Posted in Herbal Remedies

Never Fear a Virus Again

Those old survival instincts like to create panic and the news loves to induce it. Viruses have been around since the beginning of time, I’m betting, and many have become worse because of our own doing. We have created drugs that are making the bacteria morph and resist. Perhaps illness and natural disaster are ways for the earth to control population. Whispers about government conspiracy trying to control population abound but we do enough damage ourselves with pollution, drilling for oil, animal agriculture, GMO’s, and lifestyle, so we needn’t worry about the government! Let’s just get down to it, a virus is a virus. It’s a cold- sometimes a bad one- but a cold nonetheless. Now, turn off the news and let’s get some tried and true remedies into your homestead apothecary so you don’t have to worry about the flu, the Coronavirus, or a sinus infection. We are not trying to come up with cures or shun doctors, we are trying to prevent and catch things early.

Oregon Grape Root

The good thing about new viruses is that they are none the wiser about our western herbs. If you think herbs are just mild immunity boosters, think again. I’m not talking essential oils or tea bags here, I make herbal medicine that is more effective than anything that big pharma can come up with. Nature is more than happy to help you heal and live a life that does not revolve around fear of getting sick. So, let’s get started.

First, where do you get these herbs? I highly suggest you grow them. Many of our best allies are becoming endangered and extinct. In a few months, seek out a plant nursery that sells plant starts. If you live in Colorado, two of my favorites that have tons of medicinal herbs are Tagawa Gardens in Parker and Desert Canon in Canon City. No yard or green thumb or it’s winter? You can order online. Just google “organic echinacea.” You can find reputable, small farmers that sell it. Or you can go with one of the bigger companies like Mountain Rose Herbs or Starwest Botanicals.

Here are some herbs to start gathering. Try to get one from each section.

For Sinus infections you need an antifungal:

  • Walnut (leaves or hull), black walnut even better.
  • Garlic
  • Mugwort

For Sore Throat:

  • Bear Root (Osha) is a great antibiotic
  • Cinnamon
  • Peppermint

To stop the sniffles:

  • Stinging Nettles
  • Peppermint
  • Dandelion
  • Rose Hips

For lungs you need a cough suppressant:

  • Mullein leaves and flowers
  • Valerian
  • Willow Bark

To break a fever:

  • Willow Bark
  • Feverfew
  • Catnip

To open airways:

  • Ephedra (no it’s not dangerous. You will probably need to grow it. It is not illegal to use it or sell it. The bastardized version from the lab, ephedrine, caused all the trouble back in the days of quick weight loss.)
  • Mormon Tea (the American version of Ephedra)
  • Thyme
  • Indian Tobacco (Lobelia Inflata)

Specifically Anti-Viral:

  • Echinacea (also anti-cancer and anti-biotic)
  • Yarrow
  • Lemon Balm
  • Sage

Specifically Anti-biotic:

  • Juniper Berries
  • Oregon Grape Root
  • Barberry Root
  • Bear Root
  • Garlic
Echinacea

In a quart jar add 8 Tablespoons of dried herbs of choice (try one from each category) and fill 3/4 of the way with rum and 1/4 of the way with honey or agave. Sit in sun for a week, then move to a cupboard, shaking occasionally, for 3 more weeks. Don’t strain, just pull out what you need. Take 1 teaspoon when everyone is sick around you, 1 teaspoon 6x a day when sick.

Sage

Now, it’s all well and good to take herbal medicines to heal, but if one continually taxes their system, the herbs will only go so far. Other ways to boost immunity:

Green smoothies and juices once a day are very important for antioxidant and vitamin intake.

Fresh air while walking or riding a bicycle.

Stress reduction

Surround yourself with people and things you love and do work that is meaningful to you.

Eat a plant based diet so that you are eating as many antioxidants and minerals as possible.

Don’t let fear attack you. There are bits of fate we have no control of and there are things we can do proactively. Let’s just live and let the universe take care of the rest. A home apothecary will take away many of your fears and help you be ready for anything.

Intrigued? My books on Amazon can help you navigate the world of herbalism even further.

Posted in Food/Wine (and preserving)

Growing and Blending Seasonings

rosemaryI shall grow basil in plots

I shall grow oregano lots

The chives shall come up fine

along rows of heady thyme

I shall grow rosemary too

And red chile for New Mexican stew

I shall grow sumac if I can find

and lavender to breathe and unwind

Could I grow caraway too?

for rye bread to eat with a good brew?

The onions and garlic are growing now

I can make them dried somehow

I use all these herbs in dishes galore.

I will grow so many herbs you can’t see the earth floor.

Along with herbs for medicine and herbs for aroma and more

I will grow herbs to blend instead of spending money at the store!

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I admit it, I spend hundreds of dollars on culinary seasonings.  I have a large basket and two full cupboards of seasonings that we use all of the time.  Many are the very same herbs that I grow for medicine and to use fresh.  I spend hundreds on infused oils.  You know how it is at the end of summer, you are already pushing time to get all of the harvest in, preserved, garden beds cleaned, and trying to catch some of the glorious last warmth.  Blending herbs for the kitchen just seemed like one more thing I didn’t have time for when a nice store already did it for me.  Because I am an herbalist I also get bulk herbs that are going to be a lot cheaper than the specialty stores.  If I just use bulk herbs for what I cannot grow, and grow and blend the rest, I will save SO much money!  I can infuse my own oils.  Dry, dehydrate, and blend my own seasonings.  It will be worth the time!  Another DIY for this homesteader.  We are going to be busy this summer on Farmgirl School!

Posted in Food/Wine (and preserving)

How to Use Fresh Herbs

20180227_204739Fresh herbs are delicious and very good for you.  It takes awhile to get used to their intensity, but once you start using fresh herbs it becomes second nature.  Those crisp, strong flavors adds pizzazz to any dish.  Most of the time you will add fresh herbs at the end of cooking.

Using scissors is the easiest way to clip or chiffonade herbs.  For large leaves like basil and sage, roll into a tight roll and clip into ribbons.  The best way to store fresh herbs is like fresh flowers.  Place them in a glass of water in the refrigerator.

Sprinkle ribbons of fresh basil on pastas and pizza.

Clip oregano leaves on to pizza or put in crust before baking.  Fresh oregano livens up red and green chile.

Chives top salads and potatoes and soups.

Saute olive oil, garlic, brown sugar, a little salt and pepper, with sage leaves for a delicious pasta with sage sauce.

Roast root vegetables with rosemary, sage, thyme.  Or for a fresher taste, top roasted potatoes with herbs.

Cilantro goes beautifully piled on top of beans, rice, guacamole, or tortilla soup.

Mint and parsley with garlic and lemon liven up veggie meats and vegetables.

Be brave!  And add spice, health, and freshness to supper.  Make sure you plant these lovely herbs.  They are even better straight from the garden!