Archive for the ‘Natural Health’ Category
Posted by|24 October 2014
Our new AromaMist Ultrasonic Diffuser is a must have for the home or office!
Create a tranquil, fragrant environment in any room with this simple to use ultrasonic diffuser. The AromaMist diffuser uses half a cup of tap or bottled water and a few drops of your favorite essential oil to create a continuous fragrant mist for up to three hours. This nearly silent unit has a built-in shut off for when the water level gets low. This pearl white diffuser also has an optional light setting that glows in blue, pink, or a revolving rainbow of colors.
Ultrasonic diffusion creates a fine mist by using ultrasonic vibrations to dispense essential oils into the air using water as a carrier. This mist is created without the use of heat, and helps to add moisture into the air in addition to the aroma-therapeutic benefits of essential oils.
Find more information on this wonderful diffuser on our website HERE.
Visit our Essential Oils page for endless diffusing options…
Posted by|21 October 2014
This is a classic topical formula that can be used to help ease occasional aches and pains associated with activities like hiking and biking or to help warm up the joints when faced with the chill of cold weather. I like to keep this healing ointment handy during the active summer months and throughout the wintertime for just these reasons. Such great medicine! It also makes a wonderful gift that’s super easy to whip up. Simply rub into sore joints and muscles for a little relief, avoiding broken skin, as needed.
Cayenne & St. John’s Wort Salve Recipe
1. Using a double boiler, mix the oil with the cayenne powder and warm very gently. Allow to cool and then heat up again, being sure not to let the oil bubble.
2. Remove from heat and allow to sit and infuse for 24 hours.
3. The next day, strain oil through cheesecloth to remove excess powder.
4. Place herbal infused oil and beeswax into your double boiler and gently warm over low heat until the beeswax melts.
6. Salves should be stored in a cool location where they will remain semi-solid.
Posted by|14 October 2014
Here’s a question we’ve heard a lot from our Facebook and blog friends:
“What’s the deal with powdered herbs and how can I use them differently from cut and sifted herbs?”
There are a number of different ways you can use powders, but one really awesome thing about powdered herbs is that you can easily add a bit of herbal magic to your smoothies!
The herbs listed below are often called superherbs, superfruits, or super foods - although, we think all plants are pretty super! However you choose to define them, be sure to do your own research to see how they will best fit into your daily health regime. It’s always a good idea, and fun, to diversify. So, with that said, I’m excited to offer my master list to help you herb up your smoothie!
Here’s the master list of herbal boosts for your super smoothie!
Acai Powder – Acai berry is relatively new to the US and has quickly become a popular fruit used in smoothies, sorbets, capsules, and juices. The dark purple Acai berry is a source of antioxidants and anthocyanins, and contains protein, fiber, vitamin E and iron. It is naturally low in sugar and the flavor is a mellow mixture of red wine and chocolate. This amazing fruit powder is certified organic and quickly freeze dried after harvest.
Amla Powder – This is a dried and pulverized berry of a sacred tree in India known for being a source of vitamin C and having a sour, bitter, and astringent taste. The dehydrated Amla pieces will easily re-hydrate in water, creating a fibrous texture similar to dehydrated apples with a much tarter taste. You could also use the whole dried berries to make a juice as a base for your smoothies. This berry is commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine practices and is considered a cooling pitta herb.
Barberries (juice base) – These dried, red Berberis berries are often used in Persian and Afghan cooking, or made into jam or pickles. Barberries are known for their citric acid content, vitamin content, and contain the active compound berberine. Super tasty berry power!
Bee Pollen – Bee pollen has a long and storied past throughout human history. Hippocrates and Pythagoras both prescribed bee pollen for its healing properties. Native Americans wore pouches containing pollen around their necks on long journeys to eat so they could sustain a high level of energy. Bee pollen has a complex flavor that’s sweet, spicy, and floral with hints of honey.
Beet Root Powder – Beets have been used in folk medicine to treat a wide variety of ailments since the time of the Romans and was popularized by the French for its culinary value. The natural sugar content makes this powder a great sweetener! It also offers fiber, magnesium, potassium, zinc, beta-carotene, calcium, and B vitamins.
Bilberries – A close relative of the blueberry, cranberry, and huckleberry, bilberries have a wonderful blue/purple color from natural anthocyanosides, which has earned them a rich medicinal history. Bilberries have a flavor very similar to blueberries and offer antioxidant bioflavonoids.
Cacao Powder – Who doesn’t love the mood boosting properties of chocolate? The Mayan, Olmec, and Aztec civilizations used the entire cacao fruit medicinally. Cacao contains caffeine, flavonoids, phenylethylalamine, anandamide, magnesium, sulfur, oleic acid, theobromine, and tryptophan. Cacao beans and nibs are a source of magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc, copper, manganese and potassium, and are a good source of vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C, E and pantothenic acid.
Camu Camu Powder – This nutrient dense fruit from the Amazon rainforest is attracting the attention of many for its Vitamin C content. Camu camu has a highly acidic flavor that can be easily sweetened to taste. Use in your smoothie as a source of magnesium, potassium, Vitamin C, beta carotene, iron, and amino acids.
Carob Powder - Made popular as a caffiene-free substitute for chocolate, carob powder was once deemed essential to the opera for saving the voices of performance-weary sopranos. This pea family pod has been used as a food source for over 5,000 years, offering dense nutritional value and a naturally sweet and slightly bitter flavor.
Cayenne Powder - The Capsicum family includes bell peppers, red peppers, and paprika, but the most famous medicinal members of the family are cayenne and chilies. Careful to use the slightest amount, unless you handle heat well! The capsaicin in these peppers has been used medicinally for its anti-inflammatory and diaphoretic properties. Try freezing our Lemon Tea in an ice cube tray and then blending them up with apple slices, fresh greens, fresh ginger, and a 1/8 tsp of Cayenne Powder.
Chaga Powder – Chaga is a parasitic carpophores mushroom that looks like the charred remains of burned wood on the side of a birch tree (sometimes growing on Elm and Alder, but Birch is its favorite). Chaga is commonly made into a tea, taken by tincture, or put into capsules for its antioxidant content. Why not give your smoothie some mushroom power?
Chia Seeds – Chia seeds rule! They are great for making homemade puddings, gel juice, or easy jam recipes. They also rule in smoothies. Chia was a staple for Incan, Mayan, and Aztec cultures. “Chia” is the Mayan word for “strength” and Chia seeds used to be referred to as “Warrior Running Food” because they are so energizing.
Chlorella Powder – Some scientists believe these single celled algae may be among the Earth’s oldest living organisms. Natural health enthusiasts know chlorella well as an excellent source of nutrients. Its bright green color would make it a perfect pair for leafy greens like kale or dandelion. You can also use it instead of fresh greens in your winter smoothie recipes!
Cordyceps Powder – Cordyceps is an adaptogen and has been used to create stimulating tonics and maintain a healthy functioning immune system in times of stress. Contains Adenine, adenosine, uracil, uridine, guanidine, guanosine, hypoxanthine, inosine, thymine, thymidine, and deoxyuridine.
Cranberry Powder – A diuretic and wonderfully flavorful herb, its fruity tartness and beautiful color is perfect for your berry filled smoothies. Conventional cranberry juice from the store often has lots of added sugar that can actually negate the benefits of this powerful fruit!
Damiana Leaf Powder – Historically used as an aphrodisiac, this is one of the best herbal mood boosters out there. Light floral taste with a spicy finish and lovely green color, damiana leaf powder would go great in a smoothie to help you deal with those day-to-day ups and downs we all experience.
Elderberry Powder – Elder flowers and berries have a long history in traditional European medicine. Elderberries are traditionally made into a syrup for ingestion during the fall and winter months. The berries have a gorgeous dark purple red color and a sweet and rich flavor. You can make a syrup with the berries to add to your smoothie or boil the powder in some water and add to your liquid base.
Flaxmeal – Flax seed is an important and very popular ingredient found in the world of herbal health foods as a source of omega fatty acids and fiber. Add some to your smoothies or use the meal in bread and muffin recipes!
Garcinia Fruit – This dark red fruit can be rehydrated and blended up with your smoothie base. It is said to make recipes more filling and satisfying, which can be helpful to extend your morning shake! It has a distinct sour fruit flavor.
Guarana Seed Powder – Guarana is thought to be the highest source of caffeine available in nature, containing 2.5 times the amount of caffeine as coffee. A lovely addition to your morning smoothie!
Hawthorn Berry Powder – The fruit of this rose family tree has been used traditionally to support a healthy functioning cardiovascular system. It offers antioxidant flavonoids!
Hemp Seed – With a lightly nutty flavor and healthy fats, hemp seeds make a great addition to any smoothie! Hemp seed contains all the essential amino acids and essential fatty acids that our bodies need, which makes it a perfect protein supplement. No other single source provides such a complete protein in a form that is so easily digested and absorbed by the body
Hibiscus Flower Powder – A beautiful flower with a tart taste due to its content of 15 to 30% plant acids, including citric, malic, and tartaric acids in a lovely wine-red color. Hibiscus is used as one of the main ingredients in many tea blends for its color and level of antioxidants.
Kava Root Powder – A beloved herb and a trusted ally during times of trial. Kava tea made from powdered kava root is warming and soothing to the nerves, body, and soul. Pacific Islanders have for centuries used Kava to calm nerves and help with relaxation.
Lycii Berries – A great way to sweeten your smoothies is to soak a handful of these dehydrated berries in water or milk overnight. In the morning, toss the combination into your blender with fruit or veggies! Lycii berry, otherwise known to Chinese herbalists as Goji or Chinese Wolfberry is bright red and almost chewy with a taste very similar to raisins. It has been used as a general nutrient tonic (Yin tonic) for many years and Chinese medicine refers to it as a “cooling tonic”.
Maca Root Powder – Maca is traditionally prepared as a food, particularly in South America where it grows. The root is a highly nutritious staple food, boasting carbohydrates, protein, and a variety of essential minerals like calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, sterols, and essential fatty acids. Because of it’s mineral content Maca has been used to rejuvenate tired systems.
Maqui Berry Powder – These berries taste tart like huckleberries and contain powerful antioxidant properties. It is documented that Macqui berries have been used by the Mapuche natives of Chile and Argentina for centuries. Maqui berries are relatively new to the American herbal market, and are primarily being sold as one of the latest “superfoods” with anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and other beneficial attributes.
Milk Thistle Seed Powder – Three of the active compounds within milk thistle seed are collectively identified as silymarin. This constituent is credited for much of milk thistle’s medicinal value, particularly associated with supporting healthy liver function.
Rosehips – The fruit of the rose is one of the most concentrated sources of Vitamin C. Rosehips have a tart flavor and are widely used in jams, jellies, and teas.
Spirulina Powder – The concentration of amino acids has made spirulina a popular nutritional supplement for those who are unable to obtain sufficient calories and protein through diet alone, particularly athletes who burn calories at a high rate. A slightly sweet earthy taste, this powder is great taken in capsule form or as an addition to your daily smoothie.
Wheat Grass Powder – Wheat grass sprouts contain a high level of organic phosphates and a potent cocktail of antioxidants. If you are unable to grow your own, a powder is an easy addition to your super smoothies!
Yacon Root Powder – This root is commonly made into a sweet syrup or extract. In powder form, yacon root makes an excellent addition to your blended beverage. It is thought to be one of the “lost crops” of the Incas, who were known to cultivate it and who considered it an important food crop. The fresh root is small and similar in appearance to a potato, and is said to taste similar to a cross between celery and Granny Smith apples.
Posted by|10 October 2014
The great folks at Urban Moonshine have added a new formula to their line of Herbal Bitters…
This super tasty formula has a higher ginger content than the original formula and is made without essential oils. It is available in three different sizes:
- 1/2 oz. personal glass spray bottle for your on-the-go bitters.
- 2 oz. glass dropper bottle for office or home use.
- 8.4 oz. glass refill bottle for economical filling of your smaller size.
Each batch is made with botanical herbal bitter goodness: organic Dandelion root and leaf, organic Chamomile, organic Burdock root, organic Yellow Dock root, and organic Ginger root. Contains alcohol.
Find out more about the full line of Urban Moonshine Herbal Bitters on our website HERE!!
Posted by|06 October 2014
Have you been searching for an alternative to alcohol-based tinctures? Looking for a way to extract the benefits of herbs and preserve them? Maybe you like your medicine a little on the sweet side?
Vegetable glycerine, the sweet principle of oils, was discovered in 1789 and came into use by medicine makers around 1846. This liquid is obtained by the hydrolysis of vegetable fats or fixed oils. The food grade vegetable glycerine offered by Mountain Rose Herbs is certified organic and kosher, making it a great option.
Sometimes referred to as glycerol, glycerine is a clear, colorless, and odorless liquid with an incredibly sweet taste having the consistency of thick syrup. Glycerine has been used as an ingredient in toothpaste, shampoos, soaps, herbal remedies, and other household items.
Glycerine is also a great solvent for extracting constituents from plants without the use of alcohol. These extracts are known as “glycerites” and are an excellent choice for administering herbal support to pets, children, or people who are sensitive to alcohol for any reason. Glycerine is slightly antiseptic and has anti-fermentative properties that are efficient for preservation. A glycerite has a shelf life of 14-24 months, versus an alcohol extract with a shelf life of 4-6 years.
When making a glycerite with dried herbs, it is common to use water to rehydrate the herbs and loosen up the botanical matter. Generally a mixture with 60% or more glycerin to 40% or less water is a safe ratio. To err on the side of safety, I go with a 75% glycerine to 25% water ratio. If you are working with fresh moist herb, you can go with 100% glycerine for your extract – just be sure to muddle well.
Directions for making your own alcohol-free herbal glycerites:
- Fill a mason jar ½ way with dried herb (2/3 way full with fresh herb). Chop dried herb well before mixing with menstruum.
- In a separate jar, mix 3 parts organic Vegetable Glycerine and 1 part distilled water. Shake to combine.
- Pour liquid mixture over the herb and completely cover to fill the jar.
- Label container with date, ratio of glycerine to water, and herbs used.
- Agitate daily for 4-6 weeks.
- Strain with cheesecloth, bottle, label!
- Note: If you used a fine powder you may need to double filter, and even filter through a coffee filter to ensure that no botanical material remains in your glycerite.
Wondering which herbs to try first? Here’s a list of herbs recommended for glycerite preparation from herbalist James Green’s Herbal Medicine Maker’s Handbook:
Enjoy your alcohol-free extract!
Posted by|24 September 2014
Our new catalog for Autumn 2014/Winter 2015 has arrived!
As cool weather draws us near the hearth, we’re crafting gifts for the holidays, baking treats, and making medicine from this year’s bounty. We’ve filled these pages with new recipes like vegan gluten-free White Chocolate Coconut Bark, Rosemary Mint Elixir, and Herb Roasted Chickpeas, as well as unique homemade gift ideas, herbal profiles, and new products.
As always, we print on post-consumer waste paper with eco-friendly inks so you can recycle the cover and compost the rest, although we hope you’ll keep it around for a bit or share it with a friend. You can also view the catalog online by clicking here!
Want a FREE copy all for yourself?
Posted by|15 September 2014
We have a tendency to take our feet for granted—and yet, our feet get us everywhere we need to go each day! If you’ve spent a summer running barefoot or wrestle with dry, cracked feet, a regime of herbal self-care may be just what’s needed.
For those of us who wear work boots, or spend all day standing, our feet may get especially sore or develop a bit of an odor. Fortunately, a little extra tending can help combat both of those challenges! These recipes are suitable for everyday use, or as a special occasional pampering. Feel free to experiment and use the herbs, essential oils, and carrier oils you like best!
The perfect pampering pedicure:
Step 1: Get started by using a pumice stone to remove dry, loose skin.
Step 2: Next, it’s time for a foot soak! Adapt your soak to suit your needs.
Rejuvenating Foot Soak
Fill tub or basin with warm water and add above ingredients. Mix well and soak feet for 15-20 minutes.
Deodorizing Foot Soak
Fill tub or basin with warm water and add above ingredients. Mix well and soak feet for 15-20 minutes.
Herb Blend for Happy Feet
Add equal parts of the following herbs to a bowl and combine well. (I used 2 Tablespoons of each) Scoop mixture into cotton muslin bags and use as an addition to the foot soaks above, or on their own as an herbal foot soak in warm water.
Step 3: Apply the following foot scrub to feet, rubbing well, and then rinse off in the soaking water:
Cleansing Foot Scrub
Mix all ingredients in a ceramic or glass bowl, using a wooden spoon to combine. Add enough water to make a paste. Rub well all over feet. Rinse.
Step 4: Dry feet well, making sure to get between toes. Spritz feet with organic Lavender, Rose, Chamomile, Calendula, Lemon Balm, Rosemary, or Peppermint Hydrosol.
Step 5: This is the time to trim toenails or tend to extra cleaning in and around toes and toenails. Trim toenails to fit the shape of the toe and file for extra smoothness.
Step 6: Rub Healing Foot Salve into feet or lotion of choice. You can even finish with a simple moisturizing application of organic Olive Oil or Sweet Almond Oil.
Moisturizing Foot Salve
½ cup organic Sweet Almond Oil
½ cup organic Jojoba Oil
1 ounce Beeswax
20 drops organic Lemongrass essential oil
10 drops organic Tea Tree essential oil
10 drops Bergamot Mint essential oil
Optional: organic Roman Chamomile essential oil, organic Lemon Balm essential oil
In a Pyrex bowl or 4-cup measuring cup, add oils and beeswax. Heat over boiling water until melted and combined. Remove from heat and stir in essential oils. Pour into tins or jars. This recipe makes 10 ounces of salve, enough to fill two 4-ounce tins and one 2-ounce tin. Let cool until solid (this will only take an hour or so.)
I like to put on cotton socks after slathering my feet with this salve and it doesn’t have to be used only after a foot soak. Rubbing it on your feet in the morning after a shower or prior to going to bed are both great ways to add moisture to overworked feet on a daily basis. Feel free to try different oil combinations or essential oils to suit your personal likes and needs.
Soothing Foot Powder
¼ cup French Green or White Cosmetic Clay
¼ cup Baking Soda
¼ cup Arrowroot Powder or cornstarch
¼ cup Marshmallow Root Powder
10 drops organic Peppermint essential oil
10 drops organic Eucalyptus essential oil
Combine all ingredients well and put into a powder container (or keep in a box or tin and use a brush or powder puff.) Sprinkle on feet or in shoes to absorb moisture and soothe hard-working feet.
You might also find these helpful:
Posted by|08 September 2014
Many cuticle creams on the market today are mixed with yucky chemicals meant to “dissolve” your cuticle. Sure they might be pesky at times, but cuticles serve a purpose. Their job is to protect your nail bed, and our job is to protect them!
Keeping your hands and cuticles well hydrated is the first defense against cracking, peeling, and possible infection, as well as the key to keeping them looking great! If your cuticles are not well moisturized, they are more prone to break, crack, and thus become more vulnerable to bacteria. Maintaining well hydrated cuticles is what keeps them under control as well.
So instead of trimming, try this weekly routine: soak nails in warm soapy water, pat dry and then gently push your cuticles back (with something soft) and slather on some of this cuticle ointment. You can also keep a tin of this cuticle cream in your bathroom, on your nightstand, in your kitchen, and even at your desk to apply throughout the day. You might find that your cuticles are less of a problem, with the added benefit of fewer hang nails, and an overall improvement in nail health.
I love Argan oil! Pressed from the fruit kernels of the Moroccan Argan tree, Argan oil smells lightly nutty (not as much as neem), is so incredibly light, and absorbs quickly into the skin, making it a perfect cosmetic oil for your face, hair, or nails! I like to use it knowing it will absorb quickly and that I won’t get everything around me (especially my face and clothes) super greasy! You can also massage this ointment into brittle nails to help nourish and strengthen them naturally.
Argan Oil Cuticle Cream Recipe
2 Tbsp organic Argan Oil
2 Tbsp organic Sweet Almond Oil
1 TBSP + 1 TSP Beeswax Pastilles
2 Tbsp organic Shea Butter
A couple drops of Vitamin E oil
Essential Oil Blend
1. Place a small to medium sized pot of water (2-3 inches) on the stovetop, over low-medium heat.
2. Place butter, oils, and beeswax into a small Pyrex measuring glass and hang on the inside edge of your pot of water.
3. Stir occasionally until butter and wax are fully melted together in the oil. Remove from heat.
4. Stir in essential oils and vitamin e oil.
5. Quickly pour into 5-6 1/2 oz tins.
6. Place lids loosely onto containers and allow to cool.
7. Once completely cool, place lids all the way on containers, make a label and enjoy!
Australian Sandalwood Essential Oil: Sweet, woodsy, softly floral, and delicately robust. Good for dry and chapped skin. A grounding essential oil sure to boost your mood.
Tea Tree Essential Oil: A classic medicinal with a sharp, earthy, herbaceous scent. A great essential oil to keep your nails in their happy healthy state.
Sweet Orange Essential Oil: Uplifting, citrusy, and sweet. The aroma of sweet orange is cheerful and the oil is naturally antibacterial to keep your nails feeling clean and fresh all day long.
Posted by|05 September 2014
From the lovely folks at Herbal Revolution, we bring you…
This spicy tonic is based on a traditional cider vinegar recipe that holds deep roots in the herbal community for providing digestive and respiratory support. Every rendition of this classic recipe is a little different, just as every bottle of handcrafted Fire Tonic no. 9 will have a unique flavor. This infused vinegar can be taken straight by the spoonful, added to your favorite veggie juice, or blended into a delicious homemade dressing.
Herbal Revolution’s unique recipe infuses organic apple cider vinegar from the oldest organic apple orchard in Maine with organically homegrown vegetables and herbs. To this spicy blend they add just the right amount of raw Maine honey.
Visit our Bitters, Elixirs, & Syrups page to see our full line of tasty herbal concoctions!
Posted by|22 August 2014
We are super excited about the newest addition to our Fair Trade Certified products!
We have been working closely with our supplier over the past few years to make certification of our unrefined organic Coconut Oil happen. This is the same wonderful Coconut Oil that we’ve always offered, but now it’s both Certified Organic and Fair Trade Certified. This pure, healthy oil is perfect for cooking or as an ingredient in luxurious skin care products!
Visit our website HERE to learn more about this beautiful oil.
Visit our website HERE to learn more about our Fair Trade program.
A few Coconut Oil recipes for inspiration…
Posted by|18 August 2014
A gentle and effective treatment for too much heat or minor bumps and bruises can come in the tried-and-true form of an herbal compress. This preparation brings the healing constituents of herbs and the soothing sensations of a cool damp cloth close to your skin to accelerate the natural healing process. When draped around the skin, the moisture of the tea soaked towel softens the skin and allows the healing herbs to penetrate deep into your body.
Unlike a warm compress, a cold compress constricts blood vessels, which helps ease swelling and calm inflammation, as well as reduce some kinds of pain. You can use a cold compress to soothe insect bites, sunburns, and general skin irritations. Cold compresses can also help speed healing in situations of bruising, occasional swollen glands, and minor strains and sprains.
The fun thing about compresses is that you don’t need an excuse to make one up to enjoy! Making a cold compress on a hot day can be a pleasant way to escape the heat and incorporate topical herb treatments and aromatherapy into to your daily life. A few of your favorite herbs for skin care can transport you to a spa oasis in your own home and remind you that you never need an excuse to treat yourself extra special!
How to make and use an herbal compress:
1. First make a strong tea with your desired herbs. I like to use about 3 Tablespoons per cup of water. I use a cotton muslin bag and a ceramic bowl for steeping, but you could do this in a sauce pan or tea pot too! Let your tea cool, or place in the refrigerator to cool quickly.
2. Soak a clean piece of fabric/cotton material in the tea and squeeze excess tea out of the cloth.
3. Place soaked cloth on your skin and wrap around the area in need. Let sit and enjoy the cooling herbal sensation!
Cooling Herbal Compress Recipe
Steep, strain, cool, soak, and wrap!
More herbs to use in compresses!
General Skin Irritation:
Have fun and enjoy the refreshing cool!
Posted by|05 August 2014
Our summer post from Kiva Rose Hardin is here! Her beautifully written articles marry the personal with the scientific, lore with experience, offering untamed and fresh insight. Herbalist, wildcrafter, artist, and storyteller, Kiva Rose lives in a canyon botanical sanctuary within the Gila Wilderness of New Mexico. She is also the co-director of the HerbFolk Gathering, held each September in the mountain Southwest, coeditor of Plant Healer Magazine, and publisher of the historical novel, The Medicine Bear as well as The Plant Healer’s Path by Jesse Wolf Hardin, and maintains an herbal blog, The Medicine Woman’s Roots.
When someone mentions Peach, it’s usually the sweet, juicy fruit of Georgia that comes to mind, not the medicinal properties of the leaf, bark, and flower. Despite that, Peach has a long and storied history of medicinal use the world over, including through portions of the United States. In North America, Appalachian herbalist Phyllis Light has helped to bring this wonderful remedy back to the broader herbal community through her teaching and writing. I grew up in the deep South and knew a little of its medicine as a young girl since it’s a traditional herb there, but learned a great deal more from Phyllis when I became a practicing herbalist.
Being a member of the Rose family, Peach shares many cooling, soothing properties with the Rose, including its gentle nature and sweetly aromatic taste. It’s safe even for children, the elderly, and pregnant women, and is incredibly good at what it does. Here I’ll be discussing the elixir in some details, but a wonderful tasting tea can be made with the dried leaves as well. If you have more than one Peach tree to choose from, it’s worthwhile to do a scratch and sniff test by gently scratching the bark of a small twig and sniffing. The tree that smells the strongest also tends to have the strongest medicine as far as relaxing and cooling properties
Peach is the perfect herb to explore during the long, hot days of Summer. It helps to soothe the irritability that often comes with extended periods of heat, as well as lessen the nausea, diarrhea, insomnia, and lack of appetite that can go with it. Here in New Mexico where summers can be exceedingly hot and dry, some people develop a dry, hack in response to the climate and I have found that the Peach Elixir works very well to soothe it. It works similarly on respiratory function aggravated by heat, and I always keep it on hand for my daughter who finds both it and our local Chokecherry, Prunus serotina, in easing her breathing issues during the hot months. The local Hispanics of my region think of Peach leaf as an overall summer tonic, and given how many heat induced ills it can alleviate, I’m inclined to agree with them.
Peach has another property worth noting, it can be applied topically as tincture, elixir, or poultice and taken internally when stung by a bee, wasp, or other venomous insect. Take half to one ml (that’s approximately half to one dropperful from a one ounce tincture bottle) of the elixir as soon as you’re stung or bitten and then again if the sting/bite gets worse or in fifteen minutes if there are any symptoms. This is not a replacement for an epi pen, but is great for the average person with a normal response to insect stings and bites. Some even find the action strong enough to help with reactions to seasonal pollen or pets as well. It doesn’t always work, but it’s certainly worth a try.
Sweet Peach Leaf Elixir
Ingredients & Tools
For your elixir, it’s helpful to have on hand:
A glass pint jar that seals well
Fresh Peach leaves and/or flowers and twigs (the more aromatic the better, and either feral or domestic varieties will work)
About a pint of high quality brandy (the better the brandy, the better your elixir will taste)
1/3 pint of raw honey (preferably local, and of a lighter wildflower type since darker honeys can muffle the Peach taste a bit)
A good stirring spoon
Step by Step Instructions
First, fill your jar all the way to the top with Peach leaves or flowers/twigs. You don’t have to pack them in, but push them down a bit to minimize the air space in the jar.
Now, pour the honey in slowly, stirring as necessary, until the plant matter is well coated.
Next, fill to the top with brandy, again stirring as necessary to remove air bubbles and fill the jar evenly.
Now cover the jar with a tight fitting lid, and shake carefully to finish the mixing process.
Let macerate in a cool, dark place for four to six weeks or as long as you can stand to wait.
When straining, reserve liquid.
Bottle and store in a cool, dry place away from sunlight until needed.
Organic rose petals compliment the medicine of Peach and they taste amazing together!
Cinnamon warms and spices up Peach, making it more appropriate year round.
Apple bark combines well with Peach specifically for gastric upset accompanied by heartburn.
Chamomile flowers amplify the digestion soothing properties of Peach, and they taste lovely together.
Chokecherry, Prunus serotina works very well with Peach.
Ideas for Application
Internally for soothing irritability and occasional sleeplessness when the weather is hot or the tongue is bright red and the person feels overheated.
Internally for nausea, and vomiting from sun exposure, being overheated, and in any case where the tongue is red and the person feels excessively hot.
Internally for gut upset, including nausea and diarrhea, with signs of heat and tension.
Internally for occasional tension and irritability aggravated by the heat or resulting in feelings of overheatedness.
Internally for some types of gastric irritation.
Topically and internally for insect stings and bites.
I’ll have another article specifically on medicinal uses of Peach, including case studies, in the August issue of the free Plant Healer Newsletter that you can sign up for at http://planthealer.org.
Peach medicine can be hard to find, but is available online in elixir form from King’s Road Apothecary and my own shop, The Bramble & The Rose, and will also be sold at the Healer’s Market at this September’s HerbFolk Gathering conference near Flagstaff, Arizona.