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April 09 2009

The Herbwife’s Kitchen

Local herbalism: using the plants in the dooryard.

When I told the gentleman who installed our satellite internet that I’m an herbalist, he started singing the praises of Tahitian Noni Juice. Right. I told him I was sure the Noni Juice was very nice, but there were ten different just-as-useful herbs growing right by his feet in my backyard, and he could have them all for free.

See, exotic herbs with hyped-up marketing campaigns just don’t excite me. Who knows exactly what’s in those bottles anyway? And why should I give my money to big, sketchy companies when my backyard supplies just about all the herbs I could ever need?

Today I decided to go outside and make a list of the useful herbs that are growing wild right now within 20 feet of my house. The list was even longer than I thought: more than thirty very useful plants.

Here they are, with a use or two for each to give you an idea of what they’re good for. Keep in mind that many blogposts (books, even!) could be written on every one of these plants, so there is necessarily a lot left out. I just wrote the first thing that came to my mind about each one.

All Heal (Prunella vulgaris): incredible wound-healer and alterative.
Aster (Symphyotrichum spp.): valuable diaphoretic, nervine.
Black Walnut (Juglans nigra): alterative, thyroid support, skin fungus.
Blackberry (Rubus spp.): an astringent when you need it.
Burdock (Arctium lappa): liver and kidney soother, resolves scaly skin.
Catnip (Nepeta cataria): sleep for babies, stomach-calmer.
Celandine (Chelidonium majus): liver and lymphatic stimulant.
Cheeses (Malva rotundifolia): useful mucilage-laden mallow, soothes everything.
Chickweed (Stellaria media): gentle, soothing alterative and lymphatic.
Chicory (Cichorium intybus): classic bitter digestive.
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale): elimination balancer, alterative, minerals.
Goldenrod (Solidago spp.): good for sneezing allergies, digestive and urinary soother.
Ground Ivy (Glechoma hederacea): alterative, depurative.
Hollyhock (Alcea rosea): another wonderful, soothing mallow.
Lobelia (Lobelia inflata): antispasmodic of the first order.
Moth Mullein (Verbascum blattaria): possible lymphatic.
Peppergrass (Lepidium virginicum): respiratory stimulant.
Plantains (Plantago major & P. lanceolata): stings, wound healing (inside and out).
Pokeweed (Phytolacca americana): strong lymphatic.
Queen Anne’s Lace (Daucus carota): kidney stones, thyroid, and birth control too!
Red Clover (Trifolium pratense): gentle lymphatic, alterative.
Scarlet Pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis): traditionally used for mania!
Sheep Sorrel (Rumex acetosella): traditional cancer herb, good vitamin c in salad.
Spiny Sow Thistle (Sonchus asper): cooling digestive tonic.
Strawberry (Fragaria spp.): gentle astringent, baby diarrhea.
Thistles (Cirsium spp.): liver and digestive tonic.
Violet (Viola sororia): so cooling, soothing, and comforting.
White Deadnettle (Lamium album): astringent, good for heavy menstrual bleeding.
White Vervain (Verbena urticifolia): bitter nervine.
Wood Sorrel (Oxalis acetosella): tasty source of vitamin c, heals old wounds.
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium): sharp cuts, internal healing, alterative.
Yellow Dock (Rumex crispus): liver stimulant, laxative.

Well, not a bad materia medica, is it? Most of these plants grow in cities, too. Medicine all around, if you look for it. (Big herb companies don’t need your money anyway.)

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March 23 2009

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The Best Cold Remedy Soup ever!
1. Combine 3 cups vegetable stock & 2 cups sliced onions (or two sizable onions)sliced
(Simmer the onions in the stock until tender)
2. Add: some sliced carrot & 2 Tbsp shredded fresh ginger root
(simmer for 10 min until carrot is soft)
3. Reduce heat to low and take a little bit of the stock out, whisk in 2 Tbps miso, and return to the soup. Do NOT allow the soup to return to a boil, as this will reduce the enzymic activity of the miso.

My real content of this post, however, is about making your own herbal tea blends to assist you when you have a cold. I’ll start with some of the wonderful herbs that are readily available, such as thyme leaf (antiviral, antimicrobial), elder flowers or berries (immune boosting, 2 antiviral compounds, significant relief for fevers), nettle leaf (the so-called weed that is one of the most nutritious plants available), and ginger (nearly a dozen antiviral compounds; reduces pain & fever; cough suppressant; warming).

The first recipe is for a lovely, incredibly pleasant blend that works throughout the winter months to boost your body’s ability to ward off illness, primarily by strengthening your immune system and nourishing your body:

Herbal Infusion for the Cold & Flu Season: Prevention
1 part alfalfa (nutritive)
1 part nettle (nutritive, adrenal support)
1 part rosehips (nutritive, vitamin C rich)
1/4 part cinnimon (catalyst herb that helps other herbs work ‘better’, warming)
1 part rose (spirit lifting!)
1 part thyme leaf (antiviral, antimicrobial)

Directions: combine the above and use 1 tsp - 1 Tbsp per cup of water. Steep in boiling water for 15- 30 min, strain, drink hot or cold. You can make a mason jar’s worth and just keep it in the fridge, heating it up as needed.

Herbal Remedy for that mean old Cold:
1 part thyme leaf (antiseptic, expectorant, carminative)
1/2 part dried ginger (nearly a dozen antiviral compounds; reduces pain & fever; cough suppressant; warming)
1/4 part lemon peel OR add a slice of fresh lemon to the tea (high in vit C)
1 part rosehips (vit C)
1 part elder leaf/flower (antiviral, helps treat fevers)
1 part alfalfa or nettle (nutrient rich)

Herbal Remedy for that mean old sore throat or cough:
1/4 part marhmallow root or slippery elm (demulcent, throat-coating, soothing qualities; anti-inflammatory)
1/2 part licorice root (demulcent, antiviral)
1/2 part mullein flowers/leaf (expectorant, demulcent, soothing)
1/2 part ginger root (nearly a dozen antiviral compounds; reduces pain & fever; warming)
1/2 part rosehips (vit C)
1/4 part lemon peel OR add a slice of fresh lemon (vit C)

Directions for either of the above: Combine the herbs as directed and use 1 tsp - 1 Tbsp per cup of water. Steep in boiling water for 15- 30 min, strain, drink hot or cold. You can make a mason jar’s worth and just keep it in the fridge, heating it up as needed. Keep in mind that the mucilage in the sore throat/cough tea will make the infusion more viscous. Also feel free to add a touch of herbal honey, especially a honey made with immune-boosting, antiviral herbs.

*Remember that any of these herbs made into a tea provides a valuable remedy. You don’t need to use them all! Simple ginger root and fresh lemon is most often my favorite remedy along with soups and broths. I might start the day with simple thyme & ginger and end it with a mo

Lilith’s Apothecary Herbal Body Care

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i would love to get a telescope to put next to our garden on a summer's night and show her the stars...
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March 17 2009

March 12 2009

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Action, Medical Uses, and Dosage.—The European species (Tilia europaea) is a common domestic remedy in Europe for the relief of many nervous and catarrhal disorders. The leaves, flowers, and buds are employed, and their properties may be regarded as stimulant, lenitive, tonic, and nervine. The infusion is generally preferred, and may be given to allay irritation and restlessness, and to promote rest and sleep. The hot infusion is employed to check diarrhoea from cold, and in the various forms of colds and catarrhal conditions, while, either hot or cold, it may be used in restlessness, nervous headaches, painful and difficult digestion, and mild hysteria. The effects upon the nervous system are sometimes obtained by an enema, or bath, prepared from the flowers. The infusion is prepared from 30 or 40 grains of the flowers and 1 pint of water. It forms an agreeable vehicle for other medicines. A strong tincture may be prepared of the flowers (℥viij) and strong alcohol (Oj). Dose, 1 to 20 minims. The other species undoubtedly possess similar properties. (via Tilia.—Linden Flowers. | Henriette’s Herbal Homepage)
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shrooms (via fry26)
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NEW LINE - Herbology Notebook (dark cover) by celestefrittata

$25.00
This handbound notebook measures 3½ x 5½" (9 x 14 cm). It is the same size as a moleskine pocket notebook, and has 80 blank unlined, and very thin creamy white sheets (160 pages).

It is completely handbound with the Hardcover Binding Tecnique.

The cover is screen printed using a Japanese Print Gocco Machine with black ink on green handmade paper (dark green (the light green cover will be available again soon).

The image on the cover is an original drawing by Elena Torre
http://www.dreamstime.com/sabbienobili_portfolio_pg1

The edges of the pages are torn by hand, and the cover has been distressed with a black inkpad to make the notebook looks old and used.

This is one of my new Magical Notebooks, all the other subjects will be available in the next few weeks.

* Pictures by Andrea Montaldo *

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Greenhouse Girl (via lauralemur)
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Sprig.com

Herb Appeal

Great for a casual buffet-style meal, this display serves so many functions. Re-pot herbs such as basil, rosemary and sage into small terracotta pots or jars and arrange them inside the compartments of a vintage soda bottle crate. The herbs not only look and smell beautiful; putting them on display invites guests to help themselves. Bonus: Fill in a few empty holes with nature-inspired silverware and napkins for guests to take away.

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Healthy Skin Herbal Tea by DistilledRose

$5.00
This tea is designed to promote healthy and happy skin.

Featured Herbs:

Alfalfa is incredibly nutritious.
Red Clover is a great detoxifier.
Oregon Grape Root is used to treat many skin conditions.

Steep one teaspoon in boiling water for 5 minutes. Drink a cup a day for happy skin.

Contains 2oz, enough for approximately 20 cups.

*This tea contains Alfalfa, which should be avoided by women who are pregnant and Oregon Grape Root, which should be avoided by women who are breastfeeding.*

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