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 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