another favorite flea market print of mine!) It ended up being such an easy project. All my herbs and essential oils have a happy new home. We reused something unloved and gave it purpose. Perhaps best of all, I found a good thing about my very dark kitchen, no need to worry about direct sunshine on the herbs as it gets very little light in there. However, I am still not in love with the cantaloupe hued walls. See all those cream colored swatches above the cabinet? Yes, the kitchen is going to be WHITE. Kind of crazy for a girl so fond of color, right? But I need all the brightness I can get in there. And yes there is a difference between each of those colors. I keep asking Joe which one looks best in morning light, or afternoon light. He thinks I'm a little nutty. I know there are some of you out there that get this need to pick just the right shade. Ahem.

On another herb related note, I am bottling my first tinctures & tonics today! They've been brewing for the last TWO months. I'm so excited to see what they taste like and how they make us feel. I did a little improv herb wise based on our needs, but the recipes are from Rosemary Gladstar's book of Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health (I made the Men's Elixir & Brain Tonic) and Holly Bellebuono's Essential Herbal for Natural Health (I made the Women's Ultimate Tonic Elixir). Have you ever visited either of these womens home on the internet? Rosemary is here and Holly is here. They are both sort of local-ish to me here in New England and they both offer online herbal classes which look amazing. I also found out there is an affordable women's herb conference in New England every summer, this year is their 27th year! It looks incredible. Especially because you can take your daughters with you for the weekend. I'm trying to figure out if this is something we can work into our summer. Just maybe......

So how many of you dabble in herbs? What are your favorite references? Do you have an online resource or class that you love? Do share.....

xo,

 


our elderberry syrup

our elderberry syrup

our elderberry syrup

our elderberry syrup

our elderberry syrup

I've been reading. A lot. Truth be told, I have a new obsession.

Herbs. Medicine making.

We've been trying to drink more herbal teas and we certainly notice a difference after just a few days. I also made some very delicious elderberry syrup. This is something I have been curious about for ages. After listening to an informal workshop this fall at the Taproot Gathering, I was even more intrigued. Elder berries nourish the cell wall, making it more difficult for viruses to penetrate, aka immune boosting powers. Amazing stuff right? 

This recipe is a combination of two syrup recipes from my favorite herb book. Elder berries are especially effective when combined with echinacea, another immune boosting herb. Ginger is warming and nourishes your respiratory system. All good things for this time of year! We all love this syrup. It really seems to nip a cold if you take it at first onset and it has certainly shortened the life and intensity of the virus bugs that have made their way into our home this fall. If one person gets sick, we all take it and we have not had as much sharing of colds between us, which is wonderful. Best of all, it uses all dried herbs! So you can make it any time of year.... though I do hope to find elder berries next fall to make a fresh + local batch. (my favorite source for dried herbs)

Our Elderberry Syrup

1/2 cup dried elder berries

1 TBSP dried ginger root

1 TBSP dried echinacea root

3 cups water

3/4 cup raw honey

*if using fresh elder berries or roots, double the amount*

*echinacea & ginger should be rough pieces, not powder/ground*

Place elder berries, ginger root & echinacea root into a heavy bottomed pot. Add water & simmer for 30-45 minutes. Be sure to simmer gently & not boil, or you will lose too much of your liquid. Drain the liquid from the herbs using a mesh strainer. Be sure to mash and squish the berries so you get as much goodness from them as you can. You should have about 2 cups of liquid. Let cool until barely warm to the touch. Add your honey, stir well & refrigerate. Your syrup will last 2-3 months. Take 1 tablespoon daily for wellness (immunity), and 1 teaspoon every 2-3 hours if sick. (dosage from here.) It can be drizzled over ice cream, yogurt, or even pancakes! Children under 12 months of age should not have honey, but you can add it to very hot water or chamomile tea for them. (this will kill off any microbes in the honey) For adults & older children, let your tea cool to drinkable temperature before adding so you keep some of the benefits of raw honey intact.

Wishing you good health!

xo,

s