Categories
Botanical Anthology Recipes

Roasted Roots: An Herbal Coffee Tradition

The Autumn Botanical Anthology digital magazine is available TODAY! To celebrate, I’m giving you a sneak peek at one of my articles from the publication below. But first, I must tell you a bit about this magazine I am so proud to be a part of!

Cover image by @marigold_stories

This labor of love is a seasonal, plant centered digital magazine bringing you over 45 articles from 30 contributors to incorporate autumnal herbs in your apothecary, kitchen, harvests, crafts, and fall celebrations.  

Until 9/28, grab your copy for $20 and receive the bonus cinnamon booklet. Download instantly and dive right into the 150+ pages of plant magic!

https://www.florasfeast.com/product-page/botanical-anthology-autumn-2022

Now without further ado, here is one of my articles!

Roasted Roots: An Herbal Coffee Tradition

Herbal coffee is a tradition that can be found, with a little digging, in many family histories. It was once common practice to replace or mix ground coffee with the roasted roots of plants like dandelion, chicory, and burdock. Not only did these easily-foraged plants make coffee go further, but they also cut some of the bitterness in the flavor. These roots also provided a nutritious and grounding alternative ingredient or replacement for coffee without the unwanted side effects of caffeine. Additional spices can be added to the mix for flavor and further health benefits, as well.

Here is a closer look at some of the ingredients you might add to your own roasted root blend.

Dandelion root

Strong liver, gallbladder, + kidney support 

Vitamin + mineral rich

Supports heart + balances blood pressure

Chicory root

Vitamin + mineral rich

Digestion support

Antioxidant rich

Supports liver + stomach

Burdock root

Kidney + liver support

Anti-inflammatory • Antioxidant • Detoxifying

Antibacterial + antifungal • Skin clearing

Blood sugar regulating

Cacao

Mildly stimulating

Synergizes other herbs

Heart + blood pressure support

Blood sugar regulating

Cinnamon

Digestive support • Circulation stimulating

Blood sugar regulating • Analgesic

Antimicrobial + antifungal

Antioxidants • Supports brain health

Warming + drying

Allspice, cardamom, cloves, fennel

Digestive support

Promotes circulation • Immune support

Soothing • warming • uplifting

When cooler autumn days make you long for more cups of cozy hot coffee, consider instead roasting and brewing up this alternative herbal blend. Get creative and formulate your own flavorful blend!  Or to get started, here is a simple and tasty recipe to try.

Materials

1 part dandelion root

1 part chicory root

1 part burdock root

½ part cinnamon chips

¼ part cacao nibs

¼ part allspice

Method

Preheat oven to 375°.

Spread dandelion, chicory, and burdock roots in a thin layer on a baking sheet. Roast for 10-15 minutes, stirring once or twice to prevent burning. Roast for a shorter time if using a dark or nonstick pan.

Allow to cool.

Mix in cacao nibs, cinnamon chips, and allspice. 

Grind in a coffee grinder and brew as you normally brew coffee. Approximately 1 heaping tablespoon of the mixture makes 1 strong cup of herbal coffee.

Notes

Opt for a coarser grind if brewing with a French press.

If using pre-roasted chicory root, add it when mixing in cacao, cinnamon, and allspice. 

This blend may also be mixed with coffee, using your desired ratio (50/50 is recommended), to reduce bitterness and caffeine.

Categories
Herbs and Herbalism plant wonder collective Recipes

Lemon Balm Simple Syrup Mocktails & Cocktails

Happy Tuesday! Whether you’re here from my Instagram post or you found this blog post first, welcome to the lemon balm party!

Lemon balm is a subtle but sweet and tasty herb for making simple syrup. I decided to brew some up and then experiment with using it to create some tasty mocktails and cocktails.

I used fresh lemon balm to make a small batch of simple syrup with my usual recipe: dissolve ½ cup of sugar in ½ cup of water on the stovetop over medium heat, add in about 1 cup of the herb, remove from heat and steep for 30 minutes, strain, and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. 

Then came the fun part! Of course, you can use the syrup in any kind of tea (black, green, herbal) for a bit of sweetness and the calming, soothing effects of lemon balm. But I decided to take a few diy concoctions for a spin! My favorite combination was ginger ale, a splash of apple cider (apple juice works too), and about a tablespoon of lemon balm simple syrup. If you find your lemon balm syrup’s flavor turned out too subtle, though, you can always just combine it with seltzer or ginger ale so it can be the star of the show. 

There are plenty more ways to combine lemon balm simple syrup in other mocktails and cocktails, too. Here are some of my favorite combinations!

Follow along for more Lemon Balm wonder throughout the day and join us this month through our hashtags and at @plantwondercollective on Instagram!

#plantwondercollective

#pwclemonbalm

Meet the participants!

@plantwondercollective

@florasfeastbotanicals

@wineberryadventurescouts

@herbalfae

@mamalibelula

@theherbologyfaerie

@herbal_pirate

@katwb444

Plant Wonder Collective: Connecting you to nature through food, drink, play, garden, medicine, magic and art.

Categories
Herbs and Herbalism plant wonder collective Recipes

Tulsi Heart-Support Tincture

You have a physical aspect to your heart, and an energetic and emotional aspect to your heart as well. It may seem like more of a metaphorical connection until you think deeply about it. That piercing aches in your chest that come periodically for some and often for others certainly points toward this inextricable connection. The emotional and energetic health of your heart can have a big impact on the physical health of your heart, and vice-versa.

Herbs can be an invaluable ally when it comes to both of these aspects of heart health, and what’s really amazing is that the same herbs can help with both. Nature certainly knows what she is doing!

My favorite herb for heart ease is tulsi. Tulsi is the Queen of Herbs, and she is a wonderful heart soother. She can aid in reducing inflammation and regulating blood pressure, but she can also help ease emotional tension and stress weighing your heart down. As both an adaptogen and a nervine, tulsi holds your hand and has your back.

I’ve brewed up a heart ease “potion,” a tincture that pairs tulsi with two other herbs that work on much the same dualistic levels for the heart: linden and hawthorn. Both of these lovely herbs are nervines often used to address blood pressure and cardiovascular health, as well as anxiety, stress, and depression. There are also folkloric and spiritual connections between all three of these herbs and protection.

Here is the recipe if you’d like to make this heart supporting tincture, too! I used the folk method, measuring in parts.

I will probably take a dropper full of this at a time in tea, ginger ale, or fruity seltzer water. It will be brimming with the intention of bringing ease and strength to my physical and emotional heart.

Have you worked with tulsi to ease and strengthen your heart?


Note: check with your physician before taking significant amounts of these herbs if you have high blood pressure, any heart conditions, or if you take any heart or blood pressure medications.


Follow along for more Tulsi wonder on Instagram with the Plant Wonder Collective! Participants share posts on the featured herb throughout the month. You can find us via

@plantwondercollective

#plantwondercollective

#pwctulsi

Plant Wonder Collective: Connecting you to nature through food, drink, play, garden, medicine, magic and art.

Categories
Herbs and Herbalism Recipes

Building a Foundation With Adaptogens

Not long ago, I shared a post that was a brief overview of nervine herbs and how they work to relax, tone, soothe, calm, and even gently stimulate the nervous system, digestive function, and circulation. Nervines are such gentle, steady friends!

I thought today I would touch on another, often overlapping category of herbs and botanicals: adaptogens.

Where nervines primarily help calm, adaptogens are known for helping to stabilize and protect. They are extremely grounding; help to protect from fatigue, overwhelm, and burnout; aid against anxiety, depression, and chronic stress; support and protect brain function; build resilience and uplift; and aid the immune system. Basically, adaptogens are powerhouse holistic mental and physical health supporters! Though every person’s constitution and health situation is different and they must use caution before trying any new substances, many adaptogens are generally as safe as most nervines are in normal doses.

If you prefer a less clinical perspective, think of it this way. While nervines can offer you a steady, calming pulse of reassurance and mental and physical support, adaptogens can hold you up, offer you inner strength, sharpen your mind, and keep you going. Adaptogens have your back.

So, who are these adaptogenic allies? Here is a list of a few of my favorites!

Tulsi

Nettles

Rhodiola

Schisandra

Eleuthero

Ashwagandha

Reishi

Astragalus

Licorice

Maca

Green tea

Ginseng

Most of these adaptogens can be found where you purchase herbs online if you can’t find them in person—Mountain Rose Herbs is often where I go to look for herbs on this list.


And now it’s recipe time! I thought I’d share two adaptogen recipes: a tea and a tincture. The tea is a great one to sip in the morning—you might even want to replace coffee with it sometimes for a more stable energy boost. In both the tea and the tincture, I’ve added some nervines too for taste and added benefits.

Simple Strength Adaptogen Tea:

1 part green tea

1 part tulsi

½ part mint 

½ part cardamom

¼ part fennel


Adaptogen Tincture:

1 part ashwagandha 

1 part astragalus 

1 part nettle

½ part mint

Vodka

. . . . . . .

Place herbs in a clean glass jar. Fill about ½ inch above the herbs with vodka, using a wooden spoon to make sure the herbs are fully covered. Place waxed paper and canning lid or bpa-free plastic lid on jar and store in a cool, dry place. Shake the jar each day, and if the herbs rise above the vodka or appear to have absorbed too much, add a bit more to cover them. (You can also move your mixture to a larger jar mid-process if needed.) Allow to macerate for 4-6 weeks. Strain into dropper bottles; take one dropperful either in a glass of water, in another beverage, or under the tongue.


If your health situation supports it, then daily doses of a couple of adaptogens that are suited to your needs can be an amazing holistic health approach. Many people sip on an adaptogen-based beverage every day instead of coffee to build up a strong foundation and mental and physical reserves. (I actually enjoy drinking coffee that has adaptogens right in it!)

Are you new to adaptogenic herbs? If not, which are your favorites? If so, which do you think you’d like to try?

Categories
Herbs and Herbalism Recipes

Herb Profile: Hibiscus

July is flying by! I blinked and now we are halfway through this month already; I kind of can’t even get my bearings. My twins’ fifth birthday began the month, there are other family goings-on, and it’s already back-to-school shopping time as my kids go back to school at the end of this month! (We have a different school calendar than most where we live.) Needless to say, my brain is a bit scrambled. But I’m here to talk about a favorite herb of mine for this crazy time of year—it’s not a nervine, but it pairs well with them and has an incredibly soothing effect during this hottest part of the year. It’s hibiscus!

There are actually many varieties of hibiscus, but the species most commonly referred to and used for consumption is Hibiscus sabdariffa. This hibiscus is also called roselle or sorrel. It is likely native to North or West Africa but now grows in many places throughout the world, and has been long used in Africa, Southeast Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean.

Hibiscus is considered a sour herb with cooling and moistening properties. It is especially helpful for heart health, blood pressure regulation, inflammation modulating, summer cooling, and nutrition as it’s dense with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. 

Hibiscus tastes delicious—hibiscus tea is strongly reminiscent of cranberry juice! My kids love making hibiscus and berry sun tea during the summer months and then chilling it in the fridge for a sweet, cooling summer beverage. When you’re making your own blends with hibiscus, think about combining it with chamomile or mint, cinnamon, honey, and your favorite fruits.

Hibiscus doesn’t do well as an alcohol tincture, so tea or food tend to be the most common ways it’s consumed. (It used to be commonly made into jam, and in some regions is eaten pickled!) Though that summer connection with hibiscus is strong, I also love using it as an ingredient in wintertime non-alcoholic mulled “wine” tea as it has that sharp, deep berry flavor that mimics wine and tastes great with warming spices. 

But since we are still very much in the heat of summer in the U.S. where I am, I’m going to share a super simple and refreshing hibiscus drink I love to make. It’s a very flexible recipe; use whichever ingredients you like or have on-hand!

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Do you enjoy hibiscus? What are your favorite types of hibiscus drinks, or even foods if you’ve tried them?

——————————————

Sources:

• Rosalee de la Foret, Herb Mentor monograph

• Apothecary At Home’s hibiscus herb-of-the-month club box

• Sarah Farr, Healing Herbal Teas

Categories
Herbalism in Fiction Recipes Tea

Courage Tea

I just finished reading the third and fourth books in the Practical Magic series by Alice Hoffman, Magic Lessons and The Book of Magic. I do not exaggerate when I say these books have been life altering for me. They capture so much, I can’t even put a fraction of it into words. All I can say is, go read these magical books!

Now, a thread that runs through all the stories is courage: courage to love, courage to get hurt, courage to take leaps and trust others and trust yourself. This is illustrated throughout the books by the frequent mention of Courage Tea. It’s an old family recipe that dates back to the Owens women who started it all, Hannah and Maria. The recipe has been passed down through the centuries to bolster the Owenses in the face of all the trials and demands of life, as well as those in need they minister to.

Hints of the recipe are dropped throughout the series, but the whole recipe is never explicitly stated. As explained in The Rules of Magic:

Aunt Isabelle refused to hand over the formula for Courage Tea. That, she said, was one recipe you had to discover for yourself.”

Piecing together the hints and clues of the Courage Tea recipe from the books is actually a pretty fun scavenger hunt. I’ve spent a good deal of time on this exercise, and have filled in the blanks with my own additions as Aunt Isabelle instructed. I encourage you to do the same and come up with your own version if you read the books! But until then, here is my interpretation:

(A few notes on ingredients: I found dried currants at the grocery store. I use powdered vanilla bean in tea recipes because it is more affordable than whole vanilla beans while still imparting natural vanilla flavor; you can also add a dash of vanilla extract instead. You may want to adjust the thyme to taste based on how savory you like your tea to taste, as it can be quite strong. And, if you’d prefer a decaf version, you can leave out the green tea or replace it with rooibos.)

What would you put in your version of Courage Tea?

Categories
Herbs and Herbalism Recipes

Herbal Spiced “Wine” Tea

Aside from chai, another beverage that I associate with autumn and winter is spiced or mulled wine. The warm, soothing-yet-spirited drink is rich with digestive, warming, and immune-supporting spices. Not to mention how festive and rooted it feels to share this deep, tart ruby liquid with others at a gathering in the colder months.

But! I very rarely imbibe actual spiced wine. Instead, I mix up a similar potion replacing the wine element with extremely beneficial harvest berries and botanicals. They add the same vibrant garnet color, along with nutritional and healing properties, without the alcohol content. An herbal substitute for mulled wine is also quicker and more convenient when you want this type of pick-me-up (any time of day!) and it can be shared with anyone.

You can make your own preferred version of spiced “wine” tea with various ingredients and methods! I’ll share my recipe with you here so you can either use it yourself, or use it as a starting point to concoct your own recipe.

Spiced “Wine” Tea

Rosehips: These tasty red jewels are ready for harvest in October in many locations. You can use fresh or dried (I always have dried rosehips on hand). They add a tart cherry type of flavor, vitamin C, and minerals that aid in heart health, circulation, pain relief, cholesterol and blood pressure health, and even pain.

Elderberries: Dried elderberries impart a deep berry flavor and amazing immune-boosting benefits. Aside from their antiviral properties, elderberries also have anti-inflammatory benefits. I am always conscious to be moderate with the amount of elderberries included, in case of possible digestive discomfort. (I’ve never experienced this side effect myself, but I’ve read that it can happen so I use caution.)

Hawthorn berries: Hawthorn berries add nearly magical benefits of not only boosting heart health in a physical sense, but also soothing and strengthening the emotional heart and aiding with anxiety.

Hibiscus: This is a go-to base ingredient in fruity, berry-flavored teas for me. Hibiscus is an excellent heart ally and gives the tea a full-bodied, cranberry-ish, and even wine-ish taste.

Orange peel, dried or fresh: Obviously vitamin C is a big part of spiced wine. But so is rich, strong flavor! Orange in some form is almost essential to this type of brew.

Spices – cloves, cinnamon, allspice, ginger: You can’t have spiced wine without your warming, grounding, immune-boosting spices! These add taste, physical and mental health benefits, warming cozy comfort, and synergy between ingredients. Of course, you can get creative and use your own favorite combination of mulling spices!

Optional – rooibos: Rooibos is an herbal ally I adore and use often to fill out and add body to teas while providing wonderful benefits. (See my rooibos profile post for more on this herb!)

You can play around with your favorite berries (even adding fresh or dried blackberries or cherries!), spices, flavorings, and even splash in apple cider for a fruity kick or ginger ale for a fizzy twist. It’s up to you how you concoct your festive, warming brew. Then enjoy it all autumn and winter on quiet afternoons or cozy family gatherings! Or take a thermos of it on your outdoor autumn adventures!

What additional or different ingredients are you going to try in your spiced “wine” tea? I’d love to hear so I can try them, too!

Categories
Recipes

Lavender-Cardamom Blueberry Muffins

Happy Beltane! As mentioned in my previous post, this day marks the halfway point between the spring equinox and summer solstice. It traditionally involves a sweet, floral baked good, so I decided to create a new recipe!

I based this recipe on one from another website, but changed it up with herbs and spices; my version became Lavender-Cardamom Blueberry Muffins. Since lavender honey cakes are pretty traditional for Beltane, this is sort of a twist on that idea. My kids helped me bake these, and they really loved eating them, too!

Lavender-Cardamom Blueberry Muffins

PREP 10 min | COOK 20 min | TOTAL 30 min

Ingredients:

•1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

•3/4 cup granulated sugar, plus 1 tablespoon for muffin tops

•1/4 teaspoon salt

•2 teaspoons baking powder

•1/2 to 1 tablespoon dried lavender, to taste

•1/4 teaspoon finely ground cardamom powder

•1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil

•1 large egg

•1/3 – 1/2 cup milk, dairy or oat

•1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

•6 to 8 ounces fresh or frozen blueberries (about 1 cup)

Directions:

Prep—

Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Line muffin tin with 8-10 paper liners, depending on your preferred muffin size.

Batter—

• Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, lavender, and cardamom in a large bowl.

• Add oil to a glass measuring cup that holds at least 1 cup. Add the egg, then fill the jug to the 1-cup line with milk (1/3 to 1/2 cup milk). Add vanilla and whisk to combine.

• Add milk mixture to the bowl with dry ingredients and use a wooden spoon to combine. Do not over-mix. (The muffin batter will be fairly thick. Fold in the blueberries.

Bake—

• Fill the muffin cups with batter. (If making big-topped muffins, the batter will come to the tops of the paper liners). Sprinkle a little sugar on top of each muffin.

• Bake muffins 15 to 20 minutes or until tops are no longer wet and a toothpick inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out with crumbs, not wet batter. Transfer to a cooling rack.