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Giveaway Monday – Motherwort Tea Cup from Mulberry Mudd

Posted in Uncategorized on July 13th, 2015 by KristineBrown — 14 Comments

***THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. CONGRATULATIONS TO COMMENT #13, SARA, SHE IS THIS WEEK’S WINNER!***mulberrymudd

This week I am delighted to give away this beautiful Motherwort tea cup from Mulberry Mudd. Motherwort is such a wonderful ally to have and this tea cup is a wonderful reminder of all she can do for us.

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This beautiful teacup is handleless and rests comfortably in your hands. The body of the tea cup is made with tan clay, has the stalk of Motherwort etched into the front and a flower of Motherwort etched into the back.  It holds approximately 16 oz. and fits 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?

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About Rebekah:

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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 Motherwort tea cup, leave a comment below, telling me what your favorite beverage would be to sip in it. 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, July 20, 2015. Good luck!

[Herbal Rootlets]: No. 58 – Learning About Motherwort

Posted in Uncategorized on July 10th, 2015 by KristineBrown — 1 Comment so far

learning-about-motherwort

If we want children to flourish, to become truly empowered, then let us allow them to love the earth before we ask them to save it. Perhaps this is what Thoreau had in mind when he said, “the more slowly trees grow at first, the sounder they are at the core, and I think the same is true of human beings.

-David Sobel, Beyond Ecophobia

Motherwort is commonly known as “Mother’s Little Helper” because of her ability to help ease stress and tension for weary moms. While Motherwort is wonderful for this aspect, she is also useful for many other ailments as well.

A member of the Lamiaceae family, Motherwort’s botanical name is Leonurus cardiaca, “leonurus” referring to lion and “cardiaca” to the heart, giving another indication for her use.

Do you have Motherwort growing in your garden? If so, pick a leaf and try this experiment: chew the leaf and notice the flavors of Motherwort. What do you notice? Bitter? Yes, pungent too? Yes. How does the leaf make your mouth feel? Does it seem a bit dry? Cooler? We describe Motherwort’s energetics as bitter, pungent, drying and cooling.

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Nutritionally, sources indicate Motherwort contains beta carotene, calcium, choline, cobalt, copper, iodine, manganese and potassium.

Motherwort contains many constituents that give her healing power: alkaloids such as leonurine, stachydrin, betonin and turicin, flavonoids such as rutin, apigenin, and quercetin, bitter glycosides, volatile oils, resins, tannins, and acids such as magic, citric and vinitic.

Motherwort has an affinity for the reproductive system and the heart. Medicinally, Motherwort is considered to be analgesic, antibacterial, antifungal, antioxidant, antirheumatic, antispasmodic, astringent, bitter, cardiotonic, circulatory stimulant, diaphoretic, diuretic, emmenagogue, hemostatic, hypotensive, immune stimulant, laxative, nervine, parturient, sedative, stomachic, tonic, uterine tonic and vasodilator. Let’s talk about these actions in greater depth…

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Motherwort is one of the first medicinal plants that I used after I started seriously studying herbs for the medicinal uses. My first plants were patiently grown from seed and I have happily grown her ever since. Focusing on the common name, indicating her use for mothers (wort means ‘herb or plant’ indicating her common name to be mother’s herb or plant), I found this herb to be very helpful as a new mother, as well as mama’s little helper during my cycle. Motherwort has an uncanny way of making everything seem alright for mothers and women who become tense and irritated due to hormonal changes.

Motherwort is wonderful for women of all ages. Young women, coming into womanhood, will find Motherwort to be a powerful ally while they adjust to the extra hormones that are flooding their bodies. Menopausal women will find Motherwort to be just as supportive when their hormones once again wildly fluctuate, by helping to moderate hormone levels, calm hot flashes and night sweats and emotional mood swings as well as easing heart palpitations, insomnia and depression, which are often a common part of the menopausal journey. Mothers laboring in childbirth may find Motherwort beneficial for a smooth birthing process.

Watch out for the prickly bracts on the flowers!

Watch out for the prickly bracts on the flowers!

At the same time, Motherwort is also a uterine tonic, supporting the uterus and toning it. Menstrual cramps are often eased with doses of Motherwort. Motherwort can also help to bring on delayed menses, especially when the delay is caused by clots in the uterus, or when menses is scanty.

For those stuck in extreme emotional upset, whether due to hormones, grief or even unexplainable reasons, Motherwort will gently bring you back to a more calm emotional point of wellbeing.

Motherwort is not just for women though. Men can also benefit from her hormone balancing actions. As a reproductive tonic, Motherwort not only tones the female reproductive system but also the male reproductive system.

Motherwort is also very supportive to our hearts. Her botanical name Leonurus cardiaca, lionhearted, refers to her support of the cardiac system. Motherwort strengthens the heart muscle, calms palpitations, relaxes the heart, can slow a rapid heartbeat and improves circulation. As a mild hypotensive, Motherwort combines well with Hawthorn, Linden and Black Haw.

Those heart shaped anthers are sending a message: Motherwort is all about the heart!

Those heart shaped anthers are sending a message: Motherwort is all about the heart!

Emotionally, the name infers courage and Motherwort is wonderful for helping those navigate through dark times and periods of intense grief.

David Winston recommends the combination of Motherwort, Bugleweed (Lycopus americanus) and Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) to help with hyperthyroidism, especially when nervousness and palpitations are present.

Lesser known and utilized uses of Motherwort include her effectiveness as an analgesic, especially for post partum pain. Motherwort is also good for treating digestive system upsets, especially when tied into the nervous system such as nervous dyspepsia, as well as indigestion and liver/gallbladder stagnation due to her bitter and digestive actions.

motherwort-in-flower

Some may also find relief from chronic skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis and eczema.

As an antispasmodic, Motherwort is also great for working with spasmodic conditions in the respiratory system, including asthma. I like to combine her with New England Aster for this.

Motherwort should not be used by pregnant women as Motherwort is a uterine stimulant but is safe during lactation.

Harvest Motherwort when she begins to bloom. The flowering tops, leaves and stalks can all be used.

Want to try a tea with Motherwort? Try my Happy Heart Tea blend:

Mix equal parts:

Dried Motherwort
Dried Tilia flower and leaf
Dried Hawthorn leaves and flowers

Store in a labeled airtight jar.

To make a cup of tea, add 2 teaspoons tea to a tea ball and steep in boiling water for 10 – 20 minutes.

For more information, recipes and activities with Motherwort, check out the July issue of Herbal Roots zine, Marvelous Motherwort.

Have you worked with Motherwort? What are your favorite uses of this plant?

Giveaway Monday – EarthDeva Oracle Coloring and Activity Book

Posted in Uncategorized on July 6th, 2015 by KristineBrown — 3 Comments

***THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. CONGRATULATIONS TO AMANDA TRAVIS, SHE IS THIS WEEK’S WINNER!***

This week I have 2 giveaways!

EDOSummerCover

For the first giveaway, one lucky winner will receive a copy of the EarthDeva Oracle Coloring and Activity Summer Solstice Book by Maria Falce of Kindred Root, which is scheduled to be released on Sunday, July 12. 

The EarthDeva Oracle Coloring and Activity Summer Solstice Book is a heart-centered journey of self discovery through our connection with the Earth.  Allow the 13 plant devas to guide you in rediscovering your innate creativity and joy, through coloring pages, photographs, recipes and journal pages.  This book is for everyone who has a love of nature and a desire to cultivate a deeper relationship with the naturalworld. It is a beauty full homeschooling companion as well as a fun activity book for humans through all ages.  

The herbs listed in the summer solstice issue are: Bee Balm, Butterfly Weed, Cinquefoil, Fleabane, Hoary Allysum, Lavender, Motherwort, Queen Anne’s Lace, St. John’s Wort, White Campion, Yarrow, Spiderwort and Self Heal.

If you want to preview what EarthDeva is all about, download a sample chapter from the Spring Equinox issue. Though the Summer Solstice issue’s order has not been finalized, you can see the Spring Equinox’s table of contents to get an idea of what is in store for the summer issue:

springtoc

And for the second giveaway, everyone’s a winner! Maria is offering a copy of the Motherwort coloring page from the upcoming summer solstice issue to anyone who wants to download and print it off! Simply click on the picture below to start the download.

MotherwortColoringPageSummer

A Bit about Maria Falce and Kindred Root. 

maria

Maria is a spiritual writer and a self-love warrior with a deep and diverse background in both the culinary and healing arts. As a teacher, chef, integrative healer, business owner, craft herbalist and organic gardener it has been her path throughout her many lifetimes to guide others (by sharing her process) to find strength and direction, gently planting seeds of heart centered, connected awareness. She is most passionate about guiding people to connect with their inner voice, a midwife to the joyful birth of inherent authentic creativity that lives within us all. When she is not busy unschooling her feral daughter, she can often be found writing, playing in the woods, communing with the flora and fauna and dancing with the Devas.

KRLOGOCLEAN copy

Love Kindred Root and EarthDeva Oracle Coloring and Activity Book? You can show your support by ‘liking’ them on Facebook. Tell them Herbal Roots zine sent you!

Want a chance to win this beautiful coloring and activity book? Leave a comment, telling us if you’ve ever worked with Motherwort 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 Kindred Root’s website and tell me some of your favorite things

-Blog about it (leave reference link)

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

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

-Follow 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, July 13, 2015. Thanks for entering and good luck!

 

[Herbal Rootlets]: No. 57 – Introducing Kids to the Tastes of Herbs

Posted in Uncategorized on July 3rd, 2015 by KristineBrown — Be the first to comment!

Tastes-of-Herbs

Without continuous hands-on experience, it is impossible for children to acquire a deep intuitive understanding of the natural world that is the foundation of sustainable development. ….A critical aspect of the present-day crisis in education is that children are becoming separated from daily experience of the natural world, especially in larger cities.

-Natural Learning, Creating Environments for Rediscovering Nature’s Way of Teaching, Robin C. Moore and Herb H. Wong

Awhile back, I wrote about teaching kids the 6 tissue states of the body which can be helpful with matching up the proper herbs to the individual person. Today I am going to introduce another facet of herbal energetics, the tastes of herbs and how they apply to herbal healing. We call the combination of the tissue states actions of herbs (drying, moistening, cooling, warming, tightening and relaxing) with their tastes herbal energetics. By understanding herbal energetics, we can fully understand how plants work in the body to bring about balance and optimal healing.

There are 5 basic flavors that herbs fall under: bitter, sweet, pungent/spicy, sour, and salty, according to traditional Chinese Medicine. In Ayurvedic medicine, astringent is also added to this list (in TCM, astringent is considered to be a part of sour). In Traditional Western Herbalism, these tastes were lost over the years and modern day herbalists have begun recreating their own herbal energetics systems. Many herbalists focus on the basic 5 – 6 tastes, with a few exceptions. Matthew Wood speaks of 13 tastes in his teaching: sour, fruity, aromatic, pungent, tingling, moist, salty, bitter, sweet, nutty, meaty, puckering, and acrid. David Winston teaches on 10 tastes: sweet, mineral salt, true salt, pungent, spicy, acrid, sour, astringent, bitter and bland. Both of their systems dig deep into the subtle nuances of herbs. Today we will stick to 5: bitter, sweet, spicy/pungent, sour and salty.

 

Taraxacum officinale (Dandelion) is a member of the Asteraceae family.

Dandelion is a great example of what a bitter herb tastes like.

 

Bitter
Bitter taste is the most loathed taste in the standard American diet. We do all we can to remove the bitter from our taste buds by adding sweet to kill the taste. Unfortunately, this is not doing our bodies any good as bitter is a very important part of our digestion. Bitters increase salivary secretions and send a message to our stomachs to prepare for food, creating digestive secretions that are necessary for proper digestion.

Bitters are generally cooling and drying and generally contain glycosides and alkaloids.

Common bitter herbs: Dandelion, Chicory, Coffee, Motherwort, Cacao, Burdock, Oregon Grape Root, Black Walnut Hull, Yellow Dock root, Gentian, Boneset, Milk Thistle

How to demonstrate bitter herbs: Eat a Dandelion leaf and notice how your saliva increases.

 

Marshmallow roots are mildly sweet.

Marshmallow roots are mildly sweet.

 

Sweet
Sweet is one of the most desired tastes in the standard American diet. The over sweet tastes in our diet are often calorie laden, though not usually nutritive or nourishing. In herbalism, sweet is often nutritive, nourishing and caloric. They are important as nutritive tonics. Though sweet herbs have a sweet taste, this sweetness is often not as noticeable to our palates because of the overly sugary foods we often consume on a daily basis.

Sweet tasting herbs are generally moistening and neutral to warming and generally contain carbohydrates and may contain protein, fats, sugars and polysaccharides.

Common sweet herbs include: Astragalus root, Marshmallow, Licorice, Slippery Elm, Stevia

How to demonstrate sweet herbs: Chew a piece of Licorice or Astragalus root or a bit of Slippery Elm bark and notice the mild sweetness.

 

Bergamot is a great example of a spicy herb.

Bergamot is a great example of a spicy herb.

 

Spicy/Pungent
Spicy/pungent herbs are often broken into 2 – 4 categories: spicy, pungent, aromatic, and acrid based on their more subtle tastes. Most herbs falling into these categories have a kick to them. The heat may be felt instantly in the mouth or may hit the back of the throat. Some herbs may have a perfume like taste to them. These herbs often stimulating and can affect the circulatory system, digestive system and respiratory system depending on the herb. They are great for moving congestion and stagnation in the body. Lobelia is a great example of an acrid herb, if you chew a piece of leaf, you will feel a bile like feeling at the back of your throat. Too much will make you vomit.

Spicy/pungent herbs are generally warming and drying and generally contain essential oils or terpenes.

Common spicy/pungent herbs: Ginger, Cayenne, Cinnamon, Bergamot, Rosemary, Thyme, Lobelia

How to demonstrate spicy/pungent herbs: Taste a variety of kitchen spices such as Rosemary, Thyme, Cinnamon and Ginger to get a sense of the spicy/pungent taste.

 

Sumach berries are sour in taste.

Sumach berries are sour in taste.

 

Sour
Sour foods are often high in vitamin C, assisting the immune system with healthy function, helps the body to produce collagen for wound healing, helps with the absorption of iron, and good for tightening tissues. Sour herbs are often cardiotonics and are often helpful for cooling the body.

Sour herbs are generally cooling and drying and generally contain acids, flavonoids and vitamin C.

Common sour herbs: Rose hips, Hawthorn berries, Lemon, Sumach

How to demonstrate sour herbs: Eating a slice of Lemon will give you a quick idea of how sour works.

 

Chickweed is a great example of the minerally 'green' taste of salty herbs.

Chickweed is a great example of the minerally ‘green’ taste of salty herbs.

 

Salty
David Winston divides salty into 2 categories: mineral salt and true salt. This distinction can help to identify the mineral salt taste of herbs. True salt is the flavor of sea salt and table salt. Mineral salt is the flavor herbs give. Salts give our body important minerals which are needed for proper hydration and aiding in digestion. Salty herbs are often diuretics and are generally calming, especially for those who are malnourished.

Salty herbs are generally drying and cooling and generally contain minerals.

Common bitter herbs: Nettles, Kelp, Cleavers, Chickweed, Horsetail

How to demonstrate salty herbs: Try nibbling on a bit of kelp for an extreme salty taste. For the more subtle, minerally taste, eat some Chickweed, drink a Nettles infusion or a piece of Spinach, which will give that ‘green’ taste salty herbs generally have.

Deepening the knowledge
Tastes and energetics can be easy to learn and are helpful with mastering the art of herbal medicine. Start with plants that are stronger in taste and more obvious then as you and your children grow more confident, try out more subtle tasting herbs. Taste herbs often to become familiar with their tastes and to notice the change of tastes throughout the growing season as well as changes between species and wildcrafted vs. garden grown plants. As you learn about each herb’s use and properties, test yourself on their energetics.

A note of caution, be sure to only taste plants that are ‘safe’, eating low dose botanicals can cause problems until you’ve learned how to safely taste them. Stick with common plants that you can positively identify.

For further study on this subject, try these links and books:

Matthew Wood
Matt’s book: The Practice of Traditional Western Herbalism
Energetics and Pharmacology online article

David Winston
The Ten Tastes – The Energetics of Herbs video (based on his same titled course)

Rosalee de la Foret
Tastes of Herbs eBook

Michael Moore
Herbal Energetics pdf file from his website (a wealth of information for more advanced learners)

Do your kids notice the different tastes of herbs? Which ones are they more drawn to?

Giveaway Monday – Motherwort Set from Mountain Rose Herbs

Posted in Uncategorized on June 29th, 2015 by KristineBrown — 13 Comments

***THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. CONGRATULATIONS TO 9 YEAR OLD KAROLYN K., SHE IS THIS WEEK’S WINNER!!***mrh-logo

This week’s theme is Motherwort, our herb for July!

4 oz organic Motherwort herb

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1 oz organic Motherwort extract

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1 packet of Horizon Herbs Motherwort seeds

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This collection of Motherwort products will give you plenty for learning about Motherwort over the next month.

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 Learningherbs.com.

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 Motherwort 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, July 6, 2015. Thanks for entering and good luck!

[Herbal Rootlets]: No. 56 – The Herbs of Summer

Posted in Uncategorized on June 25th, 2015 by KristineBrown — Be the first to comment!

The-Herbs-of-Summer

If getting our kids out into nature is a search for perfection, or is one more chore, then the belief in perfection and the chore defeats the joy. It’s a good thing to learn more about nature in order to share this knowledge with children; it’s even better if the adult and child learn about nature together. And it’s a lot more fun.

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

While herbs are not necessarily seasonal in use, there are some that are more commonly used during certain times of the year. For instance, Elderberry and the Fire Cider herbs are often called upon during the winter while the first herbs of spring often include bitters such as Dandelion and Chicory which are good for digestive systems made sluggish by the heavy foods of winter. Herbs for summer are no exception. This time of year we look to herbs to help cool us off, soothe our sunburns and heal bumps and scrapes that happen during outdoor play.

Herbal Drinks

Getting outside and playing is a lot of fun but it can often be overheating. Making cooling herbal drinks can help us to cool down from that play. Here are some ideas for making herbal drinks delicious and refreshing:

Lemon Balm - Melissa officinalis

Lemon Balm – Melissa officinalis

Ice pops
Make infusions from your kids’ favorite herbal teas: Chamomile, Lemon Balm, Peppermint, Honeysuckle and Milky Oats all make naturally sweet ice pops that kids will ask for more of.

Lemon - Citrus x limon

Lemon – Citrus x limon

Natural electrolyte drink
This is one of my favorite ways to use Lemon during the summer, a natural electrolyte drink that is essentially lemonade. Combine 1 cup of water with the juice of 1/2 Lemon. Add 1 teaspoon raw honey and a pinch of sea salt such as Pink Himalayan and stir to combine. Serve over ice. This recipe can be multiplied to make a pitcher to have on hand in the fridge for when your kids take a break.

Elderberry - Sambucus canadensis

Elderberry – Sambucus canadensis

Herbal Soda
Though we don’t often drink soda around here, sometimes it can be a refreshing treat. Making your own soda ensures that only ingredients you want to be in it will be. Ginger, Peppermint, Birch, Lemon Balm, Elderberry, Wild Cherry, Peach or Blackberry all make great sodas! I’ve also made these with more obscure flavors with great success so don’t be afraid to try out a new herb in this way.

Start by making a syrup from your herb. You will make an infusion from the herb, strain off the herb then measure your liquid. Add equal parts of raw sugar or honey to make the syrup. If you use sugar, you will need to reheat your liquid and cook until it thickens. With honey, you only want to heat enough to combine and it is ready to use. Chill your syrup.

To make the soda, you will need seltzer water. Be sure to chill it too. Combine 1 – 2 oz of syrup for every 8 – 12 oz of seltzer water, sampling it until you get the proportions the way you prefer.

Red Raspberry - Rubus Idaeus

Red Raspberry – Rubus Idaeus

Herbal Shrubs
Herbal shrubs are made using herbal vinegars and herbal infused honeys for a sweet and nourishing drink. Summertime fruits such as Peach, Raspberry and Blackberry make a delicious shrub, see the Blackberry issue for our recipe, it can be adapted to any fruit or herb.

Herbal Foods

Herbs can also be added to foods for cooling accents to our meals. Salads in general are a great place to add herbs such as Peppermint, Lemon Balm, Sage, Borage, Thyme as well as flowers from Daylilies, Ox-eye Daisy, Dianthus, Rose and Calendula. The leaves add interesting flavor while the flower add lots of summertime pizazz with bright sunny colors.

Peppermint

Peppermint – Mentha x piperita

Potato Salad
Like potato salad? Try adding minced Peppermint to a potato salad made from boiled and cooled new potatoes, plain yogurt, sea salt and pepper for a refreshing barbecue or picnic side dish. For extra color, I will use half red potatoes and half blue potatoes.

Monarda fistulosa

Bergamot – Monarda fistulosa

Cucumber Tomato Salad
Bergamot flowers are a great addition to cucumbers and tomatoes.

Borago officinalis

Borage – Borago officinalis

Borage Yogurt Salad
Borage, which tastes a lot like cucumber, is also a good summertime salad herb. Added with Peppermint, this salad is a tasty treat for the mouth.

Sunny Days of Summer

Exposure to the sun is part of summer. Sun exposure is important as our body needs the UVB rays from the sun to make vitamin D. Our bodies need vitamin D3 for health, including building a strong immune system for fighting off wintertime illnesses including influenza. Having said that, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing so it’s important to follow good sunning techniques such as avoiding the sun between 10am – 2pm or at least using a good, natural sun protection for that time of day.

St. John's Wort - Hypericum perforatum

St. John’s Wort – Hypericum perforatum

Sunscreen
Some herbs make great natural sunscreens. Infusing the flowers of St. John’s wort in Sunflower oil makes a great natural protecting oil that can be added on skin before sun exposure to reduce the damage from the sun. The same oil is also healing to sunburns.

Sunburns

Even with the best intentions and practices, sunburns happen. Luckily, we have many great herbs to turn to for soothing sunburns.

Burdock - Arctium lappa

Burdock – Arctium lappa

Herbal vinegars
Apple cider vinegar is wonderfully soothing to sunburns and many herbs can enhance that quality. Lavender, St. John’s wort and Burdock leaf are great additions for herbal vinegars.

Aloe - Aloe vera

Aloe – Aloe vera

Aloe
Nothing soothes like Aloe! The gel from the plant is great to have on hand for easing those summertime burns.

Bumps, Scrapes and Insect stings

No summer is complete without the usual bumps and bruises, scraped knees, bee stings and mosquito bites. Luckily, there are herbs that can help with these too!

Plantain - Plantago lanceolata

Plantain – Plantago lanceolata

Plantain Poultices
Plantain is referred to as nature’s band-aid. A simple spit poultice can made from chewing the leaf of Plantain can be applied to bumps, bruises, scrapes, insect bites and stings and splinters. There are several types growing in North America, most commonly found in the midwest are Plantago major, P. rugelii and P. lanceolata, all of which can be used interchangeably. 

Self Heal, Heal All, All Heal - Prunella vulgaris

Self Heal, Heal All, All Heal – Prunella vulgaris

Prunella
Prunella is also known as Carpenter’s Weed, Self Heal, Heal All and All Heal, which gives us a great indication of what she can be used for. Pretty much everything! Use the flowering tops in oils, salves, teas and poultices for any cuts, scrapes, bumps, bruises, blows that occur.

Lavender - Lavendula officinalis

Lavender – Lavendula officinalis

Lavender
This lovely smelling herb can not only sooth sunburns but can also work great on insect bites and stings. Try a bit of Lavender essential oil on a mosquito bite, the swelling and itch generally go away quickly.

Peach - Prunus persica

Peach – Prunus persica

Peach
Peach leaf and bark extract is one of my favorite remedies for bee stings. I carry a bottle of it with me whenever we are out along with a handkerchief. If anyone gets stung, I soak a part of the cloth with the extract and place it directly over the sting site while also giving them a dose of the extract internally.

No need for summertime blues!

There are so many herbs that work well with summer, the hardest part is deciding which ones to try first!

Which herbs do you find yourself using more in the summer? How do you incorporate herbs to your summertime days?

Giveaway Monday – Feverfew Tea Cup from Mulberry Mudd

Posted in Uncategorized on June 22nd, 2015 by KristineBrown — 21 Comments

***CONGRATULATIONS TO KIM! SHE IS THE WINNER OF THE TEA CUP!***

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This week I am delighted to give away this beautiful Feverfew teacup from Mulberry Mudd. This one of a kind handmade ceramic teacup features Feverfew flowers on the front, a leaf on the back, and is perfect for serving up your favorite cup of herbal tea or steaming cup of nourishing bone broth.

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This beautiful teacup is handleless and rests comfortably in your hands. The  clay, natural green glaze and acrylic accents make this a work of art that is as beautiful as it is practical! It holds approximately 16 oz. and fits 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:

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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 Motherwort tea cup, leave a comment below, telling me what your favorite beverage would be to sip in it. 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, June 29, 2015. Good luck!

[Herbal Rootlets]: No. 55 – Learning About Feverfew

Posted in Uncategorized on June 3rd, 2015 by KristineBrown — Be the first to comment!

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There is no one way to become a healer: no particular age and no special way for medicine spirits to come. When the time is right, they come.


-Evelyn Wolfson, From the Earth to Beyond the Sky: Native American Medicine

With a name like Feverfew, it might be assumed that he was historically used as a fever reducing herb but in fact, Feverfew started out being called Featherfoil because of his leaves and over time, the name changed to Featherfew then to Feverfew. Nowadays, he’s commonly known as the migraine herb, though this plant is capable of a lot more than just relieving and preventing migraines.

Feverfew is known by many names including Featherfew, Featherfowl, Motherwort, Mayweed and Whitewort. You might notice some of those names sounding familiar: Motherwort refers to a plant we’ll be learning about next month and Mayweed is also a name given to a few species of Chamomile. That’s why it’s a good idea to learn botanical names of plants, to be sure of the plant you are working with is the correct plant. Feverfew’s botanical name is Tanacetum parthenium. Feverfew’s botanical name has been through a few genus names, while his species name has always stayed the same. He has also been known as Chrysanthemum parthenium, Leucanthemum parthenium and before that Pyrethrum parthenium. Looking at his flowerhead, you can probably guess he is a member of the Asteraceae family.

Do you have Feverfew growing in your garden? If so, harvest a leaf and a flower if he is blooming. Let’s do a little experiment: take a piece of the leaf and chew it up, what do you notice? I can see by the look on your face that the leaf is bitter and pungent. Does the leaf feel warming or cooling in your mouth? Most herbalists agree that it is warming though a few feel that Feverfew is cooling. How does your mouth feel, is it drying up or does chewing the leaf seem to encourage more saliva? You’re probably noticing that your mouth seems to be drying up. So we consider Feverfew to be bitter, pungent, warming and drying. If you also have a flower available, try the experiment with the flower and record your experiences. Both the flower and leaf are used medicinally. Some people may have sensitivities to eating the leaf so try this experiment with caution.

Feverfew contains many constituents (the parts that make up the medicine of the plant) including parthenolide ,bitter resin, pyrethrin, camphor, borneol, inulin (in the root), and tannic acid.

Nutritionally, Feverfew contains protein, carbohydrates and fiber, vitamins A and C, and calcium.

Medicinally, we consider Feverfew to be an alterative, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antiseptic, antispasmodic, aperient, aromatic, bitter, carminative, diaphoretic, diuretic, emmenagogue, febrifuge, nervine, purgative, relaxant, stimulant, tonic, vasodilator and a vermifuge. Let’s take a closer look at all these actions…

First of all, did you notice I mentioned Feverfew is both a relaxant and a stimulant? That can seem confusing that a plant can be both. Michigan herbalist jim mcdonald probably best explains this stating that we should think of it as “stimulating activity while relaxing resistance to that activity”. This is because the word ‘relaxant’ isn’t the same as ‘sedating’ but rather means that the action relaxes contracted tissues. As a nervine and antispasmodic, Feverfew may be useful for treating sciatic nerve pain and muscle spasms. Those who suffer from nervousness, panic attacks and low spirits may find Feverfew to be calming in this regard.

Though Feverfew is pinned as the migraine herb, he is not indicated for all migraines. Herbalist Matthew Wood describes a person who would benefit from Feverfew for migraines as someone who “has a pale, blue complexion that becomes full, red and hot, with fever or heat; sluggish and depressed digestion from poor circulation to the stomach, causing fermentation, flatulence” as previously reference by William LeSassier. Women who suffer from menstrual related migraines with an onset right before the start of their menstrual flow is a good example. For those who notice this pattern, eating a few leaves every day can often be preventative enough. Feverfew has been shown to inhibit the release of serotonin from blood platelets which may be part of the reason for his success with relieving migraines in blood congested situations.

As an emmenagogue, Feverfew is also used to bring on delayed menses. He is also used for treating congestion before the menstrual cycle begins, for women who are full, red and swollen, and have headaches associated with their cycles as well as heavy bleeding, clotted bleeding. Older women may find relief in using Feverfew to treat hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause.

As a vasodilator, those suffering from hypertension, varicose veins and stagnant blood issues might find Feverfew useful.

Feverfew also inhibits the release of histamine and may be beneficial for those with allergies. Feverfew may also be helpful in relieving the coughing, wheezing, mucus and breathing difficulties caused by allergies as well as asthma.

Feverfew’s name gives an indication of how he was also used historically. First-century Greek physician Dioscorides prescribed feverfew for “all hot inflammations.”

Chronic constipation and a sluggish digestive system may benefit from the use of Feverfew.

Feverfew as a purgative and aperient. He also works well as a vermifuge, purging parasites from the body as well. 

Externally, Feverfew has found to help with the pain from arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis as well as insect bites and varicose veins.

Feverfew should not be used by pregnant or nursing women or folks with clotting disorders or on anticoagulants. Those who are allergic to Asteraceae family herbs may be sensitive to Feverfew and may cause contact dermatitis. Feverfew is not recommended for long term use without consulting a health professional.

Feverfew makes a bitter tea on his own. Try making a tea with other herbs, such as Lemon Balm, in this recipe:

You will need:

1 teaspoon dried Feverfew

1 teaspoon dried Lemon balm

12 oz boiling water

Tea cup
Tea ball or muslin bag

Spoon

Place the herbs in the tea ball and add to the cup. Pour in enough boiling water to fill your cup. Have a big person help you if you are not used to pouring hot water.

Let steep for 10 – 20 minutes. Drink 1 cup daily for migraine prevention and allergies.

Want to learn more about Feverfew? You can find him in this month’s issue!

Do you have Feverfew growing in your garden? What is your favorite use of it?

Giveaway Monday – Winding Road Studio Feverfew Mug

Posted in Uncategorized on June 1st, 2015 by KristineBrown — 38 Comments

***THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. CONGRATULATIONS TO SARA, SHE IS THE WINNER!***feverfew1

I’m happy to bring back a beautiful artist this month! Winding Road Studio has beautiful offerings in pottery, stained glass, paper and brooms.  This week she has made a beautiful Feverfew mug for one lucky winner to enjoy. This beautiful, one of a kind mug is gorgeously crafted with Feverfew flowers around the sides of the mug.

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One side of the mug has the name “Feverfew” engraved into the side.

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The bottom is engraved with “Herbal Roots zine”, making it a lifetime keepsake to remind you of your herbal journey.

About Winding Road Studio:

“I have been asked many times why I do so many different things, my best answer is that I am a restless soul, with too much in my mind that wants release. I am always trying to find the best medium to express the journey, the connection and find that inner balance.

The things I make resonate with my passion for the inner and outer worlds. I strive to imbue everything I do with an energy, be it whimsy or wisdom that others can connect with and enjoy.

I have been  doing pottery since 1992. My pottery can be found throughout the U.S. and in 8 countries around the globe. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t painting or piddling in some form of art.
Mostly I divide my time between the many different forms of art that call to me. In the winter I can be found painting, quilting, weaving and teaching classes. In the spring I segue back into pottery, stained glass and broom making. During the summer months I add soap making, jewelry and whatever new form catches me.”

You can become a fan of Winding Road Studio on Facebook if you would like to do so. Tell her Herbal Roots zine sent you!

If you’d like a chance to win this beautiful mug, 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.

-can you tell me what hidden treasure is on the Winding Road Studio website?

-blogging about it

-checking out Winding Road Studio’s shop and telling me your favorite item(s)

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

-telling me your favorite section(s) of Herbal Roots zine

-share this giveaway on your Facebook page

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

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

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

Sign ups end and I’ll announce the winner on Monday, June 22, 2015. Good luck!

[Herbal Rootlets]: No. 54 – Learning Plant Families

Posted in Uncategorized on May 28th, 2015 by KristineBrown — 1 Comment so far

Learning Plant Families

Nature’s economy shall be the base for our own, for it is immutable, but ours is secondary. An economist without knowledge of nature is therefore like a physicist without knowledge of mathematics.”

— Carolus Linnaeus

Chicory and Bergamot

Chicorium intybus (Chicory), a member of the Asteraceae family and Monarda didyma (Bee Balm), a member of the Lamiaceae family.

Why Learn Plant Families?

Learning plant families is a useful tool for being able to identify key features of herbs and how they relate to the families they belong to. By learning these key characteristics and common shared uses, it is possible to learn to identify plants by family and know what they can be used for even if you do not know the exact genus/species of the plant.

For example, members if the Lamiaceae family (Mint family) have square stems, simple opposite leaves and many are aromatic. Aromatic plants indicate plants that are high in volatile oils. Volatile oils in Mint family plants are spicy and stimulating, which cool the body through opening pores and increasing perspiration. Many members of this family are also great digestive aids and because of this, many are what we know as ‘kitchen’ herbs such as Basil, Rosemary, Thyme, Sage, and Oregano.

Malus spp. (Apple) is in the Rosaceae family.

Malus spp. (Apple) is in the Rosaceae family.

The History of Botanical Plant Families and Genera

We have Carolus Linnaeus to thank for our modern day plant classification, he is considered the father of taxonomy. Linnaeus, also considered one of the best botanists in the world, created the system of classification, using a method called binomial nomenclature.

Linnaeus classified organisms by shared characteristics, creating 7 levels of classification: kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, and species.

Taraxacum officinale (Dandelion) is a member of the Asteraceae family, Lamium amplexicaule (Henbit, on the lower left and right of photo) and  Lamium purpureum (Purple Dead Nettle) on the righthand side in the middle are both members of the Lamiaceae family.

Taraxacum officinale (Dandelion) is a member of the Asteraceae family, Lamium amplexicaule (Henbit, on the lower left and right of photo) and Lamium purpureum (Purple Dead Nettle) on the righthand side in the middle are both members of the Lamiaceae family.

How to Get Started Learning Plant Families

There are over 600 plant families in the world! That’s a lot of families and can sound overwhelming when you start. When teaching about plant families, I like to start with some of the more commonly found ones such as Asteraceae, Lamiaceae and the Rosaceae families.

Get familiar with common plant terms. This is important for a good identification, especially when you start comparing your notes with the field guides. If you don’t know a botany term, you may misunderstand what a characteristic is. Common terms include leaf arrangement (opposite, alternate, whirled, basal, spiral), leaf types (simple, compound) and flower parts (pistils, stamens, stigmas, styles, anthers, petals, sepals, bracts) to name a few.

Get to know the common characteristics of a family you wish to learn about. Make a list of those common characteristics.

Now that you have made your characteristics list and gotten familiar with botany terms, go out into your yard with this list and see how many plants you can find that fall into those categories.

Once you have found all the plants in your yard that you think fit into that family, grab a field guide for your area and compare your notes to the plant guide. If you don’t know what your plant is, use a field guide that lists plants by families. There are some great online websites as well that make identifying plants easy, to help double check what you’ve found.

One important thing to remember is to not try to make a plant fit into a family. So many times I have seen people try to make a plant be something it’s not. I’ve been guilty of this myself. If the plant is missing those common characteristics, chances are very good that it is not the plant you want it to be.

It can seem intimidating at first but the more you test yourself, the easier it will become. Over time, you’ll be able to add more plant families and you’ll find that learning to identify plants becomes simpler, just by knowing plant families.

There are many fun resources for learning plant families, I’ve listed them at the end of this article for you to access. I highly recommend Thomas Elpel’s books, cards and video for getting started and he makes it fun and simple to learn the 8 most common families.

Prunella vulgaris (Self Heal, Heal All, All Heal) is a member of the Lamiaceae family.

Prunella vulgaris (Self Heal, Heal All, All Heal) is a member of the Lamiaceae family.

Resources for teaching plant families:

Plant families and identification

Tom Elpel’s book and card set Shanleya’s Quest is a great starting book for kids and adults alike

More advanced students will enjoy his Botany in a Day book

Watch Tom in a brand new video teach plant families and explain how to use the card deck

The Wild Classroom online botany guide

Missouri Wildflower Guide is a great online resource for IDing plants by flower color

Wildflower of the United States is another great source, listing by plant families

Books on Linnaeus

Carl Linnaeus: Father of Classification by Margaret Jean Anderson

Carl Linnaeus: Genius of Classification by Margaret J. Anderson

Do you feel it is important to learn plant families? Have you incorporated this aspect of botany in your herbal studies with your children? What are your favorite plant families?