Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Tuesday Tip #3

Harvesting Fresh Herbs
[a simple how-to]

#1. Harvest early in the morning and choose herbs that stand strong and upright and have vibrant color. Avoid limp or wilted leaves and herbs that have brown spots. They should also be smell strong and fresh.

#2. If you can't immediately put-up or use the herbs, keep them in the refrigerator. Wrap them in loosely in damp paper towels - be really gentle.  If you have a large amount, put them in jars with a small amount of water in the base before refrigerating. 

#3. When cooking with fresh herbs, add them at the end so that the heat doesn't destroy their amazing flavor.

#4. If you choose to dry your herbs, the general rule of thumb is: 1 tsp. dried herbs = 1 tbls. fresh herbs.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Helpful Links

Oooh it's been far too quiet here lately, but I've been busy...busy...busy!!
(I'm working on something exciting, but it's not quite ready.)

Really quick, though, I want to share with you all a few neat herbal links that I discovered:

  • The Herbal Encyclopedia | Alphabetical listing of healing herbs, with information about medicinal and religious uses, and cultivation. Also provides articles about safety, storage, remedies, etc.
  • Annie's Remedies | Over 400 detailed herb descriptions and hundreds of home remedies. Learn how to get a good nights sleep, cure a cold, lower your blood sugar, etc.
  • Amazing Graze Farm | The Spices of Life: Practical tips on storing your herbs and spices.

Also, don't forget that you can search herbs on Pinterest and come up with some awesome links!

The Herb Girl

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Herbalist & Homesteader Bookshelf

Herbology. Foraging. Living off the land.  They all tend to go hand in hand.

These books are some of my herb girl favorites - I have most of them on my own bookshelf.

#1: Practical Herbalism 
by Dr. Philip Fritchey
“Ordinary Plants with Extraordinary Powers”
Practical Herbalism is my favorite herbal reference book by far.  Covering 48 commonly found and grown herbs and manty down-to-earth methods for using them, Dr. Fritchey shares his knowledge from twenty years of personal experience.  Especially if you are interested in growing herbs at home, this book is a must-have for your bookshelf.

#2: Nourishing Traditions 
by Sally Fallon (with Mary G. Enig, Ph.D.)
"The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats"
Nourishing Traditions is a wonderful guide to wise food choices and proper preparation, bringing the old to meet the new.  We've lost something in our latest diet crazes and obsessive calorie counting, we've lost the nourishment that our bodies need to thrive and be healthy.  You will love the recipes this book has to offer, as well as Sally's sound, well-researched nutritional advice.

#3: Seeds of Deception
by Jeffery M. Smith
"Exposing Industry and Government Lies About the Safety of Genetically Engineered Foods You're Eating"
We'd all like to think that our food is safe, but the truth is, most of it is not. Genetically modified foods such as Modified Food Starch, Corn Syrup, Canola Oil, Soy Protein, Tofu, Dextrose, Baking Powder, and the list goes on and on and on.  In Seeds of Deception, Jeffery Smith exposes the lies that we've all been told and the FDA cover-up of undeniable scientific proof that GMO's are poison. Is your food safe?

#4: The Backyard Homestead
by Carleen Madigan
"Produce All the Food You Need on a Quarter Acre"
With just a portion of an acre, you can feed your family of four fresh, organic food in all of the seasons.  Ready to be self-sufficient? This book details how to use your own grains to make bread, turn fresh milk into butter, yogurt and cheese, can your own produce, make your own wine and herbal teas, etc.  Yes, it's true! It is possible to eat entirely from your background!!

#5: The How To Herb Book
by Velma J. Keith and Monteen Gordon
"Let's Remedy the Situation"
Another favorite reference book, The How To Herb Book, is a valuable resource for the novice and experienced alike.  The recipes contained are chosen for their ease of use, effectiveness, and time-tested experiences with great information on vitamins, minerals, diets, exercise, pregnancy, babies, and lots more.

These are my favorites, now how about you? I'd love to hear what your favorite herbal resources are!

The Herb Girl

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Tuesday Tip #2

Don't Boil Your Herbal Teas

When making herbal teas, it's important that you don't boil your tea or pour boiling water over your teas.  Boiling hot water removes the oils that give the tea its medicinal properties.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

This Week's Herbal Challenge + Linkup

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Giveaway | Fresh as a Daisy Soaps

Searching online to find some different natural soap options, I came across Fresh as a Daisy Soaps.  After contacting Daisy, I ordered several items and she added a few samples for me to try out and review, and has generously allowed me to share something fun and exciting with you...a giveaway!

The content of my Fresh as a Daisy Order + a few surprises!

An Honest Review

The night before I received the package, I got 6 mosquito bites on my ankles. So itchy! (And I get really bad allergic reactions to mosquito bites.)  I rubbed some Bug Bite Balm on them before supper, and didn't feel any itchiness for the rest of the evening.  My bites were about 1 1/2 inches across when I put the balm on, and this morning they are down to 3/4 of an inch across and not swollen!!  It was almost unbelievable how fast they went down.  I have rubbed some more of the balm on this morning, and I'm excited to see how much more they will go down with the second application.  A happy side-note is that being in a stick-tube, there aren't any messy fingers when you put it on. 

"I love being 'itchless'!!"

Best of all, it's a Paraben-free all natural product. The ingredients are: olive oil infused with chickweed, comfrey, plantain, calendula, echinacea, yarrow, beeswax, essential oils (tea tree, rosemary), vitamin E, and grapefruit seed extract.

Now the exciting part....one of you will win a tube of this wonderful Bug Bite Balm!
Perfect for an add-along for camping or hiking or just for everyday use in your purse, and oh so convenient since it's mess-free.

Use the Rafflecopter widget (below) to enter!

The Herb Girl

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Tuesday Tip #1

Herbal Rotation for Healing

For optimal healing, maintain dosing in a 6 day on, 1 day off pattern.
Also, take an entire week off every 6 weeks.
By following these rules, your herbs will more effectively kick your body into its healing mode.

Question from Facebook...
"Do you grow or forage herbs? If so, how do you preserve them?"

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Herbal Highlight | Burdock

This weeks herbal highlight features an herb that is often overlooked because of it's common weed label. But for those with circulatory problems, toxicity, diabetes, hyperglycemia, and skin diseases there is great help to be found in it's medicinal properties.

So, without further ado, I would like to introduce you to Burdock.

The Herb Girl


Scientific Name: Arctium

Medicinal Uses: Detoxifying, Anti-Bacterial, Anti-Fungal, Anti-Inflammatory
Blood purifier. Promotes good circulation.  Used in the treatment of Skin Diseases (i.e. acne, abscesses, psoriasis, eczema, and carbuncles), Diabetes and Hypoglycemia (contains inulin, which strengthens the liver), Crohn's Disease, and to alleviate the body's distress from Chronic Fatigue.

Constituents: Up to 50% Inulin, polyacetylenes, volatile acids (acetic, proprionic, butyric, isovaleric), non-hydroxyl acids (lauric, myristic, stearic, palmitic), polyphenolic acids, and tannins. [source]

Preparations: Tea (most common), Tincture, Capsule
Sometimes eaten raw.

Portions Used: Root (most common), Leaves and Fruit

Identification: Often mistaken as a common weed, Burdock grows strong and sturdy with annoying burrs.  The plant grows relatively tall, growing 3-6 feet, and can be about 1.5 feet in diameter at the base.

Burdock is easily identified by it's large, wavy, heart-shaped leaves that are green on the top and whitish on the bottom.  Its prickly purple ball flowers (burs) on the tips bloom between June and October.

Thrives along river banks, roadsides, fields, and disturbed habitats.


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Hair Products | FDA Approved Toxic Waste

I've always heard that generic shampoo and conditioning products from the store weren't made with healthy products, but it wasn't until I turned my "herbal" conditioner bottle over and read the ingredients that I made the decision to walk away from the bottles of toxic waste.  Just take a look at the label.

Cetrimonium Chloride is generally recoginized as safe, but Stearlakonium Chloride is labeled "potentially" toxic.  If you use the product over a long period of time, that toxidity risk increases.  We are warned - just search Google - that Stearlakonium Chloride is "potentially" dangerous, and can have negative effects on the nervous system.  So why is this labeled safe by the FDA?

Keep reading, we don't know the nature of the Fragrance (Parfum) that they put in this bottle, so we have to hope that it isn't something toxic.  Glyceryl Stearate, I couldn't find much about this ingredient except that it causes an allergic reaction in some people.  

Now DMDM Hydantoin is an entirely different story!  DMDM is a formaldehyde releasing ingredient that can irritate the respiratory system and trigger heart palpitations.  Further it can cause joint pain, allergies, depression, headaches, chest pain, ear infections, chronic fatigue, dizziness, and loss of sleep.  Even to the extent of the side-effects of weakening the immune system and causing cancer!  And this is called safe?!

Disodium EDTA's side-effects include allergic reaction; dangerously low blood sugar, blood pressure, or blood calcium levels; kidney failure and seizures. 

Oh my!  I could spend all day ranting the side effects of Benzophenon-4 - classified as a chemical that causes photo sensitivity and mimics estrogen - which may increase the risk of breast cancer.  Blue #1 and Yellow #5 are coloring agents that are commonly known to cause cancer.

And that is only half of the ingredients!!  I could go on, but will refrain for this post.  However, I do encourage and challenge you to go look up every ingredient of your body care products.  Chances are, you are just pouring toxic waste and chemicals all over your body.  How do you like your FDA approved poison products?

So I've managed to tell you how our shampoo and conditioner will wreck our bodies, but I'm not going to leave you hanging.  I'm going to help you completely remove conventional shampoo and conditioner from your shower and give you directions to make a real, safe and healthy hair care product.  After switching to making my own shampoo product, I haven't needed an additional conditioner.

Get ready!  Here's the ingredients:

1 c. Castile Soap (I use Dr. Bronners)
1 c. Water
2 Tbls. Dried Organic Green Tea Leaves (I buy mine from the Bulk Herb Store)
    (you can also use dried rosemary, lavendar, etc. as an extra ingredient in your tea)
2 Tbls. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

- Put water and green tea leaves and steep for 30 minutes. Strain and cool.
- Mix tea, castile soap, and olive oil. Stir. 

I put mine in a pint jar and keep it in the refrigerator for freshness.  

Really?! Yes, really! Only four ingredients, and a few minutes of your time, and you have it!  Easy peasy, and you've kicked another bottle of toxic waste out of your home!

Let me know if you love it as much as I do!

The Herb Girl

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Chronic Lyme's | Herbal Treatment

The most efficient and sure way to stop Lyme's Disease in it's tracks is to catch it early.  Unfortunately, because of misdiagnosis, that doesn't often happen.  The next best is to start on an herbal regime today - as in yesterday.  Even if you slightly suspect that you might have Lyme's, begin taking herbs as soon as possible.

Teas. Tinctures. Salves. Use them all!

So which herbs work?  To be honest, I'm still learning about herbal treatment for Lyme's, so I'm constantly discovering and researching which herbs have provided results.

Alright, so let's jump right in to the treatment options that I'm currently researching.
I made this recipe into a tincture.
  • 1/2 c. Cat's Claw
  • 1/2 c. Olive Leaf 
  • 3 Tbls. ImLife Mix (Olive leaf, Burdock root, Echinacea root, Pau D'Arco bark, Dandelion root, Nettle leaf, Red Clover tops, Cat's Claw bark, Butcher's Broom root.)
  • 2 Tbls. Vinegar of the 4 Theives Mix*
  • 2 Tbls. Echinacea Root
  • Charcol Filtered Vodka
I followed the "Ticked Off!" recipe that Shoshanna from the Bulk Herb Store shared on her Youtube Channel, but made a couple of changes in my recipe.  

I buy all of my herbs through the Bulk Herb Store, because they are all organic and from a trustworthy source.

The Herb Girl

*If you are known to have an allergic reaction to wormwood, do not use the vinegar of the four thieves in your tincture.  Not sure if you're allergic?  Read this.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Chronic Lyme's | The Hidden Epidemic

When I was 5 years old, my family went camping in Eastern Oregon.  We hiked trails, explored the area, and went swimming.  No big deal.

After the fun weekend, we drove back home and resumed our normal day-to-day lives.  But I can still remember how when we would drive somewhere, I'd lean against the back of my seat and could feel something growing on the back of my head.  Still, for another week I didn't say anything.  I guess I was too little to give it a second thought, until the area around the growth started to ache.

I went to my mom and asked her to look at it.  She called one of her friends over to come look at it and she gasped, "Oh my! Those are ticks!"

My parents took me to the ER, and the attending Doctor pulled them out (yes, it hurt...a lot!) - they were 2 of them, the size of lima beans.  He dumped them in a red waste can, we were discharged, and I got a grape soda - because I didn't cry or scream too loud.

A day or two later I had to go get my blood drawn for a Western Blot Test for Lyme's Disease.  That was the first and only time I heard or talked about Lyme's Disease growing up.  The results came back negative. We used an antibiotic cream and that was the end of it.

. . .

Fast forward 13 years. I met the man of my dreams.

During one conversation he asked me, "Have you ever heard of Lyme's Disease?"

"Of course," I told him, and then explained my tick experience.

"Well, have ever heard of Chronic Lyme's?" he continued.

"No, what is it?" Enter one confused girl.

He then explained an epidemic of and untreated tick-born disease that people suffered without help.  Doctors are scared to touch it, there is no known cure, and people who suffer from it are often told it's in their head.  If you are diagnosed for Lyme's (or misdiagnosed), you are told it is Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, Arthritis, Chronic Fatique, or even MS.  And sadly, my honey has a tick-borne disease but has never been accurately diagnosed.

I was shocked.  Why had I never heard of such a thing?  How could something so small carry such a dreadful and sometimes deadly disease?!  Yet, sadly, it's true.

Facts About Chronic Lyme's Disease:

  • Lyme's Disease was first recognized in Lyme, Connecticut in 1975.  It has only been identified recently, and there is a lot of confusion and deception behind the disease.
  • Although “bull’s-eye” rash is 100% diagnostic less than 50% develop any rash at all. A rash can appear and may disappear before you see it, it may be located on a part of your body that you cannot see, like your scalp, and the rash is also very difficult to see on those who have darker skin. Absence of the rash does not mean you do not have a tick-borne disease.
  • Lyme disease has been frequently misdiagnosed, especially in absence of the rash, as MS, ALS, Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, Autism, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and others. Lyme disease is often referred to as “The Great Imitator”, as it can virtually imitate any symptom of any disease.
  • Lab tests for Lyme disease are not reliable. A person may test negative for Lyme disease and still have the disease. Patients report having problems getting diagnosed and are often diagnosed late. In 1988 the NY Health Dept. warned physicians that the 'two-tiered' (ELISA/Western Blot) criterion was missing up to 45% of positive Lyme cases. In 2005, a study by John's Hopkins Universityconcluded that the IDSA-endorsed two-tier criteria was missing 75% of positive Lyme cases.
  • There are over 100 strains of Borrelia burgdorferi in the United States, 300 strains worldwide and 5 subspecies of Borrelia burgdorferi. This diversity is thought to contribute to the antigenic variability of the spirochete and its ability to evade the immune system and antibiotic therapy, leading to chronic infection.
  • Children are at the highest risk of acquiring Lyme disease due to their active lifestyles which usually involve a lot of outdoor playtime and outdoor sporting events. Studies have shown significant IQ drops in students with Lyme, serious psychiatric symptoms, as well as cognitive and sleep disturbances-- all of which may easily go misdiagnosed. 
  • Lyme disease can affect any part of the body's systems and/or organs. Lyme and associated tick-borne diseases can lead to neurologic, cardiac, psychiatric and arthritic symptoms.. It is estimated anywhere from 15-30% of those infected with Lyme may develop chronic disease.
  • The term "Chronic Lyme's Disease" is not recognized medically.

Tomorrow I will share about herbs for Lyme treatment.  In the meantime, perhaps you would be interested in watching "Under Our Skin" a video about Chronic Lyme's.

Until tomorrow,
The Herb Girl



A big hello from the herb girl!

So I decided to revive my blog as I have been recently asked a lot of questions about herbal healing.  Plant healing takes time, but the end results are long-lasting and truly worth the effort.

After relocating from Oregon to Missouri, I've realized just how many people here are suffering from many diseases - from diet/health choice conditions like diabetes to chronic tick-borne diseases like Lyme's Disease.  However, I firmly believe that there is herbal help in plants for any health ailment.

I gladly welcome you to follow along and pray you will find not only health, but also vigor and vitality, along your healing journey.

The Herb Girl