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Join My Instagram Community!

Instagram is turning into the this amazing community of people who share beautiful and mindful images. Getting sneak peeks into our lives, promoting products that mean something to us, and educating each other is what I see.

If you enjoy photography, herbalism, and scrolling through Instagram, then this is a great opportunity for you!

I am looking for 5-10 people each month to join my team. As a member, you would make several posts a week (mainly on Instagram, but you can do Facebook as well) to market my products. You must be able to make mindful captions to encourage engagement.

If you are interested, please fill out the form below! I will be selecting the first group of people for January 2018

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How to Make a Garlic and Herb Oxymel…for respiratory health

garlic and herb oxymel

It really is that time of year. The lush green of Summer melds into vibrant hues of red, yellow, and orange. There is a slight crisp to the morning air. And your kids wake up with the crud. You know the crud. Not quite sick enough to stop life, but left to its own devices, the crud can quickly turn into something worse.

Well, this morning, my youngest daughter, Liza Jane-4, woke up with the crud. She had a slight cough last night, but by morning it was hacking and phlegmy.  The first thing I did, was give her a healthy dose of my Elderberry Plus Syrup.  Then, I got to working on my Garlic and Herb Oxymel recipe. Before I get into the details of the recipe (there are two ways to make it), you are probably thinking “Oxy-what?” Oxymel comes from the Latin “oxymeli” meaning “acid and honey”. Put simply, it is a mixture of an acid-vinegar-with honey to make various herbal remedies. In our case, for respiratory support.

As I mentioned earlier, there are several ways to prepare your oxymel. The first is the preferred, but as is the case with most herbal preparations, it takes time to reach its full potency and is the way that you would make it BEFORE you need it. The second is a faster preparation for those of us who need something NOW.

The ingredients that you need for both methods are exactly the same:

  • Apple Cider Vinegar (preferably raw and organic)
  • Raw Local Honey (if possibly)
  • Fresh Garlic
  • Various Herbs (I chose mullein, thyme, sage, and oregano because these are great herbs for respiratory health)

METHOD 1

  1. Get a clean canning jar. Put equal parts of chopped garlic and your herbs in the jar. Fill it 1/3-1/4 full.
  2. Add equal portions of vinegar and honey until jar is full.
  3. SHAKE IT! Give it a shake every day.
  4. Patience. Let it sit for 2 weeks.                                                                                           IMG_0585
  5. Strain, label, and refrigerate.

METHOD 2

  1. Add herbs and apple cider vinegar to a glass pot/pan. Make sure that you use twice as much vinegar than you intend to have at the end. Also, make sure that you have a glass pot for this method. Vinegar leaches minerals and you do not want any metals leached into your oxymel. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Please be careful as vinegar is very strong when heated.                                                            IMG_0583
  2. After vinegar is reduced by half, strain, cool, and add equal parts of honey.
  3. SHAKE IT!                                                                                                                             IMG_0614
  4. Try to convince a very picky 4 year old that it doesn’t taste disgusting! I usually give a tablespoon or two every 3 hours. It should get rid of the crud fairly quickly. I’ve never had to give an oxymel for more than 24 hours!

Now, there is a pretty popular oxymel that is making its way around the internet-any guesses as to what it is called? The first person to comment below the correct answer wins an 8oz. bottle of my Garlic and Herb Oxymel-not available for purchase!

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All About Herbal Tinctures

all about tinctures

Herbal tinctures are one of my favorite ways to take herbal medicine. They are fast-acting, potent, and portable! While teas are great, and I LOVE my teas, tinctures are usually my go-to for the ease and quickness. A dropper full of tincture is easy to just squirt into your mouth-whereas you have to go through the process of boiling water, steeping herbs, straining, sweetening, etc. Which, don’t get me wrong-I love the ritual of brewing teas! But, when you have a sinus headache, you want something to hit it fast and hard.

Oh, you don’t know what a tincture is? Let me explain! A tincture is simply an extract of constituents of the plant material into a menstruum (solvent-alcohol, vinegar, or vegetable glycerin, typically). My preferred menstruum is alcohol. I personally use 190 proof organic alcohol that I then dilute down to appx. 100 proof. But, you can just buy a cheap bottle of vodka, rum, brandy, etc. as long as it is around 100 proof (50%). Anything less and you run the risk of not getting the full extraction.

I use tinctures for all kinds of things. Headaches, stress, allergies, sleeplessness, anxiety, liver support, digestion, respiratory support, immune boosting. All the things! As I said, alcohol is the preferred solvent, as it and the water content are sure to extract the alkaloids and water soluble components of the plant. Now, the exception is if I want to extract the nourishing components of a plant (vitamins and minerals). In that case, I like to use apple cider vinegar.

If you are concerned about using alcohol preparations, fear not! I give them to my children. If you think about it-the amount of alcohol in a dosage is about 15-20 drops. That comes to MAYBE a mL of alcohol. One serving of alcohol is 30 mL (one ounce). You would have to drink an entire 1 ounce bottle of tincture to get a mixed drink’s serving of alcohol. And, a child’s dosage is even less-depending on weight it is between 3-10 drops. There is more alcohol in the vanilla extract you are cooking with! The only concern, in my opinion, with using alcohol based tinctures with children is convincing them to use it. Because, the taste leaves much to be desired.  You can hide it in tea, smoothies, apple sauce, etc.  There is the option of glycerin based tinctures, but they aren’t as effective.

Interested in making your own tinctures? Keep reading for a simple tutorial!

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Step 1: Get some herbs. Ideally, you want to work with freshly harvested herbs. Unfortunately, we don’t all have access to a bountiful herb garden or know how to properly wild craft. So, the option is to use dried. You can purchase them in bulk from various stores online, Mountain Rose Herbs, Bulk Herb Store, Monterrey Bay Herb Co., Starwest Botanicals are a few that I love. OR, you can contact me for smaller 1 ounce amounts. Sometimes it is intimidating receiving a pound of herbs when you are just starting out! For this tincture, I am using dried skullcap. Skullcap is fabulous for stress, anxiety, and pain relief. I LOVE it. It’s one of my most popular tinctures. There are two methods to use here. 1-the folk method. Put some herbs in a jar. Just an eyeballed amount. Perfect for folks who are just making it for themselves and don’t worry if one batch is more potent than the next. and 2-the weight to volume method (w:v). Each herb has a specific w:v ratio, but the most common is 1:5. Which means, that for 1 part of plant material, you use 5 parts solvent. So, for example, you have 2 ounces of skullcap by weight. You will need 10 ounces of alcohol. If you are making them for yourself, friends, and family, this method is unnecessary.

IMG_0515

Step 2: Combine with menstruum in jar. Put your herbs in a clean mason jar. Cover with your solvent. Make sure all the plant material is covered. You can even have a few inches extra in the jar. Cap it. Give it a shake.

Step 3: LABEL!! You do not want a jar of mystery tincture in your house. Trust me. The label should have the name of the herb (common and botanical), the menstruum used, and the date you prepared it.

Step 4: Wait. Patiently. It takes at least 6 weeks for a tincture to fully macerate.  Keep it on your counter. Give it a shake everyday/every other day.

IMG_0516

Step 5. Strain. Use a fine wire mesh strainer, or some cheesecloth/muslin. I invert the jar over the strainer and let it sit for a few hours. Then, I press all the herbs to make sure I get all the liquid out. Compost the remnants (marc).

Step 6. Bottle. You can just rinse out your jar and pour your tincture right back in it. I would suggest getting a few dropper bottles (always glass!!!) for easy of dosage and convenience. Store the majority away in the jar, and keep your little bottle in your purse, bathroom, etc, wherever you keep your medicine. Again, make sure that you label your bottles!!

Do you make your own tinctures? I’d love to see pictures! Share them on my Facebook page at Wild Earth Herbals or tag me on instagram @wildearthherbals. 

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Kid Friendly Herbal Tea…Peace Berry Blast…

peace berry blast

 

If your kids are anything like mine, they really balk at drinking herbal teas. They just aren’t as sweet as daddy’s tea (Southern Sweet Tea). Well, I was tired of fighting with them, so I made up a tea blend that looks like a “fruit” flavored drink and tastes like a fruity minty tea. Unbeknownst to them, it is chocked full of herbal goodness. It have tons of vitamins and minerals, is refreshing and good for your immune system.

Ingredients:

  • Red Raspberry Leaf-rich in iron, calcium, and Vitamin E
  • Stinging Nettle Leaf-a great source of iron, calcium, Vitamin A, and chlorophyll
  • Hibiscus-Provides the brilliant red color. Great for upper respiratory health, heart and circulatory health, and contains vitamins A, C, and iron.
  • Rosehips-TONS of Vitamin C! Great for a healthy immune system.
  • Orange Peel-Vitamin C, evens out the herby flavor
  • Peppermint Leaf-anti-oxidant, good for digestive and respiratory health
  • Stevia Leaf-Just a pinch is added to sweeten it up a little bit. This is real whole stevia leaf. No extracts or processed mess here!

If you would like to try to make it yourself, it’s fairly easy. I use equal parts everything, but a pinch of peppermint and stevia. Steep about 1/2 ounce (wt.) in boiling water for about 10-15 minutes. Longer if you’d like. Shorter if you’d like. Strain. Put in a gallon container and fill with ice and water. Voila!

I get my herbs from either Mountain Rose Herbs or Bulk Herb Store. Or, if you don’t want to bother buying pounds of herbs, you can pick up an ounce or two of the tea blend at my Etsy shop!

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging and social media activities, I may  receive monetary compensation for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this article. However, I only recommend products or services that are in line with my personal and professional ethics and standards. 

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DIY Herbal All-Purpose Cleaner

diy cleaner title pic

Surely by now most people have either seen the orange peel in vinegar method of creating a natural kitchen cleaner. There may even be a few recipes that call for adding in essential oils to give it even that much more of a antimicrobial kick.  Well, yes-this is a bit similar. I’ve taken the basic idea of orange peels in vinegar and doctored it up a bit.

I tend to like to stay away from using essential oils because while I have studied herbalism for several years, I have not spent one dime on any aromatherapy courses.  I strongly feel that essential oils are VASTLY over used-and by people who do NOT know how to safely use them.  So, this recipe has taken the idea of the essential oils of certain plants and incorporated the use of the whole plant instead.

Ingredients:

  • Orange peels
  • Whole cloves
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Fresh rosemary
  • Fresh lavender
  • Distilled white vinegar

The recipe is a simple as you would think-combine all the herbs in a large mason jar and cover with the vinegar. Let sit for 2+weeks and strain. Pour vinegar about 1/4 into a spray bottle and fill with water. Voila! You now have a great smelling, effective all-purpose cleaner that utilizes the anti-microbial properties of plants without the potential dangers of using volatile essential oils.

You can find most of these herbs locally (either grown yourself or in your grocery store) but you can also find them online at places like Mountain Rose Herbs or Bulk Herb Store.

 

WEHswirl

 

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging and social media activities, I may  receive monetary compensation for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this article. However, I only recommend products or services that are in line with my personal and professional ethics and standards. 

 

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All About Violet

 

 

wild violet title picWild Violets (viola odorata) are pretty little perennials that tend to pop up in late winter/early spring (depending on where you live). Unfortunately, most people consider them to be annoying weeds. They are easily identified by their purple flowers and heart shaped leaves. Please don’t confuse them with African violets that are grown as houseplants. They are NOT the same thing.

This sweet little plant really is versatile and useful! But, before you start, you need to know a few things about wild harvesting. First, make SURE that the area that pick from isn’t sprayed by chemicals, where your dog defecates, close to the road, or any other place that you think is contaminated. Secondly, you want young and healthy growth. Look for vibrant colors. Third-you always want to ask permission from both the land owner and the plant itself. Fourth, never take more than you will use and never more than 5-10% of what is available. And lastly, always give thanks to the plant, earth, Mother Nature, God, or who/whatever you recognize as the giver of what you are taking. You should try to do your harvesting in the morning just after the dew has evaporated. Some of the ways that we will use wild violet call for fresh plant material and some require it to be dried, so make sure you save some to dry. 

Nutritional. Violets are packed full of minerals and vitamins-especially A and C. One of my favorite things to make is a wild green salad with violet leaves, blooms, dandelion greens, yellow dock, plantain, purslane, henbit, dead nettles, and cleavers. You can also saute the leaves like you would any other green. Another delicious treat is Wild Violet Lemonade. This is a great way to sneak in some extra nutrients to your kids and replace those toxic ‘fruit’ drinks they love so much.  Infused vinegar is my other go-to usage for wild violet. Vinegar is well known for its ability to extract vitamins and minerals from plant sources. Infusing vinegar is super easy. Get a clean mason jar and fill it with either violet blossoms, leaves, or both and cover with either white vinegar or apple cider vinegar. Let it set in a cool dark place for 2-6 weeks. Strain and label. If you use white vinegar, try to make a batch with just blossoms-you will make a BEAUTIFUL purple vinegar! I use vinegars for all kinds of things. I flavor cooked greens with them, you can make a salad dressing with it, you can even use it as a hair rinse and a bath soak. Think of all the goodness of apple cider vinegar that you hear about-and add a power punch of nutrients with plant infusions!

10247459_728384073849329_8258624107772710316_nMedicinal. Wild violet has numerous medicinal properties. It is anti-inflammatory, helps the lymphatic system, is a blood purifier, it is a mild laxative and diuretic, a fever reducer, and supports the immune system. Making a syrup from the flowers is probably the easiest way to get your kids to reap the benefits. A syrup or tea is great for young ones who are constipated or have a fever. Simple fill a glass jar with the fresh flowers and pour boiling water over them. Allow to steep for 4 hours. Strain. You can stop here if you would like to have a cup of violet tea ( really, it’s an infusion…) or continue if you would like to turn it into a syrup. Herbal syrups are really just ways of making teas/infusions palatable for children (or those with tastebuds of children!).  Pour the infusion into a saucepan. Add equal quantities of sugar or honey and bring to a slow boil. Allow to boil for about 20 minutes or so and pour into glass jar. Store in fridge.  A great preparation for violets is in a salve or balm. It has been known to treat eczema and fibrocystic breast issues. Simply infuse dried violet leaf in an organic oil of your choice for several weeks. Strain and heat in a double boiler with a bit of beeswax. Continue to heat until wax is melted. Pour into glass jar. If it is too hard, remelt and add more oil. If it is too soft, remelt and add more wax. Tinctures are probably my favorite herbal preparation. Whenever possible, use fresh plant material. Place in clean glass jar (notice a theme here?) and cover with 100 proof alcohol (I prefer vodka, but use what you would like). LABEL! Give a good shake and place in cool dark area for 6+weeks. Give it a shake every day or so. Strain and bottle in an amber dropper bottle. Tinctures are the most effective form of herbal medicine. It is quick and easily absorbed into your blood stream. 

Just for fun! Crystallized violet blossoms and violet ice cubes! Crystallized violets are a fun garnish for baked goods and violet ice cubes would be a hit a kid’s party. Just fill an ice cube tray with the blossoms and fill with water as normal.

If you do not have access to fresh violets for some reason, you can always order them. I prefer to use Mountain Rose Herbs, but there are plenty of other herbal companies available!

WEHswirl

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging and social media activities, I may  receive monetary compensation for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this article. However, I only recommend products or services that are in line with my personal and professional ethics and standards. 

 

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Ten Moons: Herbs for Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a transition. Not only for the new life that is created, but also for the woman who is becoming a mother. Whether it is her first time or her 5th, this is a sacred time for the woman to nourish and honor her body. So many women choose pregnancy as the time to start making healthier choices in their lives. They not only have themselves to worry about, but they also want to give the best possible start to their baby. It makes sense that during this momentous transformation period, the woman chooses to remove some old bad habits and learn new healthy ones that will carry on throughout her and her children’s lives.

One way that some women choose to take their health into their own hands is to save modern medicine as a last resort and use herbs and other natural remedies first. Let’s start with the most common thing that all pregnant women are encouraged to take: the prenatal vitamin. This is a gigantic horse pill that makes the average person gag, much less someone who has a sensitive stomach anyway! And how do we know exactly what we are absorbing and what is going to waste, so to speak? Pills have to travel through our digestive system, get broken down, and then some of it goes to our blood stream, and the rest goes, well, I don’t need to draw you a picture. Herbal infusions (strong teas brewed for several hours) like all liquids, get assimilated much easier and faster. So, after making sure you are eating nourishing foods-lots of proteins, healthy fats, fruits and veggies, if you drink a nice well rounded pregnancy support tea, you will be sure that your are receiving all the vitamins and minerals your body deserves. Most grocery stores sell prepackaged teas in convenient little tea bags, but how long have they actually been sitting there? My favorite way to make teas is to buy each individual herb and then blend it myself. For each cup. That way if I need a bit more of something, I can add it! For instance, if I’m low on calcium, I’ll add more nettles. Drinking 1-4 cups of tea a day not only is nourishing to your body, but to your soul.

Morning sickness is major complaint during pregnancy that many women are looking for natural ways to support. Recently, the FDA has issued a “potential safety issue” regarding using a popular anti-nausea medication. So, of course-alternatives are needed. One school of thought is that since the excess level of hormones in a women’s body during pregnancy is causing the nausea and vomiting, that helping the body process those hormones better will curb the morning sickness. One way to do that is to strengthen the liver. A very effective and gentle way is to use milk thistle seed in a tincture (herbal extract, usually in alcohol). Using milk thistle seed along with making your you are eating small frequent meals that are high in protein, and drinking your pregnancy support infusion, you should be able to reduce your morning sickness significantly.

One of the biggest constituents of most pregnancy teas is red raspberry leaf (RRL). Not only is RRL rich in iron, calcium, and vitamin E, it is a wonderful uterine tonic. Your uterus is a muscle and it needs to be nice and strong to effective birth your baby. One way to help strengthen and tone your uterus is to drink strong RRL infusions during the last month of your pregnancy. I usually would steep one ounce (in weight) of RRL in a quart of boiling water overnight. The next day, I would drink the entire quart throughout the day. This is only appropriate during the last month of pregnancy, as excess RRL can cause Braxton-Hicks contractions.

The postpartum period is a time that the mother really only needs to focus on nourishing herself so she can properly nourish her baby. She should not be hosting, cleaning, cooking, or any of those things that our society thinks women should magically be able to do! Continuing your pregnancy infusion during the postpartum period is a good idea-another idea is to have a postpartum tea that is nourishing, energizing, and soothing all at the same time (recipe below). This is wonderful to make by the gallon and drink hot or iced-great for the entire new family (except the baby)! Another great way to support your well being after birth is a bath. A blend of herbs to help facilitate healing, reduce inflammation, and encourage relaxation brewed into a bath tea is a lovely addition to any bath (during pregnancy, postpartum, menstruation, Tuesday, etc).

For women who choose to breastfeeding and are struggling with true supply issues, some herbs will help encourage milk productions. *Note: If you have a normal supply (most women) do not use herbs to increase your supply. Over supply is a real problem!  Herbs to increase milk supply: Nettles, Red Raspberry Leaf, Blessed Thistle, Fenugreek, Fennel Seed, Alfalfa, Oatstraw, Goat’s Rue (only in tincture).

Lastly, while a lot of herbs are safe and gentle, not all of them are. Some herbs are very beneficial for people who are not pregnant, but could pose a threat to a pregnancy. Some common herbs to avoid during pregnancy: pennyroyal, osha, blue cohosh, black cohosh, cottonroot, tansy, yarrow, tulsi, ephedra, valerian, mugwort, angelica, feverfew, sage, and wormwood.  Some of these listed are used by midwives to facilitate labor, so only use them under the guidance of your care provider.

Recipes

Pregnancy Tea:

  • 3 parts Red Raspberry Leaf
  • 3 parts Nettles
  • 2 parts Dandelion Leaf
  • 1 part Oatstraw
  • 1 part Alfalfa
  • 1 part Rosehips

Add one ounce of tea blend to a quart of boiling water (in a mason jar, if you have one). Cap the jar. Allow to steep for at least 30-45 minutes, preferably several hours up to overnight. Strain and sweeten as desired. Drink 1-4 cups per day.

Awesome Mama Postpartum Tea

  • 3 parts Lemon Balm
  • 3 parts Comfrey
  • 2 parts Chamomile
  • 2 parts Hibiscus
  • 1 part Rose Petals and Rose Hips
  • 1/8 part Lavender Buds

Add one ounce of tea blend to a quart of boiling water (in a mason jar, if you have one). Cap the jar. Allow to steep for at least 30-45 minutes, preferably several hours up to overnight. Strain and sweeten as desired. Drink 1-4 cups per day.

Pospartum Sitz Bath

  • 1 part St. Joan’s Wort
  • 1 part Comfrey
  • 1 part Uva Ursi
  • 1 part Calendula
  • 1 part Shepherd’s Purse
  • Yarrow

Steep one ounce of herbs in a quart of boiling water for 45 minutes. Strain (very important!! No one wants to clean herbs out of a bathtub!) and add tea to bath with sea salts.

**This article is for informational purposes only. Any advice given has not been evaluated by the FDA and is not meant to treat or diagnose. Consult your primary care provider.

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Support local, Work at Home, and Small Artisan Crafters

We all know what is going on this weekend. Black Friday. Time to fight the mobs for those great deals! Right? Wrong.

This year, I would like to challenge everyone to avoid the Wal-Marts, Targets, etc. and find a wonderful local, handcrafted, work at home shop to do your holiday shopping. Spending $500 at Wal-Mart doesn’t really do much for Wal-Mart, but spending $500 at a small business means so much more! You are impacting an entire family in the most positive way!

I would like for you to take advantage of the sales going on this weekend and jump start your herbal medicine cabinet with these great deals (just click on Shop Online to go to the storefront)

  • All day Friday, all previously non-discounted items will be 25% off this includes customized gift baskets!!! Just use the coupon code: BLACK14 at checkout.
  • Saturday and Sunday, any Wellness Consultations scheduled will be 50% off IF you purchase it through the Etsy shop.
  • Monday, Free shipping ALL DAY. Use coupon code SHIPFREE at checkout.

Remember, this holiday season is about love, family, and community. What better way to express that by supporting your friends, neighbors, and other families’ businesses during this crazy weekend?

If you are a small business owner, WAHM, or independent artisan, mention your store information, website, facebook page, etc. in the comments!

 

 

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Featured Herb: Goldenrod (Solidago spp.)

CAM00043-EFFECTS

Chances are, you’ve seen this lovely lady waving at you as you’ve traveled around lately. And, if you have seasonal allergies, chances are Goldenrod has been wrongfully accused of causing such allergies.

In reality, Goldenrod’s pollen is very sticky and doesn’t leave the plant. You are NOT allergic to goldenrod. But, guess what? Ragweed blooms at the exact same time, and it is a MAJOR allergen. That’s probably what you are reacting to.

It gets better. Not only is Goldenrod NOT the culprit of your sneezing and itchy eyes, but she can also help alleviate those symptoms! That’s right! Goldenrod has antihistamine properties!!

Nothing in nature happens without reason or randomly. Mother Nature/God/Goddess/etc. gives us exactly what we need.  We just need to learn how to listen again.

Other uses for goldenrod:

  • Cold and flu relief;
  • Colic and gas relief;
  • Lowers fever;
  • Powdered Goldenrod root helps heal wounds;
  • Goldenrod Vinegar helps prevent kidney stones and boosts immune responses; and
  • Can help with other kidney and bladder issues.