Categories
Herbs and Herbalism

Etsy Shop!

Hi there, friends! I know it has been a long time since my last post. Life has been very busy this month! But I am ready to dive back in.

Today is a bit of a different type of post because instead of sharing a recipe or some interesting herbal info, I am here to tell you about a new project I’ve recently been working on—an Etsy shop with downloadable herbalism content!

I began making myself some printable herbal journals and planners for organizational purposes (I get bitten by the organization bug in January for sure) and realized I could share them with others, too. So here is a bit about what I have available so far:

Home Apothecary Planners I created a planner to help organize your inventory of herbs, herbal tea blends, tinctures, infused oils; to plan projects; to record recipes, craft instructions, and favorite places to buy herbs; to log foraging and keep a log of your favorite herbalism books; and to record basic herb profiles. This planner comes in a couple color options (with more to come).

Herbal Materia MedicaThis printable is a more in-depth template for creating your own herbal Materia Medica with profiles of all your favorite herbs. It is all clean lines and user-friendly, with two different cover options, pages for a master running table of contents list, more in-depth plant profiles, and recipe pages with various design options for you to print as needed.

Coming soon— I am so excited to say that I am working on writing a spring tea recipe e-booklet, which I plan to release March 1! And, I also plan to write more tea recipe e-books for all the seasons. I have big plans for the future in the realm of recipe book writing (it’s my *Big Dream* as far as the direction I’m going with herbalism), and these booklets are the first step. I am pouring a lot of love, hard work, and *magic* into this project and I can’t wait to share it with you, my friends!

Categories
Botanical Anthology Folklore Hygge Recipes

Juniper Folklore

“The odor of burning juniper is the sweetest fragrance on the face of the earth, in my honest judgment; I doubt if all the smoking censers of Dante’s paradise could equal it.”

—Edward Abbey


Happy (belated) New Year!

Today, my wildlings are back at school, and I am celebrating the beginning of the new year with a simmer pot containing dried juniper berries, pine needles, orange slices, cinnamon, rosemary, and cloves. (You can read more about it on my Instagram post HERE.)

Did you know I wrote an article all about juniper folklore for the recent Winter Botanical Anthology? I’m case you missed it, and because juniper is such a lovely botanical for this time of year, I thought I’d share that article with you here today!


Though it’s perhaps not the first evergreen one thinks of in connection to winter, juniper has a long and storied history that often ties it to the colder parts of the year. 

Juniper represents hope and warmth, thriving in overwrought soil where other trees can’t. It is symbolically, elementally, and astrologically associated with fire, ruled by the Sun and closely tied to Mars. Juniper also symbolizes eternal life.

The juniper tree’s berry-like cones and twigs provide food for animals, often the only available winter sustenance. They offer culinary and medicinal uses for humans, and there are many ritualistic applications for juniper’s wood and berries, as well. It is quite interesting how juniper’s folk associations mirror its medicinal uses.

The age-old use of juniper medicinally for healing, relieving stagnation, and protection from diseases probably stems in large part from the berries’ diuretic and anti-inflammatory properties. One of the most pleasant ways to administer these medicinal benefits came in the form of gin, the juniper berry liquor that dates back as far as the 11th century, as well as medicinal juniper twig beer. 

In accord with these historical medical practices, juniper was—and still is—used in folk practice for protection. For disease, poison, plague, spirits, demons, and especially thievery, juniper has been a potent ward. 

Often, smoke and charms are the vehicle by which juniper performs this protective service. Many cultures, including ancient Greeks and Egyptians, used juniper incense in this manner. Various types of protective amulets and charms were made from juniper berries, as well. The trees have even been long used in some places as Yule or Christmas trees or greenery for some added protection.

The Scottish have a long-standing winter tradition. The day after Hogmanay, the celebration of New Year’s eve, women would perform a saining, a smoke cleansing of the entire house with smoldering juniper branches. The aromatic smoke was carried and dispersed throughout the house for blessings, purification, and protection for the coming year; the same was performed through barns and to purify livestock. 

Several species of juniper are also native to the Americas, as reflected by juniper’s presence in many indigenous Americans’ traditions and tales. Among those, the Hopi, Navajo, Blackfoot, and Seneca tell legends surrounding the tree or its berries. A Seneca tale involves junipers and other evergreens standing up to old man winter so spring may return. 

While winter persists, perhaps juniper is a plant to explore a deeper relationship with. Whether it’s branches in greenery that decorates the home, fragrant incense, or even a sip of gin, inviting juniper in is a way to connect to this plant’s long history.

Categories
Herbs and Herbalism

Herbs to Bounce Back

This mama was SICK for Christmas. I caught a nasty stomach virus and was down for the count for a couple days. Ever since, I’ve felt weak and depleted! My muscles feel sore and weak, I am feeling extra worn down, and my stomach is still not back to normal. So, I thought I would turn to my apothecary and make some restorative tea today to help me bounce back.

Some of my favorite herbs for building back strength after an illness include (but are not limited to!) nettle, oatstraw, dandelion root, and tulsi. You could combine all four into a soothing tea, or turn to your favorite tinctures and tea blends that contain these allies.


Here is a little bit of information on how these herbs help after an illness!

Nettle is a powerful nourishing and nutritive adaptogen that excels at building strength. Among so many benefits, it helps with fatigue, rebuilding deficient nutrients, building blood, and flushing things out.

Oatstraw aids in some of the same ways as nettle, with a bit of a different approach and the benefit of being a relaxing nervine. It is incredibly replenishing, tasty, and helps with burnout and exhaustion.

Dandelion root does important work by aiding liver function. It is nutritive, helps rebuild gut flora, aids in digestion and flushing things out, and is incredibly grounding to boot.

Tulsi is my go to herb for many things! It is an incredibly helpful adaptogen and a relaxing nervine, aiding in balancing things out and bringing you back to center.


What are your favorite herbs or remedies for rebuilding strength after illness?


Sources:

• Rosalee de la Foret, Alchemy of Herbs

HerbMentor monographs

Categories
herbal skincare Herbs and Herbalism Recipes

Calendula Olive Oil Lotion Bars

One of my new favorite things to make is lotion bars, made with herbal infused oils! They’re easier to make than you might think, and feel so soothing and luxurious on your skin.

I started with olive oil I had infused with calendula a while back for skincare purposes. Calendula is very healing and beneficial to the skin, and olive oil is quite moisturizing and good for the hands, arms, and legs. Very helpful this time of year when we begin getting dry, chapped skin from the cold & dry weather!

I combined the herb-infused oil with beeswax and shea butter, then added a small bit of tangerine essential oil for a cheery scent addition. (The essential oil is optional, though. Also, remember to choose ethical essential oil companies to buy from!)


Here is the full recipe, in case you’d like to make some of your own!

Calendula Olive Oil Lotion Bars

(Makes 8 good sized lotion bars)

Materials:

Silicone molds or silicone cupcake liners

Double boiler (optional)

112 g shea butter

80 g beeswax pellets

96 g olive oil infused with calendula flowers

12-16 drops essential oil (optional; I used tangerine)

Method:

Prepare your supplies and area; you might want to put down a layer of parchment or waxed paper in case of dribbles. 

Melt the beeswax pellets, shea butter, and calendula olive oil slowly over low heat in the double boiler. If you don’t have a double boiler, set a large glass mixing bowl over a small saucepan containing about 1 inch of water, put your ingredients in the mixing bowl, and it works the same way. 

Once the ingredients are melted, remove from heat and carefully add and stir in essential oil if you’re using it. 

Carefully pour the hot liquid into your silicone molds. Allow to cool completely for a good long while before trying to turn them out—I like to have the molds all lined up on a baking sheet and transfer that to the fridge for quicker setting, but that’s optional. 

Once the lotion bars are finished, store them in individual small tins, waxed paper bags, or jars for gifting. They warm up quickly when rubbed against the skin and turn into a light but nourishing lotion. These can double as lip balm, too!


I made a couple batches of these and plan to gift them to friends and family for the holidays! (Sorry for the spoiler, friends and family! 😂) They’re such a nice little handmade gift that feels extra special. And the calendula oil is like a bit of sunshine to soak up during the winter months!


This recipe was inspired by a recipe in 101 Easy Homemade Products for your Skin, Health, and Home by Jan Berry.

Categories
Botanical Anthology

Winter Botanical Anthology

I am proud to say that the winter edition of Botanical Anthology, a plant-centered, seasonal digital publication with over 45 articles from 30 contributors, is available for purchase!

I am so excited for this beautiful publication to be out in the world, and so proud to be a part of it along with so many creative contributors. This issue is gorgeous and bursting at the seams with lovely, cozy, healing, creative, and meaningful ways to tap into the spirit of the winter season. I personally can’t wait to dive into all the inspiring lore, wisdom, recipes, rituals, crafts, and more.

In the winter edition, you’ll find articles, recipes, and ideas to help you:

*Sip on immune tea, miso broth, wassail + gingerbread golden milk

*Learn how to make ghee, gluten free sourdough and activated nuts

*Whip up hand sanitizer, a warming foot bath and body butter

*Forage wintergreen, raspberry stems and chaga

*Develop rituals + routines for the season ahead while listening to a winter playlist

*Weave wreaths, make trinket dishes + draw narcissus

*Celebrate Winter Solstice, Midwinter + Valentine’s Day with simple observances

And so much more!

I contributed five pieces to this edition, including an article about immune-boosting herbs with a tea recipe, a piece about the folklore surrounding juniper, a deep-dive into a few winter deities and their plant associations, and a review of one of my favorite books about tea. I so enjoyed writing these articles, and I hope you get a chance to read them!

The Botanical Anthology is a seasonal digital magazine for plant and nature lovers with articles to help you incorporate herbs into your home apothecary, kitchen, foraging, crafts, and wintertime celebrations. It was founded by the Plant Wonder Collective, a group of like-minded plant lovers from a variety of backgrounds and walks of life who each have unique perspectives and approaches to share. Nurture your mind, body, and spirit through the winter season with the words and ideas from our hearts to yours!

Until 12/15, grab your copy for $20 and receive the bonus evergreen booklet. Download instantly and dive right into the 150+ pages of plant magic!

You can get your copy of Botanical Anthology here!

Categories
Herbs and Herbalism plant wonder collective Recipes Tea

Vanilla Digestion Tea

It’s the time of year when digestion is key! Heavy, rich foods abound due to the holidays and the approach of winter, and many of us need some extra relief.

Often, digestion teas rely heavily on ginger, but I find it too spicy and irritating sometimes. I often need more of a cooling approach to indigestion instead. That’s where this tasty vanilla digestion tea comes in!

Vanilla is an aromatic stimulant and carminative botanical, with anti-inflammatory, digestive-soothing, calming, and fever easing benefits. These properties make it a great ingredient in a digestion tea!

In the interest of a more cooling approach to digestion, I’ve combined the vanilla with meadowsweet, mint, and fennel seed. If you add honey or your sweetener of choice, it’s a light and tasty dessert all on its own with a taste reminiscent of candy canes!

A bit of a breakdown of the other herbal ingredients I’ve combined with the vanilla here—

Mint can be both warming and cooling, depending on your constitution, but I find it affects me in a soothing and cooling manner. It is a mildly stimulating herb, so it aids in moving things along in the digestion process.

Meadowsweet is a top tier digestion reliever. Its cooling, drying, astringent, inflammation modulating, and even pain modulating properties make it an indispensable ally. However, if you’re sensitive to aspirin, you should avoid meadowsweet because it contains naturally-occurring salicylic acid. (If this is you, substitute chamomile or elderflower.)

Fennel is one of my very favorite herbs for digestion. It’s a pungent aromatic herb with antispasmodic and carminative properties, making it ideal for a digestion tea. Interestingly, I found a hand-written note in my great grandmother’s herbalism books suggesting to use fennel for calming. Though it isn’t technically considered a nervine or adaptogen, there is an inextricable link between gut health and mental health, so it does check out!

Here is the simple and sweet recipe for cooling vanilla digestion tea:

1 part vanilla (use chopped vanilla beans or powdered vanilla bean—my choice for economical purposes)

2 parts meadowsweet

2 parts mint

1 part fennel seed

——

Brew for about 5 minutes; longer can cause a bitter taste from the meadowsweet.

Do you suffer from digestive issues this time of year? Let me know if you try this tea! You might find that soothed digestion leads to a calmer state of mind this time of year!

Categories
Herbs and Herbalism Recipes

Pumpkin Spice Coffee Beeswax Candles

I am *just* beginning to teach myself the art of candle making! It is not terribly difficult, but there is definitely a knack to it and little things to learn through the process. I am no expert yet, but I am quickly learning some of the finer points!

I have decided to use a combo of beeswax and coconut oil for my candle base for the time being, and I scent my candles with essential oils. The scent is more subtle than that from my favorite store-bought candles, but it’s lovely and natural, healthier, and much more magical and special to make them myself. All the cozy and loving intention is poured into each one with the wax.

For those who are also interested in candle making but aren’t sure where to start, here is a little list of the basic supplies I decided to begin with:

This batch of beeswax candles combines the scents of coffee, cinnamon, vanilla, clove, nutmeg, ginger, cardamom, lemon, blood orange, and balsam copaiba essential oils. (The coffee oil is a separate one from Simply Earth; the rest are in a pumpkin spice oil blend from Plant Therapy.)

Aside from providing a cozy, delicious scent perfect for this time of year, these botanicals are grounding, balancing, energizing, and represent love, luck, and healing. I’ve topped each candle with coffee beans, star anise, allspice, cinnamon, and cloves. 

Here are the instructions for how I made this batch of candles—it makes 6 four-ounce candles.

(A couple notes: I am still experimenting with the essential oil amounts. You could definitely use more than I did here for a stronger scent—up to 200 drops! But I went conservative here for lightly scented candles. Also, be very careful topping candles with cinnamon, and make sure it isn’t too near the wick! It can spark if it catches the flame just right.)

I plan to keep a couple of these and share the love by gifting the rest this holiday season! And I hope to make more with different scent profiles and additions soon—I’ll share those here or on Instagram when I do.

Have you ever tried your hand at candle making? Is it something you’re interested in trying?

Categories
Herbs and Herbalism Recipes

Oregano Face Steam

It’s that time of year: colds, coughs, congestion, sinus headaches, the works. I don’t know about you, but I have a constant runny nose, and often a bit of a cough, once my wildlings start bringing fall germs home from school. This also wreaks havoc on my skin! I get dry, sore skin around my nose and sinuses, and my face just feels dry and tight. 

So I decided to try something that would be great for both my sinuses and my skin: a facial steam. It’s really quite easy! Just add your herbs to a big bowl, pour in hot water from your tea kettle, drape a towel over your head, lean over the bowl—trapping in the lovely aromatic steam—and let the botanicals do their magic!

Oregano is the star of the show today. With its antimicrobial and lung-soothing properties, as well as its warming and stimulating effects, oregano is a lovely ally. With it I combined rose petals, lavender, and calendula for my skin issues and yarrow and thyme to boost the sinus clearing and germ-fighting properties. 

Let me tell you, this was a relaxing and divine way to get some relief! I think I’ll be doing this quite often now.

Here is the recipe, so you can try this lovely steam, too! I used dried herbs to make this recipe, which makes it super simple for wintertime use! For the “parts” size, I used tablespoons, then tripled the recipe; this made more than enough of the mixture to put some in a jar and do it again a few more times.

Mix the dried herbs well in a bowl. In a separate bowl, add your desired amount—I’d recommend 2-3 tablespoons. Then add steaming (not boiling) water heated in a tea kettle. Put a towel over your shoulders and head and lean over the bowl, carefully draping the towel to enclose the hot steam with your face. Close your eyes, relax, and enjoy inhaling the fragrant steam for several minutes!


Have you ever tried a facial steam? If so, which are your favorite herbs to include?

Categories
Herbs and Herbalism Hygge Recipes

Hygge Hearth Tincture

Inspiration struck this morning and I decided to start a tincture that will be ready just in time for Yule! It has all the happy, cozy, hygge vibes with digestion support, stress relief, balancing, and immune boosting to boot.

Mint is the star of the show here, paired with “really good Ceylon cinnamon” (please tell me you read that in Ina Garten’s voice 😂). I adore the sweet combo of cooling mint and warming cinnamon! With these I combined fennel seed, rosemary, and ashwagandha root. 

Then I topped it off with not the usual vodka, but GIN for more cozy, botanical, wintry vibes.

Here is the full recipe! For once, I actually loosely measured instead of doing it in parts!

Add herbs to a 16 oz glass jar. Cap and shake the jar thoroughly to mix herbs. Top with gin, filling to near the brim. Cap with a plastic canning jar lid or parchment paper and canning lid. Store in a cool, dark place, shaking daily, and strain after 6-8 weeks. Store in dark glass jars or dropper bottles if you can. 

You can take this tincture in tea, coffee, still or sparkling water, ginger ale, juice, or even cocktails! Ginger ale is my favorite vehicle for tinctures—if you prefer, use your favorite homemade or natural ginger ale.

Categories
Herbs and Herbalism plant wonder collective

October: Elderberry Month

I can’t believe October is already more than halfway through! Life has certainly been busy over here in the Herbology Faerie’s apothecary. My children have been home for their two week fall break, my husband took a trip for work, there have been visitors and visits, sickness, and it’s just been a bit of chaos around here. But I have still been connecting with the plant world, so I am here to share a bit about that!

This month has been elderberry month at the Plant Wonder Collective! I have so enjoyed working with lovely elderberry this October. I have not yet had the time to write up a monograph post for elderberry this month, but I will try to do that before October is done. Meanwhile, here is a link to the Plant Wonder Collective’s elderberry monograph post!

Elderberry Monograph

I have concocted a couple of fun elderberry potions this month which I have shared on Instagram. I’ll share them here, too, to make them easier to find. First up: an elderberry hot toddy!

Elderberry Hot Toddy

Next, I shared the beginnings of my elderberry infused gin this week. It is still infusing, but I will be straining it soon and sharing a cocktail or two made with this lovely liquor. Here is the initial post about its creation!

Elderberry Gin

And one last post to share: here is some elderberry wisdom from The Illustrated Herbiary by Maia Toll. Elderberry reminds us to embrace the cycles and seasons of life and our place within them.

I hope October is treating you well, friends! Perhaps you’ll find some inspiration here to connect with elderberry in your own ways this month, or in the months to come!