Archive for the ‘Recipes and DIY’ Category
Posted by|15 October 2013
Have you been enjoying the Flavor Wheel we offered as a free download last week? It’s such an incredibly practical tool for anyone learning about natural health and herbal remedies. We love it!
Maybe it inspired you to look deeper into choosing the right herb for a specific person’s need?
Well, if so, we are super excited to present a wonderful new online course that simplifies that process and provides a roadmap for making these choices easier…
It’s called Taste of Herbs with Rosalee de la Forêt!
Want more details?
Visit the Taste of Herbs website now to learn all about this fantastic new course.
Posted by|11 October 2013
We have a wonderful new video recipe by Rosalee de la Forêt to share from the upcoming Taste of Herbs course! If you have already downloaded your free Flavor Wheel, be sure to take a look at it as you watch this video. Astragalus chai tea boasts the powerful immuno-supportive benefits of sweet herbs like astragalus and codonopsis alongside the delicious pungent spices of ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and pepper. Here’s what you’ll need…
Astragalus Chai Tea
10-15 small slices organic astragalus root
2 tablespoons of organic codonopsis root
2 tablespoons of organic ginger root
2 tablespoons organic dried orange peel
1 tablespoon of organic cinnamon chips
1 teaspoon of organic peppercorns
1-2 organic cardamom pods
3-5 organic allspice berries
1/4 teaspoon of organic cloves (about 3-5 cloves)
1 and 1/2 quarts of water
Place all the ingredients in a pan.
Bring to a boil.
Simmer for one hour.
Add milk and honey if desired.
Want to learn more?
Visit the Taste of Herbs website!
Posted by|09 October 2013
This post (and tasty recipe!) comes to us from herbalist Rosalee de la Forêt! She is the creator of Taste of Herbs, an exciting new course teaching practical herbalism by LearningHerbs and Mountain Rose Herbs. Rosalee is a clinical herbalist, herbal educator, and founder of Herbal Remedies Advice who lives on the edge of the wilderness in the northeastern Cascadian mountains of Washington state. Many thanks to Rosalee for sharing!
How often do you use your sense of taste to understand how herbs work?
There are many ways to learn about herbs. Oftentimes when people first begin to study herbalism they attempt to memorize long lists of what an herb can do. Or they might memorize a list of herbs that are good for a particular reason. Of course, there is no wrong way to learn about herbs! But learning herbs by memorizing lists can be a bit overwhelming (not to mention a bit boring!).
There is another wonderful way to dive into the world of herbalism. This method gives you a strong connection to plants and how they are used and it doesn’t require memorizing lists of information. This is your sense of taste!
The taste of an herb can reveal how we can use that herb for medicine. When you develop your sense of taste and fine-tune it to understand how herbs work, you unleash a powerful tool. The best part is that this is a tool you can easily carry with you wherever you go!
There are five categories or tastes in herbal medicine:
pungent, salty, sour, bitter, and sweet.
In this recipe, we are exploring an herb that is classified as having a pungent taste: cardamom!
Cardamom is one of my favorite spices. I use it in chai blends as well as sweet and savory dishes.
It has a pungent and spicy taste that is warming in nature. Cardamom helps to increase circulation, which can warm up the body or break through stagnant digestion. (Ever eat a meal that just felt like it was stuck in your middle, making you feel bloated and heavy? That’s food stagnation.)
Cardamom is also a famous aphrodisiac herb that has long been touted as an herb that can spice up your love life. But what does that mean exactly? Do you eat cardamom and instantly feel like an evening in front of the fire with Marvin Gaye in the background? Probably not…
One way of understanding how cardamom works as an aphrodisiac is by its taste and qualities. Remember, cardamom is spicy and warming. It increases circulation and invigorates the senses. You might begin to imagine what the effects of increasing warmth, circulation, and sensations might have on your love life. It also tastes alluring and sweetens the breath. I think that makes for a win, win, win, win in the love department.
Here’s a delicious recipe for Cardamom Chia Pudding to bring this pungent taste to life!
If you’ve never had chia seed pudding you are in for a treat! Chia seeds are nutritious seeds that soak up the liquid around them to form a tapioca-like pudding. Yum!
This recipe takes only minutes to put together, but then needs several hours or overnight for it to turn into a pudding. And yes, feel free to enjoy it in front of the fire with Marvin working his magic in the stereo.
Cardamom Chia Pudding
In a medium sized bowl, stir together the water and coconut milk until it has an even consistency. Add the chia seeds and mix well. Let stand for one hour in the fridge, then stir again, breaking up any clusters of chia seeds if necessary. Store for a couple more hours, or overnight, in the fridge before serving. Add the cardamom powder and honey to taste. Mix well. This goes great with any kind of seasonal fruit. I prefer this recipe served chilled, but some people may enjoy it warmed up. It will keep in the fridge for several days.
Want to learn more?
You can download the free Taste of Herbs Flavor Wheel here!
Posted by|07 October 2013
Selecting the best products and ingredients for skincare can be daunting, and baby’s skin is even more delicate and sensitive than our own. The lists of ingredients on baby care products are often a mile-long and contain hard-to-read and unrecognizable ingredient names. Many commercial baby care products even include toxic ingredients that have been linked to allergies, cancer, developmental problems, and organ dysfunction, in addition to many other harmful side effects. No thanks!
This soothing and gentle massage oil is perfect for nurturing mama’s and baby’s sensitive skin. Apply after bathing for massages, cradle cap, or anytime that skin feels dry. You can also pour a small amount into bathwater for a luxurious pampering bath.
- Organic Sunflower or Sweet Almond Oil
- 2 parts Organic Lavender flowers
- 2 parts Organic Calendula flowers
- 1 part Organic Rose petals or buds
- 1 part Organic Chamomile flowers
- 1 part Organic Comfrey leaf
- Vitamin E Oil
Fill a glass jar ¼ – ½ full with herbs, then fill to the top with Sunflower or Sweet Almond oil. Screw a tight-fitting lid onto the jar, shake well, and place in a warm windowsill to infuse. Shake the jar daily or as often as you remember. After 4-6 weeks, strain the herbs out using cheesecloth or muslin. Add Vitamin E Oil to the infusion, then pour into glass jars.
Posted by|04 October 2013
This beautiful rainbow of aromatic blossoms and herbs is a wonderful way to relax at the end of the day. A classic combination of sleepytime herbs like chamomile, lavender, and hops, this blend will help you drift off to dreamland with ease.
Our organic Dream Herbs Blend also promotes vivid and imaginative dreams thanks to the addition of mugwort and rosemary (for memory), and comes with a reusable muslin bag, so you can use as little or as much as you’d like. The effects of this blend can be quite powerful for some folks, so it’s a good idea to experiment with the amount to find what’s right for you.
Place the blend inside or under your pillow, hang a bag from your bed post, or display a bowl of this beautiful blend on your nightstand. Close your eyes, set your intention, and allow the herbal aromas to lull you into slumber. If you’re feeling crafty, you can make pretty sleep and dream pillows that are great for traveling and also make lovely holiday gifts. You can learn more about that fun little project here!
Just need a little help drifting off without the dream encouragement?
See our website for information about our Sleep Herbs Blend.
Posted by|01 October 2013
The last few peppers of summer are calling out to you from the garden. By this point, you’ve probably made plenty of salsa and relish, stuffed rellenos and rainbow colored salads, barbequed skewers and towering sandwiches galore.
Looking for one more way to honor theses flavorful beauties?
Try these gorgeously spicy, savory, cornbread muffins! You can get creative and use any other pepper you have on-hand, like jalapenos or poblanos for this recipe, as well as trade out the flour to make them gluten-free. With a nice crisped top, super moist crumb, and explosion of cheesy, spicy goodness, all you need is a little dollop of melting butter to make these the perfect dinner side or afternoon snack.
Cheddar Pepper Cornbread Muffins
1 1/4 cups organic stone-ground cornmeal
3/4 cup organic all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp organic sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp organic chili powder
1 tsp organic ground black pepper
½ tsp organic cumin powder
1 tsp fine sea salt
2 farm fresh organic eggs
1½ cups grated cheddar cheese
2/3 cup organic milk
2/3 cup organic buttermilk
½ cup organic white onion, minced
½ cup organic red bell pepper, minced
½ cup fresh organic cilantro, minced
3 Tbsp organic unsalted butter, melted
1. Preheat the oven to 425°F and lightly grease a muffin pan.
2. Whisk the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Mix together the eggs, milk, buttermilk, shredded cheese, cilantro, onion, and peppers in a separate bowl. Next, combine the wet and dry ingredients and mix until moist. Fold the butter into the batter.
3. Fill the muffin pan evenly with batter. Bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 10 to 12 minutes.
4. Eat and enjoy!
Posted by|30 September 2013
Variations of this recipe have been treasured since Medieval times when it is said that a band of thieves raided the homes of plague victims, protected only by an herbal-infused vinegar formula the robbers had concocted. The herbs they used in this tale vary from story to story, but many well-known immunity boosters and anti-microbial herbs can be combined to create this potent medicinal preparation.
We’ve received quite a few questions from folks about using our Four Thieves Oil recipe internally (which we don’t recommend, since essential oils are highly concentrated), and thought it would be helpful to post an effective vinegar-based recipe that can be consumed. This Four Thieves vinegar formula can be taken by the spoonful, added to water, used in place of regular vinegar in many recipes, or as a surface cleaning agent.
Turning this classic remedy into a delicious salad dressing helps the medicine go down easy and has become one of my favorite ways to use it! I go a bit lighter on the herbs when making a dressing, but you can increase the amount of each herb to 1 tablespoon for an extra medicinal kick. If you are using fresh herbs, chop them up and fill the jar 1/2 full. Then fill the rest of the jar with vinegar, infuse for a month, and strain.
Four Thieves Vinegar & Vinaigrette Recipe
1 tbsp organic sage leaf
1 tsp organic lavender flowers
1 tsp organic rosemary leaf
½ tsp organic thyme leaf
½ tsp organic peppercorns
16oz raw organic apple cider vinegar
Place the herbs in a pint jar and fill to the top with gently warmed apple cider vinegar. You don’t want to boil the vinegar, just heat it on low for a few minutes until it reaches the temperature of warm bath water. This will help get the extraction process going. Close with a plastic lid or place a piece of natural parchment paper under the lid to keep the vinegar from touching the metal. Allow to extract for four weeks. Next, strain the vinegar into a clean glass jar.
For the vinaigrette
2 cloves of organic garlic, crushed
To make the vinaigrette, mix together 1 part vinegar, 3 parts olive oil, and 1/2 part prepared mustard. Add crushed garlic, salt and pepper to taste. Whirl the mixture together in a blender until combined or shake vigorously in a capped glass jar.
Posted by|27 September 2013
I will be the first to admit that I love Lavender essential oil. I will mix pretty much anything with it for a diffusing blend. With it’s sweet floral aroma, lavender is mostly associated with the spring and early summer. Here are a few essential oils that I like to combine during autumn months when the weather is changing and I want to feel a little more cozy, but am not quite ready to turn on the heat.
The scent pairings…
Rosemary Essential Oil (Rosmarinus officinalis): with it’s fresh, camphoraceous aroma, and slightly balsamic undertones, rosemary compliments lavender in a subtle way. I would consider rosemary to have a medicinal aroma, where the lavender is sweet and floral. They seem like an odd couple, but combine to make a blend with a sharp top note followed by smooth floral finish. Awakening and calming all in one.
Orange Essential Oil (Citrus sinensis): who doesn’t want pure sweet sunshine when the days are getting shorter and chilly? Lavender and orange (or your favorite citrus oil) combine into sweet floral bliss. These recognizable aromas create an uplifting blend for the office or personal space.
Douglas Fir Essential Oil (Pseudotsuga menziesii) or Grand Fir Essential Oil (Abies grandis): combining either of these essential oils with lavender creates a surprising aroma that is difficult to identify if you don’t know the contents. This is also one of the reasons why I love it! The slightly balsamic and evergreen aromas of the fir oils combine with the lavender to create a beautiful citrusy, green floral scent.
To play with any of these oil combinations…
…all you need is a diffuser (see our full line here), a couple drops of organic lavender essential oil, and a couple drops of your oil of choice. I hope you enjoy these combinations as much as I do. Not only do they smell great, they are a must have for disinfecting the air during this time of year.
Visit our website to see our full line of essential oils where the aroma possibilities are endless.
Posted by|25 September 2013
In my old understanding of myself, I am a perky, pleasant and mellow sort who took a long time to anger or irritate. My current reality, however, is one of a bit more emotional buoyancy. I have surprised myself with a newly-shortened temper, a wide range of energy levels (from bursts of incredible creativity to unexplained exhaustion), and perplexing tears in the midst of a sunny, cheery day. I joked with one of my friends that it is a bit like being a teenager, only now I have the experience, vocabulary, and bank account to really shake things up!
My philosophy about some of this menopausal upheaval is to not just survive, but to also embrace the lessons and opportunities as I move toward what I trust will be an even more mature version of myself. I’ve decided that self-care is in order: embracing the emotional depths and exploring the creative surges. My strategies include soothing teas, yummy treats, calming herbs, and some exciting new projects:
Oatstraw, Lemon Balm, & Sage Tea with Honey
1 teaspoon organic Oatstraw
1 teaspoon dried organic Lemon Balm or about 4-5 leaves of fresh
1 teaspoon dried organic Sage
Put these herbs into an infuser and pour boiling/hot water over. Let steep for 3-4 minutes (or more) and stir in a teaspoon or so of raw, local honey. Sip. Breathe.
Gooey, Sort-of Healthy, Feel-Good Cookies
These can easily be made as vegan cookies and you could adjust the flour to even make them gluten free! This is the recipe as I like it.
½ cup organic butter
½ cup organic brown sugar
1 cup organic whole wheat pastry flour
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. You’ll need a 13 X 9.5 X 2” baking pan. (I prefer glass for this recipe but you can use what you have!) Mix these three ingredients and then press to cover the bottom of the pan. This can take a little time to get it even (good for working out some stress.) Bake this for about 10 minutes and then remove from oven.
Sweet Coconut Topping
2 organic, free range eggs—well beaten (or an egg substitute)
1 cup organic brown sugar
1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons organic, whole wheat pastry flour
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup organic shredded coconut
1 cup nuts of choice, chopped or sliced (optional)
Mix the eggs, sugar, and vanilla, stir in flour baking powder and salt and then add coconut and nuts. Spread this over the “crust” and return to oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven, cool a bit, and cut. These are especially good warm, but they age well too. They are chewy, gooey and great with a glass of tea!
To calm down fast, I rub a little lavender essential oil onto my temples and/or take a few drops of Skullcap Tincture. I find the Skullcap to be useful if I feel a tension headache coming on (something new in my world) or am experiencing that pounding, flushing, anger-rising feeling, where I’m afraid I might say something that will make things worse!
I have heard that the menopausal years can be a time of great change for many women—relationship shifts, children leaving home, going back to school, or changing careers. I definitely feel the pull toward reinvention and exploration. After all, half my life has passed, my kids have all struck out on their own and now is the time for me to do the things I’ve always craved. For me, my new foray into keeping bees seems to be one of the ways to feed my transitional soul. I feel calm and centered when I’m working with the bees. I love the buzzing vibrations stirring when the sun warms the hive and I feel nothing short of wonderment at the feminine focus and the purposeful way the bees move through the tasks and jobs of their short lives with a strong desire to serve the whole. All the work that goes into one drop of honey dazzles me and gives meaningful metaphor to a person’s lifetime of work!
This post comes to us from Kori, our Public and Media Relations Coordinator! A West Coast native, Kori is a seasoned nonprofit activist and community organizer. Having launched six adult kids, she spends her free time in her burgeoning organic and very urban “farm”—taming Heritage chickens, building top-bar beehives from reclaimed materials, baking, brewing, and preserving.
Posted by|23 September 2013
This fun tool will help you find herbal synergy when creating your own tea blends. Start with the herbal action you need (immune support, calming, digestive stimulant, etc.) and use your preferred herb as the “active ingredient” base. Then add a “supportive ingredient” that is soothing to that particular body system. The final ingredient is the “catalyst” which adds a pop of flavor or offers stronger potency to the active ingredient by providing a complimentary action.
These proportions are conceptual and not hard set, so you have freedom to experiment. Start with 3 parts active ingredient, 1 to 2 parts supportive, and 1/4 to 1 part catalyst, and then make adjustments as needed. You will find that herbs often switch roles from one blend to the next.
Keep this helpful guide in mind when you begin blending gifts for the holidays!
Posted by|17 September 2013
Our very special catalog for Autumn/Winter 2013 is on the way!
This time around, we’ve packed it full of our favorite recipes and stories to celebrate our 25 years in the herbal community. You’ll also find fun how-tos, exciting new products, gorgeous color photos, and plenty more herbal goodies. We truly hope you’ll enjoy strolling down our little memory lane as much as we did!
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 while or share it with a friend.
Want a FREE copy all for yourself?
Posted by|11 September 2013
This body scrub is so easy to make and smells amazing. It leaves your skin feeling refreshed but not too minty as the soft vanilla bean aroma lightly perfumes your skin. Honey is a luxurious ingredient that helps moisturize, nourish, and protect the skin with its antioxidant, antimicrobial, and humectant properties. In fact, I love to use honey alone as a face mask several times a month. If you’re collecting recipes for this year’s herbal handmade holiday gifts, this one will be perfect for the vanilla lovers out there!
1 cup fine sea salt or fine organic sugar
1/4 cup raw organic honey
1 organic vanilla bean, split and scraped
10 drops organic peppermint essential oil
1 tsp organic vanilla extract (optional)