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February 2015 – Understanding Usnea

Posted in Uncategorized on February 1st, 2015 by kristine — Be the first to comment!


I have been fascinated with Usnea from the first time I found it growing in the wild. This magical herb is part fungi and part algae, a symbiotic relationship between the two that work together to create pretty amazing herbal medicine.


This month we’ll take a look at Usnea’s medicinal power (did you know he has been found to be more effective than penicillin against many gram-positive bacteria?), the best ways to utilize his medicine and where he can be found.

Understanding Usnea Table of Contents:

Note to Parents
Supply List
Herb Spirit
All About Usnea
Herbal Glossary
Scramble, Search and More: Word Search, Circle the Energetics, List the Constituents,  Word Scramble
Herbal Botany
Herbal Lore: Old Man Usne
Songs and Poems: Old Man’s Beard, Usnea Haiku
Herbal Recipes: Usnea Extract, Washes & Sprays, Usnea Tea, Usnea Infused Oil, Usnea Salve, Wound Powder
Coloring Page
Herbal Crafts: Pressing/rubbing/drawing of Usnea, Old Bearded Men Peg Dolls, Miniature Terrarium Pendants
*NEW* Herbal Jokes and Puns
Maze: Which Deer Will Make it to the Usnea?
Journal: Write your thoughts, medicine making notes and other information about your month with Usnea
Crossword Puzzle

48 pages from Cover to Cover. This month only, $3.99. After February 28, 2015, the price will go up to $7.99. To purchase your instant eBook download in PDF format, click here:

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[Herbal Rootlets]: No. 37 – Planning Your Herb Garden with Kids

Posted in Uncategorized on January 28th, 2015 by kristine — Be the first to comment!

planning your herb garden

My spirit was lifted and my soul nourished by my time in the garden. It gave me a calm connection with all of life, and an awareness that remains with me now, long after leaving the garden. 

-Nancy Ross

This time of year, seed catalogs arrive in the mail daily, stirring up dreams of the upcoming year’s garden and all the dreams and hopes that it holds. I get giddy just pouring over those fabulous pages of photographs, drawings and descriptions, always turning to the selection of new seeds to see what new options I’ll have at my fingertips this year.

While it’s exciting to go through them, it’s easy to get carried away and order more seeds than your garden can possibly hold or that you have time to manage. And, if you’re like me and you are including your kids in on the experience, it can get overwhelming really easily. So just where do you start? Today I’m sharing with you some tips and ideas on how to plan out a fantastic herb garden that you and your children will enjoy for a long time, from sowing to harvesting and beyond.

Be selective with your sources.

You’ll be getting all different types of seed catalogs with a huge variety of options: some are heirloom only, some gmo-free, and many with lots of gmo seed and hybrids. Toss out those catalogs with hybrids, especially if you want to save seed from your annuals, as hybrids do not grow well from saved seed. Gmo’s should be avoided as well. There are plenty of great choices with what’s left. Some of my favorite sources here in the USA are Horizon Herbs, Thyme Garden, Baker’s Creek, Bountiful Gardens and Pinetree Garden Seeds. If you’re interested in adding medicinal mushrooms to your garden (a great project for kids), try Fungi Perfecti.

Plot out your garden space.

Get a pad of graph paper from the office store and got outside to measure your garden. This is a great lesson for kids and they love to help out whenever there’s a tape measure involved. Next, go inside and plot it out on graph paper. Mark any permanent fixtures such as fencing, bird baths, tool sheds, raised beds, etc. You may need to go back outside once you have the rough measurements drawn on the graph paper to add in the details. That’s fine, and it’s good to double check your work.

Mark shady spots so you’ll know which locations are in full shade, part sun or full sun.

How about plots for the kids? Some kids like to have their own special plot while others like to just help out with the general gardening. Adding in a spot for a Sunflower garden house or a Passionflower (instead of a bean pole) tipi is a great way to get them involved in herbal gardening. Roots, Shoots, Buckets and Boots by Sharon Lovejoy is a great book for inspiration as is her book Sunflower Houses: Inspiration from the Garden.

Don’t have garden space? Consider container gardening. You can grow many medicinal herbs in pots on your patio, deck, balcony or anywhere you have a bit of sunny space. Check out Pinterest for many ideas on how to grow a garden when you don’t have a lot of room.

Take inventory.

Do you have any perennials growing in your garden? Be sure to mark those on your existing garden space. Make a note of any that you know will be crowding out others (Comfrey, Mugwort, Motherwort and Mints are often the culprits) so that you can plan to get them thinned out as soon as they make an appearance. Do you have anything growing that is getting old and may not return? Some tender perennials such as Rosemary, Lavender and Sage often die off over winter, especially if it was colder than usual.

Plan ahead.

Now that you know what you have growing, what new things would you like to grow? Often it’s best to make this list before you start eyeing those luscious seed catalogs. Time for the wishlist later. What do you want to learn about this year? If you subscribe to Herbal Roots zine, you’ll want to have most of those herbs growing this year and now’s the perfect time of the year to start planning for that. If you are selecting random back issues that interest you and your kids, pick 10 – 20 herbs to start with.

Figure out planting requirements.

Now it’s time to dive into those seed catalogs! Seed catalogs are a wealth of information. Not only do they give a description of the plant but they’ll tell you how big each plant gets, if it’s an annual, perennial or biennial, if it needs lots of sun, shade or a combination and the zones it can grow in. Use that information to determine where you’ll place your plants in your garden. You might find it easier to slip the drawn map of your garden into a clear paper sleeve so that you can use a dry erase marker to mark the plants locations. Once you’re finished, you can place that directly on your scanner or copier to make a completed copy or you can remove the original drawing from the sleeve and write it with a pen.

Tackle the Wishlist.

Once you’ve got all the plants you absolutely want/need to have in your garden, go back over it and look for blank spaces. What do you need filling in? Make a note of that and now it’s time for you and your kids to have fun!

What new herbs catch your eye as you thumb through them? Is there an herb you’ve always wanted to grow but never have? One that you’d like to work with on a more intimate basis? Are most of your herbs quiet bloomers and you’d like to add a splash of colorful flowers to it? The more variety and color you have in your garden, the prettier it will be and the more likely it will be to attract natural pollinators (bees, butterflies and other insects) to help your garden flourish. Don’t be afraid to add a few vegetables in there as well. I love growing my tomatoes among the Borage and Basil and the Celery makes a great border for the Skullcap and Lobelia. I even leave patches of Dandelion and Violets amongst the plants too. Not only do they help to keep other ‘weeds’ at bay, but then they are easy to access when I need them.

Place your order.

Decide if you’ll be ordering seeds or plants or a combination of both. Seeds can be started in containers early so they’ll be ready for planting out after your freeze date while plants are generally shipped to you when it’s time to plant. Some plants self seed freely and can be direct sown at the proper time; instructions will be provided with each seed packet for each plant’s needs.

You are on your way to having an amazing herb garden this year! What will you be planting this year in your herb garden? Do you have any favorites you grow year after year? What new plants will you be trying out this year? Do you give your kids their own garden plot?

50% Off Sale on all BACK ISSUES!

Posted in Uncategorized on January 27th, 2015 by kristine — 3 Comments


From now until Friday, January 30, 2015 ALL back issues are 50% off! Missing a few single issues? Need to grab an annual? Wanting to get the entire collection? Now’s your chance to do so at a great rate! Sale prices will be reflected in the cart.

This offer does NOT apply to the annual subscription.

Please note:  ALL issues are PDF form only, there are no paper copies available.

And, as a reminder, any time you subscribe to Herbal Roots zine, the entire year of 2009 comes FREE with your purchase so if you don’t have any of these issues, you can get 2 years for the price of 1!

Giveaway Monday – Usnea Package from Mountain Rose Herbs

Posted in Uncategorized on January 26th, 2015 by kristine — 30 Comments


This week, we are giving away a package full of herbally goodness, perfect for your month of creating herbal remedies with next month’s herb, Usnea (the issue comes out on February 1, 2015!).

This packages contains:

4 oz organic Usnea


1 spice jar w/shaker


(1) 2 oz amber dropper bottle


(1) 4 oz amber screw top bottle AND (1) 8 oz amber screw top bottle


With this awesome package, you’ll have containers to store your extracts, powders, and oils while having plenty of Usnea to make them with!

Mountain Rose Herbs is a certified organic processor through Oregon Tilth which is fully accredited with the USDA National Organic Program. Since 1987 they have continuously worked for the advancement of sustainable organic agriculture and state they will continue this lifelong passion into the future. They wholeheartedly recommend discovering the joys to be found in organic food products and the best place to start is right here at Mountain Rose Herbs. From the herbs they offer, to the teas they process and the oils they have distilled.

M0untain Rose also has a great YouTube Channel which offers an amazing amount of tutorials and educational videos, many created by John Gallagher and Rosalee de la Foret of

You can also follow them on their Blog for more information and great Giveaway offers!

Love Mountain Rose Herbs? You can show your support by ‘liking’ them on Facebook. Tell them Herbal Roots zine sent you!

Want a chance to win this awesome package from Mountain Rose Herbs? Leave a comment, telling us if you’ve ever worked with Usnea before. For more chances to win, leave a separate comment every time you do one of the following:

-if you’re a kid, tell me how old you are and what your favorite Herbal Roots zine activities are

-Check out MRH’s website and tell me some of your favorite things

-Blog about it (leave reference link)

-Follow Mountain Rose Herbs and Herbal Roots zine on Pinterest and pin this giveaway with hashtags #mountainroseherbs #giveawaymonday #herbalrootszine (list your pinterest name in comments so we can find you)

-Become a follower of Mountain Rose Herbs and Herbal Roots zine on Twitter and tweet this giveaway with hashtags #mountainroseherbs #giveawaymonday #herbalrootszine (list your twitter ID in comments so we can find you)

-Follow Mountain Rose Herbs and  Herbal Roots zine on Instagram and share this giveaway with hashtag #giveawaymondayhrz  and tag @herbalrootszine (list your Instagram name in comments so we can find you)

-Sign up for the Herbal Roots zine monthly newsletter (and receive an issue for free!)

Sign ups end on and I’ll draw the winner on Monday, February 2, 2015. Thanks for entering and good luck!

[Herbal Rootlets]: No. 36 – Create a “Herb-of-the-Month” Club

Posted in Uncategorized on January 15th, 2015 by kristine — Be the first to comment!


One of my students told me that every time she learns the name of a plant, she feels as if she is meeting someone new. Giving a name to something is a way of knowing it.” 

― Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder

It’s a new year, making it a great time to start a Herbal Roots zine “Herb-of-the-Month” club!

Just what is a Herb-of-the-Month club?

“Herb of the Month” Club is a great way to get kids together to learn about herbs! Kids get together on a regular basis to discuss herbs, make herbal remedies, do crafts and learn about herbs.

What are the benefits of a Herb-of-the-Month club?

By committing to learning about 1 herb each month, kids will learn in depth about each herb. By joining together, they can share their ideas and experiences with their uses and study of that herb, reinforcing what they’ve learned while teaching each other.

How can I start a Herb-of-the-Month club?

It’s simple! First, decide who you want to be a part of your club. Are you homeschoolers? Perhaps you will want to create a group for your local homeschool cooperative. Or get together with a group of homeschooling friends who are interested. Those who are not homeschoolers can get together after school or on the weekends.

If you’re interested in hosting a Herb-of-the-Month club but don’t know a lot of people, hang flyers at your local library, health food store, church, park or a nature center if you have one.

Where can we meet at?

Libraries often offer community rooms. Churches do as well. Or meet at someone’s home, maybe take turns hosting the classes so that kids can see the herbs growing in a variety of settings. If you have a local nature center, try them as well.

How often should we meet?

It’s best to meet on a regular basis. Every week or every two weeks is a good choice. By meeting a few times a month, the kids will have a chance to discuss what they’ve been working on or learning over the previous week(s).

How long should we meet for?

Depending on the age of the kids, 2 hours is generally enough. Younger kids will need shorter times but will enjoy listening to the stories, singing the songs and doing a craft activity. Also schedule in some games (see our website for ideas on adapting well known games for herbs).

So, we’ve got the kids, we’ve got the location, we’ve set the dates, now what?

Decide if you want to do a pre-determined list of herbs for the year or let the kids select them at their first meeting. There are 72 issues of Herbal Roots zine at the moment, with another added on each month. You might choose to subscribe for a year’s worth of issues and follow along as they come out. For longer planning and more choices, choose from the 72 back issues of Herbal Roots zine!

Now for the fun part…

Each family purchases the chosen issues for the club so they can download and print off a copy for each of their children that are participating. Each child should also have:

~1 hard sided binder to put their issues in
~1 sketchbook
~Pencil bag
~Pencils for sketching
~Waterproof pen for sketching (Micron .5 is a nice brand/size)
~Kneadable eraser

Be sure the group has access to the following (or have each family provide their own):

~Magnifying glasses
~Colored pencils, watercolors, and/or watercolor pencils
~Clear packing tape
~Various art and kitchen supplies (see each issue for specifics)

story time

Optional (makes story and music time more fun):

~Musical instruments such as drums, maracas, rattles, triangles, sticks, tambourines

Once you have the issues, print off the first issue and flip through it. The newer issues (April 2014 and beyond) and older revised issues all have 4 week calendar schedules. You can follow those to plan out your weeks. Some of the activities can be done during the club meeting, some can be done at home. Here is a sample schedule for the outdated ones (I am in the process of revising all issues but it will probably take me a few years to get them all completed). Please note you may need to make some adjustments for it to fit the issue you are working with.

Sample Calendar

Alternatively, you can follow this schedule. If the group is middle aged kids and older, try to get the kids to facilitate the learning. Maybe they can appoint a ‘leader’ for each week to lead the discussion. Be sure to let them have time each week to discuss with each other what they’ve learned about the plant they are learning about.

If you are meeting bi-weekly, combine activities from weeks 1 & 2 and weeks 3 & 4.

Herb-of-the-month Club

Week 1:

If possible, have a live specimen available for the kids to touch, smell, taste, look at and get to know. If it’s growing in its natural environment, even better but a potted version will work as will some clippings harvested right before the meeting. Let the kids look at the plant but don’t tell them anything about it. You might choose to have a plant for each kid to take home with them for planting or using throughout the month.

Have the kids fill out the Herb Spirit page 1 with their impressions of the herb.

Discuss the plant, read the all about section to them (or have them take turns reading it aloud).

Play a herbally adapted game to reinforce what they’ve just learned about the plant.

Choose a recipe to do. Extracts (alcohol and vinegar) are best done early on since they need to sit for a few weeks before using. Oils can be done early on too, especially if salve making will be happening. If the plant is a food based plant (one that can be eaten), have them create a recipe and bring it to the next class or everyone to try out. Make sure to have them write down their recipes on the journal page in each issue or in their sketchbook. Remind them to shake their extracts daily at home.

Sing the song about the plant.

Give them activities to do throughout the week such as find the plant growing in their yard, sketch the plant in their yard, go online to read some of the links that are shared in the resource section, do a few of the puzzles and so on. Ask them to re-read the All About section in the next few days at least once so they become more familiar with the plant.

Week 2:

Have a live specimen available. Let them look at the plant up close and write down what they observe. Start with what they see on the plant. Every detail: hairs, leaves opposite or alternating or whorled? Stems square or round? Are there thorns? If flowering, what is the flower’s color? How many petals? How many sepals? What are the shapes of the leaves? Are they toothed?

Review what they’ve learned about the plant so far. Ask questions such as:

What is the plant’s botanical name?

What family is it in?

Is it an annual or a perennial?

What vitamins and minerals does the plant have?

Is it warming or cooling?

Drying or moistening?

Sweet? Sour? Pungent? Bitter?…

Have them name 5 actions (or do a round robin game and each kid names an action in turn and when someone can’t remember an action, they stand in the middle until all the actions are named).

Sing the song again and see if they can come up with another verse.

Ask about their extracts…have they noticed them changing colors? Have them describe their extracts and remind them to keep shaking them every day (and fun thing can be for them to sing the plant’s song to the extract each day when they shake it).

Choose another recipe to do. If they’ve made a food item, let everyone try them out.

Play another herbally adapted game.

Give them activities to do throughout the week: do a few of the puzzles, maybe make one of the recipes such as a tea. Ask them to re-read the All About section at least once during the week. Have them tell a friend or family member what they’ve learned about the plant.


Week 3:

Have a live specimen available. Review what they discovered through the magnifying glass last week. Have them look again if they want and sketch a few of the details in their sketchbooks. If it is included in the issue that you are working in, have them complete the botany section.

Review the All About section again or if they’ve been reviewing it at home, have them call out all the things the plant can help them with. Ask them based on the actions that they have what other things the plant might be good for (ie. if it’s a carminative, would it be good for an upset stomach? nausea? gas?).

Have them fill out the plant profile template.

If appropriate, have any of the kids been using the plant at home (for food or medicine)? For instance, say you are learning about Peppermint and someone had an upset stomach. Did they make a cup of Peppermint tea to drink?

Do a craft.

Week 4:

This is the week to wrap up!

Have them do Page 2 of the Herb Spirits. How did their answers change or stay the same? What did they learn about the plant that they were surprised to learn?

Pass around the live specimen. As each kid holds it, have them share one thing about the plant. It can be anything: a description of the plant, a use for the plant, a type of medicine they made from the plant, how the plant makes them feel (while they are looking at it or when they are using it). Maybe they’d like to recite a poem they wrote about the plant or tell a story they made up about the plant. Or how they will use the plant in the future.

Make a salve if appropriate for the plant you are learning about.

Sing the song.

Pretend to be the plant and dance like the plant would dance while you sing the song. This can start out as a discussion (would Burdock have a deep singing voice and move slowly since he works slowly in the body? would Blackberry or Rose have his claws out, grabbing at everybody? …)

Give the kids time to finish up anything in the issue that they haven’t had a chance to do.

Finish up with a celebration of that plant. Have an infusion or tea blend made (if appropriate, some might not be so good to drink!), or popsicles, herbal soda, etc. Make some herb themed foods to eat such as cookies or candied leaves or ice cream.


Other optional ideas:

~At the beginning of the year, after the plants are decided on, schedule a 2nd meeting to get together and either plant a community garden plot with all the plants they will be learning about that year OR plant seeds in pots for them to each take home.

~At the end of the year, have a herb celebration to honor the 12 herbs you’ve learned about for the year. Have food themed with the 12 herbs. Play herbal bingo. Winners could win herb seeds for the next year’s round of plants, decorated labels for their jars, or other herb related items.

Have you thought about creating a “Herb-of-the-Month” club in your area or have you started one already? Tell us what works well for you!

Giveaway Monday: Mama Nature’s ABC Book

Posted in Uncategorized on January 12th, 2015 by kristine — 9 Comments


Follow along in this whimsical nature based ABC Book. This book is especially inspiring for families who enjoy taking little nature walks together and making little observations in nature. C is for Clover and Caterpillar. E is for Eagle and Evergreen. L is for Ladybug and Leaf. P is for Pinecone. S is for Seeds. W is for Waxing and Waning. Z is for Zodiac. A space is provided, in the back of each book, for each family to record their own alphabetical observations, making this book a delightful keepsake.



ABOUT AMBER: My name is Ancient Amber, author for families of the Earth! I am a mother of two young children. After spending hours upon hours of searching for the right stories for my children and still turning up empty handed I began writing stories for them instead of just searching! I write my children stories about Mother Earth! I bring perspective and awareness to the diversity of the Earth and the many families of the Earth through my stories. This perspective is not limited to human nature but includes all perspectives such as animals, plants, sea life, stars, planets as well as the many different perspectives human kind.


I want my children to see every life form as a part of their family, this is why I sometimes use metaphoric terms such as Mother Earth, Father Sun , Grandmother Moon and Grandfather Stars. I am dedicated to showing my children the WHOLE picture not just the perspective of human nature. All of my stories emphasizes a great love for the diversity of life on our planet. My stories also emphasize the beauty of our differences and encourage creative thinking.

Love Ancient Amber? You can show your support by ‘liking’ her on Facebook. Tell her Herbal Roots zine sent you!

Want a chance to win this sweet ABC book? Leave a comment, telling us your favorite observations on your nature walks! For more chances to win, leave a separate comment every time you do one of the following:

-if you’re a kid, tell me how old you are and what your favorite Herbal Roots zine activities are

-Check out Amber’s website and tell me what you like best about it

-Blog about it (leave reference link)

-Follow Ancient Amber and Herbal Roots zine on Pinterest and pin this giveaway with hashtags #AncientAmber #giveawaymonday #herbalrootszine (list your Pinterest name in comments so we can find you)

-Follow Ancient Amber and Herbal Roots zine on Twitter and tweet this giveaway with hashtags #AncientAmber #giveawaymonday #herbalrootszine (list your twitter ID in comments so we can find you)

-Follow Ancient Amber and  Herbal Roots zine on Instagram and pin this giveaway with hashtags #AncientAmber #giveawaymonday #herbalrootszine (list your Instagram name in comments so we can find you)

-Sign up for the Herbal Roots zine monthly newsletter (and receive an issue for free!)

Sign ups end on and I’ll draw the winner on Monday, January 19, 2015. Thanks for entering and good luck!

[Herbal Rootlets]: No. 35 – Turn Your Holiday Tree into Medicine and More!

Posted in Uncategorized on January 7th, 2015 by kristine — Be the first to comment!

Turn Your Holiday Tree into Medicine and More!

As children observe, reflect, record, and share nature’s patterns and rhythms, they are participating in a process that promotes scientific and ecological awareness, problem solving, and creativity.” 

- Deb Matthews Hensley, early childhood consultant

Now that the holidays are over, you may be wondering what to do with that luscious cut pine (or spruce or fir) tree. It’s the perfect time to have a Pine medicine making party! Didn’t have a live tree? You can still do most of these activities, just go outside and prune some branches from the conifer tree in your backyard!

A word of caution: If you are using a recycled holiday tree, be sure to check with the source that the tree has not been sprayed with a flam retardant or other chemical sprays. Generally local tree farms do not spray their trees but sometimes commercial tree lots do.

From left to right: Norway Spruce, Douglas Fir and White Pine branches

From left to right: Norway Spruce, Douglas Fir and White Pine branches

What can you do with that tree? Here are 10 ideas that kids will love! (Pine, Spruce, Fir and Juniper can all be used for these projects):

~You can prop your tree outside to give refuge to birds and other small animals. It’s a special bonus for them if you have strung popcorn and cranberries on the tree for decoration. Make some peanut butter seed pinecones to hang on the branches for extra treats.

pine bird 04 - craft

To make a pine cone bird feeder, you will need:

Large pinecones
2 ft. yarn or twine
2 Tbsp. Peanut butter per pine cone
2 Tbsp. lard or butter per pine cone
Plate or pie pan

Make a slipknot in the end of the yarn and attach it to the top of the pinecone.

pine bird 01 - craft

Mix the peanut butter and lard or shortening together and smear over the surface of the pinecone.

pine bird 02 - craft

Pour the birdseed on the plate or pie pan. Roll the pinecone in the seed to fully coat.

pine bird 03 - craft

Place the pinecones in the freezer for about an hour to firm up the mixture. Hang in a tree outside for the birds to enjoy!

~Cut the trunk off to use as your yule log for next year.

~Prune off several branches and make a wreath out of them. To do this, get a wire coat hanger, bend the lower portion into a circle (leave the hook on the top for a hook to hang your wreath from. Prune your branches into manageable lengths, and using floral wire, tie the branches onto the wire. Continue going around the circle until it is completely filled. Decorate your wreath with winter symbols such as pine cones, snowflakes, birds or other woodland creatures and a bow if you’d like and hang it on your back door.


~Chop up some needles to make Pine Infused Vinegar. Simply fill a jar half full with the chopped needles and fill to the top with a good apple cider vinegar. It’s ready to use in about 3 weeks and will give a citrusy flavor to your vinegar. It’s great for sprinkling on meats, salads and beans.

~Harvest some needles to dry for adding to teas. Pine needle tea is delicious and full of vitamin C. Play around with adding dried needles to your favorite herbal tea recipes.


~Pine needle syrup is also full of vitamin C and great for soothing coughs. Make a basic syrup by first making a tea from the needles and water. Steep it for 30 minutes then strain off the needles. Measure your liquid and add an equal amount of raw sugar. Bring it to a boil and gently simmer until it has reduced to about half the amount and thickened. Pour into a bottle and store in the fridge.

~Infuse some needles in oil. Place chopped needles in a jar with your favorite oil. Coconut oil, olive oil and grape seed oil all make great oils. Place the jar in a warm place for two weeks until the oil has been infused. Strain it off. You can turn this oil into a salve by adding a bit of beeswax to the oil (melt together in a double boiler). Generally I find 1 oz. of beeswax for every 8 oz. oil to be a good combination.


~My friend Ananda Wilson of Amrita Aromatics makes the most delightful Fir needle elixir. She has the recipe for this plus many, many more ideas in this conifer filled post.

~Does your tree have long needles? Remove them from the branches and spread them to dry. Once they are dried, you can use them for making pine needle baskets. The Pine issue of Herbal Roots zine has instructions on how to do this. 

~Use your needles for cooking. The branches can be soaked in water and added to the roasting pan to give a citrusy flavor to your foods. My friend Lisa Rose of Burdock & Rose has a great write-up for culinary uses of various conifers on her website.

BONUS idea…

~After you have stripped the needles from the branches, bind a few branches together in bundles. Once they have dried, they make great fire starters.

If you had a cut tree in your house for the holidays, what ways have you found to recycle it? Leave us a comment!

Giveaway Monday – Bay Laurel Leaf Tea Cup from Mulberry Mudd

Posted in Uncategorized on January 5th, 2015 by kristine — 46 Comments



This week I am delighted to give away this beautiful Bay Laurel teacup from Mulberry Mudd. This one of a kind handmade ceramic teacup features Bay Laurel leaves and a flower and is perfect for serving up your favorite cup of herbal tea or steaming cup of nourishing bone broth.


This beautiful teacup is handless and rests comfortably in your hands. One side of the tea cup features Bay leaves while the other side features a flower.


This teacup holds approximately 16 oz. They fit comfortably in your hands, warming them as the hot beverage contained within it warms your insides!  What would be your favorite drink in this cup?

About Rebekah:


Artist and herbalist Rebekah Dawn has been walking with the plants for as long as she can remember. A life long love has translated into passionate study of herbal lore that has deepened and grown through the years. She currently lives with her family at Labyrinth Gardens, a United Plant Saver Botanical Sanctuary, where she gives monthly plant walks and medicine making workshops. When she is not in the garden or wild-crafting she is most likely in her ceramic studio. Rebekah is the Teen Camp Coordinator for the Midwest Women’s Herbal Conference.

Be sure to stop by to check out her other items in her store. She makes beautiful Herbal Faeries, pendants, birdhouses, mugs and more! She also does custom orders so if you have a special ally or idea, convo her with questions! There may be a few other one-of-a-kind pendants featuring past Herbal Roots herbs as well! Rebekah uses naturally found elements in nature combined with clay to create these amazing pieces. Her sculptures are amazing, incredibly original and just plain wonderful. I fall in love with each one she creates.

Each piece in Rebekah’s store is original in every way, she uses no molds or reproductions ever. A percentage of her profits go to Tree Sisters and Radical Joy for Hard Times each month, and the rest builds her own Botanical Sanctuary at Labyrinth Gardens.

You can become a fan of Mulberry Mudd on Facebook if you would like to do so.

If you’d like a chance to win this one of a kind Cayenne tea cup, leave a comment below. For more chances to win, you can leave a separate comment each time you advertise this giveaway by:

-Kids, you get 1 extra point for being a kid! Leave a comment telling me how old you are and what you like best about Herbal Roots zine.

-blogging about it

-tell us which herb you’re most excited to be learning about this year with Herbal Roots zine

-telling me your favorite item in her store

-share this giveaway on your Facebook page

-follow Herbal Roots and Mulberry Mudd on Pinterest and pin this giveaway with hashtags #mulberrymudd #giveawaymonday #herbalrootszine (list your pinterest name in comments so we can find you)

-follow Herbal Roots on Instagram and pin this giveaway with hashtags #mulberrymudd #giveawaymonday #herbalrootszine (list your Instagram name in comments so we can find you)

-follow Herbal Roots on Twitter and tweet this giveaway with hashtags #mulberrymudd #giveawaymonday #herbalrootszine (list your pinterest name in comments so we can find you)

Sign ups end and I’ll announce the winner on Monday, January 12, 2015. Good luck!

January 2015 – Bountiful Bay Laurel

Posted in Uncategorized on January 1st, 2015 by kristine — Be the first to comment!


While it’s cold and blustery here, we are going to head over to the balmier Mediterranean to study one of their wonderful herbs, Bay Laurel. Interestingly, most people know Bay as a necessary spice that is added to many savory dishes. Don’t stop there, Bay Laurel is a fabulous medicinal herb as well!


This month we’ll talk about how versatile she is, with a variety of herbal remedies and a few sweet treats thrown in as well (ever had Bay Laurel Ice Cream?)

Pull those leaves out of the cupboard and get started!


Bountiful Bay Laurel Table of Contents:

Note to Parents
Supply List
Herb Spirit
All About Bay Laurel
Herbal Glossary
Scramble, Search and More: Word Search, Circle the Energetics, List the Vitamins & Minerals,  Word Scramble, Fill in the Blanks, Which Item Doesn’t Belong?
Herbal Botany
Herbal Lore: Bountiful Bay Laurel
Songs and Poems: I’m A Little Bay Leaf, Laudis
Herbal Recipes: Bay Laurel Extract, Bay Leaf Tea,  Bay Laurel Vinegar, Bay Laurel Bath Tea, Bay Laurel Oil, Bay Laurel Salve, Bay Laurel Syrup, Bay Laurel Ice Cream
Coloring Page
Herbal Crafts: Leaf pressing/rubbing/drawing of Cayenne, Styrofoam Chile Stamp, Clay Chiles
Maze: Find Your Way Through the Bay Leaf
Journal: Write your thoughts, medicine making notes and other information about your month with Bay Laurel
Crossword Puzzle

52 pages from Cover to Cover. This month only, $3.99. After January 31, 2015, the price will go up to $7.99. To purchase your instant eBook download in PDF format, click here:

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[Herbal Rootlets]: No. 34 – Herbal Resolutions for 2015

Posted in Uncategorized on December 31st, 2014 by kristine — 1 Comment so far


Your deepest roots are in nature.  No matter who you are, where you live, or what kind of life you lead, you remain irrevocably linked with the rest of creation. 

– Charles Cook

It’s the last day of 2014 and time for reflection on the past year as well as insight for the upcoming year.

Many made a commitment to themselves and their children this past year to learn about herbs and teach them to their children. The outpouring of emails in my inbox have been overflowing with stories from families returning to the old ways of medicine, using herbs that grow out of this amazing planet we all call home. Still others are just now joining in, determined that this will be the year they take the leap and learn about them with their children.

Wherever you are on your herbal journey, make a resolution/goal/intention to deepen that path more fully this year. Here are some ideas to get you started:

~ Commit to 1 or 2 herbs to focus on this year. This is especially helpful if you get overwhelmed with trying to learn about herbs for the first time. Choose a back issue or two of Herbal Roots zine that appeals to you and focus on them for the entire year instead of a month. Make every imaginable herbal remedy with that plant, even if it’s never been done before. How will you know the plants full range of use if you don’t try them all out? It’s better to know 5 herbs intimately than 50 superficially, you will have a better success rate at healing your friends and family with this method than trying to learn it all. Over time, that knowledge base will increase to knowing 50 plants intimately.

~ Pick a plant family to learn about this year. Learning about the details of a plant family can help in so many ways. For instance, when you’re wildcrafting or on a nature walk, you can learn to identify spot a member of that plant family even if you don’t know the specific genus and/or species. By doing so, you will know the major medicinal characteristics of that plant family. Thomas Elpel goes into detail in his botany books Shanleya’s Quest (and card game) and Botany in a Day.

~ If you haven’t already, start a nature/herbal journal. List the plants that grow in your backyard, write down the plants you want to grow in your garden this year, sketch pictures of the house plants or the skeletal remains of plants outdoors. This is a great time to do tree bark rubbings too and try to learn to identify trees by their bark. Commit to 10 minutes a day, or start with 3 days a week to write in your journals. Be sure to have a journal for each member of your family, even little ones who can’t write. They will enjoy tagging along, “writing” in their journals and “sketching” the plants too. Need some ideas on what to put in your nature/herbal journal? I’ve got lots of great ideas here.

~ Start a herbal study group in your community, whether it be homeschool, church, scouts or to the public in general. Learning together strengthens your resolve to actually take the time to study instead of adding it to the bottom of each day’s to do list that never gets crossed off.

~ If all of these things seem overwhelming, start small. Just make a commitment to go outside every day, rain or shine, for 10 minutes. Take a walk around the yard, block or through the garden to see what’s going on. How are the plants responding to the weather changes? What can you discover even when everything is under 6 inches of snow? You will be amazed at your discoveries. Over time, you might feel moved to write these observations down. You might also find that though you only intended to be outside for 10 minutes, an hour has gone by and the kids are building rafts to float down a nearby stream out of bark or picking rose hips to nibble on while they roll out snowballs to make a snow man. Generally, that first step is all it takes to open the door. Kids are more likely to go outside if you make the commitment to go yourself.

How about you, what are your goals/intentions/resolutions for this upcoming year? Have you made a commitment to get your kids outside, exploring nature and the plants more this year? Are you offering any classes for your homeschool group, church group or scouting group this year? Will you choose a few plants to focus on this year?  How do you plan to add herbal knowledge to you and your kids’ everyday life? Take a few moments to consider what herbal resolutions you have for 2015. When you’re done,  I’d love to hear about it, tell me in the comments!