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[Herbal Rootlets]: No. 47 – Eat Something Wild Every Day Challenge

Posted in Uncategorized on April 8th, 2015 by KristineBrown — Be the first to comment!


Once we have tasted wildness, we begin to hunger for a food long denied us, and the more we eat the more we will awaken.

– Stephen Harrod Buhner

It's always exciting when the first Blackberries are ready for picking! Caution is needed as the prickles are vicious.

It’s always exciting when the first Blackberries are ready for picking! Caution is needed as the prickles are vicious.

This is a little challenge that I like to take every year. Add something wild to one meal a day. Some days I succeed in adding to all my meals, and some days I’m lucky if I remember to run out and eat a wild flower. Bringing my kids on board with this challenge is a great help in reminding me to eat wild every day, they love this sort of thing! Each year I try to push it further into the season. My goal is to eventually practice this daily year round. 

Harvesting Maitake mushrooms on an autumn walk. We harvest enough to enjoy them fresh and dry them for using throughout the winter in soups, stews and other dishes.

Harvesting Maitake mushrooms on an autumn walk. We harvest enough to enjoy them fresh and dry them for using throughout the winter in soups, stews and other dishes.

What is wild?

Wild foods grow all around us. They come in many forms. The more you learn about wild foods, the more you’ll discover all around you. They can be simple like the Dandelions, Violets, Chickweed and Plantain that grow in our backyard, providing greens and flowers for our salads, or roots, such as Chicory and Dandelion for roasting and drinking as our morning beverage. Local trees such as Mulberry, Wild Cherry, Apple, Peach, Plum and Pear are often planted as landscape trees and then abandoned, offering a multitude of wild fruits at our reach. Berries grow in pockets of wild as well: Blackberries, Raspberries, Wineberries, Dewberries, Currants, Gooseberries, Elderberries, Grapes and Blueberries often can be found. Don’t forget the nuts! Acorns, Hazelnuts, Walnuts, Beechnuts, Hickory nuts are just a few that can often be found in neighborhood parks and woods.


My forage for today…Dandelion flowers and Nettles to add to fritters and Violet flowers and Chickweed for our daily salad.

Why eat wild?
There are countless reasons, here are a few…

Eating wild speaks to the feral child inside of us. It returns us to our roots, grounding us in nature.

It helps us to weed our gardens. Suddenly, all those Dandelions have value. Violets add color and nutrition to our salads. Chickweed adds variety to the ho-hum salad or grilled cheese sandwich.

Wild foods often have more vitamins and minerals than garden grown foods because they choose to grow where the most nutrients are available.

Wild foods are not treated with fungicides, herbicides, pesticides and such. They do not get waxed as produce in the grocery store often is.

Eating wild gives us confidence. We can learn to provide food for ourselves and not rely on the grocery stores to feed us.

Wild food is sacred. It connects us to the divine sacred. Eating wild food is honoring the divine sacred inside all of us.

With the drought in California, food prices are going up. Adding local, wild food to our diets gives us a healthy variety without worrying about the cost.

It forces us to slow down and be aware. By taking 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 30 minutes or an hour a day to walk to the wild places, we learn to observe. What is growing and available now? What is almost ready? What is finished growing? Where do the most lush wild foods grow?

It fuels a desire to learn and remember. Discovering wild foods in your area can inspire you to keep a nature journal of what grows where and when it’s ready to harvest. It can inspire you to want to learn more about that plant. Yep, I love to eat Nettles. Besides the nutrition, what health benefits can I gain from it? Will my allergies really go away? These questions are best answered through experience and keeping a journal helps to keep track of those experiences.

Maitakes, known as Hen of the Woods, and Laetiporus, known as Chicken of the Woods, getting prepared for a dinner sauté.

Maitakes, known as Hen of the Woods, and Laetiporus, known as Chicken of the Woods, getting prepared for a dinner sauté.

How to get started eating wild?
Take a walk through your neighborhood. Look for wild areas. Even cities have abandoned lots which sprout wild foods. Make a list of what you find and where you found it. Search your backyard. Have you made a list of what’s growing in it yet? Look up those plants and see what makes a great edible plant as well (there are lots of resources at the end of this article).


A few of my favorite foraging books.

Resources and recipes for eating wild
The following are a few of my favorite resources for identifying wild edibles and recipe inspiration.

Foraging and Feasting by Dina Falconi

The Forager’s Harvest and Nature’s Garden by Samuel Thayer

A City Herbal by Maida Silverman

The Wild, Wild Cookbook by Jean Craighead George

The Wild Table: Seasonal Foraged Food and Recipes by Connie Green

Mushrooming without Fear by Alexander Schwab

The Complete Mushroom Hunter: An Illustrated Guide to Finding, Harvesting, and Enjoying Wild Mushrooms by Gary Lincoff

Eating on the Wild Side by Jo Robinson. Don’t have a wild patch of earth nearby? Check out this book to see how you can eat on the wild side with every day produce.

Harvesting wild Persimmons. This little monkey loves to climb in the trees to reach the juicy sweet ones high up.

Harvesting wild Persimmons. This little monkey loves to climb in the trees to reach the juicy sweet ones high up.

Online articles and inspiration, food for thought
Wanting a little more inspiration? These articles and websites are my go to inspiration to eat wild.

Why you should eat like a gorilla

Nourishing the wild self: wild food and community

Foraging in the winter

Return to Nature

Wildy Nourished

Wild Food Girl


Nettles and Dandelion flowers chopped up and ready to add into the fritter base.

A wild recipe for you
This is a versatile recipe that changes as the seasons go by. Carrots or zucchini can be added as a base if your family gives you the hairy eyeball over it being filled completely with wild greens.

Combine together:

3 beaten eggs

1/2 teaspoon powdered garlic or 2 cloves freshly minced

1/4 cup coconut flour

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Add in:

2 – 4 cups of chopped wild foods such as Nettles, Dandelion leaves and/or flowers, Lamb’s Quarters, Chickweed, Purslane, etc.

If only adding 2 cups of wild edibles, add in another 2 cups of grated zucchini or carrot

Stir together until combined.

Fry in a cast iron skillet in bacon grease, butter or coconut oil until brown on one side. Flip and cook on the other side until brown, about 3 minutes per side.

Sprouted acorns ready for processing. Some will be ground into flour and some will be used in a wild chai blend.

Sprouted acorns ready for processing. Some will be ground into flour and some will be used in a wild chai blend.

Wild is all around us! Do you harvest wild foods to add to your meals? What are your favorite wild edibles? Will you take the wild food challenge this year? How do you think it will help you and your kids to learn about the plants that grow around you?

Giveaway Monday – Winding Road Studio Ceramic Mug

Posted in Uncategorized on April 6th, 2015 by KristineBrown — 42 Comments


This week I am excited to share a new artist with you! Winding Road Studio has beautiful offerings in pottery, stained glass, paper and brooms.  This beautiful ceramic mug proudly displays Mulberry’s berries and leaf with vibrant glazing and intricate leaf detail.


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, April 13, 2015. Good luck!

[Herbal Rootlets]: No. 46 – Creating Your Herbal First Aid Kit

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

Creating Your Herbal First Aid Kit

Long before people bought medicine or food at a store, they learned to use the wild plants growing all around them. They watched animals to see which plants were good to eat and which plants were poisonous. They experimented and learned which plants could heal people when they were hurt or sick. People passed their knowledge on to their children and grandchildren for generations.”

-Ellen Evert Hopman, Walking the World of Wonder

This is a travel version herbal first aid kit. It fits into a plastic case or a small back pack. This is quick and easy to assemble and will help you to learn first aid first hand. I’ve listed some books at the end of this article for further information on first aid and herbs.

A Carrying Case

The first thing you’ll need is a sturdy carrying case for your kit. Either a shoebox sized plastic tub or a small kid’s back pack will do the trick. If you are using a tub, you can write on it with a sharpie “First Aid Kit” or buy a vinyl sticker to place on top of it. I prefer the universal green background with white cross. You can also purchase a sew on patch for your backpack. Anyone needing to find your kit should be able to see the decal or patch.

Basic First Aid Supplies

Next you’ll want to assemble the basic first aid needs. This may vary a bit depending on your family’s needs but this is a good starting point. Add or subtract as needed:

Assorted sizes band-aids, including some butterfly or wound closure strips
Travel sewing kit which contains needle, thread, safety pins
Fingernail clippers
Plastic eye cup
Extra safety pins
Small Ace bandage
Disposable lighter
Small tube super glue – for gluing together gaping cuts
Alcohol swab pads
Blister pads
Various tape – I like to use a piece of plastic to wrap duck tape and bandage tape around
Small bottle hydrogen peroxide
Small bottle saline – good for cleaning wounds and the focused stream can be used to flush out a dirty wound
Cotton swabs
Cotton balls
Gauze pads
Contact lens case and spare contacts – if there is a wearer of them, especially the driver, it’s not fun to lose a contact and try to drive without it!
Instant Hand warmers – for applying heat to an injury
A piece of flannel fabric or a wash cloth – Use to soak tea in for a compress or to wash wounds
A bottle of water – for washing wounds, using to make tea, etc.
A sliver of soap in a ziplock bag

Herbal Additions

Now it’s time to assemble some herbs to go along with your kit!


Herbal salve – see the previous tutorial for making your own individual salve packs.

-All purpose salve – A good all purpose green salve with Chickweed, Comfrey, and/or Plantain is perfect for all sorts of cuts and scrapes.

-Antibacterial salve – A more antibacterial based salve using herbs such as Goldenseal, Usnea or Echinacea.


Lip balm – this can be used for chapped lips and in a pinch, as a salve substitute if you are out of salve. It can also be rubbed onto cracked heels and other dry skin patches.

Natural Peppermint candies – These are good for nausea, motion sickness and upset stomachs

Ginger chew candies – Same as the Peppermint candies, offers a variety in case Peppermint isn’t liked or doesn’t work


Herbal extracts 1/2 or 1 ounce plastic bottles are best so the bottles won’t break.

Peach Extract – Bee stings, coughs

Plantain Extract – Bee stings, bleeding, allergies, to help draw out splinters

-Osha Extract – Allergic reactions (pet dander, stings, pollen)

Crampbark Extract – Cramping of any kind, muscle spasms, tension

Wild Cherry Extract – Stress, anxiety, coughs

Willow or Meadowsweet Extract – Headaches, inflammation

St. John’s Wort Extract – nerve pain, nervous tension

Dandelion Extract – Digestive issues

Echinacea Extract – Boosts the immune system, good for venomous stings and bites

-YET Blend (2 oz)Yarrow, Echinacea and Thyme extract combination for use with food poisoning; Use 1 dropperful every 30 minutes until symptoms subside then continue hourly


Homeopathic tabs – There are many homeopathic tabs available, I find these to be most useful with kids.

  -Arnica – anytime anyone gets a cut, bump, bruise, scrape, etc. 4 of these tabs go under the tongue
  -Rhus toxicodendron – this is a great defense against poison ivy
  -Apis mellifica – for bee stings

Flower essences – I like to keep Bach’s Rescue Remedy on hand for emergency situations when trauma happens. I find it good for soothing and calming kids who are hysterical and uncontrollable with fright, trauma and/or pain. It works great on animals too (rub a few drops on the inside of their ear.


Powdered herbs – Though extracts are handy, sometimes powdered are good to have on hand too.

Cayenne – Packaged in tiny baggies in 1 teaspoon measurements. Useful for pouring onto a wound that won’t stop bleeding and can also be used to save someone’s life during a heart attack (mix 1 teaspoon with 1 cup water, preferrably warm) and have them drink it. If they are unconscious, rub directly on their gums. CAUTION: This will sting (obviously) so use with caution on children. It’s a good last resort, gotta stop the bleeding, kind of herb.

-Wound blend – a combination of powdered herbs such as Goldenseal, Echinacea, Usnea, Plantain, Comfrey and Yarrow blended together to pour onto wounds to stop bleeding, protect from infection and encourage healing.

-Activated charcoal – though this is not an actual herb, no first aid kit should be without this. Activated charcoal can be used for a myriad of things from making into a poultice (I like to use Plantain and Echinacea for applying to venomous bites or Plantain to help draw out splinters), applied to weepy wounds to help dry up and heal, or taken internally for intestinal distress including diarrhea, vomiting, food poisoning and other toxins

Essential oils – Be careful with essential oils, they are extremely potent. Most essential oils should be diluted in an oil before using, the ones listed below are okay to use full strength as listed.

Rosemary – the traveller’s friend. I sniff the bottle if I’m driving and get weary, it’s a great pick me up. It’s also great for calming down cranky kids, they can sniff the bottle too or a few drops can be added to a cotton ball and stuck in an air vent. It’s also great for opening stuffy sinuses.

-Tea Tree – a drop can be applied to a mosquito bite for instant relief

Lavender – Calming for most people, can be sniffed or placed on a cotton ball in the vent. Soothing for burns, bug bites


Tea bags – Tea bags are a handy way to bring along dried herbs in pre-packaged dispensers.

Chamomile – great for upset stomachs, nausea, sleepy kids who are wired (as a tea) and great for applying to sore, tired inflamed eyes (soak the bags in hot water, gently squeeze out excess liquid and apply to the eyes after it has cooled a bit). The tea can also be used in an eye cup to wash an irritated, inflamed eye.

Peppermint – great for indigestion, nausea, digestive headaches and for a pick me up. Peppermint is cooling so drinking Peppermint tea can help to cool down someone who is overheated.

Herbal First Aid Books

Having a reference guide can be helpful but only if you have read it a few times to become familiar with it.

first-aid1The Herbal Medic: Practical, clinical herbalism & first aid: for home, remote and post-disaster environments by Sam Coffman – Sam has a bit of everything in his book, including beautiful color photographs to help with plant identification.

Pocket Guide to Herbal First Aid by Nancy Evelyn – this tiny pocket manual has a soft spot in my heart as it is one of the first herbal books I purchased.

First Aid with Herbs by John Heinemann – This is a nice thin booklet that tucks nicely into a car first aid kit.

Herbal First Aid and Health Care: Medicine for a New Millennium by Kyle D. Christensen

Herbs to the Rescue: Herbal First Aid Handbook by Kurt King – I love this book as a quick reference. It is easy to read and section three contains lists of herbal sources for vitamins and minerals.

Kid’s First Aid Books

Most are not herbally oriented but they are good for starting conversations on what to do in an emergency. They are a great learning tool for asking “what type of herbs would we use for this scenario?”

The Mary Frances First Aid Book 100th Anniversary Edition: A Children’s Story-Instruction First Aid Book with Home Remedies plus Bonus Patterns for Child’s Nurse Cap and Apron by Jane Eayre Fryer – This is a delightful book written in the early 1900’s that was republished in 2011. Though some of the first aid techniques are outdated, it’s a great starter book for kids and even lists herbal remedies for use.

The Kids’ Guide to First Aid: All about Bruises, Burns, Stings, Sprains & Other Ouches  by Karen Buhler Gale

The Safety Book for Active Kids: Teaching Your Child How to Avoid Everyday Dangers by Linda Schwartz

Kids to the Rescue!: First Aid Techniques for Kids by Marybeth Boelts

Herbal Games to Reinforce First Aid Skills

Games are a great way to help reinforce first aid skills while having fun. Kids learn best through play, so follow up some herbal first aid learning sessions with some games.


Wildcraft! by is a great game to help reinforce how to use herbs for first aid.

Do you have a herbal first aid kit? What is in your herbal first aid kit?

Free Printable – Herbal Bloom Chart

Posted in Uncategorized on April 2nd, 2015 by KristineBrown — Be the first to comment!

Herbal Bloom Wheel Spring

Print off this seasonal bloom chart to keep track of when your herbs bloom each year. Includes a section to log the season weather. It’s located in the freebies section of Herbal Roots zine!

April 2015 – Mulling Over Mulberry

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


This month’s issue is now available for purchase! Click on the cover to go directly to the order page for more information and how to purchase.

[Herbal Rootlets]: No. 45 – Honeysuckle is a Great Healing Herb! (Part of the Plants-to-Teach-Your-Kids-to-Identify Series)

Posted in Uncategorized on March 27th, 2015 by KristineBrown — 2 Comments


Let children walk with Nature, let them see the beautiful blendings and communions of death and life, their joyous inseparable unity, as taught in woods and meadows, plains and mountains and streams of our blessed star, and they will learn that death is stingless indeed, and as beautiful as life.

-John Muir

Honeysuckle is a plant that has divided opinions about her. Though North America has many native species, there is an invasive, Lonicera japonica, that grows rampant, especially here in the midwest, choking out everything in her reach.

Friend and herbalist Rebekah Dawn has observed that Honeysuckle seems to come to areas that have been disturbed, rooting firmly in the poor soil, almost impossible to pull up. However, when that area has been healed, and balance restored, Honeysuckle freely gives up her hold and can be easily removed from her stronghold.

Indeed, Honeysuckle, in my own observation, is an edge dweller, often hovering between the tree line and farm field, generally farm fields that are over worked and under nourished, offering a protective barrier between the earth that is being depleted of all its value and the woods which hold onto their nourishment until the last tree is removed. In the small wooded lots behind my farm, Honeysuckle is thick, forcing us to crawl to reach the wood’s interior, giving away finally to the shaded vegetation that grows untouched.

When we first moved to our property back in early 2005, Honeysuckle was everywhere. We had both L. japonica and L. maackii to contend with, she had taken over the edges of the yard, the pasture and into the woods. We fought diligently to remove her before we began to understand the lessons and medicine she offered. Now, we live a lively dance with her, as she provides nourishment for our goats, medicine for ourselves and healing for our land.


There are 4 species which are considered invasive to North America and New Zealand: Lonicera japonica, L. maackii, L. morrowii, and L. tatarica. We have both L. japonica and L. maackii growing in our area. Ironically, L. maackii is an endangered species in her native land (Japan).

Generally, the flowers are used for medicine though some herbalists use the leaves and/or the stems as medicine as well. The leaves make a nice beverage tea and have some actions which are stronger than the flowers. The flowers should be picked before or right as they open. Though some species of Honeysuckle have pretty pink or orange blossoms, L. japonica, L. maackii and L. morrowii all have white flowers which turn yellow as they age. Skip over the yellowed flowers, they have been open too long and won’t offer much medicine. If you harvest right as the flowers start to open for the first time in the spring, it is easy to simply pinch off the bunches on each stem, collecting the flower buds and leaves together to make a nice blend. If you have bush Honeysuckle, it is easy to break off a branch and strip the leaves and flower buds off by closing your fingers around the branch and running it down the length of the branch.

Some of the berries are edible but do not eat any of the berries unless you receive verification that the species that grows in your backyard is a non-toxic species. Most of the invasive species are toxic to some degree so it’s best to remain on the side of caution with them.


Have you ever picked a Honeysuckle flower and sucked the nectar from the stem? The next time you have a chance, pick a flower and nibble on it to see if you can notice her energetics. When you do so, you will notice that she is sweet and bitter, cooling and drying. We use Honeysuckle especially for hot, damp conditions. I’ll talk about this a bit later.

Nutritionally, Honeysuckle contains calcium, phosphorus and protein.

Medicinally, those fragrant and delicious flowers and leaves have a lot to offer us. Honeysuckle is alterative, antibacterial, antibiotic, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antitumor, antiviral, astringent, depurative, diaphoretic, diuretic, emetic, expectorant, febrifuge, hypotensive, laxative, nervine, refrigerant, and vulnerary in action. Let’s take a closer look…

Honeysuckle has an affinity for the lungs, stomach and large intestine with the stem also having an affinity for the limbs and joints of the body.

Honeysuckle is most often known for her medicinal use in treating colds and the flu, especially when there is a lot of heat and moistness involved. Respiratory conditions with fever, lots of phlegm are Honeysuckle’s calling card. This is because Honeysuckle is antiviral, antibacterial, diaphoretic, expectorant, febrifuge and astringent. She combines these actions to help wipe out illness quickly. In China, Honeysuckle is used extensively for treating pneumonia, influenza, colds and asthma.

As an antimicrobial, Honeysuckle can be useful to help treat salmonella, staphylococcus and streptococcus as well as urinary tract infections, ulcers and acute hepatitis. Honeysuckle helps to flush toxins from the body with her depurative actions.

Her pleasant taste makes her an easy medicine to swallow, making her a favorite for kids everywhere. She is also very gentle for kids but also tough enough to work on big illnesses without batting a stamen. In fact, she is often used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (flowers, leaves and stems) for the treatment of lung and breast cancer.

Honeysuckle is often combined with Forsythia for inflammatory issues and cancer or Elderflower for fevers, influenza and respiratory infections.

As a refrigerant, Honeysuckle is a great cooling herb, making her a perfect sipping tea for summertime when you’re overheated. You’ll find the taste to be pleasant and mild.


Katherine Weber-Turcotte uses the flower essence for helping to gain perspective on the past. Edward Bach, the person who made flower essences popular, states that a person in a negative Honeysuckle state is physically in the present but mentally stuck in the past.

As a nervine, Honeysuckle is relaxing to the nervous system. Herbalist Emily Allen CH & LMT of Gypsy Garden Herbs has found it to be effective for a client suffering from homesickness (being lost in the past), panic attacks and anxiety, combining both leaves and flowers in her elixir.

Over and over I see Honeysuckle working similarly to Elderflower in her actions. She is not only wonderful for feverish conditions but also for soothing and healing skin afflictions such as psoriasis, eczema and acne. In fact, Honeysuckle works wonders for all types of skin afflictions, including rashes, poison ivy and oak, abscesses, swelling (especially where heat is involved), wounds and boils. Honeysuckle poultices sooth burns, helping to draw out the heat while using her vulnerary action to help heal.

The Native Americans traditionally used Honeysuckle flowers, leaves, bark and roots. Though the root is not commonly used today (probably because of the difficulty in digging the plant combined with the abundance of plant material above the ground), the root was used often as a tea to be a cure for senility, lung problems, worms in pregnant women, and urinary problems.

While I do not recommend anyone plant Honeysuckle in their garden (unless it is a native species), I do recommend harvesting the plant as much as possible in the wild to use her benefits. The leaves and flowers can be used in large quantities for some many ailments, they should be a part of every herbalist’s (and budding herbalist’s) apothecary.


Honeysuckle Infused honey is one of my favorite Honeysuckle remedies. Here is my recipe for it. This honey is good for soothing burning, sore throats and moist, hot coughs.

You will need:

Fresh Honeysuckle flowers
Raw honey

Jar with lid

Butter knife or chopstick


Fill your jar loosely with flowers. Fill with honey and stir with the knife or chopstick. Add more honey and stir again. Repeat until the jar is full.

After 2 – 3 weeks, your honey is ready to use. Add a spoonful to tea or hot lemonade or eat as is for easing sore throats and coughs.

This is an excerpt from this month’s issue of Herbal Roots zine, titled “Heady Honeysuckle“. You can grab this issue for only $3.99 through the end of this month. We are also giving away this issue to 3 lucky winners on Monday, March 30, 2015, see our blog for details!


Giveaway Monday – Honeysuckle Issue of Herbal Roots zine

Posted in Uncategorized on March 23rd, 2015 by KristineBrown — 30 Comments






This week we are giving away a copy of the March issue of Herbal Roots zine, Heady Honeysuckle to 3 lucky people!

This month’s issue will have you looking at Honeysuckle in a whole new way, making the saying “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” take on a whole new meaning. Why not use the plants that grow all around…the trees, the bushes, the fences, the walls, the ground…and put them to good use healing?!

Heady Honeysuckle Table of Contents:

Note to Parents
Supply List
Herb Spirit
All About Honeysuckle
Herbal Glossary
Scramble, Search and More: Word Search, Circle the Energetics, List the Vitamins and Minerals,  Word Scramble, Multiple Choise
Herbal Botany
Herbal Lore: How Honeysuckle Got Her Flame Red Flowers
Songs and Poems: Honeysuckle, Honeysuckle Haiku
Herbal Recipes: Honeysuckle Extract, Honeysuckle Elixir, Honeysuckle Tea, Honeysuckle Infusion, Honeysuckle Infused Oil, Honeysuckle Salve, Honeysuckle Poultice, Honeysuckle Flower Essence
Coloring Page
Herbal Crafts: Pressing/rubbing/drawing of Honeysuckle, Honeysuckle Vine Crafts, Preparing Honeysuckle Vines, Honeysuckle Vine Bracelet
*NEW* Herbal Jokes and Puns
Maze: Which Path Should The Hummingbird Moth Take to Find the Honeysuckle?
Journal: Write your thoughts, medicine making notes and other information about your month with Honeysuckle
Crossword Puzzle

54 pages from Cover to Cover

You can become a fan of Herbal Roots zine on Facebook if you would like to do so.

If you’d like a chance to win this month’s issue, leave a comment below, telling us who this issue would benefit (yourself, your kids, your grandkids, etc). 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 section(s) of Herbal Roots zine

-share this giveaway on your Facebook page

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

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

Sign ups end and I’ll announce the winner on Monday, March 30, 2015. Good luck!

[Herbal Rootlets]: No. 44 – Herbs for Spring

Posted in Uncategorized on March 18th, 2015 by KristineBrown — 2 Comments


In those vernal seasons of the year, when the air is calm and pleasant, it were an injury and sullenness against Nature not to go out and see her riches, and partake in her rejoicing with heaven and earth.  

– John Milton

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Friday, March 20 is the first day of spring according to the cycle of the year. Have you and your family noticed the subtle shifts that brings the rebirth of life in the natural world? If you have a pond nearby, you’ve probably heard the sound of the spring peepers, singing their joyful songs. Even a cold day or snowfall does not deter them once they get going! Perhaps in your backyard you saw a robin red breast, tugging at a worm from the ground. If you have tulips or daffodils in your landscaping, there’s no doubt that their leaves have emerged from the ground. Has your grass started to green up? Chances are, there is more than just grass poking  up from the ground. Why not get dressed up and go outside for a spring herbal scavenger hunt?! Print off a copy of my free printable (found in the freebies section) and head outside to see if you can find 6 common “weed” herbs that are most likely in your yard or a nearby park. I’ve detailed each of the herbs here along with photographs to help with identification.



This plant is probably the easiest to identify and most well known. But while many curse this plant for appearing in their yard, he really is a blessing to have around. First of all, who can hate those beautiful yellow flowers? When I see a yard full of them, it makes me happy! And my kids too! We love to pick those blossoms to make Dandelion jelly and Dandelion fritters. They are so delicious and emollient too. The leaves are a powerhouse of vitamins. While they are mildly to strongly bitter, they are one of the world’s most nutritious plants and definitely worth eating! Add a few leaves to your salads, or dry them to sprinkle on all your foods. Eating 1 leaf after your meal can help aid in digestion; our body needs bitters to help stimulate bile production and to keep our digestive system running smoothly. The roots are great too; dried and roasted they made a great decoction (with or without chai blend herbs) for drinking. Strong, bitter and delicious, Dandelion root is diuretic and has a direct action on the liver and kidneys. At the same time, since he is full of potassium, he does not delete potassium as many diuretics do.

Want to learn more about Dandelion? Check out the issue on Dandelion.



Chickweed is a cool weather plant so this is her time to shine! Chickweed is another nutritious medicinal plant that is delicious added to salads (tastes a bit like spinach) or on sandwiches in place of lettuce. Chickweed loves to help our skin out and works well as an oil or salve on skin issues. I like to add him to my green salve blend. Chickweed is also soothing to our eyes, making a great eye wash for treating itchy, dry eyes, conjunctivitis and pink eye. A poultice can be applied on skin issues such as cuts, scratches, burns and so on for soothing relief.

Want to learn more about Chickweed? Check out the newly revised and expanded issue on Chickweed.



This plant you may not recognize by name, but you’ll probably recognize by his tendency to grab onto your clothing! Cleavers is a fun herb to play with, he can be easily molded into crowns for decorating with flowers because of his sticky hairs that ‘cleave’ onto anything, including himself. This wonderful spring herb is great for the urinary system and one I generally add to a urinary formula. Cleavers is also great for taking care of lymphatic problems. Feeling irritated by the ‘little things’ in life? Try taking Cleavers, you might be surprised how much he can help!

Want to learn more about Cleavers? Check out the issue on Cleavers.



Clover, especially Red Clover, is a wonderful nutritive herb. Red Clover helps to remove ‘stuck’ phlegm from the lungs, breaking up the mucus and moving it out of the lungs. Drinking infusions is helpful for regulating hormones for women, especially during menopause. As a diuretic, Red Clover can also help to flush out toxins. Clover is also a great herb for the bees, many rely on the nectar for making honey, making Clover a great herb to have in your yard – just be careful going barefoot so that no bees’ lives are sacrificed by being stepped on, causing them to sting you, in which case you might want to make sure you have the next herb growing in your yard as well (Plantain)!

Want to learn more about Clover? Check out the issue on Red Clover.



Plantain is one of the first plants my youngest child learned to identify. It was cute to see him running around the yard, searching for Plantain any time someone got a scratch, cut or bee sting! He would chew it up and stick it on their ‘boo-boo’ to help them heal up. He learned early that Plantain is great for just about anything skin related. This amazing herb grows all over the yard and helps to stop bleeding, soothes burns, heals cuts and is wonderful when combined with Chickweed and Violet. Plantain’s drawing power helps to pull out the venom of a bee sting, a splinter and even infection, especially when combined with activated charcoal. Plantain is also great for the digestive system; really there’s almost nothing Plantain cannot do.

Want to learn more about Plantain? Check out the newly revised and expanded issue on Plantain.



This spring beauty is especially easy to recognize when she blossoms in mid-spring. We have a yard that is almost exclusively Violet and in April, the yard is a blanket of purple. Kids love to pick the flowers and make Violet jelly; the purple jelly is mild tasting and pretty. Violet is very mucilaginous, soothing to the membranes of the body. Violet is great for those dry coughs that give you a tickle in your throat. Her mucilaginous leaves are also soothing for sore throats. Violet has an affinity for women, especially the breasts and can be helpful for painful breast lumps, mastitis and has also shown to be effective against some breast cancer. Violet is soothing to hot, dry skin irritations, dry eyes and dried out sinuses.

Want to learn more about Violet? Check out the newly revised and expanded issue on Violet.

Have the plants started sprouting in your region? What have you discovered growing in your yard?

Giveaway Monday – Artwork by Carey Jung

Posted in Uncategorized on March 16th, 2015 by KristineBrown — 15 Comments


This week I am delighted to give away 2 lovely pieces of artwork by Carey Jung! There are 2 chances to win as I will be drawing 2 winners, each one will receive one of these artworks.

Carey is the cover artist for The Essential Herbal magazine and her artwork has a wonderful feel about it. She created two beautiful works of art, one with watercolor and chalk and the other heat etched, to send off to two lucky winners! Both of these pieces are matted, ready for framing.


Art:  7 3/8 x 7 3/8 in.
Matted:  12 5/8 x 12 5/8 in.
Watercolor and chalk on paper


Art :  5 7/8 x 7 in.
Matted:11 1/4 x 12 3/8 in.
Burned on paper

Carey is going to be listing some of her watercolors as notecards soon and I cannot wait to snatch some up! Though she does not have them listed for sale yet, you can see some more beautiful examples of her work on her website.


Carey Jung is an artist and herbalist and lives in Forest Hills, NY.  She is the owner of ApotheCarey Arts and Herbs, a small herbal and illustration business and is the cover artist for The Essential Herbal magazine.    “I love painting worlds that people want to walk into.”  Carey enjoys creating tea blends for the people in her community and can be found walking the neighborhood looking for herbal and flower friends to draw.  

You can become a fan of ApotheCarey Arts and Herbs on Facebook if you would like to do so.

If you’d like a chance to win one of these beautiful pieces of art, 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 illustration in her store or on her website

-share this giveaway on your Facebook page

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

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

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

Sign ups end and I’ll announce the winner on Monday, March 23, 2015. Good luck!

[Herbal Rootslets]: No. 43 – Preparing Your Garden for Spring Planting

Posted in Uncategorized on March 12th, 2015 by KristineBrown — Be the first to comment!

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All through the long winter, I dream of my garden. On the first day of spring, I dig my fingers deep into the soft earth. I can feel its energy, and my spirits soar.  – Helen Hayes

It’s never too soon to prepare your garden beds for planting! This can become a fun activity to actively involve your kids in learning about herbs.

There are many styles of gardening from conventional plowing/tilling of the space to more permaculture methods of building up the soil while suffocating weeds. Permaculture methods include raised beds, lasagna gardening and no-till methods.

Lasagna gardening is a method of layering materials such as compost, leaves, straw and cardboard, that will eventually decompose to make a wonderful nutrient rich soil that your plants will thrive in.

After clearing the debris, the garden is ready for cardboard, compost and straw, also known as the lasagna method of gardening.

After clearing the debris, the garden is ready for cardboard, compost and straw, also known as the lasagna method of gardening.

I prefer the lasagna method for several reasons:

-my garden beds are sometimes small, making it hard to get a tiller in to effectively till the space

-many of my plants are perennials, returning year after year, not making tilling a good choice

-not tilling the soil helps to build important microbes in the soil

-tilling helps to churn roots which can often spread some ‘weeds’

-raised beds created from the lasagna method builds beds off the ground with nutrient rich soil

-it’s a great way to recycle card board boxes and yard waste

-it’s one of the easiest and healthiest ways to suppress weeds while building a healthy soil base

-this style of heavy mulching helps to lock in moisture in the ground, even during droughts


Lots of debris that needs clearing out! Time to get busy…

To prepare a lasagna garden, first you will want to clear out the big debris. Every year I have 3 main garden beds that need clearing out. I generally wait until spring to do this but with lasagna beds, it’s even better to start in the fall so the beds can settle over winter. Either way, it’s easiest to wait until after the first frost so that the weeds have died back, making them easier to cover.

Use a marker to mark off any perennial plants that you want to return. Lasagna bed gardening will suffocate anything trying to come back up, including those you want to return.

Break down card board boxes, removing any plastic on them including packing tape and packing list envelopes.

Lay the card board down where you want it. I often ‘season’ it first by laying it down in a general area and letting it get rained/snowed on. This helps the card board to start to break down.


Laying down cardboard…

Once the cardboard is in place, add a layer of yard clippings, such as grass, or leaves, depending on the time of year.

After the yard waste, it’s time to add a layer of compost. This is about the time we clean out our stalls and add a layer of goat manure. You can also add aged horse or cow manure or use regular compost.

The final layer is a thick layer of straw. It’s best if it’s been aged a bit, we let our straw bales sit out in the elements for a year, helping to start the breakdown process. Ideally, you will have 6 – 8” of layering above the ground, or more if you are starting in the fall. The thicker you layer it, the less likely the grass and other weeds will be able to grow back through it.

Everything in full bloom

Everything in full bloom

As time goes on, these top layers will suffocate existing weeds and grass (the biggest weed in my garden) and bury their seeds deeply so that they cannot sprout. The top layers wills start to break down, creating a thick layer of mulch and compost that will nourish and strengthen the plants you plant. Worms will also start to crawl through the lasagna layers, helping to decompose the layers and build the soil..

If I am building this in the spring, I often lay down a few layers of seasoned cardboard, top it with thick sheets of straw and start planting. Later I will go through and add in compost and yard waste as it becomes available.

To plant in this style garden, move the straw away from the section you are planting and use a hori knife (my favorite garden tool) to punch an X into the cardboard. I peel back the X to form a square, dig directly through the grass and weeds to plant the new plant.

Happily planted plant, nestled into the straw.

Happily planted plant, nestled into the straw.

Once it is planted, gently fold back down the corners of the X and tuck straw around the plant to keep it snugly in place.

When watering, water directly into the X so the water can go under the card board.

Kids love to help build these gardens and appreciate not having to have the task of weeding added to their chore list! My son’s favorite part is creating the X’s and planting the plants.

Happily tucked into their straw beds.

Happily tucked into their straw beds.

How do you prepare your garden beds for planting? Do you mulch your plants to help choke out weeds and retain moisture?