fbpx

The History of Marshmallow

Posted in Uncategorized on July 26th, 2021 by KristineBrown — Be the first to comment!

Marshmallow, Marshmallow
Lots of roots, useful roots
Soothes the inflammation,
Since the ancient Egyptians
Expectorant, demulcent,
Heals wounds, diuretic

When you hear “marshmallow” you might possibly be envisioning that white fluffy treat that is often melted over a campfire.

In fact, the plant Marshmallow can be eaten in many ways! And yes, they were the original marshmallows, though the confections we eat today have no marshmallow left in them, and don’t taste the same.

Originally marshmallows were made to help soothe dried, irritated coughs, with a sweet taste.

A long time ago, Marshmallows were made by combining powdered Marshmallow root with a sweetener and other ingredients to make confections that children could suck on to soothe sore throats and dry coughs. The first marshmallow candies were made over 3,000 years ago in Egypt!

The root can be boiled to create a mucilaginous egg white substitute. The roots are eaten as a vegetable in some parts of the world.

Marshmallow is sweet, moistening and cooling. The root is eaten as a vegetable in some parts of the world and contains calcium, iron, iodine, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, vitamins A, C and B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin, B3 (niacin), and N5 (pantothenic acid.

Flowers can be sprinkled in salads and eaten raw.

The leaves are also edible but due to the hairs, taste best after cooking.

The seeds have a nutty taste and can be eaten raw or cooked.

Marshmallow doesn’t stop there. He has a lot of great medicinal uses too!

I mentioned that Marshmallow was given to children to relieve coughs and sore throats. A tea or syrup can also be made and used for soothing the respiratory tract. Marshmallow will also relieve inflammation and help to expel mucus from the lungs.

Because of his diuretic properties, Marshmallow is cleansing to the bladder. Combined with Marshmallow’s demulcent and emollient properties, he is soothing to the lining of the bladder and is great added to formulas for soothing urinary tract infections, bladder infections, edema, kidney stones, cystitis, and other urinary issues. As an antispasmodic, he can also help to calm spasms in the bladder.

For the digestive system, Marshmallow is soothing to the stomach lining, intestines and the esophagus for digestive upsets, ulcers, acid reflux, and inflammation of the gut. As a vulnerary, he can also help to heal those issues, as long as the root of the cause is also addressed.  I like to combine Marshmallow leaf with other herbs such as Calendula, Plantain, Chamomile, Peppermint and Ginger to make a healing tea, a recipe I learned from herbalist Ryn Midura, and have given it to clients with gut issues. I have found it helpful for healing the gut from irritable bowel syndrome, colitis, gastritis, and rheumatism, along with a change in diet as many of these things are caused by intolerances to foods such as gluten and dairy.

Marshmallow helps with constipation, especially when drank as a cold infusion.

Chewing on a piece of marshmallow root can help relieve a toothache. The cold infusion can be used as a mouthwash to sooth and heal all sorts of mouth sores including canker sores, ulcers, cuts and bites (ever bite your cheek?), inflamed gums and as a gargle for sore throats.

Marshmallow is great for lactating mothers, and can help to stimulate the flow of milk. He is also very nutritive and rejuvenative, making him a good choice for convalescing persons, tired mothers and elderly folks. Topically, the leaf or root can be applied to help relieve mastitis.

Externally, the roots or leaves can be made into a poultice to relieve skin inflammations, ulcers, wounds, bruises, cuts, mild burns, sun burns psoriasis and so on. And, while Marshmallow is a demulcent and brings about moisture, he can also work in an astringent or drying manner when used in a dry form. If you have a wound that is oozing and weeping, sprinkling a powder of root or leaf will absorb the moisture, help to dry up the wound and heal it. Herbalist jim mcdonald likes to mix Marshmallow and Goldenseal to make a great wound healing powder.

For eye irritation, a wash in an eye cup can sooth dry, irritated eyes and inflammation.

To recap, Marshmallow root can be dried and powdered to sprinkle on weepy wounds.

The leaf or root can be made as a cold water infusion to help moisten the body and sooth many systems including the digestive, respiratory and urinary systems.

The leaf or root can be made into a poultice to apply topically to dry, irritated skin conditions.

And finally, the root can be chewed for mouth afflictions.

Marshmallow root can be dug in the spring or fall, and the leaves can be harvested just before flowering. The flowers should be harvested right as they open.

Old Fashioned “Real” Marshmallows

(How they were made before corn syrup took over!) Recipe is adapted from A Kid’s Herb Book by Lesley Tierra. These taste like those circus peanuts you buy at the store…a personal childhood favorite of mine!

2 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla extract
1/2 cup raw sugar
2 tablespoons Marshmallow root powder

Baking tray

Parchment paper

Airtight container

Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.

Beat whites until very foamy and not quite stiff. Beat in Vanilla.

Slowly beat in sugar, 1 teaspoon at a time. When sugar is completely  mixed in, add the Marshmallow root powder.

Drop mixture using a teaspoonful at a time on a baking tray covered with parchment paper, Bake 1 hour.

Remove from sheet and let cool.

To store, tightly cover and place in the refrigerator for several days.

Variations:

For Valentine’s Day, mash up 6 Raspberries and add to the mix after adding the Marshmallow root powder.

Split the spoonful in half and drop side by side using your fingers to taper the end into a heart shape. After cooling, wrap in tissue paper and place in a bag for freshness.

They can also be dipped in melted chocolate for chocolate covered marshmallows. Divine!

Fun Related Marshmallow Videos and Resources

Want to learn to make a cold water infusion with your kids? Check out my new Monday Making series. This week’s episode is on making a Marshmallow cold water infusion!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2f3A3H5m1MY

Want to listen to “The Gift of Marshmallow”? This story is from the Yarrow issue of Herbal Roots zine and it can be found on YouTube here:
Want to learn MORE about Marshmallow? Check out my eBook on this soothing plant!

Marshmallow is a great “beginner” herb for kids to learn about and is part of my “New to Herbs” year long course for kids. This is the first of my two beginner courses.

To learn more about my courses and to enroll, head to: https://herbalrootszine.teachable.com/

Mrs. Rabbit Knew Her Herbs (an ode to Chamomile)

Posted in Uncategorized on July 19th, 2021 by KristineBrown — Be the first to comment!

vibrant

nodding heads

calming  sedating  soothing

happy relieved peaceful relaxed

chamomile

I’m sure you’ve heard of Chamomile! Peter Rabbit’s mom gave it to him after he got into Mr. McGregor’s garden, ate too much, and came home with a tummy ache!

Chamomile is one of the better known herbs for easing stomach aches and calming irritable people but there are many other reasons to use this delicious herb!

All About Chamomile

Chamomile is high in magnesium, niacin (B3), phosphorus, riboflavin (B2) and also contains average amounts of calcium, cobalt, iron, manganese, potassium, protein, silicon, tin and vitamin C.

A strong infusion of chamomile has the power to break down gallstones, making them easier to pass. She can do the same for kidney stones. The antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory effects of Chamomile help soothe the bladder when it is inflamed or infected and helps relax the bladder. As an antibacterial, Chamomile helps to remove bacterial infections in the bladder and kidneys.

Chamomile’s analgesic, antispasmodic, nervine and stimulant properties work with the nervous system to calm and sedate it and eases sciatica, neuralgia,  and other nervous related pains. She works on peripheral nerves and muscles, causing the whole body indirectly to relax. Those who suffer from mild anxiety may enjoy a cup of Chamomile tea and find themselves feeling less anxious after drinking it.

Chamomile can help with vertigo, especially with the nausea that can occur from it.

Let’s talk about the digestive system. As a stomachic and carminative, Chamomile is all about helping the digestive system, including lack of appetite, diarrhea, indigestion, stomachaches, migraines and nausea.

We can utilize Chamomile’s antimicrobial properties, as well as her analgesic and febrifuge actions to help with the aches and pains of flu.

Chamomile is gentle and great for kids!

Infants find relief from teething and colic when Chamomile is introduced to them. Breastfeeding mothers can drink Chamomile tea or rub Chamomile glycerite directly on their gums for teething issues. For Colic, Chamomile tea, either through the breastmilk or spoon fed is helpful.

Children who suffer from night terrors and nightmares may find Chamomile helpful by drinking a tea of Chamomile before bedtime as Chamomile can help to sooth the mind and nerves, promoting more relaxed and deep sleep. Children and adults suffering from insomnia may also find Chamomile to help promote sleep.

Chamomile is very soothing to the eyes. Soaking tea bags in hot water then letting the tea bags cool until comfortable to touch, makes a quick and easy compress to apply to the eyes. Squeezing a bit of the tea into the eyes will help soothe and heal conjunctivitis and other eye problems.

Chamomile is suitable for skin problems as well. Inflammation, fungi, psoriasis, eczema, burning, blisters, radiation burns, acne, impetigo, and light skinned people with excessive sensitivity can all find relief with Chamomile.

Chamomile essential oil is great for easing chicken pox. Dabbing a drop or two on the poxes eases itching and irritation and is calming and soothing. The essential oil is blue (when freshly distilled) because it contains azulene. The oil is anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic and anti-microbial as well as anti-anaphylactic. Adding this oil to a massage oil works well for soothing muscle spasms. Azulene, is effective against Staphylococcus and Streptococcus infections.

Chamomile Dreamtime Pillow

This pillow is soothing and calming and helps children of all ages fall into a gentle slumber. Tuck under the mattress sheet for babies or in the pillow case of children or adults.

1/2 cup dried Chamomile
1/4 cup dried Rose Petals
2 tablespoons dried Lavender Blossoms
1 tablespoon dried Hops
2 – 8” x 8” pieces of matching or coordinating fabric
Thread and needle or sewing machine

Mix the dried herbs together and set aside.

Place fabric right sides together and sew 3 sides together, leaving the fourth open. (Optional, for a moon shaped pillow, find a 8” diameter plate, trace around it on the fabric and cut out. Place right sides together and sew around the circle leaving 3” open).

Turn right side out and fill with herbs. Tuck edges of fabric in to form seam and sew shut.

Fun Related Chamomile Videos and Resources

Want to learn to make a Chamomile Glycerite with your kids? Check out my new Monday Making series. This week’s episode is on making Chamomile Glycerite!

https://youtu.be/vKs54JKuM4w

Want to listen to “Chamomile Toughens Up”? This story is from the Chamomile issue of Herbal Roots zine and it can be found on YouTube here:

https://youtu.be/Ch6wtnCmvLI

Want to learn more about Chamomile? You can find the Chamomile eBook in my shop:

Do you grow Yarrow?

Posted in Uncategorized on July 13th, 2021 by KristineBrown — Be the first to comment!

The Native Americans rate Yarrow as one of their most important herbs and with good reason, Yarrow has many uses, as you’ll soon discover!

Yarrow is related to Asters such as Echinacea, Dandelion, and Chicory, to name a few. Yarrow’s botanical name is Achillea millefolium.

All About Yarrow

The flowers are pinkish-white though there are common cultivars that are grown for their “hot” colors such as red, pink, orange, and yellow. for medicinal purposes, it’s best to stick with the white flowered plants. If you look closely at them, you’ll notice that what you thought were individual flowers are actually ray and disk flowers held together by bracts. The inflorescences have 4-9 bracts with clusters of 15-40 disk flowers and 3-u ray flowers.

Yarrow isn’t generally considered a plant you would eat so it might surprise you that this plant has vitamins A, C, E, thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), inositol (B8), calcium, choline. chromium, cobalt, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, silicon, sodium, tin, and zinc.

It’s good to know that drinking the tea can provide you with a bit of nutrition though you’ll want to add more flavorful herbs to the mix since Yarrow is bitter.

Medicinally we generally use the flowers, stems, and leaves.

Yarrow is a diaphoretic, so if you drink a hot tea made with Yarrow, it will make you sweat. This can be helpful if you are running a fever and want to help lower it, as this action can help the fever to ‘break.’ It’s often combined with Elderflowers and Peppermint for a antiviral tea that helps with all things cold and flu. This is an old recipe I learned from herbalist Rosemary Gladstar.

Yarrow is great for circulatory system. He can help to lower high blood pressure by opening up the blood vessels, which also helps to increase circulation in the body. Hawthorn and Linden flowers combine well with Yarrow for this.

Yarrow is also astringent and is great for helping to contract the blood vessels and tissues, making this plant great for toning the blood vessels, to help reduce varicose veins.

As a styptic and vulnerary, Yarrow can also help to stop bleeding. I’ve often used dried and powdered Yarrow leaves as a snuff to help my son when he was younger and had a lot of bloody noses. yarrow is so effective at stopping bleeding that this plant was used during the Civil War in the United States as a wound stauncher. Because this plant is also vulnerary, Yarrow helps to heal the wounds as well. In addition, yarrow is antimicrobial, which means he kills germs, keeping wounds germ free as they heal.

Another aspect of Yarrow’s wound healing capabilities is his anti-inflammatory properties. In addition to killing germs, stopping bleeding, and healing the wound, Yarrow helps to keep inflammation at bay. While some inflammation is necessary for the healing process, too much can make the area really sore and puffy. Yarrow can help reduce that.

If yarrow tea is drank cool, it becomes a diuretic, which will increase the flow of urine, and help the body to eliminate excessive fluids. This action also helps to flush out the urinary system which can help to heal cystitis and other urinary issues.

Remember how I said Yarrow is nutritious but we don’t really eat it? That is because Yarrow is bitter tasting so most people don’t enjoy his flavor! But that bitter is an indication of another of Yarrow’s uses, to help with digestion. Bitters get our stomach juices flowing which in turn helps our digestive system to do its job when we eat.

Our liver can also benefit from Yarrow as Yarrow cleanses and tones the liver, making this herb a great liver support!

Decorative Yarrow Bouquet

This is a great way to prepare flowers for a wintertime arrangement. They will keep a very long time and bring a bit of sunshine to a wintertime landscape. It is especially nice if you can use the colored varieties of yarrow.

Fresh Yarrow flower stalks

Rubber bands

Vase

Optional: Other flowers for drying such as strawflowers, lavender, poppy seed heads, roses, and cornflowers

Cut a bunch of yarrow stalks and flowers as close to the ground as possible.

Use a rubber band to tie the stems together.

Hang them upside down to dry. This will generally take 2-3 weeks.

Arrange them in a vase without water. You can dry and add other flowers as well such as strawflowers, lavender, poppy seed heads, roses and cornflowers.

Fun Related Yarrow Videos and Resources

Want to learn to make Yarrow Wound Powder with your kids? Check out my new Monday Making series. This week’s episode is on making Yarrow Wound Powder!
Want to listen to “How Yarrow Got Her Tattered Leaves”? This story is from the Yarrow issue of Herbal Roots zine and it can be found on YouTube here:

Want to learn MORE about Yarrow? Check out my eBook on this vivacious plant!

Sunny Calendula

Posted in Uncategorized on July 6th, 2021 by KristineBrown — Be the first to comment!

Herbs of sunshine warm and bright
Herb of skin care, healer’s delight
Such healing power received from you

One of Calendula’s common names is pot marigold. There is another plant known as marigold too, which has a genus name of Tagetes. Though they are not related, they are used similarly.

All About Calendula

Calendula’s common name Pot Marigold gives us a clue how she has been used as food – she was often thrown into soups.

The orange ray flower petals were often added to milk when making cheese to color the cheese.

The flowers are often added to salads as well.

That orange color gives us an indication of the vitamin and mineral content that she might have. Many foods that have an orange color contain beta carotene, which is an orange pigment that is a natural form of vitamin A.

In addition, Calendula also contains iodine, manganese, potassium, and vitamin C. These are all nutrients which promote the regeneration of skin cells, making Calendula a great skin care plant. Calendula loves our skin!

Because of this, Calendula is often used for the skin. She is used for varicose veins, bleeding wounds and other wounds, sores, cuts, scrapes, sunburns, other burns and bruising of the skin, measles, chickenpox, mumps, small pox, thrush, diaper rash, cradle cap, skin pain and irritation, bee and wasp stings, insect bites, chapped lips, dry skin, acne, and sore and inflamed eyes.

Calendula is gentle and detoxifying to the skin, helping to heal it from the inside out. When applied externally to a wound, Calendula’s antimicrobial action works to keep germs and infection out of the wound while her vulnerary action helps it to heal. Calendula helps increase the flow of oxygen to wounds which helps the cells to regenerate more quickly.

Calendula really is an herb that is all-things skin related. She is antifungal and can help with candida and ring worm, as well as thrush and athlete’s foot.

Calendula helps other parts of our bodies too.

Ear aches and infections can be soothed with an oil made from Calendula, similar to Mullein flower oil.

Calendula can help get sluggish lymph systems draining, especially when wounds are not healing and seem to be bogging down the lymph system. Internally, Calendula can help swollen glands that seem to be caused by lingering infections, and cleansing to the  lymphatic glands and ducts.

Calendula is healing to our digestive system too. Her healing power helps to repair leaky gut, along with other herbs such as marshmallow, ginger, plantain, and spearmint. Herbalist Ryn Midura has a great recipe that includes these herbs for healing the intestines when combined with proper diet and lifestyle changes.

A tea made from Calendula can be used as a wash for hair to help sooth irritated scalps and reduce dandruff. The golden rinse brightens blond hair at the same time.

Medicinally, we can use Calendula in many ways. A tincture can be made but most often, Calendula is used as a tea or infused oil. The tea can be drank internally or used externally as a wash for the skin, scalp, or eyes.

The oil can be applied to all sorts of skin issues, including the scalp, and is often hardened with beeswax to make a salve for applying on skin ailments. The oil can be used for the ears as well.

Calendula also makes a great plant dye and will make a beautiful orange-yellow color.

Felted Calendula Flower Craft

These fun felt flowers can cheer up a dark corner of the house! They are great for gentle play or to decorate your nature table.

Orange, yellow, rust (or brown) and green felt
Pipe cleaners
Thick green wool yarn (the same color as the green felt)
Thread to match the orange, yellow and green felt colors
Scissors
Glue

Pick either orange or yellow to be your petals. The center can be the same or the rust/brown.

Cut a strip of orange or yellow felt 1 1/2″ x 5”. Fringe one edge of the long side, cutting about 1/4″ apart, leaving about 1/2″ from the end. These will be your petals. If you like, you may round the edges of the fringe.

Cut a 2nd strip out of the same color or the rust/brown, whichever you have chosen to be your center, 3/4” x 3 1/2”. Cut the long edge every 1/4″ apart.

Wrap a pipe cleaner with green wool yarn to cover. Glue the edges into place.

Put a dab of glue on one end of the wrapped pipe cleaner and wrap the smaller fringed felt around it, fringe side away from the end, gluing it down at the end. Do the same with the larger fringed piece, sewing it into place.

Cut a strip of green felt 3/4” x 2 1/2”. Sew a stitch around the center. Sew a 2nd row around the bottom and pull tight. Poke needles through the insides and knot off.

Cut 3 U-shaped leaves, 2 that are 6” x 3/4”, tapering at the points of the U, and one that is 3” x 1/2”, tapering at the points of the U.

Starting about 1” from the top of the flower, place the smaller leaf on and start wrapping the yarn around. Start by leaving a tail hanging down and then covering with the wrapped yarn. Continue adding the 2 larger leaves, alternating sides of the stem while wrapping with the yarn to hold into place.

You can create several flowers using different combinations of colors: orange petals with an orange center, orange petals with a rust center, yellow petals with a yellow center and yellow petals with a rust center to create a beautiful bouquet of calendula flowers to add to your nature table!

Other Fun Calendula Related Videos

Want to learn how to make face and body toner? Check out my Making Monday video here:
https://youtu.be/SO3ve4Pp7P8 

 

Want to listen to “Kal En Chulla: Bright Healer”? This story is from the Calendula issue of Herbal Roots zine and it can be found on YouTube here:
Want to learn more about Calendula? You can find the Calendula eBook in my shop:

All Things Elderberry

Posted in Uncategorized on June 29th, 2021 by KristineBrown — Be the first to comment!

Elderberry is so very, extra-ordinary

that she must be (surely) part Fairy!

Lore abounds for this elegant bush! Folklore around the world connects Elder with protection from evil spirits and bad luck, as well as many nature spirits such as dryads and fairies.

The leaves, flowers, berries, and bark have all been used medicinally though it’s most common to use the flowers and berries. The leaves and bark are not used as often but can be tinctured separately or together as a great antiviral remedy.

Nutritionally, Elderberries contain calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, protein, selenium, zinc, and vitamins A, C, thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), folate (B9) and cobalamin (B12).

The plant does contain toxins so the berries should be cooked or tinctured before being used. But cooking releases the toxins and Elderberry is used for making jellies, syrups, muffins, and more!

The flowers are great dried to add to teas. They are helpful for lowering a fever and fighting off viruses such as the flu. I learned from herbalist Rosemary Gladstar how to make an effective flu fever tea by combining elderflower, peppermint and yarrow together.

A cooled tea of elderflower can be helpful for flushing the kidneys, bladder and urinary tract to help remove the build-up of uric acid in the body, which can cause gout, rheumatism, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and uric acid kidney stones.

Elderflower water makes a wonderful mildly astringent, toning face wash, similar to Witch Hazel. Elderflower water also makes a great wash for the skin, being emollient, and as a vulnerary, helps to heal wounds. Elderflowers have been used as a poultice on wounds, cuts and burns.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

As an immunomodulator, Elderberry tea is a pleasant drink that can help with colds, flus, lung congestion, constipation or a vitamin C boost! In fact, Elderberry contains vitamins A and C, making it a healthy berry to add to your wintertime arsenal. Elderberries are best known as a prophylactic against the flu. It has been used for the coronavirus too.

Because Elderberry is also antiviral, she helps to fight off viruses as well. At the first sign of any illness, we immediately start taking our Elderberry syrup. For those who suffer from fever blisters, other types of herpes or the chicken pox, Elderberry is a great herb to have on hand.

Being all things cold and flu, Elder is also an expectorant, decongestant, anticatarrhal, and can help with lung congestion by helping to break mucous up and move it out of the lungs. And, as an anti-inflammatory, the syrup can help to soothe a sore throat.

Elderberry has long been used for a dye too. Various parts of the plants can be used, from the bark which will create a deep black to the berries which will create a bluish violet color.

 Elderflower Fritters

This delightful treat is an early summer favorite around here! It makes a great celebration dessert or just a wonderful dessert to celebrate summer in general.

10-12 Elderflower clusters on the stem

3/4 cups flour of choice (I used a blend of coconut flour, brown rice flour, and cassava flour)

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup milk (I used coconut milk)

1 tablespoon melted coconut oil

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 egg (or egg substitute equivalent)

Oil for high heat frying such as avocado oil, coconut oil, or lard

Heat the oil in a cast iron skillet or other heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat. Make sure to have a good layer of oil to create a good base for frying (these things aren’t the healthiest so that’s why they are a special treat)!

While the oil is heating, combine the dried ingredients in a bowl.

Stir in the moist ingredients and combine until smooth.

Dip a Elderflower cluster into the batter, holding onto the stem. Place the cluster into the frying pan, pushing down a bit to spread out the flower.

Repeat until your pan is full and fry until the batter turns golden brown.

Remove and place on a cloth or paper towel to drain off the excess grease.

Snip off or gently pull off as many stems as you can.

Repeat until all the clusters are finished.

Serve warm with a drizzle of maple syrup or Elderberry syrup. Alternatively, you can give them a light dusting of powdered sugar (my favorite way to eat them, they taste just like funnel cakes)!

Want to learn to make a Elderberry syrup with your kids? Check out my new Monday Making series. This week’s episode is on making Elderberry syrup!
Want to listen to “The Lesson fo Elder”? This story is from the Elderberry issue of Herbal Roots zine and it can be found on YouTube here:
Want to learn more about Elderberry? You can find the Elderberry eBook in my shop:

Summer is the perfect time for Peppermint!

Posted in Uncategorized on June 22nd, 2021 by KristineBrown — Be the first to comment!

Peppermint is good for what ails

In the tummies of girls and males

If something’s feeling funny

Infuse and add honey

I promise it never fails!

What would summer be without a little Peppermint? Minted ice tea is a popular refreshing drink that many enjoy.

Peppermint is also a popular flavor for many foods, oral hygiene, and digestive aids. How many can you think of? Peppermint breath mints, toothpaste, mouthwash, dental floss, antidiarrheal medicine, antacid medicine, anti-nausea medicine, candy canes, Peppermint patties…the list goes on and on!

When you are learning about herbs, a great way to discover their traditional use is to look at over the counter medications and see what flavors they are. That can give an indication of their original use before modern day pharmaceuticals took over.

Peppermint’s flavor is well-known and liked. Peppermint has a pleasant peppery minty flavor that pairs well with fruit salads, potato salads, and garden salads. The leaves can be added fresh to give a hint of minty flavor. Leaves are often added to iced tea to add a minty taste or they can be infused in water to make Peppermint tea which is a delicious, cooling summertime drink.

A leaf can be chewed on to keep your breath fresh and help with digestion, making it a great after dinner “mint”.

As a member of the Mint family, Lamiaceae, Peppermint is very healing for the digestive system. Peppermint is carminative and antispasmodic which can be helpful for chronic intestinal disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulitis.

Peppermint is a refrigerant meaning he cools your body from the inside out. This can be helpful during the summer when you are outside playing, or if you are sick and running a fever. For influenza and other viral infections, Peppermint is often combined with other viral herbs such as Yarrow, Boneset and Elderflower to help ease the aches and pains and fevers of the viruses.

Peppermint’s cooling feature from his menthol combined with his antispasmodic actions can help to cool down and ease muscle spasms, coughs, intestinal and menstrual cramping and more.

This plant also contains pain relief for toothaches, cavities and other mouth issues as Peppermint is an analgesic and antiseptic which means he can ease pain and kill off bacteria that cause infections in the mouth which in turn create the cavities and aches.

As an analgesic, Peppermint also is helpful for relieving tension headaches, rheumatism, and neuralgia pain.

Peppermint soothes nausea and upset stomaches. Peppermint is often combined with chamomile, ginger, and fennel to create “gripe water” for babies with colic.

There are many ways to utilize Peppermint’s medicinal actions. The dried leaves can be made into a tea or an infusion, or they can be tinctured. The fresh leaves can be candied to add as a decoration to cakes.

Peppermint essential oil is often added to flavorings for icing, cakes, and cookies, as well as used internally through special capsules for irritable bowel syndrome and leaky gut. It is also rubbed on the temples to relieve headaches or on gums and in the mouth for toothaches.

Want to learn to make a Peppermint Sun Tea with your kids? Check out my new Monday Making series. This week’s episode is on making Peppermint Sun Tea!
Want to listen to “Agnes Discovers Peppermint”? This story is from the Peppermint issue of Herbal Roots zine and it can be found on YouTube here:

Minted Potato Salad

This is a recipe I found years ago in a cook book. I have long since lost the original recipe but have made it my own over the years and it’s always a hit when I serve it! The mint compliments nicely with the tang of the yogurt, giving the potato salad a fresh, cool twist.

6 red skinned potatoes

2 tablespoons olive or avocado oil

1/2 cup plain yogurt

4 scallions chopped up

1 bunch fresh mint chopped up

Sea salt and pepper to taste

Begin by chopping and boiling the potatoes until they are soft.

Drain the water and gently mash them to break them up a bit. Add olive oil, sea salt and pepper, and stir to combine.

Allow to cool.

Stir in the yogurt, scallions, and mint.

Serve chilled or room temperature.

The Next Step

Peppermint is a great “beginner” herb for kids to learn about and is part of my “The Next Step” year long course for kids. This is the second of my two beginner courses, but you don’t need to take the first course before taking this one.

To learn more about my courses and to enroll, head to: https://herbalrootszine.teachable.com/

Loving Lemon Balm

Posted in Uncategorized on June 14th, 2021 by KristineBrown — Be the first to comment!

Lifting,
Eraser of tension,
Mood enhancing herb
Obliterates
Nervousness and 

Banishes colds, flus and
Anxiety while
Leaving one feeling
Mellow

Lemon Balm is a well loved plant that is grown in gardens around the world. This plant’s sweet, lemony scent and taste are delicious and well received by kids.

Because Lemon Balm is very pleasant tasting, it can be made into a tea that can be drank or made into popsicles, which make a delicious calming, cooling treat!

Lemon Balm can also be made into a tincture for quick and easy dispensing or infused in an oil to be made into a salve or lip balm for applying topically.

Lemon Balm leaves can be added raw to salads and gives a sweet lemon accent to them.

Lemon Balm is great for the nervous system! Not only is she a nervine and a sedative but she also has antispasmodic properties, making her great  for nervous system complaints such as nervousness, anxiety, stress, nervous system related headaches, nervous tension and nervous system related illnesses such as chronic fatigue.

Continuing on the nervous system for a moment, Lemon Balm can be helpful for those with ADHD as research has shown that lemon balm has demonstrated the ability to impact the limbic system of the brain and “protect” the brain from the powerful stimuli of the body.

Lemon Balm also improves concentration, cognitive function and decreases agitation, making her an excellent herb for those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. For kids who get anxious about taking tests and other school events, drinking Lemon Balm tea will help to calm the nerves, boost their moods and increase their confidence in stressful situations.

By the same token, Lemon Balm is helpful for the digestive system, easing stomaches, nausea, indigestion, cramping, and so on. Often digestive issues are tied in to nervous system issues so it makes sense that Lemon Balm works to support both body systems!

Lemon Balm is also a fantastic antiviral! She can also help fight off mumps, shingles, chicken pox, cold sores and colds, just to name a few.

This is a terrific plant to have on hand for kids!

Want to learn to make a Lemon Balm popsicles with your kids? Check out my new Monday Making series. This week’s episode is on making Lemon Balm popsicles!
Want to listen to “The Delight of Lemon Balm”? This story is from the Lemon Balm issue of Herbal Roots zine and it can be found on YouTube here:
The mosquitoes are out! If you’re like me, spraying bug repellent on your kids can be a double edged sword – on one hand, keeping pests away that can make your kids miserable (and in some places may carry viruses) is high on your priority list, but keeping products natural is high up as well.

Luckily, we can harness the power of herbs to do just that!

1 ounce Lemon Balm tincture

1 ounce Yarrow tincture

1 ounce Catnip tincture

1 ounce distilled water

Add the ingredients to a spray bottle and mist it on your children before they head outside.

Optionally, you can add a few drops of Citronella, Eucalyptus, or Lavender essential oil to scent your spray.

Lemon Balm is a great “beginner” herb for kids to learn about and is part of my “New to Herbs” year long course for kids.

To learn more about my courses and to enroll, head to: https://herbalrootszine.teachable.com/

Herbal Flower Tea Party

Posted in Uncategorized on June 7th, 2021 by KristineBrown — Be the first to comment!

The weather has been just lovely! For most, school’s out for the summer and it’s time to celebrate! So, why not throw a herbal flower tea party to welcome in the summer festivities?

It’s fun and easy to create a flower tea party environment! All you need are a lot of flower themed foods and drinks.

I previously wrote all about creating a Rosy Tea Party which you can read here. There are lots of fun Rose recipes and ideas.

For your drinks, be sure to make some beautiful herbal flower ice cubes. I have a YouTube tutorial here.

 

You can serve a variety of herbal drinks such as Sumac lemonade or Lavender Lemonade (see recipe below), or herbal sodas.

Herbal teas can be turned into herbal popsicles!

Edible flowers and leaves can also be candied, such as Violets, Rose petals, Lavender flowers, Chamomile flowers, Peppermint leaves, and Lemon Balm leaves. The tutorial can be found here on my website. They make great decorations for cupcakes or cakes, or even for nibbling on their own.

For something a little more savory, try Dandelion drop biscuits! They are pretty delicious. They serve up nicely with Bergamot Cucumber salad!

These issues of Herbal Roots zine are full of herbal recipes that would work well with this theme:

Lavender

Rose

Chamomile

Calendula

Violet

Hawthorn

Elder

Add a few simple bouquets of the wildflowers that grow around you and you’ve got a fun and easy herbal flower tea party!

Lavender Lemonade

This is a refreshing and relaxing summer drink. Kids love it and will ask for more! Add a pinch of sea salt and you’ll have a natural electrolyte to keep them hydrated on hot summer days.

1/4 cup dried Lavender
2 cups boiling water
3/4 cup honey
4 lemons
Cold water

Place the Lavender blossoms in the quart jar and cover with boiling water. Let steep for 10 minutes then strain.

Carefully using the sharp knife, cut the lemons in half. You may need a big person’s help with this step.

Use the juicer to squeeze out the juice from the lemon. If you don’t have a juicer, you can squeeze them by hand into the pitcher or half gallon jar.

Add the honey and lavender tea to the lemon juice and stir to mix. Fill the jar or pitcher with cold water and stir again.

Serve with fancy flower ice cubes!

Caught up in Cleavers

Posted in Uncategorized on May 31st, 2021 by KristineBrown — Be the first to comment!

Cleavers growing in the yard,

Tangled, sprawling all around

Oh, those itchy, scratchy stems

Make them easy to be found.

Cleavers will often find you before you find it! That’s because it has fine hooked hairs that grab onto anything that moves by it, including the fur of animals and the clothes of people. I’ve even had it grab directly to my skin!

Luckily, though it’s a bit rough, it doesn’t scratch or sting.

Cleavers isn’t often eaten though in the past, this plant has been considered a ‘pot herb’ and was added into soups, stews and the like to help fill the pot.

The plant also works great when it is “hidden” such as in smoothies. It contains niacin, which is vitamin B3, plus vitamin C, calcium, and silica.

Historically, Traditional Western Herbalists have considered Cleavers to be a spring tonic.

This plant has an affinity for the lymphatic and nervous systems, as well as the urinary system.

Cleavers is probably best known for his lymphatic system support. Cleavers helps with swollen lymph nodes, both acute and chronic, especially those found on the back of the head, on the neck, under the chi and around the ears, as well as cysts, especially when there are multiple cysts.

Other lymphatic issues, such as tonsillitis, earaches, adenoid issues and nodular growths are often resolved with the help of Cleavers.

Cleavers has also assisted in shrinking fibroid tumors as well.

Cleavers also has a cleansing effect to the urinary system and the liver, which in turn can help to reduce psoriasis, eczema and other liver-related skin problems.

In addition, Cleavers helps with all things urinary related, including cystitis, irritable bladder, prostatitis, urinary tract infections and kidney inflammation.

Cleavers helps to support the nervous system, and can be helpful for those who are irritated baby the little things. If you know someone who frets over every little detail in life, Cleavers may be the herb for them!

Making a Cleavers Tincture

 

Want to learn to make a Cleavers tincture with your kids? Check out my new Monday Making series.

https://youtu.be/PEjjP3mco7Q

The Clinging Cure Story About Cleavers

Want to listen to “The Clinging Cure”?
This story is from the Cleavers issue of Herbal Roots zine and it can be found on YouTube here:

Cleavers Smoothie Recipe

Do your kids like smoothies? I know mine do! This is a great way to “sneak” in herbs while giving them a delicious and nutritious treat!

🍌1 cup of frozen fruit of choice – I like to freeze overripe bananas for part of this to add a natural sweetness or mangos for a tropical addition

🍓1 cup of fresh fruit of choice – blueberries, strawberries and raspberries are great choices, or for a more tropical taste, pineapple. This can be mixed!

🥛1/2 cup yogurt (can be dairy or dairy-free)

🌱1/2 cup fresh herbs, chopped, such as Cleavers, Chickweed, Dandelion greens, Nettles

Add the ingredients to your blender and blend together.

Pour and serve! Makes 2-3 servings.

The Next Step in Your Herbal Journey

The Next Step

Cleavers is a great “beginner” herb for kids to learn about and is part of my “The Next Step” year long course for kids.

To learn more about my courses and to enroll, head to: https://herbalrootszine.teachable.com/

Win a ticket to the 2021 International Herb Symposium

Posted in Uncategorized on May 17th, 2021 by KristineBrown — 48 Comments

I am so excited to be offering a chance to win a ticket to the 2021 International Herb Symposium, which will be held online on June 10-13, 2021!

IHS strives to bring together plant lovers & herbalists from around the world, representing many traditions and aspects of herbalism: folkloric, scientific, community outreach & therapeutic applications, farming and gardening, ceremonial and plant spirit teachings and many others. IHS believes that by gathering in the spirit of the green, we can expand our communities, both locally and globally, creating a “mycorrhizal network” that helps to increase individual and planetary healing.

With over 60 teachers and over 120 classes from 20 different countries, there’s a lot of herbal goodness being offered! Best of all, the classes will be available for you to view for 18 month so you’ll have plenty of time to see everything you want to.

I will be teaching 4 classes myself, 2 for adults and 2 for kids!

To sign up for your chance to win, fill out the form below! There are lots of chances to increase your odds.

The giveaway closes on June 2, 2021 so be sure to sign up soon! Winners will be announced by Friday, June 4, 2021.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Chickweed, Starweed, Flower Star

Posted in Uncategorized on May 17th, 2021 by KristineBrown — Be the first to comment!

A Chickweed plant with two white flowers at the top of each stem with a blurred background of more Chickweed.

Chickweed, Chickweed, flower star

Such a great healer you are!

Harvest in the winter light

Heal our cuts and dry skin quite

Chickweed, Chickweed, flower star

Such a great healer you are

Chickweed is lush and abundant right now! Do you know about this wonderful herb? It’s a great kid-friendly herb to get to know.

A basket with a handle full of fresh Chickweed sits on a wooden table

Chickweed has a mild, spinach-like flavor that can be eaten in salads, on sandwiches, or however you would use lettuce or spinach.

It’s been referred to as “poor man’s spinach” because it’s easy to find in the wild and has a lot of nutrition like spinach.

This plant has a lot of vitamins and minerals including vitamins A and C, B1, 2, 3 thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, plus minerals like calcium, chromium cobalt copper magnesium phosphorus and zinc.

Lush Chickweed plant. Leaves are green and grow opposite on the stem.

Medicinally, Chickweed is a great first aid plant.

This succulent spring herb soothes all kinds of skin conditions: cuts, bruises, scratches, splinters. It can be made into a poultice to apply directly on skin issue, easy peasy!

Chickweed is a cooling and moistening herb, great for cooling off hot, red, inflamed skin afflictions and will help to sooth, cool, and reduce swelling.

I like to add Chickweed to my “green salve” that I make for every day cuts and scratches.

A tea can be made to use as an eye wash to sooth itchy, red inflamed eyes.

Internally, a tea or infusion can help cool and moisten a hot, inflamed digestive system. And Chickweed is great at dissolving fat, which can help to lower cholesterol.

Besides the digestive system, Chickweed is helpful for the urinary system to sooth and cool an inflamed urinary tract.

Making a Chickweed Infused Oil

A small clear glass jar of infused oil with a brown kraft label and a silver lid sits on a wooden stump. Next to it is a bunch of fresh Chickweed.

I’ve started a new series on my YouTube channel: Making Mondays.

This week I’m showing how to make an infused oil.

How Starweed Got Her Stars

A square image with the words "Herbal Storytime: Chickweed" in white on a taupe background. A drawing of Chickweed is under the words on the left side. On the right side is an image of Kristine Brown holding up the Chickweed eBook.

Want to listen to the Chickweed story? I also have a Storytime series that comes out every Thursday, in which I read a story from an issue of Herbal Roots zine.

Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel to see all the videos as they are published!

Chickweed Pesto

Chopped up Chickweed and Nettles, 2 cloves of garlic, 1/2 cup of avocado oil, and almonds on a brown ware plate and a wooden bowl of parmesan cheese on a wooden table

Mmmmm! Pesto!

This is a great twist on pesto, using fresh Chickweed while in season! Kids love to make it and eat it! Once made, you can freeze it in ice cube or muffin trays to have fresh pesto on hand year round. It’s great on pasta or as a spread on bread or tortillas for sandwiches or wraps.

1 cup fresh Chickweed

1 cup fresh Stinging Nettles

2 cloves Garlic

1/2 cup olive or avocado oil

4-5 ounces Parmesan cheese

3-4 ounces pine nuts or almonds

Put all ingredients into your blender or food processor. If you are not familiar with these kitchen tools, have a big person help you with this step. If your blender balks, stir and add more oil.

This can be frozen in ice cube trays for using all year round.

Tip: Don’t have Stinging Nettles? You can substitute basil or double up the amount of Chickweed.

A Year of Herbal Learning

Want to learn more about Chickweed and other easy-to-use herbs? Sign up for the New to Herbs course and you’ll get a year’s worth of herbal learning for you and your kids!

https://herbalrootszine.teachable.com/courses

3 Ideas to Teach Your Kids About the Herbs of Spring

Posted in Uncategorized on March 30th, 2021 by KristineBrown — Be the first to comment!

Spring has sprung, the grass is green

The Violets bloom, the birds all sing

Dandelions, Chickweed, and Cleavers grow

While peepers peep and rain starts to flow

Winter’s done, on the way out

For Spring is here without a doubt.

Spring is here! In just a few short weeks, we’ve gone from a barren landscape to Speedwell, Ground Ivy, Violets, Dandelions, and Chickweed sprouting and blooming!

A basket full of pruned branches from a peach tree that is in bloom

Even our fruit trees have started blooming – first the plums, then the peaches, and it won’t be long before the pears and apples follow suit.

This is the perfect time to start exploring your neighborhood to discover what plants are popping up!

Use my Herbs of Spring Scavenger Hunt printable as a starting point to search out plants that are growing.

You can also find an old article about each of these plants here.

Once you’ve found the plants, pick some to add to your salad for dinner time – Dandelion leaves and flowers, Violet leaves and flowers, Chickweed, Clover leaves, young Plantain leaves – all are great salad additions!

Two jars of violet jelly sitting on a rock with violet flowers in the foreground

If you have an abundance of Violet or Dandelion flowers, pick some to make some jelly. It’s a fun activity that will quickly become a tradition in your household.

Want to keep track of all the plants that grow in your backyard? Use my newest free printable – the Backyard Life List printable – to write down all the plants you discover.

Peeling Back the Layers of Onion’s Uses

Posted in Uncategorized on February 22nd, 2021 by KristineBrown — Be the first to comment!

Onion soothes my chest
When my lungs are aching from
Spasmodic coughing

Are you on Instagram? On Monday, I posted a quick video on some fun ideas to explore the mighty kitchen onion with your kids!

Botany lessons and art lessons, all wrapped up in one!

You can check it out here.

Onions are a great beginner herb. Herb? Yes, herb!

Besides being a food, onions are also medicinal and have been used in folk medicine for centuries.

Onions can be sliced, cooked in a little grease on the stove top, and then thickened with a bit of flour, to create what is called a plaster. It is placed on top of a soft piece of cloth, such as flannel, on top of the chest to help draw out mucus and soothe a cough.

Raw onions can be placed on festering wounds to help draw out infection, ease pain, and heal a wound.

Onion juice can be dripped into an ear to soothe an earache.

Tinctured onion can be taken internally to help with a urinary tract infection, all sorts of respiratory illnesses including asthma and bronchitis, and for angina.

These are just a few things onion can be used for!

Want to learn more about onion? I have an issue of Herbal Roots zine dedicated to onion and through the end of the month, the Onion eBook is on sale for only $5.

You can purchase it here.

Want to hear a read-aloud of the story in the onion ebook? It’s available on my Youtube channel here.