Sharon Hubbs-Kreft, Herbalist - Amazing Grace Herbals LLC

  (Keyport, New Jersey)
Mother Earth Recommended . . .
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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!

 

 
 

Last Day of the Calgo Gardens Farmers Market Sale!

Last day of the Calgo Gardens Farmers Market –             Friday,   September 4th      11:30am – 4:30 pm

 

Mention this blog and receive 20% off all teas and tinctures and 10% off all natural soaps, lotions, candles, herbal vinegars, herb gifts and herbal culinary spices

 

If you would like a special order, please email me at wintersaurora@yahoo.com and I will be happy to bring it to the market so you can receive the discount.

 

To view a full line of my remedies, please visit www.localharvest.org/store/M10524 - this offer does not apply to online purchases – or email me for a print list. I also special formulate so if you would like something blended, please let me know.

 

Thanks for a great season and hope to see you again next year! I also have the soaps and lotions available through the winter and also offer holiday gift baskets.

 

Peaceful Blessings and warm greetings for the autumn and winter season ahead!

 

 
 

Natural remedies for teething infants

A teething baby and toddler can be more then a handful (trust me!) and I wanted to share some natural suggestions to help relieve pain from your little one as well as help yourself to de-stress.

When a baby firsts starts to teethe, there are tell-tale behavioral signs and changes. Most times babies will chew their hands or put anything they can find in their mouth as well as rub their gums on objects you would rather they stay clear of. Many babies will also drool, this is from the excess saliva to help the new tooth break through the gum. However, there are other signs too like diarrhea, diaper rash, fever and restlessness. I can tell you our daughter was the later, she never drooled but she pooped like crazy and was very restless.

Most pediatricians will encourage you to reach for the baby Tylenol and give it as needed. This may be necesary if your little run in running a mild fever but in most cases you can ease the irritability naturally. I will mention if you child does have a fever and it is over 101 and lasts for more then a few days, PLEASE contact your provider to be sure it is not something else like an infection or illness.

Chamomile Tea has been used in my family for years, especially for teething. You can use Chamomile alone by making a infusion of the flowers and giving it in a bottle or juice cup. Chamomile is gentle addition to many natural fruit juices for older infants and can also be made into ice cubes or popsicle sticks for molar pushing toddlers and for a great summer treat. Chamomile is used for its nervine properties and can bring relief to a restless body.

When the irritability is getting to you and you feel there is nothing more to do, you can add Catnip to the Chamomile. I offer this blend here in my Local Harvest store. "Catnip Tea". Catnip is also a nervine and can also help reduce a fever. This what I was given when I was a baby and this what we gave our daughter. It is very gentle on the system and can help balance the overall child so to say. You would blend both herbs and infuse them. You can also freeze this into chips and popsicles.

Another option is to freeze a cloth either dipped in water or dipped in Chamomile or Catnip/Chamomile. This is great for babies as there is less fear of choking. It will keep baby busy will numbing the gums and if you infuse the herbs you will giving a little bit more to aid in the teething process.

I would also freeze veggies and fruits like apples, broccoli, grapes, carrots, blueberries, strawberries, watermelon, cucumbers, mango - basically any fruits or veggies I had around. When our daughter was a wee little one, I would add the veggies/fruit to a mesh bag and let her explore. She loved every flavor and again, numbed her gums in the process. As she got older, we eliminated the mesh bag and let her "enjoy" the frozen produce, meaning, basically, she was covered in juice as the produce melted!

Teething rings are great, especially the ones you can freeze. We found the fruit and veggies to work a little better but each child is different and you may come up with you own ways to help.

There are homeopathic remedies that work great too - Hyland's offers a topical teething gel which was fabulous. You can apply the gel to the gums and it works as good (if not better) then the conventional, alcohol based/benzocaine topicals. This worked well until our daughter got older and wanted to bite down on your finger to ease the pain but when she was a baby it worked great. Hyland's and Humphrey's also make homepathic teething pellets. These are phenomenal as well. They are safe for use as needed and one of the ingredients is Chamomile. For babies, you would have to dilute the pellets in water but for older babies and toddlers they can be given as direct oral. Our daughter loves Humphrey's "Very Berry" teething pellets.

I also offer Rosehip Syrup. My Grandmother always had this handy for when a friend or relative had a teething infant. Rosehips are loaded with Vitamin C which also boosts immunity and helps the body overall while it is preparing for new teeth. A child's immune system could be lowered due to the effects of teething and it is important to not forget the immune system.

Once the new little teeth have erupted be sure to exercise good oral care and take good care of those pearly whites. Brush them atleast twice a day and after a meal, even the first teeth can be cleaned with a finger brush, and try not to let your little one go to sleep with juice, milk or formula as the sugars from these drinks can lay on teeth as the child sleeps and can promote tooth decay. Of course, if you see any odd spots or strange marks on your little ones teeth be sure to contact the family dentist and have them take a look - an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

Enjoy your little one, everyday is a blessing and the adage is true, children do grow like weeds herbs!

Peaceful Blessings!

 
 

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

 

 
 

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!

 

 
 

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!!!   :)

 
 

Essential Oils and Pregnancy

Here is great list of essential oils that may aid in pregnancy. I used many myself during my pregnancy and found much relief. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me and I will be happy to help!

Many blessings for a wonderful pregnancy and best wishes to you and your little one!

 

ESSENTIAL OIL

 

 

 

 

 

USES

 

 

SUITABILITY

 

 

BERGAMOT

 

 

Uplifting, refreshing

 

 

Cystitis, skin irritations, anxiety

 

 

Postnatal use, babies and children (if oil diffused in air)

 

 

CALENDULA

 

 

Antiseptic, healing.

 

 

Stretch marks, nappy rash, skin irritations

 

 

Advanced pregnancy, babies and children

 

 

CHAMOMILE ROMAN

 

 

Calming, soothing, anti-inflammatory, very gentle

 

 

Nausea, postnatal breast care, nappy rash, dry skin, insomnia, morning sickness.

 

 

Pregnancy, babies and children

 

 

CLARY SAGE

 

 

Antispasmodic, astringent, euphoric, uplifting

 

 

Menstrual pain, pre-menstrual, tension dry skin stress anxiety depression

 

 

Late stages of childbirth. Postnatal use

 

 

CYPRESS

 

 

Astringent, warming

 

 

Perineum healing, hemorrhoids, anxiety, tension

 

 

For pregnancy if secure after five months, post natal use.

 

 

EUCALYPTUS

 

 

Anti bacterial, antiviral, decongestant, energizing

 

 

Colds, fever, asthma, sinusitis, wounds, bronchitis

 

 

Babies and children (if oil diffused in air)

 

 

FENNEL SWEET

 

 

Diuretic, hormone balances

 

 

Strengthens womb, stimulates lactation, cellulite, edema

 

 

Last weeks of pregnancy. Postnatal use

 

 

FRANKINCENSE

 

 

Relaxing calming healing comforting

 

 

Labor, stress fear

 

 

Advanced pregnancy

 

 

GERANIUM

 

 

Antiseptic, uplifting, antidepressant, hormone balances, stabilizing

 

 

Dermatitis, eczema, postnatal depression

 

 

Advanced pregnancy, childbirth, postnatal use.

 

 

HYPERICUM

 

 

Anti –inflammatory, soothing

 

 

Stretch marks, skin irritation, nervous tension

 

 

Advanced pregnancy

 

 

JASMINE

 

 

Uplifting, stimulating

 

 

Postnatal depression, uterine tonic, coughs, dry skin, dermatitis

 

 

Late stages of child birth postnatal use.

 

 

JUNIPER

 

 

Diuretic, detoxifying

 

 

Perineum healing, stretch marks, constipation, cellulite, tension

 

 

Postnatal use

 

 

LAVENDER

 

 

Antibacterial, antidepressant, soothing, calming, balancing, versatile

 

 

Headaches pain eczema, insomnia, and nappy rash, postnatal breast care.

 

 

Pregnancy, childbirth, postnatal use, babies and children

 

 

LEMON

 

 

Antiseptic uplifting, cleansing, refreshing

 

 

Morning sickness nausea, heartburn, colds, lymphatic tonic

 

 

Pregnancy postnatal use babies and children

 

 

MARJORAM

 

 

Sedating, warming

 

 

Insomnia, perineum healing

 

 

Postnatal use

 

 

MYRRH

 

 

Anti fungal, antiseptic, anti –inflammatory, cooling

 

 

Nappy rash thrush, skin care

 

 

Postnatal use older babies and children

 

 

NEROLI

 

 

Soothing balancing, healing calming

 

 

Dry skin, scars circulation, stretch marks, stress, anxiety

 

 

Pregnancy ,,postnatal use

 

 

ORANGE

 

 

Uplifting, calming

 

 

Skin care stress, insomnia heartburn, lymphatic tonic, anxiety

 

 

Pregnancy babies and children (if oil diffused in air)

 

 

PEPPERMINT

 

 

Anti bacterial, analgesic, decongestant, antispasmodic

 

 

Morning sickness, nausea, headaches, indigestion

 

 

Late stages of pregnancy

 

 

PETITGRAIN

 

 

Antidepressant, uplifting, refreshing

 

 

Skin care, insomnia, stress, inexpensive substitute for neroli

 

 

Pregnancy postnatal use.

 

 

ROSE

 

 

Antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, soothing, uplifting, hormone balances

 

 

Dry skin strengthens womb tension, nausea

 

 

Last weeks of pregnancy, childbirth postnatal use

 

 

ROSEWOOD

 

 

Antiseptic, tonic, sedative, calming

 

 

Nervous tension anxiety, stress tiredness, dry skin.

 

 

Later stages of child birth

 

 

SANDALWOOD

 

 

Healing sedative relaxing warming

 

 

Skin rash, nausea, heartburn diarrhea colds nappy rash

 

 

Pregnancy, childbirth. Postnatal use, babies and children

 

 

Tags:
 
 

Stevia - Nature's sweetener and my favorite recipe

Stevia is a South American herb that has been used as a sweetener by the Guarani Indians of Paraguay for hundreds of years. The leaves of this small, green Stevia rebaudiana plant have a delicious and refreshing taste that can be 100 times sweeter than sucrose (table sugar) at a 10% sucrose concentration. It has been declared as "generally recognized as safe" (GRAS) by the FDA.

 

Stevia has many excellent properties. The body does not metabolize the sweet glycosides from the stevia leaf or any of its processed forms - so there is no caloric intake. Stevia doesn't adversely affect blood glucose levels and may be used freely by diabetics and does not promote tooth decay.

Stevia truly enhances the flavors of other foods and remains stable in the presence of acid (tomatoes) and high heat. It makes a really tasty marinara sauce and nice, sweet pesto (if you choose to add a pinch). Stevia does not caramelize or brown the way sugar does; you can either add a bit of fruit juice in your recipe or you can add fresh fruit. Check your food by touch, smell and by inserting a tooth pick in baked goods to see if it is all cooked through.

A little pinch goes a long way - you can bake with it, add it to many recipes, use it in place of table sugar, give it to children in recipes and feel good knowing you are using an all natural sweetener rather then a processed sugar!! Do not overdo it or have a heavy hand or you will get an herby aftertaste. You will need to experiment a bit if you are replacing your sugar in recipes with Stevia but a general rule of thumb is 1 teaspoon of liquid Stevia extract or 1-1/2 to 2 tablespoons of powdered or sifted for each cup of sugar.

I grow Stevia in my naturally grown (organic) gardens, I offer Stevia per ounce here in my Local Harvest store. My Stevia is chopped and sifted; and is not a powder and it is not bleached. http://www.localharvest.org/just-stevia-C10641

Here is my FAVORITE recipe:

Blueberry Muffins

1/2 cup rolled oats - 6oz pineapple juice - 1/4 cup vegetable oil - 1 egg - 1 tbsp vanilla extract - 2 oz milk - 1/2 cup plain yogurt - 1-3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour - 1 tsp baking powder - 3 tablespoons of Stevia sifted (or 15 packets of powdered) - 1/4 tsp salt - 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

1. Preheat oven to 375 F and oil a muffin tin. In a small bowl, soak the oats in the pineapple juice for 10-15 minutes.

2. In another bowl, beat together the oil, egg and vanilla. Mix the milk into the yogurt to thin and then add to egg mixture. Fold in the oatmeal and juice.

3. Sift together the flour, baking soda, stevia and salt; fold into the wet mixture, stirring as little as possible. Fold in the blueberries just before the flour is completely blended. Spoon the batter into the muffin tin and bake 25-30 minutes.

Yields 12 muffins

Peaceful Blessings and Happy baking!!

 

 
 

It's CHIVE time!!!

We had our first harvest of Chives yesterday and with the warm air and spring breeze it could not have been more perfect. I love adding chives to everything, such a wonderful little herb and bursting with flavor.

The medical properties of chives are similar to those of garlic, but weaker; the faint effects in comparison with garlic are probably the main reason for its limited use as a medicinal herb. Containing numerous organisulplide compounds such as allyl sulfidesand alkyl sulfoxides, chives have a beneficial effect on the circulatory system, acting upon it by lowering the blood pressure. As chives are usually served in small amounts and never as the main dish, negative effects are rarely encountered, although digestive problems may occur following over-consumption.

Chives are also rich in vitamins A and C, and contain trace amounts of sulfur and iron.

Chives have been cultivated in Europe since the Middle Ages, although signs of its usage date back to 5000 years ago. The Romans believed chives could relieve the pain from sunburn or a sore throat. They believed that eating chives would increase blood pressure and acted as a diuretic. Romanian Gypsies have used chives in fortune telling.  It was believed that bunches of dried chives hung around a house would ward off disease and evil.

It acts as a great insect repllent too when planted in the garden and grows very well indoors throughout the winter.

Harvesting is easy, when the chives reach about 2-5 cm or they start getting a little ragged, trim them down to the base of the plant. The plant will continuously make new growth throughout the growing season. You could have fresh chives every few weeks depending on your growing conditions.

Like I mentioned, I LOVE chives and add them to everything like eggs, various meats and salads. I am adding a few recipes here that I love, I got these online and keep going back to them because they always turn out perfect. The dip is sooooo delicious, I usually wait with this one until my Dill is ready but I thought I would put it out there now so you could have it when your Dill is ready or if you would like to purchase Dill from your grocer.

1. Vegetable Dip Mix

Yield: 1 servings

 

1

 

 

tablespoon

 

 

Dried Chives

 

 

1

 

 

teaspoon

 

 

Garlic Salt

 

 

½

 

 

teaspoon

 

 

Dill Weed

 

 

½

 

 

teaspoon

 

 

Paprika

 

 

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl: blend well. Spoon mixture onto a 6-inch square of aluminum foil, and fold to make airtight. Label as Vegetable Dip Mix. Store in a cool, dry place and use within 6 months.

 

Makes 1 package (about 2 T) of mix. Vegetable Dip: Combine 1 T lemon juice, 1 cup Mayonnaise, 1 cup sour cream, and 1 package of mix. Chill at least 1 hour before serving.

 

 

2.  Lemon Chive Sauce

 

Serve this sauce hot with broiled or grilled chicken, baked fish, or asparagus.

 

Ingredients:

 

·                  1/3 cup butter

 

·                  2 tablespoons finely chopped chives

 

·                  1 tablespoon lemon juice

 

·                  1 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel

 

·                  1/2 teaspoon salt

 

·                  dash ground black pepper

 

Preparation:

 

Melt butter over low heat in a small saucepan. Add remaining ingredients and heat through.
Serve hot with broiled chicken, baked fish, or asparagus.

 

3.  Sauteed Chicken Breasts with Creamy Chive Sauce

 

Makes 4 servings

 

ACTIVE TIME: 35 minutes

 

TOTAL TIME: 35 minutes

 

EASE OF PREPARATION: Easy

 

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 pound), trimmed of fat
1 teaspoon sea salt, divided
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided
3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided (I use Grapeseed Oil)
2 large shallots, finely chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 14-ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth (I use organic, free range broth)
1/3 cup reduced-fat sour cream (I use the real stuff!! :)  )
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup chopped chives (about 1 bunch/handful)

 

1. Place chicken between sheets of plastic wrap and pound with a meat mallet or heavy skillet until flattened to an even thickness, about 1/2 inch. Season both sides of the chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Place 1/4 cup flour in a shallow glass baking dish and dredge the chicken in it. Discard the excess flour.
2. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate, cover and keep warm.
3. Heat the remaining 1 teaspoon oil in the pan over medium-high heat. Add shallots and cook, stirring constantly and scraping up any browned bits, until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon flour; stir to coat. Add wine, broth and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt; bring to a boil, stirring often.
4. Return the chicken and any accumulated juices to the pan, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook until heated through and no longer pink in the center, about 6 minutes. Stir in sour cream and mustard until smooth; turn the chicken to coat with the sauce. Stir in chives and serve immediately.

 

Enjoy cooking and happy harvesting. I will have some dried chives available in my Local Harvest store shortly, I am just witing from them to dry!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

Quick Stretches to get you motivated for a spring work out

The sun is bright and shining today, it makes you want to get moving and motivated for the summer months ahead. Let's face it, we all put on a couple pounds over the winter; our body goes into hibernation mode and we eat almost all the wrong goodies  - throw in holiday cookes and bake sales and forget it, we can be healthy and fit all year until the winter holidays!!!

Time to start getting into shape again and begin to work on losing those extra pounds. I have compiled a list of simple stretches to get you moving before you begin any type of work out. For some, these stretches are just enough, while for others it is a great warm up for their fitness program.

Tips for stretching

-          Warm your muscles slightly before stretching them. Walk or do some other light aerobic exercise for a few minutes, then start stretching.

-          Ease yourself into the stretch, relax, and don't push or bounce. You should feel a stretch in the muscle but not pain.

-          Exhale as you do the stretch. While you are holding the stretch, inhale deeply.

-          Try closing your eyes while stretching. It helps you relax and reduces self-consciousness and the urge to compete.

-          Take a moment to enjoy the good, warm feeling that comes after a good stretch.

        Physical activity is good for your health, but it does stress and strain your body in ways that a more inactive lifestyle does not. If it's done too suddenly or without basic precautions, exercise can lead to injury or illness. Even if you have long been active and are fit, keep safety in mind. Do not assume that basic precautions do not apply to you. The most important ways to avoid injury and illness are to: learn about the risks of any new activity you begin. Take lessons, if appropriate. Always use the safety gear that is recommended for your chosen activity, such as helmets and knee pads. Learn about the use and proper fit of safety equipment, begin an exercise routine slowly and gradually increase intensity and most importantly, pay attention to your body's signals, such as pain and fatigue, when starting a new activity or when increasing the intensity of your physical activity. General muscle soreness is common when you try a new activity, but pain can mean you're injured. If you are very tired, you may be doing too much too soon.

Stretches

Do all stretches gradually. Do not push or bounce the stretch. You should feel a stretch, not pain. While you hold the stretch, inhale. Exhale as you relax. These are basic stretches, please consult with your health care provider to be sure you are well enough to begin a stretching/exercise routine.

Latissimus stretch

  1. Stand with your back straight and your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Hold your arms above your head and lace your fingers.
  3. Pull upward while leaning to either side. Keep your lower body straight. You should feel the stretch along your side.

 

Triceps stretch

  1. Bring your right elbow straight up while bending your arm.
  2. Grab your elbow with your left hand and pull your right elbow behind you with light pressure.
  3. Switch elbows.

 

Calf stretch

  1. Place your hands on the back of a chair for balance.
  2. Step back with your left leg; keep the leg straight and press your left heel into the floor.
  3. Lean forward and bend your right leg slightly. Feel the stretch in your left calf.
  4. Repeat on the other side.

 

 

 

Quadriceps stretch

  1. Lie on your side with one hand supporting your head.
  2. Bend your upper leg back and grab your ankle with your hand.
  3. Stretch your leg back. If this causes stress on your knees, do not do this stretch.
  4. Repeat on the other side.

 

 

Groin stretch

  1. Sit on the floor and put the soles of your feet together. Keep your knees as close to the ground as possible and pointed outward.
  2. Grab your feet and gently pull yourself forward, bending at the hips.

 

 

Hamstring stretch

  1. Sit on the floor with the right leg extended out straight, the knee slightly bent, and the toes pointing toward you.
  2. Bend your left leg so that your left foot is next to the inside of your right thigh.
  3. Lean forward from the hips and reach for your right ankle. Do not try to touch your forehead to your knee.
  4. Switch legs.

I have formulated two herbal tea blends that have helped many get back into the work out mode after a long winter. My first blend is called Better Flex Tea and the second is called Slim Trim Diet Aid Tea. Both of these blends are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that can help replace vitamins and minerals that may be lost while exercising or while beginning a new diet. Both blends can be found here at Local Harvest and as always, if you have any questions, feel free to email me!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
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