Thursday, April 30, 2009

honey preserved dandelion blossom spread

Dandelions are one plant I have always loved since I was a kid. Over the years I have deeply missed the plentiful blooms of this plant out west. They are starting to sprout up all over here in New England so I am collecting any and all dandelion recipes to try this year!

I am going to make some of this honey preserved blossom spread over the weekend! Has anyone tried this recipe?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tumbleweed and playing catch up!

I have been out of town for the past week. I will be catching up on my blog the next few days or so!

In the meantime I am going to be posting links to some of my articles here! Like this one here about the delicious tumbleweed!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Aloe Vera Lore

Aloe Vera is often called the"burn plant" for obvious reasons. Did you know growing and keeping an aloe plant near or in your home offers protection and prevention of fires and burns? It may just be an old wives tale or superstition but a good one none the less as you really can't go wrong with keeping one nearby.

Monday, April 20, 2009

10 uses for Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora)

Skullcap is a native North American plant. It is a perennial herb that grows near water in more humid climates. It can be found growing wild along river banks and streams as well as cultivated in home gardens.

Dubbed "mad dog", skullcap has historically been used to treat rabies.

10 uses for skullcap;

-It can be used as an anti inflammatory

-Relieves tension headaches

-Helps lower blood pressure

-Can induce menstruation (*some say it is not safe during pregnancy and can be used to self induce an abortion*)

-Sedative,gentle nervine~ it is very relaxing (excellent when combined with valerian root)

-Can help with PMS symptoms

-Useful in reducing anxiety and depression

-Helps reduce insomnia

-Pain reliever

- Fever reducer

Skullcap is best used as a tincture or infusion. It should not be used long term.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Violet Lore

A Little Violet Lore
Courtesy of the American Violet Society

Violet Magic :

A garland of violets around the neck protects from deception and inebriation.
Used in love philters and spells, it restores health after a long illness.
If you are given violets plants as a gift, it's very auspicious. If this gift comes from your lover, the better.
When violets bloom in the fall, they mean to warn us about imminent dangers.

When violets appear in your dreams, fortune is not too long away.
Dreaming Violets? A Violet in your Dreams.... You will marry someone younger than yourself!
I see that dreaming of violets has two meanings. You will marry someone younger, and fortune is not too long away.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Zoom Balls and Speed Fudge

Guarana is a tropical plant native to the Amazon forest. It is a natural stimulant and used in many modern day energy drinks and diet pills.

This zoom ball recipe is by the famed herbalist Rosemary Gladstar. Michael Moore also has a recipe for guarana fudge I have included as well. I have made the zoom balls but not the fudge. I may give it a whirl one day soon! (feeling very low energy here)

**These should not be taken by pregnant or nursing moms or those sensitive to caffeine** KEEP OUT OF REACH OF PETS AND CHILDREN!

A Rosemary Gladstar recipe
  • 3 cups tahini (drain excess oil from the top)
  • 1 cup cashew or almond butter
  • 2 cups honey (more or less to taste)
  • 5 oz guarana powder
  • 2 oz eleuthero powder
  • 1 tbl cardamom powder
  • 1 oz Chinese ginseng powder
  • 1/2 oz nutmeg or mace powder
  • 1 oz bee pollen
  • 2 vials royal jelly
  • 1 package carob or bitter chocolate chips
  • 8 oz unsweetened shredded coconut- toasted
  • 1 cup finely chopped almonds
  • unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 # bittersweet dipping chocolate
  1. Mix tahini, nut butter and honey until smooth. Combine the herbal powders, bee pollen and royal jelly and add to tahini mix.
  2. Add chips, coconut and almonds - mix in well. Mix in enough cocoa powder to bring the dough to the desired thickness.
  3. Roll the dough into small balls. If you want to coat the balls with chocolate, chill them in the refrigerator of easier dipping. You can also spread the mixture onto a baking sheet and cut into squares.
  4. Melt the dipping chocolate in a double boiler. Drip the balls 1 at a time and place on waxed paper to cool.
  5. Store the balls in baking tins in a cool place. They will last for weeks.

by the late Michael Moore ( )

Mix together:
5 cups brown sugar
2 1/2 cups milk

Add later:
1 cube sweet butter
6 ounces powdered Guarana Bean
Various nuts (if desired)

Boil sugar,salt and milk to the soft ball stage. Remove from heat for 10 minutes, add 1 cube sweet butter. Mix in 6 ounces of powdered Guarana Bean, and stir constantly until the glistening surface starts to look like frosting and stiffens. Add nuts (if desired), scrape onto greased surface, cool until set, and cut.

WARNING: This stuff tastes GREAT, but speeds like a mother.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Herbal Cough Drops

I know cold season is almost over but I was so excited to have found this cough drop mold earlier this week! It's not a necessity but will make the process easier for sure! Just had to share it here for those interested!

I love herbal cough drops for soothing sore throats. I ended up buying some organic ones from the drugstore this year, but I have enjoyed making them in years past. I think they are much better than store bought ones. Here is an article I wrote awhile back with step by step directions for making herbal cough drops.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Basics of Herbal Medicine Making

Sorry I have been taking a bit of a break from blogging the last few days!

I am just starting an exciting new venture here though. I am writing an ebook!!! It will be called The Basics of Herbal Medicine Making, my goal is to have it done and available by June 1st! It is going to be packed full of lots of good info. and recipes of course! Geared more toward the beginner herbalist. I plan to write a series of ebooks that can be used for self studying AND be affordable.

Stay tuned for more details! :)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Herbal Tarot

I gave this tarot deck to my partner for his birthday! It's really a lovely deck if you are into tarot and herbs. I had no idea Michael Tierra collaborated on a tarot deck. I really love the artwork and symbolism. Very lovely! I am really looking forward to borrowing it and working with this deck!

Marmalade Time!

I am going to be making marmalade with the family this weekend, something I want to start a tradition doing each spring with the kids!

While I was thinking abut it earlier and gathering supplies I decided to search for some herbal marmalade recipes! Here's a few I found that I thought I'd share!

These would make delicious Mothers day (or anytime) gifts!

Lemon Lavender Marmalade

Minted Pineapple Lime Marmalade

Rosemary Orange Marmalade

Ginger Marmalade

Rose Hip Marmalade

Green Tomato Ginger Marmalade

Surely chamomile would make a wonderful marmalade mixed with ginger, lemon or oranges. I can't wait to try each and every one of these!!! :)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

seaweed bars

I have a long "to do" list going of herbal projects going and such for this spring and summer. I am going to post that one day soon for the fun of it and to keep track of things. :)

This recipe is on the top of my list!! Even though I don't really like sea veggies all that much I am really wanting to try this one for my kiddos for a healthy snack!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Chickweed Salve

Good first aid for cuts, nicks, bites and scratches, itches and rashes.

12 oz fresh chickeweed

1 pint olive or sweet almond oil

½ oz beeswax

In ovenproof container combine Chickweed and oil.

Place in 150°F oven for 3 hours; strain and add ½ oz melted beeswax to oil (always melt waxes in top of double boiler to avoid fire); stir as mixture thickens.

Dandelion Miso

We have been enjoying this locally made dandelion and leek miso.Mmmmm, it's so good! I really like it as a base for delicious veggie soup! Or you can just make a simple (and instant) broth with it. It would be good for traveling! You can order some yourself here if you want to try it! (I have no affiliation with the company just wanted to share info. on a great product!) I am definitely stocking up on some for our family and friends!!!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Broccoli Sprouts

I thought this article was very interesting about broccoli sprouts helping heal the gut! I know it's not herb related but I thought it was still blog worthy! I love me some sprouts!!! :) so I will likely be posting about that here and there on this blog and about my various sprouting adventures!

Unfortunately I have had a bummer time transitioning from dry sunny desert sprouting (easy) to damp darker New England sprouting (much more problematic). Grrrr! If anyone has any tips or advice I am all ears.

The Elusive Elder

I am hoping to find some elderberries this year now that I am in New England. When I finally do I am going to make this!

In the meantime does anyone have a source for homemade elderberry syrup/jam for sale?

Monday, April 6, 2009

Damiana Liqueur

I'm a big fan of the herb damiana. It is a wonderful aphrodisiac and I have also used
it to overcome fertility issues. Here is a recipe I am going to try in the next few weeks!!!

This is delicious and was one of the first things I tried upon delving into the
world of herbal medicine! Boy did it get my attention! Anyway I have been dying to make
some since then and that was sadly 15 years ago and I have been hanging on to the recipe
for a long while needless to say! So I have decided my man (who is studying herbs)
and I will make some in the very near future. Well as soon as I get all the ingredients gathered.

Damiana liqueur has been used for centuries in Mexico and also by ancient
civilizations such as the Mayans. It can be used as a tincture or infusion.

1 fifth brandy

4 oz damiana

2 oz lemon grass

4 oz cinnamon sticks

1 tsp. ground cloves

1 tsp. ground nutmegs

1 c. honey

1 oz marijuana tincture (optional but recommended- I will post the directions
for this specifically sometime this coming week!)


large wide mouth mason jar w/ a lid

Place the herbs in the wide mouth jar. Cover with the brandy and screw on the lid.

Let this sit for 4-6 weeks.

Strain through cheesecloth and sweeten with honey.

Enjoy! ;)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

My Favorite Herbals

As some of you may have noticed I have been adding my favorite herbal links on the right side of the blog titled "Herbal Allies". If you have any good sites or blogs to share please leave me a comment!

Otherwise I thought it would be fun to write a post about herb books. Herb books were once the foundation of my bookshelves when I first started studying herbs. My collection just grew and grew. My teacher had a lending library so I always got to check them out first through her. (It did not help that I worked next to a used bookstore for 4 years too!) I also love finding old out of print herb books from the 70's. LOL! I am known for buying extra copies of my favorites for friends and family members. Though I have culled some of the herb books in recent years they still are favorites of mine to read!

These are my top 10 favorite herb books;

1.) A Family Herbal- Rosemary Gladstar

2.) The Herbal Home Remedy Book-Joyce A. Wardwell

3.) Herbs and Things- Jeanne Rose and Michael Moore

4.) The Way of Herbs- Michael Tierra

5.) The Herbal Medicine Maker's Handbook- by James Green and Ajana Green

6.) Medicinal Plants of the Desert & Canyon West- Michael Moore

7.) Healing Wise- Susun Weed

8.) Herbal Remedies for Women- Amanda Mcquade

9.) Herbal Healing for Women- Rosemary Gladstar

10.) Herbal Medicine from the Heart of the Earth- Sharol Tilgner

Of course A Modern Herbal by Margaret Grieve should receive mention as well as it is a classic and basically the herb bible!

This wonderful little book was also the very first book that got me interested in herbal medicine. I actually came across my copy the other day and that is what got me thinking about this post topic in the first place!

I could go on and on about herb books. It's hard to narrow it down as there are so many good herbalists and books out there! But these are my top 10!
What are your favorites?

Saturday, April 4, 2009

How to make a Solar Infused Herbal Oil

Making a solar infused herbal massage oil is super easy and economical. Not to mention extremely satisfying.

What you will need is;

4 oz. of carrier oil (I like almond or jojoba)

1 oz of herbs (good ones to try are rosemary, lavender, arnica)

A glass jar with a lid

mesh strainer

Combine the herbs and oil in the glass jar and make sure the lid is tight. Set this out in a sunny spot in your window for several weeks. When you have determined the oil is done, strain through the cheesecloth and be sure to wring any excess oil from the herbs. LEt the oil sit overnight uncovered. The next day you can add essential oils (or not) up to 15 drops per 4 oz or as desired. Essential oils are optional but nice for making massage oil, bath oils, etc!

Some good oils to infuse for a nice massage oil are lavender (calming), lemon balm (rejuvanating), calendula flowers (Wonderful skin emollient) arnica (pain relief), rose petals (joyful) . Don't be afraid to experiment!

EDITED- One of my readers made a good point about my method in that everyone's process will not be as speedy as I am used to making solar oils in the strong desert sun! (oops! )

You indeed may have to adjust some of my recipes to where you are.

It may take many weeks or months for your oil to solar infuse depending on where you live. I would set your bottle/jar in a window or on a counter or shelf that gets sunlight during the day.

I am going to edit the above post.

**Alternately, you may also choose to infuse herbs into oil on the stovetop! I will talk more about that in a future post!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Wild Weed Salad- A Poem and a link

Spring is here and how fitting that I came across this delightful poem today! I was just writing an article earlier today about foraging for wild weed salad greens!!! Yum-o! Some of the most delicious salads I have eaten have consisted of wild weeds such as sorrel, lambsquarters, chickweed, wild mustard, curly dock, dandelion,purslane,etc! Since you usually pick these sort of greens and eat them within a day of harvesting they are extra nutritious and give one a real energy boost!

Wild Weed Salad

A wild weed salad for lunch today
To tempt tired taste buds, won't you stay?
Come wander down the hedgerows lush,
The ritual gathering, quiet, no rush
Pink tiny leaves of dandelion
And cleavers clinging from the vine.
Wild sorrel sour to give an edge
Shy cervil nestling 'neath the hedge
Fine fennel, pungent, tall and bold
Calendulas, their petals gold
Sow thistle stems and leaves to eat
Wild mallow, rounded, green and sweet
Relaxing, cooling lemon balm
Blue borage flowers to add some charm
Fat hen leaves, pointed, greenly splayed
Wild onions sweet, we'll need the spade
Some modest violets peeping through
A handful of their green leaves too
Lush chickweed, tangy adding zest
Fat juicy purslane leaves are best
Rosettes of plantain, ribbed and green
A wealth of herbage, strengths unseen
A feast of goodness we'll be fed
With dressing 'French'
and homemade bread.

This wild weed salad poem-recipe was written by well known New Zealand herb devotee, Carmel Hare. She lives in Auckland, NZ, where she has developed a medieval herb garden modeled on the Bonnefort Cloister Herb garden, the Cloisters, New York. Her garden is open to visitors, many of whom get to sample her famous "survival salad" made from wild herbs and weeds. Carmel believes that many valuable trace elements and vitamins are found in abundance in wild herbs and weeds.

Such is the popularity of her Wild Weed Salad that she decided to detail the recipe by way of her poem.

I also came across this delightful article by a local teacher here in New England and wanted to pass it along too! Wonderful stuff!

Herbal Tooth Powder

I love this recipe and wanted to share it here!

1/2 cup Baking Soda
1/2 cup white clay powder
1 teaspoon Myrrh powder
1 teaspoon dried Raspberry leaf
1 teaspoon dried Yellow Dock root
1 teaspoon flavoring herbs of your choice (Fennel -- Peppermint, Spearmint, Wintergreen)
5 drops Essential Oil of Tea Tree

Yield: about 1 cup

Myrrh powder is added to this recipe to help prevent periodontal disease. Baking soda, an ingredient in many commercial products, lessens the mouth's acidity. Raspberry leaf is good for the gums and mildly astringent. Tea tree oil is effective against gingivitis and plaque buildup. Yellow dock is cleansing.

Pour the Baking Soda and White Clay powder into a medium-size mixing bowl. In a spice mill or coffee grinder, grind the dried herbs into a powder. Add all the dry ingredients, including the Myrrh powder, to the Baking Soda/Clay mixture. Mix well with a wire whisk. Add the Tea Tree oil, again mixing well. Place a clean hand towel over the bowl, covering it completely. Let sit overnight. The next morning, mix well again with the wire whisk. Package in an opaque wide-mouthed jar. It will last indefinitely if you keep moisture out of the package.

To use: Wet your toothbrush, then sprinkle a small quantity of powder onto your brush. Brush thoroughly and gently in an up and down motion. Brush the tongue too. Rinse, and feel the freshness of your mouth.

The Herbal Home Spa by Greta Breedlove, pgs. 171 and 172

Plantain Chips Recipe

I found this recipe (by "Wildman" Steve Brill) on the plant foraging group I belong to here and wanted to pass it along! This is for chips made from the plant plantain. (not the fruit plantain) I am going to try this in a couple of weeks and can't hardly wait! Let me know if you try it yourself and how it comes out!

Roasted Plantain Chips

Unlike the banana-related plantain chips of the supermarket,
this wafer-thin chips are made with the leaves of the unrelated common
plantain. They’re great, and it took me only 26 years of downplaying
this plant’s food value to discover how to prepare it properly, using
a method my wife uses for kale.

2 cups young common plantain leaves, or kale
2 tsp. sesame oil
1/2 tsp. fennel seeds, ground
1/2 tsp. caraway seeds, ground
1/4 tsp. powdered ginger
1/2 tsp. salt
A dash of hot sauce

1. Stir all the ingredients together.

2. Spread onto 3 cookie sheets covered with non-stick mats (or oiled
cookie sheets) and bake about 6 minutes, or until very lightly browned
and crisp, in a preheated 425 degree oven. Stir occasionally, being
careful not to let the leaves burn.

Serves 4

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Plantain is a simply amazing plant.

Happy Foraging!

"Wildman" Steve Brill
America's Best-Known Forager
320 Palmer Terrace, Apt. 2A
Mamaroneck, NY, 10543
(914) 835-2153