Sharon Hubbs-Kreft, Herbalist - Amazing Grace Herbals LLC

  (Keyport, New Jersey)
Mother Earth Recommended . . .
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Amazing Grace Herbals is on Facebook!!

Hello Everyone!!!

Just wanted to spread the word that I am on Facebook, just search "Amazing Grace Herbals LLC"!

I try and post new articles everyday on herbs, nutrition, good health, gardening and many other things to help build and keep a healthy lifestyle.

Come check it out, I love receiving comments on the wall and will be starting "giveaway's" soon!

Peaceful Blessings and Happy Planting!!!

 
 

Special Meaning of Passion Flower Herb

A beautiful article I can across entitled "Plants to Look At in Lent" by Mary Ann Castronovo Fusco - I found it beautifully explained the flower and plant and was very symbolic to this time of year. Whether you are spiritual or not, it is a lovely and meaningful description that was honored many years ago.

Enjoy!

Here is a link to the article in case it doesn't all show up here, the site has pictures to which help you to see what they are explaining - http://www.cptryon.org/prayer/season/fusco-fl.html

Tradition holds that St. Patrick used shamrocks to explain the mysteries of the Christian faith to the people of Ireland. In the New World, Spanish missionaries used the passion flower, which is indigenous to the tropical Americas, in much the same way.

The priests christened the flower (right) they encountered in the Caribbean “la flor de las cinco llagas” — the flower of the five wounds — for its various parts were seen as symbolic of various aspects of Christ’s crucifixion.

“Early explorers felt that the passion flower had a special purpose to promote the spiritual life among the people where it grew,” wrote Patrick Jesse Pons-Worley, author of The Passionfruit Cookbook (ChloroPhorms Books, 2001; $17).

The spiraled tendons of the plant, he notes, were taken as symbols of the lashes Christ endured, and the central flower column as the pillar of the scourging. The 72 radial filaments of the flower were seen as the crown of thorns; the three stigmas as symbols of the nails used in the crucifixion, as well as the holy Trinity; the five anthers, as the five wounds of Christ; and the style as the sponge doused in vinegar used to moisten Christ’s lips. Taken together, the five petals and five sepals were used to refer to the ten apostles who did not either betray or deny Christ. The fragrance of the flower, continued Pons-Worley, helped recall the spices used to embalm the body of Christ.Finally, its globular egg-size fruit was taken as a symbol of the world that Christ saved through his suffering. Passion fruit

More about Passion Fruit

In Spain and other Spanish-speaking countries, the delicacy we know as passion fruit came to be called “granadilla,” which means small pomegranate, probably because the orange flesh is composed of seedy transparent sacs like that of a pomegranate, explained Pons-Worley, a botanical artist who raises passion fruit at his home in Royal Oaks, California.

To Elizabeth Schneider, author of Uncommon Fruits and Vegetables (Morrow, 1986; $28), the inside of the fruit “gives the impression of a tablespoon of fish eggs about to hatch or paramecia gone mad.” On the outside, she writes, “it looks like a partly deflated rubber ball left in the rain, then dried.”

Despite the fruit’s ungodly looks, passion fruit disciples contend that its taste is divine. “It’s like a fruit caviar. It tastes like a combination of pineapple and guava, a flavor like nothing else,” said Pons-Worley. “There’s a floral scent that’s wonderful. Just the fruit itself smells really good, and it carries through.”

Both that heavenly flavor and aroma can be put to practical use in a variety of beverages and dishes, including salads, entrees, desserts, jams, and jellies. Pons-Worley’s cookbook, which he sells at http://www.ponsworley.com, contains more than 180 recipes using the fruit. But sometimes simplest is best. “If you’ve got a good ripe one, just cut it in half and scoop it out and eat it, or put it on ice cream or cake,” he explained.

A decent source of vitamin A and potassium, passion fruit is available throughout the year from various regions. If you don’t see it, ask your produce manager about availability. When shopping for passion fruit, keep these pointers in mind:

 

  • Purple-skinned varieties are most common; but you may also see yellow-skinned passion fruit. The flesh of the purple types is usually sweeter.
  • “Wrinkled fruits are more ripe than non-wrinkled fruits,” noted Jonathan Crane, a tropical fruit specialist with the University of Florida. “If you want to use it right way, get a wrinkled one.” If none of the fruit is wrinkled, leave it out on your counter for a few days.
  • Darkening is another sign of ripening.
  • The fruit’s seeds are edible (and provide a good dose of fiber). If you prefer not to eat the seeds, strain them out by placing the flesh in a strainer and pushing on the pulp with the back of a spoon.
  • Read labels of packaged passion fruit carefully. If it contains only passion fruit, you will have to add water and perhaps sugar to make a fruit drink. Some passion fruit beverages, however, already contain water and sugar.
  • Passion fruit may be marketed under several Spanish names. These include labeled chinola, granadilla, maracuja, parcha, and parchita.

Looking to the Cross for Nourishment

Cruciferous Plant Over the past several years doctors and nutritionists worldwide have been advising their patients to eat cruciferous vegetables: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, kale, kohlrabi, mustard greens, turnips, and watercress. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, “Several laboratory studies have suggested that cruciferous vegetables help regulate a complex system of bodily enzymes that defend against cancer. Components of these vegetables have shown the ability to stop the growth of cancer cells in various cell, tissue, and animal models, including tumors of the breast, endometrium, lung, colon, liver, and cervix.”

But why the term “cruciferous”?

The dictionary tells us that the root of the word is the Latin crux, which means “cross,” and that one of the definitions for “cruciferous” is “bearing a cross.” Botanists use the term to describe a family of plants whose flowers have four petals arranged like the arms of a cross. It could just well be that humanity’s long-awaited cure for cancer may lie in the cross, the ultimate symbol of salvation.

 
 

New Additions to the Medical Teas from Amazing Grace Herbals LLC

Hello All!

It's been a while since I have posted a blog, been busy and trying to keep up with life in general that when I do have a second, its late and time for some Chamomile Tea and off to bed!

I have so many herbal blends and remedies in addition to what I list here on Local Harvest and so many wonderful folks have asked me to please add them to the Local Harvest website - so - I have!!!

I have recently added:

B Vitamin Herbal Tea Blend which is a wonderful way to get all of your much needed B vitamins in their raw form.          http://www.localharvest.org/b-vitamin-support-tea-C22496

Adrenal Stimulating Tea which really helps get the adrenals going when they are sluggish and not working at their most efficient. http://www.localharvest.org/adrenal-stimulating-tea-C22497

Sinus Steam Herbal Blend great for stuffy noses, allergies, cold or if you just want to hydrate your nasal passages. Can be used in a neti pot if you like.                                                          http://www.localharvest.org/sinus-steam-herbal-tea-C22498

All of my blends are accompanied with a fact sheet of information, directions for use as well as other natural suggestions.

I will try to add more but I have one nice lady (and you know who you are if you are reading this) that LOVES these above blends and has been using them for years so, I decided to finally sit and take a few minutes to add them so everyone else can enjoy them too!

Many blessings and enjoy each day!

 

 
 

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all the wonderful women who have touched our lives!!

Enjoy the day and relax  . . . garden, plant and reconnect with the best mother of all  . . . Earth!!

 

Many blessings and enjoy the day!

 
 

Grandmom's Queen of Hungary's Water . . first batch of the season

Hello all  . ..   due the beautiful weather here, I have an early batch of my Grandmom's Queen of Hungary's Water is back in stock!!!

This remedy takes quite a while to make and the batch turned out to be absolutley wonderful!!

May all of your senses and skin enjoy!!

Here is a link - http://www.localharvest.org/grandmoms-queen-of-hungarys-water-C4528

Peaceful Blessings !

 
 

Baby herbs popping through the soil

The spring sunshine has started to melt the snow and as I was weeding and working in the gardens this past weekend I happened to notice the new sprouts!

Already we have thyme, chives, lemon balm, fennel, cilantro, peppermint and chamomile sprouts!!

We are getting some heavy rains so radishes will soon be popping up too. How exciting to see the rebirth of the herbs and watch them slowly peek their little sprouts out of the soil.

If the warm weather keeps up, there may an early harvest of chives or maybe even some lemon balm. Ran is expected through the weekend so I am not anticipating any garden prepping this weekend.

Peaceful Blessings, happy seeding and happy weeding!

I would love to hear what you have sprouting too!!

 
 

Beans and why they make us "toot"

-          The scientific name for a group of vegetables that research has proven may provide protection against certain cancers. Cruciferous vegetables contain antioxidants (Beta Carotene and the compound sulforaphane). These vegetables, which are all high in fiber, vitamins and minerals, are: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, chard, kale, mustard greens, rutabagas and turnips. The health benefits of these vegetables seem to have been known for some time. Around 234-149 BC, Cato the Elder, a Roman statesman, wrote a treatise on medicine that included the following insight: "If a cancerous ulcer appears upon the breasts, apply a crushed cabbage leaf and it will make it well."  Today these vegetables have been found to combat cancer of the breast, endometrium, lung, colon, liver, colon and cervix. Many cruciferous vegetables cause flatulence after eating and may increase a feeling of bloat.

-          Many edible beans, including broad beans and soybeans, contain oligosaccharides, a type of sugar molecule also found in cabbage. An anti-oligosaccharide enzyme is necessary to properly digest these sugar molecules. As a normal human digestive tract does not contain any anti-oligosaccharide enzymes, consumed oligosaccharides are typically digested by bacteria in the large intestine. This digestion process produces flatulence-causing gasses as a byproduct.

-          Though beans are good and good for you, they have the unfortunate side effect of causing the formation of gas in the lower digestive tract. This digestive dilemma can be mollified by adopting some or all of the following practices: Discard the soaking water prior to cooking: Some nutrition-in the form of minerals-is lost, but you are getting rid of up to 80% of the oligosaccharides that cause flatulence. The best way is to bring the beans to a boil for 3 minutes, remove from the heat, cover, and allow soaking for 4 hours, then draining and cooking in fresh water. Cook the beans thoroughly: You should be able to easily mash the cooked beans with a fork. Thorough cooking softens starch and fibers, making digestion more efficient, the main reason why refried beans are easier on the digestive system than whole beans. Give your body time to adjust: If you don't eat beans often, your body never fully adapts to the extra work required to digest the complex sugars in beans. Beginning with small amounts, try eating beans at least 3 times a week while gradually increasing quantity. Choose beans that are easier to digest: A general rule is that the sweeter the bean, the easier it is to digest. Adzuki, Anasazi, Black-eyed Peas, Lentils, and Mung beans top the list. The most difficult beans to digest include Navy, Limas, and whole cooked Soybeans. Cook beans with a bay leaf, cumin, epazote, or kombu: Certain herbs have gas-reducing properties, with epazote being one of the most effective. Add 2 teaspoons dry or 6 fresh leaves to a pot of beans before cooking. Kombu sea vegetable also works well and has the added advantage of replenishing some of the minerals lost in soaking. Add a two-inch strip per one cup of dried beans during cooking. Avoid beans that are cooked with added sweeteners: Some people who easily digest most beans have trouble with sweetened beans due to the added carbohydrates. If adding brown sugar, honey, or maple syrup to beans stresses your digestion, opt for plain beans instead. Try a digestive enzyme product: Digestive enzymes made from a safe, food-grade mold help break down the oligosaccharides before they reach the large intestine, which is where the flatulence problem begins. They are sprinkled on cooked beans or taken in tablet form with the first "beany" bite. 

      I offer a tea called "I Had Beans!" here on the Local Harvest website, it can come in handy when you feel the rumble tumble in your belly after a delicious and healthy meal.

      Peaceful Blessings and Happy "Tooting"!

P

 

 
 

Label Reading body care products

Do you ever take the time to read labels on your body soaps, lotions, shampoos or really anything you are putting on your skin? Skin is the largest organ and what you are applying topically is being absorbed into your system and is being utilized by other organs.

Reading labels on skin care products is very important, if you read what was really in there you may put it back. If a tomato was labeled with "Formaldehyde", would you buy it? Probably not, so why then do most people disregard what is in their body lotions? Most don't realize or look at foods the same way they do other products when in reality they are one in the same  . . . body products are food for your skin!

I become especially concerned with skin care needs when young girls begin to learn about cosmetics and all those scented body glittler sprays. Did you know that teenage girls can use up to 17 personal care products per day and adult women can use up to 12! That's a lot of snacks for your skin! I stress skin care with young women because most of the ingredients in drug store brands could intefere with proper hormone production and function during an adolescence time of growth. This change in levels could damage the reproductive system, bone growth, immunity issues and the exposure to these toxins long term in young women who begin breast development could increase the risk of cancer as they age.

These ingredients should be avoided so be sure to check your labels - Ammonia, Formaldehyde, Parabens (just look for this work mixed in with any other words you may not be able to pronounce), Peroxide, Phtalates, Sodium Laurel (laureth) Sulfate, Triclosan and Triethenolamine. I state it like this, if you can't pronounce it or try spelling it again, then chances are it's not the best for you. Sometimes companies mask good ingredients with their scientific names but these companies will also put in parenthesis next to the scientific name, the layman name so you know what you are really buying. (i.e.: Avenna sativa - Oat)

The above ingredients could be found in anything from soap, acne washes, shampoo, conditioners, hair spray, facial and body lotions to nail polish!

Try to avoid synthetic preservatives, heavy frangrances and chemicals - look for products containing pure essential oils and natural based butters and ingredients. Also, be aware - just because the front label may read "natural" be sure to actually read the ingredient list! Some companies boast they are natural because they have a few plant based ingredients but read deeper and you may find sodium laurel sulfate in the blend. In addition, avoid harsh exfoliating and tight firming lotions as well as chemical based anti-aging serums - these are loaded with parabens and synthetics unless they are a natural based product.

Did you know that one of the best forms of exfoliating your feet is a walk on the beach? Instead of the heavy pumice based foot cremes, salves and scrubs; if you live near the sea, take a stroll and feel how soft your piggies will be after!

There are many great natural skin products on the Local Harvest site but if you want to explore more and learn about how natural based soaps and lotions are made check out www.northerncatskillsessentials.com or for info on natural based skin care and products for young adults go to www.teensturninggreen.com

Any of the skin care remedies I offer like Grandmom's Queens of Hungary's Water, Astringent Herbs, Herbal Pimple Popper, Herbal Facial Steams or Herbal Hair Rinses are all 100% natural and the carriers I use are natural based and work with the body. I never use any chemicals or preservatives only mediums that are from the Earth to be used with gentle healing on various skin concerns. These are all topical and can be used in conjunction with my Liver Detox Tea or Skin Detox Tea for deeper skin conditions. Did you also know that may skin conditions stem from an overtaxed Liver? Read more about this if you view my Liver Detox Tea.

I hope this helps the next time you grab that watermelon scented lotion, it may smell wonderful but are the side effects worth it long term?

Peaceful Blessings and Happy Pampering!

 

 
 

Herbs in danger of extinction

I have composed a list of herbs most in danger of extinction. Many can be found locally in nurseries and garden centers while other are protected by local preservation societies. If you happen to see one of these herbs (some may be found in the perennial section of your garden center), please take a look and try to grow it. If the herb is local to your area it may prosper and you can take great pride in knowing you are helping to preserve the future of one of the Earth's most precious healers. Some parts of the plant may be toxic to harvest unless you consult the help of an Herbalist, healer or educated gardener but nonetheless you will be greatly helping the cause!

American Ginseng - Arnica - Black Cohosh - Bloodroot - Blue Cohosh - Echinacea - Gentian - Goldenseal - Eyebright - Helonias Root - Lady's Slipper - Lomantuim - Oregon Grape - Osha - Partridgeberry - Slippery Elm - Sundew - Trillium - Yerba Mansa

If you should research these herbs and know what you are looking for and see it growing wild, please do not wildcraft - leave it be and pray it will spread it seeds.

For more information on herbs in danger of extinction you can visit the United Plant Savers website for more information as well as for a more in-depth list.

Many blessings and if you have any questions or would like to harvest one of the above herbs and would like to know how to use the whole plant, please contact me, I will be more then happy to help.

Peaceful Blessings!

 

 
 

20 Minute or less skin care routine for healthy skin

With the warmer weather upon us and as we grab for the sun block, I am frequently asked what is the best routine I do to keep my skin happy and healthy? There are lots of things especially in our diets to keep our glow about us but if you want to keep your skin looking great try starting a simple cleansing routine every day or night to topically help while you work on the internal side of skin.

I will blog more about "skin internals" at a later time but thought I would share a really quick skin care routine to get you going for the summer months.

20-Minute Skin Care Routine

 

1.       Cleanse face with gentle cleanser to suit skin type, using a cotton ball or a washcloth.

 

2.       Steam face with head over bowl of steaming hot water for 2 minutes.

 

3.       Apply a moisturizing, purifying face mask composed on French green clay.

 

4.       Bathe or shower with a few drops of relaxing essential oil or invigorating oil in the water. You may also put herbal tea bags like my Puffy Eye Tea, or cucumber or potato slices over your eyes to remove the bagginess around the eyes. I like to put the cucumbers in the freezer for a few minutes to really help with deep opening of the capillaries. Relax totally for 10 minutes.

 

5.       Pat body dry with thick warm towels. Apply a natural body lotion like cocoa butter all over while skin is still moist. Take special care of feet, knees, elbows, and neck. If you prefer using oils on your skin try coconut, jojoba or almond.

 

6.       Remove mask with warm water and spray or splash face with mineral water.

 

7.       Apply an eye-soothing gel or aloe vera (fresh if possible) if you are going out or night eye cream (if you are going to bed) around eyes and on lids.

 

8.       Apply moisturizer to face if going out, or your favorite night cream/oil if not. My favorite for either day or night use is Camocare light moisturizer.

 

9.       Apply a natural hand cream and a nail cream around cuticles. I use cocoa butter as a lotion and use Vitamin E oil or almond oil on my cuticles.

Breathe deep, relax and enjoy the aura of your skin, it is the largest organ and needs some forgotten pamerping too!

Peaceful Blessings!

 
 

Herbal Ice Cubes

We all try to use as many fresh herbs as possible but what happens when you are left with a small amount and not enough to make your favorite dish? Or how about when you use almost every leaf off the stem but have not even a handful left and you know if you leave it in the fridge it may die or shrivel up in the veggie drawer? Very easy, make herbal ice cubes!

Fill an empty ice cube tray with whatever leftover herbs you have whether it be for cooking, baking, salads or whatever you are using them for. Top off the tray with either water or vegetable broth. I like using the vegetable broth on all culinary and aromatic herbs that you would use for sauces, saute's, soups and baked dishes. I use water when I am freezing herbs like Mint for example which can easily be added to a fresh glass of sun tea.

Once the cubes have frozen, remove them from the tray and store is a resealable food storage bag and be sure to label the bag. Once the herbs freeze, they tend to look alike and you won't know exactly what are using unless you slightly defrost it.

All herbs can be frozen in this way; this is such a special treat in the winter months when you are craving for some fresh cilantro to add to your broth, basil to add to your sauce or just a pinch of sage for your butternut squash soup!  I have also froze many mints as well as lemon balm, lemon verbena, dill, caraway leaf, fennel leaf, sage (I use organic chicken broth to freeze), salad burnet (I use water to freeze and then add it to a homemade ranch dressing recipe), scented geranuims (great for baking, use water to freeze), pineapple sage (fabulous in iced tea, use water to freeze), chives . . . well, now that I think about it, I have frozen in cubes almost every single herb I grow  . . . and that's lot's and lot's and lot's!!!

Enjoy harvesting and happy preserving!

Peaceful Blessings!

 
 

Flower Scented Sugar

I made my last batch of flower sugar last week when my lilacs were in final bloom. I love "lilac sugar", it has such a unique flavor and can really add a twist to some common dishes and drinks. I espcailly like to add it to Green tea or Jasmine flower tea.

You can make all types of flower sugars with edible flowers like violets, lilacs and roses; just make sure the flowers are orgaincally grown with no chance of them being misted with any type of insectide.

My 2 year old daughter was so excited to make the flower sugar with me this year that I had to share this simple recipe. Children love to interact in the kitchen and especially with this project they can really get involved wihtout getting too messy or without ingesting too many goodies!!

Flower Scented Sugar Recipe

2 cups granulated sugar (I use organic sugar in the raw)                           1 cup violet, rose or lilac petals, gently crushed to release aroma

Combine the sugar and petals in a glass container (washed spaghetti jars work great for this), shake well as to evenly distribute the petals. Cover the jar and let it sit at room temperature for about a week; don't leave it near the stove where it could warm it up and increase melting. After a week or so, sift the sugar to remove the flower pieces (I actually leave the flower pieces in if I am using a dusting of sugar for a cake or brad topping - people are amazed that they are eating flowers!). Enjoy the delicious scent and store the sugar in the same glass jar. You can substitute the flower sugar for any plain sugar in any recipe for cookies (sugar cookies are very yummy), breads, plain cakes (angel food cakes are tasty too), jams/jellies or syrups.

This can get addicting and you will be so sad when you use the last of your flower scented sugar that you will want to rush the year by to make more.

Flower Garnish

I like to be creative and when most people see flowers on a plate they will not touch them at all, so how do you get your friends to try something new? Easy, fool them into thinking the flower is a sugar garnish!!! Violets work best for this  . . . pick fresh organic violets, use a small craft brush and lightly coat the petals with egg white and dip into crystal sugar. You can shake off the extra so it doesn't look caked on. Heat your oven to about 250F and bake petals for about 8-10 minutes or until you see the leaves start to wilt. Ovens and temperatures vary so it may be a little trial and error until you get the timing perfect for your oven. Garnish as you like!

A family friend always did this in the spring and it was so magical to see the flowers coated with sugar - they looked like tiny dew drops on the petals, I use to call them fairy tears when I was a child and still do today!!!

Happy harvesting your petals and happy cooking!

Peaceful Blessings!

 
 

Gardening by the phases of the Moon

How does one garden by the Moon? Farmers have done it for centuries and many of our ancestors only followed the planting and harvesting patterns despite newer technologies. The lunar phase controls the amount of moisture in the soil. This moisture is at its peak at the time of the new and the full moon. The sun and moon are lined up with earth. Just as the moon pulls the tides in the oceans, it also pulls upon the subtle bodies of water, causing moisture to rise in the earth, which encourages germination and growth. Tests have proven that seeds will absorb the most water at the time of the full moon.

 

You can also plant and harvest by the zodiac signs as well. This can be a little more complicated as not every calendar will show you when you might be in a barren or fruitful sign. I will blog about this another day as this can be tricky if you don't have a good calendar handy.

There are 4 basic phases that you need to watch for when gardening by the Moon: New, First Quarter, Full and Last Quarter.     

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You will want to sow, transplant, bud and graft plants during New Moon through Full Moon. This is easy to remember plant when there is no moon through when it is bright and shining in the sky. At the new moon, the lunar gravity pulls water up, and causes the seeds to swell and burst. This factor, coupled with the increasing moonlight creates balanced root and leaf growth.

When your calendar shows New Moon, plant above ground crops with outside seeds, examples are lettuce, spinach, celery, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and grain crops. and flowering annuals.

Once the Moon quakes with its First Quarter through the Full Moon phase you can plant above ground crops with inside seeds. In this quarter the gravitational pull is less, but the moonlight is strong, creating strong leaf growth. It is generally a good time for planting, especially two days before the full moon. Examples of these plants are beans, melons, peas, peppers, squash, and tomatoes. Mow lawns in the first or second quarter to increase growth.

 

On the last day of the Full Moon through the Last Quarter plant root crops like beets, carrots, onions, potatoes, and peanuts, bulbs, biennials and perennials for active root growth. After the full moon, as the moon wanes, the energy is drawing down. The gravitation pull is high, creating more moisture in the soil, but the moonlight is decreasing, putting energy into the roots.

From the last day of the Last Quarter through the New Moon do not plant at all. There is decreased gravitational pull and moonlight, and it is considered a resting period. This is also the best time to cultivate, harvest, transplant and prune. Mow lawns in the third or fourth quarter to retard growth.

As of today, May 19 we are between the last quarter and the New Moon. The offical date of the New Moon will be Sunday, May 24.

Happy planting and harvesting; if you don't quite make the cycle this time, there is always next month!!!

Peaceful Blessings!

 

 
 

Detox Salad Recipe

I was flipping through a great book called Detox for Women by Natalia Rose, a great nutritionist and found this wonderful salad recipe to help detox the system. It is very, very tasty!!! This salad can be made anytime as it is full of vitamins and minerals to give the body an extra boost. It is also great because leafy greens are diuretic in nature and can help expel added water weight and cabbage is phenomenal at helping to rid the system of yeast. Greens also help to bring balance to the system by adjusting pH, they also help eliminate any toxins that may be present and are loaded with vitamins that we tend to lack through the winter months. This salad is the perfect beginning to spring and is handy to keep and prepare through the winter to be sure you are getting a good amount of vitamins in your system when your body battles the frigid temps.

If you can find organic or naturally grown veggies and greens that would be great and especially now the markets will be opening and there wil be lots to choose from.

Detox Salad Recipe

1/4 cup red cabbage, shredded or finely chopped - 1/2 cup yellow bell pepper, chopped - 1/2 cup carrots, shredded - 1/2 cup alfalfa sprouts - 1 cup mesclun greens or baby lettuce - 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice - Stevia to taste - 1 teaspoon fresh garlic, diced

** If you are counting carbs or are on a low sugar diet you can eliminate the carrots and replace with spinach and also eliminate the Stevia and replace with lime juice or apple cider vinegar - this is my suggestion and not listed by the author *** 

The author suggests to arrange the greens on a plate and arrange the carrots, cabbage, peppers and sprouts in four circular piles along the top of the plate like a rainbow - I like it all jumbled up but you can make it as you choose. Then, mix the lemon juice, stevia and garlic together and drizzle on top.

In case you can't find pure Stevia, I do offer here in my Local Harvest store - here's a link - http://www.localharvest.org/just-stevia-C10641

If you are thinking of trying my Liver Detox Tea or Kidney Cleanse Tea - this salad would be a prefect compliment. I enclose other recipes with these blends too but this salad is a great addition to any meal or detox diet.

Peaceful Blessings and Happy Cleansing!!

 

 

 
 

Mugwort Madness

After having a long discussion with a friend who wanted to pull every last little root of Mugwort from her yard because she was so frustrated with it's regrowth and noxious habits, I decided to educate everyone on its wonderful properties. Here is information I have gathered through the years from my Materia Medica on the wonderful herb Mugwort. To many, this herb is a pretty annoying weed but  . . if you read on, you may not want to be so hasty to pull it and disregard it.

I will caution, if you have it growing wild in high amounts, you may want to wear a dusk mask if you decide to mow it down. I say this because Mugwort can be used to induce dreams and I have heard many, many, many (and I say this over again because it is true!!!) stories of people cutting it down and then suffering from outrageous and even frightening nightmares and dreams.

Hope you enjoy the info I have collected, some of which has also been passed down to me from my Grandmother and her ancestors. I love this herb, it has such a history and is loaded with folklore!!

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Mugwort - AKA: Artemisa, Carline Thistle, Chiu Ts'Ao, Ai ye or Hao-shu, Common Mugwort, Douglas Mugwort, Felon herb, Sailor’s tobacco, Wormwood, Cronewort, St. John’s Plant, Wild Chrysanthemum, Cingulum Sancti Johannis, Moxa, Armoise, Chrysanthemum Weed, Muggons, Naughty Man , Old Man , Old Uncle Henry,  Artemis Herb

Description: life cycle - perennial, reproducing by seed (rare in north) and rhizomes stems - upright, tall, become woody in late season leaves - alternate, deeply cut, lobes with sharp points, upper surface smooth (sometimes slightly hairy), undersides appear fuzzy or velvety, white to gray hairs flowers - heads of greenish-yellow disk (tubulate) florets; leafy panicles above. Sepals are absent, sometimes replaced by a structure of hairs and scales called a pappus. Small dry fruit develops below the pappus containing a single seed that is dispersed by wind or animals. Each head consists of several to many small flowers attached to a disk shaped, conical, or concave receptacle. For identification and classification, the flowers are considered either disk flowers (those with a tubular structure and found in the center disk) or ray flowers (with a flat, petal like corolla distributed around the margins). other - chrysanthemum scent when bruised or crushed. Common Mugwort has leaves lying upon the ground, very much divided, or cut deeply in about the brims, somewhat like Wormwood, but much larger, of a dark green color on the upper side, and very hoary white underneath. The stalks rise to be four or five feet high, having on it such like leaves as those below, but somewhat smaller, branching forth very much towards the top, whereon are set very small, pale, yellowish flowers like buttons, which fall away, and after them come small seeds, enclosed in round heads. The root is long and hard, with many small fibers growing from it, whereby it takes strong hold on the ground; but both stalks and leaves do lie down every year, and the root shoots anew in the spring. The whole plant is of a reasonable scent, and is more easily propagated by the slips than the seed. Perennial herb native to Africa, temperate Asia, and Europe, widely naturalized in most parts of the world. Found growing on hedge banks and waysides, uncultivated and waste land. Cultivation - Mugwort prefers slightly alkaline, well-drained loamy soil, in a sunny position. Blooming is from July to October. Mugwort is closely related to Common Wormwood (Absinthe). Often grown in Moon gardens.

Uses: Mugwort leaves are edible, young leaves are boiled as a pot herb or used in salad, they aid in digestion although said to have a bitter taste. An infusion of the leaves and flowering tops is used in the treatment of all matters connected to the digestive system, it increases stomach acid and bile production, eases gas and bloating, improving digestion, the absorption of nutrients and strengthening the entire digestive system. It is used in alternative medicine to expel intestinal worms, nervous and spasmodic affections, asthma, sterility, functional bleeding of the uterus and menstrual complaints, and diseases of the brain. As a gargle for sore throat, a wash for sores and a poultice for infections, tumors and to stop bleeding. The leaves have an antibacterial action, inhibiting the growth of Staphococcus aureus, Bacillus typhi, B. dysenteriae, streptococci, E. coli, B. subtilis, and pseudomonas. A weak tea made from the infused plant is a good all-purpose insecticide. The fresh or the dried plant repels insects. Also used to induce dreams and is used as a sleep aid. The infused oil can be used as a massage oil to increase circulation. Apply compresses of Mugwort Oil to areas of the body which are blue in color or cold to the touch, such as varicose veins where the flow of blood is restricted or stagnant. Helpful for bringing 'summer forces' during the winter-time, or for winter-like conditions of the body: cold hands and feet, and hardening or stiffening conditions like rheumatism. Helpful for those who need to balance a predominance of 'moon' qualities (such as emotional and psychic sensitivity) with solar clarity and embodied physical warmth. Recommended by many midwives during labor and delivery, and for facilitating lactation. It has a mild nervine action in aiding depression and easing tension, insomnia and nervousness. Mugwort is also used to bring on delayed or suppressed menstrual cycle and may help to regulate menstrual cycles. The leaves can also be rubbed on the skin as an antidote to Poison Oak. In a clinical trial, crushed fresh mugwort leaves applied to the skin were shown to be effective in eradicating warts. A traditional Chinese herbal therapy of burning moxa sticks or cones containing Mugwort over inflamed and affected acupuncture points of the body. It stimulates the blood and energy of the affected areas and removed prior to the skin burning. Knowledge of acupuncture points is recommended. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association reported on the successful use of moxibustion in reversing breech birth positions. The study found that 75% of 130 fetuses had reversed their position after moxibustion treatment of the mother. The technique is said to stimulate the acupuncture point known as BL67, located near the toenail of the fifth toe, stimulating circulation and energy flow and resulting in an increase in fetal movements.

Actions: antibacterial, anthelmintic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, cholagogue, diaphoretic, digestive, diuretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, haemostatic, nervine, purgative, stimulant, stomachic, and tonic, cleansing toxins from the blood Cautions: Should not be used by pregnant women since it can cause a miscarriage. Excessive doses can lead to symptoms of poisoning, but nothing is to be feared from normal use.

Folklore: In Native American folklore Mugwort was also a Witchcraft medicine, rubbed the leaves on ones body to keep ghosts away or wearing a necklace to prevent dreaming of the dead. In the Middle Ages a crown made from its sprays was worn on St. John's Eve to gain security from evil possession. Mugwort derived its common name from being used to flavor drinks like beer before the introduction of hops. The Name Artemisia is from the Goddess Artemis (1st century AD) who inspired the plants genus name. In the Middle Ages, there were many superstitions connected with Mugwort. It was rumored to preserve the traveler from fatigue, sunstroke and evil spirits. It was believed that John the Baptist wore a girdle of Mugwort in the wilderness for protection. Mugwort oil can be used as anointing oil for its connection to Artemis and the lunar cycles. Anglo-Saxon tribes believed that the aromatic mugwort was one of the nine sacred herbs given to the world by the god Woden. Mugwort is considered a magical herb, with special properties to protect road-weary travelers against exhaustion. The Romans planted mugwort by roadsides where it would be available to passersby to put in their shoes to relieve aching feet.

Magical: Mugwort is a versatile sacred herb. It can be used for spiritual cleansing, protection, healing, and consecration, and it can aid dream work, trance, and intuitive development. Associated with the Full Moon and with the Summer Solstice since ancient times, Mugwort also is suitable for rituals year round. It can be used as a ritual tool in many ways. A garland crown, or ritual head wreath, can be easily fashioned from one or more freshly cut Mugwort stalks. Dried wreaths hung on or above doorways, are wonderful house blessing charms. Make a smudge stick from thoroughly dried sprigs of Mugwort leaves. Wave the burning smudge stick back and forth to move the smoke around to consecrate the ritual place and participants. Fresh or dried leaves, flowers, and sprigs of Mugwort can be used as an offering in personal and group rituals. Leave Mugwort offerings at a shrine, place on the ground, or cast into a sacred fire. Use dried, sturdy, mature stalks that are at least 1/4 inch thick to make a scared wand. Dip the Mugwort aspersing wand into a chalice or bowl of ritual water, and then flick water droplets onto the place, ritual objects, or participants for consecration. Dried Mugwort stalks can be burned in combination with Oak and other sacred woods in ceremonial fires. Dried Mugwort leaves and flowers also are good additives to sacred fires. Make a Mugwort sachet or pillow, smell its fragrance as you do an affirmation to bless sleep, guide dreaming, and aid dream recall and interpretation upon awaking. For use in scrying, place some Mugwort potion in a dark colored ritual bow and meditatively gaze into it in subdued light. In addition, Mugwort also can be used as a sacred flavoring in ritual brews and foods. At the culmination of a home blessing rite, hang a fresh Mugwort sprig above the main door into your home for protection and good fortune. Hang a Mugwort sprig or wreath above your bed to bless sleep and dreaming. Fill an amulet bag with Mugwort, energize it, and wear it around your neck for healing, spiritual growth, and intuition. Put a pouch of Mugwort in the glove compartment of your vehicle or hang a Mugwort amulet bag from your rear view mirror to bless your travels. In addition, Mugwort can be combined with other ingredients in making amulets and charms for a variety of purposes. Grow Mugwort in a ritual garden. Create a year round ceremonial circle with a Mugwort hedge. Grow Mugwort next to your home to bless and protect it. Meditate and commune with living Mugwort for relaxation, healing, and inspiration. Place Mugwort in the shoes to gain strength during long walks or runs. For this purpose pick Mugwort before sunrise, saying: Tollam te artemesia, ne lassus sim in via. Mugwort is also burned with sandalwood or wormwood during scrying rituals, and a Mugwort infusion is drunk (sweetened with honey) before divination.The infusion is also used to wash crystal balls and magic mirrors, and Mugwort leaves are placed around then base of the ball (or beneath it) to aid in psychic workings. According to ancient tradition, when carrying Mugwort you cannot be harmed by poison, wild beasts or sunstroke. In a building, Mugwort prevents 'dark elves' and 'evil things' from entering, and branches of Mugwort are used in Japan by the Ainus to exorcise spirit's of disease who are thought to hate the odor. In China, it is hung over the doors to keep evil spirits from buildings.Mugwort is also carried to increase lust and fertility, to prevent backache, and to cure disease and madness. Placed next to the bed it aids in achieving astral projection. GENDER : Feminine. PLANET : Venus. ELEMENT : Earth. DEITIES : Morrigan , Artemis, Áine POWERS : Strength, Psychic Powers, Protection, Prophetic Dreams, Healing ,Astral Projection

Peaceful Blessings and please think twice before ridding your garden of Mugwort!!!   :)

 
 
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