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[Herbal Rootslets]: No. 39 – Herbal Treats for the Heart

Posted in Uncategorized on February 11th, 2015 by kristine — Be the first to comment!

herbs for the heart

We are made for loving. If we don’t love, we will be like plants without water.

― Desmond Tutu

This week is all about love and the heart in celebration of Valentine’s day! It’s the perfect time to introduce heart herbs to your kids by making some herbal treats that are good for the heart.

First, let’s look at some herbs that are good for our hearts.  These herbs are all wonderful for the heart on all levels.

Cacao – We will be exploring this herb fully this upcoming December. Cacao, in its pure form, is nourishing and protective to the cardiovascular system.


Cayenne – Stimulating to the circulation, Cayenne is also a vasodilator, helping to lower blood pressure and increasing cardiovascular health.


Cinnamon – Another circulatory stimulant and vasodilator, Cinnamon not only works on cardiovascular health but also is helpful for lowering blood glucose levels


Hawthorn – Hawthorn, a member of the Rose family, is one of my favorites for protecting both the physical and emotional heart.


Rose – Rose protects the heart and is supportive of the heart during times of grief.

All of these herbs have one thing in common, they love our hearts! Make some heart friendly candy with your kids this week with this deliciously easy candy. I like to pour ours into heart shaped molds.

Heart Candy

3 oz cacao**, broken into pieces
1/2 cup cacao butter*
1/2 cup coconut oil*
1/2 – 3/4 cup raw honey
1/4 cup dried rose petals*, broken up
2 tablespoons hawthorn berries*, ground
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon sea salt*
1 teaspoon cinnamon*
1 pinch cayenne* powder

Place the cacao butter and coconut oil in a saucepan and gently heat until they melt.

Add the broken up pieces of cacao and stir until they are melted.

Add the honey and stir  until it is mixed together.

Combine the rest of the ingredients and stir to mix well. I like to mix the powdered ingredients together first then stir in the remaining ingredients.

Pour into your heart shaped molds. If you don’t have heart shaped molds, butter or line the bottom of a glass baking dish with waxed paper and pour into the dish.

Refrigerate until hardened then remove from the molds. 

herbal valentines cover

Having a Valentine get together? Print off our free silly herbal valentines (my Valentine’s Day gift to you and your children) and attach them to little cellophane packages of heart candy to give to your friends!

Do you incorporate herbs into your valentine treats? What other treats do you like to make for showing your love to your family?

*Need a source for vibrantly dried herbs? Mountain Rose Herbs is my favorite source.
**Herbalist and friend Darcey Blue recommends Heartblood Cacao for all your cacao needs.

Giveaway Monday – Wildcrafted Usnea from October Fields Farm

Posted in Uncategorized on February 9th, 2015 by kristine — 20 Comments


This week we are thrilled to have a new sponsor! October Fields Farm has graciously donated some wildcrafted Usnea for this week’s giveaway.

Usnea wild harvested from northern deep woods Maine

* 1 oz weight, fresh

* Pesticide & Herbicide Free

* Widely referred to as old mans beard

OF Stamp

 About October Fields Farm:

October Fields Farm is appropriately named for the love of a month and all of it’s major milestones within. It is a month of new beginnings, achievements and growth. It is a time to close one chapter in preparation of another. It shoulders the glow of a warm summer sun in transition to the warmth of a fireside ember.

October Fields is the home to premium artisan hand poured soy candles, organic wild harvested herb and tea blends and healing salves and balms. With lines including: Remember ME, (ûrb)therəpē, and Just BE teas one is sure to find a Maine Made product that satisfies. We also offer seasonal organic vegetables including our famous organic Romanian Red Garlic. Pride is in the making at October Fields. From raw ingredient to finished good, there are no shortcuts to the time invested in creating each individual product. Materials are sourced from the farms organic soil, Maine’s deep woods or from locally, sustainably or ecologically based partners.

October Fields is a PETA certified company with a commitment, not only to sustaining our environment, but for nurturing all creatures great and small who inhabit it.

Contact us with product questions.  Like October Fields Farm on Facebook for exclusive deals, new product updates and daily inspiration!

Proprietors, Chris and Sloane welcome the opportunity to assist you!  About Sloane: A certified herbalist, gardener and artisan.  About Chris:  A guru of garlic, gardener and photographer.  Both are lovers of soil, trees, animals and the earth.

You can become a fan of October Fields Farm on Facebook if you would like to do so.

If you’d like a chance to win this wonderful wildcrafted Usnea package, 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 their store

-share this giveaway on your Facebook page

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

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

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

Sign ups end and I’ll announce the winner on Monday, February 16, 2015. Good luck!

[Herbal Rootlets]: No. 38 – 5 Ways to Get Ready for Spring with Herbs

Posted in Uncategorized on February 4th, 2015 by kristine — Be the first to comment!

5 Ways to Get Ready for Spring with Herbs

Each new year is a surprise to us. We find that we had virtually forgotten the note of each bird, and when we hear it again, it is remembered like a dream, reminding us of a previous state of existence…The voice of nature is always encouraging.” 

– Henry David Thoreau

We are halfway to spring! And none too soon, the kids are tired of cold, damp weather, lack of sunshine and warm sunny days to spend long periods of time outside. I have to admit, I am too. Winter is not my favorite season though I do like the down time to get caught up on things, I’d much prefer to be sitting barefoot out in my garden.

The cycle of the year is always shifting and at this time of year, the most evident shift is in the amount of light we get each day. We still eat dinner in the dark, though now, there is a bit of orange on the western horizon as we do so, reminding us that warmth and sunlight are returning.

During the winter especially, we love to celebrate anything we can to take our minds off of winter! This time of the year, we celebrate the halfway mark to spring with a few herbal activities. Today’s newsletter is all about those activities.


Start your herb seeds.
Last week’s newsletter talked about planning out your herb garden. If your seeds have arrived, go ahead and start them in an indoor planting bed. Kids love to plant seeds and an indoor planting bed can be made easily with a cardboard egg carton, some organic soil and a ziplock bag large enough for the carton to fit inside. Tear the top off the cartons (use them as trays for the bottom), fill each egg hole with moist organic soil, add the seeds and place them in the ziplock bag. You might want to write on the outside of the egg carton what seed is in each egg hole with a sharpie marker. The ziplock bag makes a nice mini greenhouse and helps to keep the soil moist longer. Set it in front of a sunny window and watch for the seeds to sprout.

Kids may enjoy keeping a journal about the daily activity, making notes on how long the seeds take to germinate, grow true leaves and get big enough to be planted into larger containers. The can also sketch the growth stages, this is great for them to do if they are choosing to work with 1 special herb for the year.


Make herbal candles.
We always burn a candle at dinner time, even if it’s light outside. It’s a nice representation of meal time and if I forget to light it, the kids always let me know. It signals our time together as a family without any outside electronic distractions and as long as the candle is burning, no one is allowed to use their phones, iPads or computer.

Beeswax candles are wonderful. The natural smell of the wax is soothing and they are long lasting. Try your hand at making your own beeswax candles. You can either dip them by using melted wax and wicking or if you prefer a simpler version, order some beeswax sheets and hand roll them.

Once they have been made, decorate the outside of your candles with herbs. To do so, choose the herbs you’d like to use. If you have access to all the herbs that you’ll be learning about for the year, use different leaves or flowers for each candle to burn for each month or try doing  a collage with a few herbs. Brush a bit of melted wax onto the back of the leaf or flower and stick it on the candle then dip the entire candle into the melted wax to completely coat the herbs.

For seeds, once the candles have been dipped, they can be stuck directly into the candle. Try doing a border of Coriander or Black Peppercorns, or alternate them on the same candle.


Update your nature table.
If you have a nature table, this is a great time to clean it off and get it ready for spring. We like to color coordinate our silk play cloths that we use for the table cloth with the season. This time of year, pale colors are nice or even pure white to represent the (hopefully) last of the snow. Our nature table is a collection of found treasures on our walks such as features, leaves, rocks, pods, seeds and so forth. Soon we’ll be finding remnants of egg shells as baby birds start hatching. Occasionally, an old nest that was blown out of a tree is added as well.


But for now, we add things that represent halfway between winter and spring. Animals who come out of hibernation, our friend the groundhog, seeds and so forth. Forced bulbs can add a touch of color, bright red tulips or deep purple hyacinths are lovely. A plate of herb seeds or a drawing of our herbal ally can be added as we anticipate their return in our garden. Even a bouquet of dried herbs and herbal flowers can be inspiring. Some of you are lucky enough to have Chickweed and other early risers showing up. If so, add a bouquet of it to your nature table.


Have a “Think Spring” mealtime celebration.
Dinner time is a special time for us. Everyone is home and gathered together, an occurrence that is more rare as the kids are getting older and involved with activities, work and so on. So when we can all gather together at dinner to celebrate, we love to do so!

Make some delicious herbal foods. If you’ve got that Chickweed or other early spring greens, add it to your salad along with some sprouts, many herb seeds are delicious sprouted. Red Clover, Alfalfa, Fenugreek, Fennel, Parsley, Milk Thistle, Burdock (one of my favorites!), Violets, Dandelion. You may be lucky enough to find some of your weeds sprouting in your garden already, just be sure to positively ID them before eating them. I often make sure to have lots of Burdock seeds in an area that I can harvest as they sprout. They are a delicious spring treat. Violets are also very prolific with their sprouts. If you would prefer to sprout your own, buy your seeds from the health food store. Use some herbal vinegars ind infused oils for your salad dressing.

Make some savory herbal muffins. Cornbread is a nice base and the yellow is a nice sunshiny touch.

Make some delicious Raspberry Lemonade or an herbal soda (see recipe below).

Herbal soda recipe

2 oz. herbal syrup of choice (Elderberry, Peppermint, Ginger, Basil, Lemon Balm, etc)

8 oz. seltzer water

This is the basic combination to make 1 cup of soda. Increase it to the amount you need for everyone.

Be sure to finish off your meal with a tasty herbal dessert! The Chipotle Flourless Cake is a great choice, perhaps topped with your favorite herbal ice cream. My current favorite is the Bay Laurel ice cream that was in last month’s issue.

Bay Laurel ice cream

2 cups heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup Demerara sugar
6 Bay leaves
6 egg yolks
Pinch sea salt

Combine the cream, milk, sugar and Bay leaves in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat. Let the mixture infuse for up to 8 hours in the refrigerator. You may choose to chill overnight in the refrigerator.

Warm the mixture back up to just below a boil.

Beat the egg yolks in a medium bowl with the sea salt until smooth. Gradually pour about one-third of the hot milk mixture into the eggs to temper them. Then stir the egg mixture into the cream mixture over medium-low heat, stirring the entire time.

Cook until the custard mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon, about 5 minutes. Do not let the mixture boil or you will get scrambled eggs.

Strain through a fine-mesh sieve. Refrigerate, covered, 4 – 8 hours.

Freeze the mixture in an ice-cream maker, according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Serve with Bay Laurel syrup.


Start your spring cleaning!
This is my sneaky way of getting kids to help out with cleaning. We select old herbal vinegars that we’ve made over the past year that we have an excess of and use them diluted in water to make a natural cleaner that we use to start cleaning our windows (on nice springlike days), the kitchen and the bathroom. This is especially fun to do on a cold snowy day, using our cleaning tools and herbs to banish winter from our house and welcome the return of spring. We get into the nooks and crannies, cleaning out the wood stove dust and purging out old clothes that no longer fit us.

This is also a great time to go through any dried herbs you might have stashed away. If the herbs have lost their potency, compost them. We do a simple check: does the herb still look freshly dried or has it turned brown and dead looking? Does it still smell fragrant? Do they still taste as they should? While organizing your dried herb stash, you can make a list of what you’ve used for the past year and what you need to collect in the upcoming year. My kids love to crush and smell a bit of the dried herbs, especially the aromatic ones such as Peppermint. It can be an enjoyable and relaxing afternoon.

Don’t limit the spring cleaning to your house. If the weather permits, head outside and start clearing away the plant debris. This is a great time to review what was in the garden last year and challenge the kids to identify the plant skeletons. It’s also a great time to observe the trees before they begin to leaf out.


How do you like to get ready for spring? Do your kids enjoy participating in clearing out the garden and doing the spring cleaning? How do you bring herbs and spring together in your house?

Giveaway Monday – Usnea Tea Cup from Mulberry Mudd

Posted in Uncategorized on February 2nd, 2015 by kristine — 41 Comments


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


This beautiful teacup is handleless and rests comfortably in your hands. The dark red clay, natural beige glaze and acrylic accents make this a work of art that is as beautiful as it is practical!


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 Usnea 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, February 9, 2015. Good luck!

February 2015 – Understanding Usnea

Posted in Uncategorized on February 1st, 2015 by kristine — 3 Comments


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:

Add to Cart

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Or, you can subscribe for an entire year of Herbal Roots zine for just $34.99.

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

Posted in Uncategorized on January 28th, 2015 by kristine — 2 Comments

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 — 38 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!