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Medicinal Herb Series: 6 Benefits of Lavender

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Medicinal herb series: Lavender

Oh my, let’s talk lavender for a second shall we. I mean, there is nothing quite like it. The fragrance just fills the air with this delicate aroma. The flowers stand tall and proud. The deep purple color just pops against the muted green leaves. It is just a heavenly plant that is filled with medicinal properties that you should not be without. Let’s do it to it.

Growing lavender

Lavender, or lavendula angustifolia, part of the mint family. It is a drought tolerant plant that loves full sun. Allowing for adequate soil drainage can help keep this plant happy and thriving. Lavender is a bush that grows best in zones 5-9. It is a hardy plant that makes any space in the garden a beautiful pleasant space to be in.

Growing lavender is also a fantastic way to bring bees into your garden. They love the lavender flowers and the more ways you can bring bees into your space the better…. am I right, or am I right, y’all.  Besides the bee benefits, let’s talk about all the other incredible uses for lavender and why it is a must have for your cabinet.

6 Benefits of lavender

Sleep Aid: Lavender is a fantastic sleep aid. It helps rest the mind from the daily chatter. It allows the body to fall into a restful sleep, as well as, fall back to sleep easier when awaken.

Reduces anxiety and stress: Lavender helps relax the mind and body during times of high stress and anxiety. Lavender is a grounding herb that allows one to stay centered.

Used for minor cuts and burns: Lavender is an antibacterial, antimicrobial and an antiseptic. Rub some lavender Essential  oil on minor scraps and burns to help relieve the pain almost immediately.

Reduces headaches: Diffusing lavender oil or taking Lavender internally can help decrease headaches.

Anti-depressant: Lavender helps increase the serotonin levels in the brain that give us that “happy feeling.” By diffusing lavender or by taking it internally one can lower the feelings of depression. This is a great go to for mamas that are dealing with baby blues or postpartum.

Skin care: Lavender is used in a lot of skin care products. It helps rebuild the cells within the skin allowing for a beautiful peaceful glow.

How to use lavender

Essential oils are a fantastic way to get all the benefits of lavender. Essential oils can be used topically with a carrier oil if needed. Rubs some on the temples, chest, neck and or bottoms of feet. It can be taken internally by placing a drop in a veggies capsule or in 4oz of water and drinking. Or it can be used aromatically through a diffuser.

Tinctures are our go to. Tinctures are to be taken internally by placing a dropperful under the tongue and holding for 30 seconds. This allows all those beautiful properties of this herb that we just talked about to enter into your blood stream faster. Visit our shop to purchase our lavender tincture.

Lavender salves can be used on the bottoms of feet or on chest to help promote sleep and reduce anxiety.

Lavender tea is a great way to relax the body after a long day or to be sipped on while sick.

Lavender is one of those herbs that can be found everywhere. Please do your research when using essential oils. You want your essential oils to be distilled in the purest form, especially if you are going to take it internally. Remember the FDA does not regulate essential oils, so what you buy from the store may not be lavender. The bottle can read “therapeutic grade, organic, 100% pure” as long as it contains at least 5% essential oil. The remaining 95% can be chemicals, carrier oil, or synthetic oil. So buy from a reputable company that provides third party testing. Click here to read why we use the brand we use.

Tinctures are available in our shop for purchase. It is one of more popular tinctures and for a good reason. There is not a night that we don’t take a dropperful to help us relax before bed. In fact, I took two dropperful today when both the kids were driving me to the point of ripping all my eyelashes out! Hey, you gotta do what you gotta do right?!

If lavender tickled your fancy, you gotta check out our medicinal herb series on chamomile. 

Happy Lavendering!

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Medicinal Herb Series: Echinacea

Medicinal herb series Echinacea
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Photo credit /milkandhoneyacreage

Echinacea

Let’s talk about Echinacea for a second shall we.

This incredible little herb needs to be at the head of your medicinal herb cabinet, especially during cold and flu season. Any form of echinacea needs to be ready at all times. Be it tincture, tea or capsule. I feel like at some point we have all taken echinacea because we have heard that it helps support your immune system.

But what you probably haven’t heard are all the incredible properties that echinacea holds, immunity boost being just an added bonus. Let’s dive into our medicinal herb series and check out all the amazing things this little plant can do.

Growing Echinacea 

Echinacea, also known as, coneflower thrive in prairies and open areas. It loves moist soil and full sun. Echinacea has deep tap roots that store water for times of drought. It blooms during summer but stays attractive during fall and winter.

And I mean, how beautiful are those flowers. So bright and cheerful.

Medicinal properties 

Like most medicinal herbs that mother nature provides us, echinacea holds incredible healing properties in more ways than just one. While it has made it’s name for the powerful immunity boosting properties it has, it can also help protect the body from nasty ailments. Here are some ways to use echinacea.

Immune booster: Echinacea can reduce the duration of the common cold by 60%. It boosts the immune system giving your body a fighting chance against colds and flus.

Helps fight cancer: The biological compounds of the plant give it this superpower that helps fight cancerous cells. I encourage you to do deeper research, but the Natural Institute of Health (NIH) put this herb to the test and it came back with tremendous results. (1)

Pain reliever: This herb can be used to relieve pain from, headaches, toothaches, stomach aches, sore throats, herpes or sores and wounds. Just to name a few.

Anti inflammatory: Echinacea is a high anti inflammatory herb, it it suggested that individuals with Rheumatoid Arthritis take it daily to help reduce inflammation. It can help with back pain, caused by inflammation, as well.

Mental health: Echinacea is highly regarded when it comes to mental health. It is one of the first herbs that was used to help treat symptoms of ADD/ADHD. Echinacea also helps reduce anxiety, depression and mental stress. It helps clear the mind of clutter.

While echinacea is an herb that you must always have on hand, high doses of echinacea can result in some side effects such as nausea and dizziness. The proper dosage of echinacea is around 20 milligrams a day. (2)

How to use Echinacea 

You can take echinacea daily by capsule, tea, or tinctures. The best form of any herb is a liquid form such as a tincture. A tincture allows the medicinal properties of the herb to enter your blood stream faster, allowing it work more efficiently.

Just like any medicinal herb, they are meant to be metabolized by the body. There is no quick fix when dealing with natural solutions. The biggest rule of thumb when it comes to natural healing is to take the amount of time you have suffered from an ailment and turn them into months. For example, if you have struggled with inflammation for 3 years, it will take roughly a 3 months to give your body the proper amount of time to heal.

Mother Nature provided us with everything we need to heal our bodies. She put them here to help guide us and keep us healthy.

Medicinal herb series are fun, join us over here to read about rosemary, lavender or sage.

Happy Echinaceaing!

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Medicinal Herb Series: 6 Benefits of Rosemary

 

Medicinal herb series: Rosemary

Man, it’s been a while since we’ve done a medicinal herb series but hey, we are here now, so let’s get down and dirty.

Let’s talk about the ever so popular herb ROSEMARY. Everyone has heard of it. Everyone loves it. It grows by the bush along most side walks. It’s everywhere and it is one of the most important herbs out there. We use fresh rosemary in a lot of our dishes. It adds such a beautiful taste without compromising the whole dish. It was not until my husband got sick with a nasty flu that we found just how important this herb is. Let’s discuss why you want this herb in your life.

A little bit about Rosemary

Rosemary also known as Rosemarinus Officinalis is a woody herb that has small needle like leaves. It grows small purple, pink or white flowers. It is part of the mint family and is native to the Mediterranean region. While any form of rosemary is useful, fresh is by far the best way to utilize it’s fragrance and medicinal properties.

Growing rosemary

Rosemary is best grown in zones 8 or higher and will reach 3-5 feet in height. It will grow in zones 7 and lower but the plant will be just smaller in size. If you’re not sure what your growing zone is click here. Start seedlings in the spring and plant 2-3 inches apart. In hotter zones, you can chance planting it in the fall. Plant in full sun.

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However, ours is not in the sunniest part of our yard and it is just loving life, so pay attention to what makes your plant happy and move it around if necessary. As with any plant, mulch, mulch, mulch. By mulching with something like straw or wood chips, you are allowing the moisture to stay in the soil during summer when it is the hottest. In the winter when it is the coldest, mulch insulates the plants roots and keeps them warm. Can I say it again…..mulch, mulch, mulch.

Medicinal properties

Rosemary is high in antioxidants. Let’s have a little side track moment….

Antioxidants are what rids our bodies of free radicals. Free radicals are Molecules that have an odd number of electrons. So when they enter the body they begin stealing electrons from healthy molecules. Which in turn, leaves that molecule with an odd number of electrons. And so the chain reaction begins and soon enough all sorts of bad stuff is accumulating in the body.

Antioxidants are so important because they go into the body and essential give electrons to the free radicals. This stabilizes the free radical so that it does not attack good molecules in the body. The more antioxidants you put in your body the better. Free radicals are inevitable. They are in the air, the grass, your car. Give your body the right army. Increase antioxidants.

Ok back on track….

This herb helps strengthen memory. By utilizing rosemary aromatically, one can stimulate cognitive function. Resulting in enhanced memory and focus. There are some indications that rosemary is an alternative supplement to Alzheimer’s disease.

It is known to reduce upset stomachs. Rosemary is also an anti inflammatory which is a huge part of relieving gastrointestinal issues. It can help with bloating, gas, indigestion, cramping and so on.

It can help reduce pain. It has been widely known to help reduce migraines, headaches and menstrual cramping. You can also apply it topically to minor scrapes to relieve pain.

You can use it to help detoxify the body. Rosemary has diuretic properties which help Flush out nasty toxins from the body mostly through urination. So increase that water intake as well.

Mood stabilizer. When inhaled, consumed or applied topically, rosemary has been known to increase mood, lessen stress and reduce symptoms of depression.

Helps reduce symptoms of ADD/ADHD. Rosemary has so many properties that can have a direct effect on lessening symptoms of ADD/ADHD. It can help reduce stress, increase focus and memory. It’s high antioxidant properties can help remove free radicals within the body that cause harm. It’s diuretic properties help flush out toxins. It’s anti inflammatory properties help reduce inflammation which can cause most symptoms to rise.

How to use rosemary

You can diffuse rosemary using essential oils.

Use rosemary oil in salves. By steeping rosemary dried or fresh in a carrier oil for 6 weeks. Then making a salve.

You can use it as a tincture. My favorite way to utilize any herbs medicinal properties. Also available for purchase in our shop.

Rosemary should be part of your medicinal herb cabinet hands down.

Happy Rosemaring!

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Medicinal Herbs Series: Chamomile

Medicinal Herb Series: Chamomile

Let’s talk about chamomile for a bit shall we. Chamomile is one of my favorite herbs, much like lavender. Chamomile is insanely safe to use and is one of those herbs you must have on hand for babies and kids. I’m sure you have indulged in a chamomile tea or two in your life time. So let’s dive in and explore what what it can really do.

Growing Chamomile

There are two types of chamomile, Roman chamomile (chamaemelum nobile) and German chamomile (Matricaria recutita) They are both grown best in zones 3 to 9. (Check your growing zone here) Chamomile enjoys full sun but can tolerate part shade. It is a drought tolerant plant, needing water only a couple of times a week depending on the weather. Once chamomile is established, it is a pretty hardy plant.

If I am being totally honest here, we have not had to much luck growing chamomile. That doesn’t mean we are not going to keep trying. Chamomile is just one of those amazing herbs that you must have  on hand. Why is it so amazing? Well let’s get to it shall we.

Medicinal uses

The medicinal parts of this plant are in the delicate little daisy like flowers. The flowers contain volatile oils that hold all this little plants powers. Powers that can help bring relaxation to ones mind, help calm an uneasy stomach, reduce fevers, reduce inflammation, sleep, colic, teething, for sore muscles and anxiety. Chamomile can ease the mind from stress, making high intense situation feel more manageable. I mean come on, is this not amazing. Here are a few medicinal properties to chamomile that help relieve some of these alignments.

Medicinal Properties

Chamomile is an antipepsin, which helps calm the stomach.

It’s an antibacterial, which helps kill the bad bacteria that causes sickness.

Chamomile is an antifungal, to help eliminate the bad fungus that causes sickness.

Chamomile is an antispasmodic, which helps relieve sore muscles.

It’s an antipyretic, which helps relieve fevers.

Suggested Uses

Chamomile can be made into a tincture, salve and tea or used as an essential oil.

A tincture is a sure way to receive all the benefits. A tincture is made by infusing an herb in alcohol, apple cider vinegar or vegetable glycerin. Once made it is used by taking a dropperful under the tongue. By taking tinctures under the tongue, it enters the blood stream faster, allowing it to go to work right away.

Use a tincture to help relieve most if not all alignments. It is a concentrated does that works fast. To me this is the best avenue in regards to building your herbal medicine cabinet.

For more information on tinctures in depth, check out our complete guide.

Another use is a salve. Salves can be used to rub chamomile on the chest or bottoms of feet to help relieve a cold.

And lastly, chamomile tea can be made to help bring relaxation to the mind and help with sleep. It can also be used to help relieve colic or teething babies. I also brew a double strength batch and pour it in my kids bath when they are to crazy to tame. And best of all it can also be used to reduce fever.

Recipes

Chamomile Tincture

You’ll need:

Quart size mason jar

Dried chamomile herbs

Dropper bottle

80 proof alcohol (vodka or brandy)

Directions

Fill your mason jar half full with your dried herbs.

Next pour alcohol, apple cider vinegar or vegetable glycerin about half an inch over the herbs. Now the herbs are going to rise as you pour your liquid, don’t freak out, just when you see about an inch or two of liquid on the bottom of your jar, stop pouring.

Place a lid on it and place either in a sunny window or a dark cool pantry for 6-8 weeks. This is really up to you, I have read that the sun helps infuse the herbs and brings in that good pure energy. Then I have read that the herbs need to be in a dark spot. To each their own. I have infused my tinctures on my window sill and have had fanstatic results. Everyday or a few times a week you want to shake up your jar. Get those oils moving around in your liquid. I like to say a little something like a prayer or mantra to help send it good juju. Sounds hippy but hey man, you are giving your family this stuff, you want it to work. Why not say a little something positive.

After the long wait of 6-8 weeks, you are going to want to strain out your herbs. Remember to compost those little suckers. Once you have your clean strained liquid, pour it into your dropper bottle. And store the rest in your pantry. Slap a label on that puppy and enjoy.

Alcohol infused tinctures last 5-10 years.

Apple cider vinegar infused tinctures last 3-5 years.

Vegetable glycerin infused tinctures last 1-2 years.

Bath Tea

No this is not a tea to drink while you are taking a bath. It is to actually go in the bath.

Directions

Boil about three cups of water on the stove.

Pour 1/4 cup of herbs in water stir it up a bit. Put a lid on your pot. Turn off the flame and allow to steep for about 20-30 minutes.

Once steeped, strain out herbs and compost them. What you have left is some double strength bad ass tea. Throw it in the bath for the kiddos or yourself to help relax or reduce fevers.

Chamomile salve

What you’ll need:

Quart size mason jar

Carrier oil such as olive oil, apricot oil, almond oil, fractionated coconut oil.

Beeswax

Dried herbs

Small jar

Directions

Fill mason jar about half way with dried herbs. Pour oil about half an inch over the top.

Place a lid on it and place in your pantry for 6-10 weeks.

After 6-10 weeks, strain out herbs and pour herb infused oil on a pot. Begin to heat oil on low heat. Slowly stir in beeswax. For every cup of oil you put a tablespoon of beeswax. Slowly melt the wax. Once melted take off heat and pour in your small jar. Once it cools it will solidify. Use as needed.

Get some chamomile in your life y’all

All three of these recipes can be used with any herb. So while chamomile is just bad ass, feel free to indulge in some lavender or whatever herb tickles that little fancy of yours.

If you have not had any luck growing chamomile hit up Mountain Rose Herbs. I am not affiliated with Mountain Rose Herbs, I just have been super satisfied with their products. They are an all organic, non gmo, fair trade company.

Please share what recipe you tried and loved.

Happy Chamomiling!

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Medicinal Herb Series: Sage

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We are exploring the very interesting world of SAGE. Who would have thought this little plant packed so much punch. For centuries sage has been used in the kitchen, making dinners just a tad bit more delicious. But for centuries it has also been used as a medicinal herb as well. Let’s explore why you should have a ton of sage on hand at all times.

Growing Sage

Best grown in zones 4-8. If you are unsure of what zone you are, literally google it, it will pop right up. Sage loves full sun, warm conditions and well drained soil. I live in zone 9 and it has done great. As the plant matures, it can get leggy and wordy, so be sure to trim it back before spring brings new growth. The parts of the plant used are the leaves.

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Medicinal uses

Sage or Salvias officinalis is related to the rosemary plant and closely related to the mint family. It has been said that the rosemarinic acid within the plant contains many of its invaluable properties. Rosemarinic acid is an antibacterial, antimicrobial and an antioxidant. And has the biggest hand in preventing damage that has been caused by free radicals. Free radicals are atoms that have an odd number of electrons. Once these radicals form in the body, the cells in the body start to break down. Please take some time to look into free radicals. There is way to much science involved for me to fully explain. Free radicals are caused by, well everything,  our food, our beauty products, the sun, viruses…. I mean everything. So to help counter act the inevitable, pack yourself with antioxidants. Antioxidants counteract free radicals and do not allow them to fester in the body. So looping back around to sage, which contains a high amount of rosemarinic acid, which is super high in antioxidants, which will help reduce and prevent free radicals, which cause all the nasty stuff we feel. Whoo. Did you get that? Let’s dive into a little deeper what kinds of goodness sage has.

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First on my list is cognitive support. This is has been shown through studies on individuals who showed results with hours of taking sage. Their memory became more clear and their ability to concentrate enhanced. The neural pathways are stimulated creating the ability to stay focused. It has also been known to help treat AAlzheimer’s disease.

High in Antioxidants. This helps reduce and eliminate free radicals in the body caused by everyday living. Free radicals seem impossible to avoid, so to help the inevitable we must load up on things like antioxidants to help reverse some of that damage.

Digestive support. There is a bitter component to sage that helps increase digestive secretions that help allow the digestive track to flow. This can also be taken as a carminative, which helps relieve flatulence.

Skin Care. Just like any herb, sage can be used in salves, tinctures and teas. For help with acne, blemishes or uneven skin tones, rub a sage salve on your face to help balance out skin issues.

Helps relieve muscle tension. By using as a salve, you can rub on sore or tense muscles to help relieve the pain. There is an anti sporadic compound that helps relieve that tension.

Mucus reducer. Placing some essential oil in a diffuser or humidifier can help relieve mucus that is tight in the chest or sinuses.

Antibacterial, antiseptic, anti inflammatory. Sage can be made into a tea and used to help relieve head colds, sore throats, ulcers, inflamed gums, and indigestion. Just to name a few. The Phenolic Acid in sage has even been known to kill Escherichia Coli, Candida and Salmonella.

Helps reduce sympotoms of menopause. Made into a tea, sage has been known to reduce hot flashes and many other sympotoms of menopause.

Purifying the air. White sage is used to help purify the air and ones spirit. This sage is usually picked by stem and wrapped with twine. It is hung and left to dry. Once dry, you light the end with the leaves and blow out the fire. What is left is smoke. Then you go through your house and say a little prayer, mantra or just have good thoughts and allow the good energy to flow. This is called smudging. We try and do this once a year. We have also smudged our dog when he was not feeling so well. Maybe mind over power but hot damn our 12 year old dog was bouncing around like a puppy the next day.

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Sage has so many fantastic medicinal properties to it and should really be apart of your medicine cabinet. Sage, like all herbs should be used with caution. Sage should NOT be used while PREGNANT or BREASTFEEDING . It has been used to help reduce mothers milk production.

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Sage can be used as a tincture, salve, tea or just eaten directly. There are all sorts of sage varieties that give off different tastes. Let’s dive into a few types of sage.

Most popular in the culinary world is Pineapple Sage. It looks skinnier then the normal sage you see. But smells like pineapple.

Purple sage, which has a spicy aroma.

Green sage, large almost furry like grey green leaves. Used for teas.

Tricolor Sage which has a subtle flavor.

There are many different varieties of sage. These are just to name a few. Sage leaves can be used fresh or ground. Use light until you reach the flavor desired.

Suggested use

Mouth Spray: Great for sore throats or swollen gums. 

2-3 tbls dried herbs

1/4 cup vodka or brandy

1-2 drops peppermint essential oil

Spray bottle

Directions

Boil one cup of water and pour over dried sage. Allow to steep for 30 minutes. Strain and combine with vodka or brandy and peppermint oil. Pour in spray bottle and store for 1-3 months. To use, spray directly in mouth as often as needed.

It has been said that using sage over a long period of time can be somewhat toxic. When dealing with herbs there is always that controversy. I do not claim to be a doctor, or claim that anything listed above will prevent or cure any or all diseases. Nor do I claim it should replace modern medicine. Please use wisely and put forth much more research then just this blog.

Happy Saging!

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