elderberry syrup

Elderberry Syrup: Why My Family Takes it in Lieu of a Flu Shot Every Year (and How to Make your Own).

Elderberry syrup is one of the most important tools in my home apothecary for keeping my family healthy when there are colds and flus flying around. We take it almost daily during the sickness season and completely forgo the flu shot. Let me outline a comparison between elderberry syrup and the flu shot to illustrate why we do this. At the bottom of this post is a printable recipe so that you can make your own Elderberry syrup.

Elderberry syrup:

  • is proven against 10 strains of the flu.
  • shortens the duration of both colds and flus. 
  • works with your body’s immune system to boost your natural immune response. 
  • contains vitamins A, B, and C.
  • has NO risks associated with it. 

If you are curious and would like to read the studies on elderberry where this information comes from, go here, here, and here

The flu shot:

  • is only effective against 3 or 4 flu strains. 
  • ranges from 19%-48% effectiveness depending on the year. 
  • is less effective in the people who need the protection the most, the elderly and children. 
  • carries risks, such as seizure, facial palsy, encephalomyelitis, convulsions. There are even 115 reported cases of death. 
  • contains aluminum, ethlymercury, and antibiotics. Read about these and the other undesirable ingredients in flu shots here.



If you are curious and would like to read the studies where this information about the flu comes from, go here, and here

I’m sold on Elderberry Syrup! Now what?

Okay, so you want to avoid the flu shot and take elderberry syrup instead, right? Well, you can buy it online, in your favorite health store, or even many drug stores and grocery stores. I recommend getting an organic version, of course. Natures’s Way and Gaia have good ones that can be found on Amazon. They come in 8 or 4 ounce bottles. It is also easy to make your own elderberry syrup. When you make your own elderberry syrup, you can customize the flavor a bit. Depending on what you like, you can add other immune enhancing ingredients such as ginger, clove, cinnamon, fennel, and/or cardamom. You can buy a pound of dried organic elderberries for about $20. This will last you ages, because you only use 3/4 of a cup per batch. Plus, your house will smell amazing while you area making it! 

How to make Elderberry Syrup for cold and flu prevention:

elderberry syrup

Directions:

  • Put the elderberries, water, and spices (except fennel) in a pot.
  • Bring it to a boil.
  • Turn the heat down to simmer (usually medium-low).
  • Once the mixture is reduced by half, remove from heat and let cool. Strain out the berries/spices. Be sure to squish out the berries to get all the goodness out of them. You can do this with a wooden spoon and a sieve or pour the mixture through cheesecloth so that you can use your hands to squeeze it out.
  • Once the mixture is about room temperature (or just above), you can mix in the honey. Honey has beneficial enzymes and microbes that can be killed by heat, so just be patient.
  • Transfer to a glass container that is easy to pour from. I use pretty flip-top bottle like these and put a waterproof label on it. Keep it refrigerated. This recipe makes about 2 and half cups.  

Should I add other spices? What do the other spices do?

  • Ginger: anti-inflammatory. Also good for settling upset tummies and helps the body sweat our toxins. I always add a knob of ginger, thinly sliced, to the berries before bringing to a boil. 
  • Cinnamon: antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and contains antioxidants. (Also balances blood sugar.) I usually add one cinnamon stick to the berries before bringing to a boil. 
  • Clove: antimicrobial and antiviral. Clove is a strong flavor, so I usually just add 2 or 3 cloves to the berries before boiling.
  • Fennel: boosts white blood cells, is antibacterial and anti-fungal. My kids are super sensitive to the licorice-y taste of fennel, so I do not add it to our elderberry (syrup at this time). I add fennel to my morning tea blend, so at least I get it that way. My recommendations for adding it to elderberry syrup are to put 1/2-1 teaspoon into the berry mixture just in the last few minutes of simmering.
  • Cardamom: helps clear congestion from colds, settles digestion and is antispasmodic (this is good for coughs and stomach cramps.) I love cardamom! I add cardamom seeds to my morning tea blend as well. For elderberry syrup, I add a few cardamom pods to the berries before bringing to a boil. 

Tips for adding Elderberry syrup to your home apothecary:

  • Elderberry is great for hiding things in! We put our virgin cod liver oil in ours. My kids drink it up and look forward to it!
  • The standard dose for a child is 1/2 teaspoon daily and 1/2 tablespoon for adults.
  • If you or a family member is coming down with something, bump up the dose to 3 or 4 times a day. 
  • I add echinacea tincture (go here to find out how to make your own tinctures) to the elderberry if one of us seems to be coming down with something. 
  • Don’t freak out if you miss a day or two here and there. That is actually a good thing. I subscribe to the sentiment that you really shouldn’t take anything every day. I like to take weekends off from most supplements. 

I have to take the flu shot for work. Is there anything I can do to help my body detox those dangerous ingredients?

If you are required to get a flu shot because of your line of work, you can help speed your body’s recovery and detox by eating “clean” and taking one or more of the following:

Milk Thistle: Your liver has a huge job on any given day with the onslaught of modern toxins, but after a flu shot, it can’t hurt to give it a little extra help. Milk thistle is a great liver protective that also boost the liver’s detoxifying capabilities. It can be found in capsules, tea, and tinctures

Dandelion Root: This is another great detoxifier. Read more here. It can be found in capsules, tea, and tinctures.  There is a fun coffee substitute with dandelion root called Dandy Blend

Chlorella: This amazing algae binds to metals in your body and helps escort them out. This is particularly helpful for shots with mercury or aluminum added to them. Be sure to get “broken cell wall” chlorella so that your body can actually use it. 

 

 

Elderberry Syrup
Tasty elderberry syrup for cold and flu prevention and treatment.
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
50 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
50 min
Ingredients
  1. 3/4 cup dried organic elderberries
  2. filtered water
  3. optional spices: ginger, cinnamon, fennel, cloves, and/or cardamom pods or seeds
  4. one cup raw honey, organic
Instructions
  1. Put the elderberries, water, and spices (except fennel) in a pot. Bring it to a boil.
  2. Turn the heat down to medium- low to simmer.
  3. Once the mixture is reduced by half, remove from heat, let cool, and then strain out the berries/spices. Be sure to squish out the berries to get all the goodness out of them. You can do this with a wooden spoon and a sieve or pour the mixture through cheesecloth so that you can use your hands to squeeze it out.
  4. Be sure to let the liquid cool down before you touch it and before you add the honey. Honey has beneficial enzymes and microbes that can be killed by heat, so just be patient.
  5. Once the mixture is about room temperature (or just above), you can mix in the honey.
  6. Transfer to a glass container that is easy to pour from. I use pretty flip-top bottle like these and put a waterproof label on it. Keep it refrigerated. This recipe makes a bit more than 2 cups.
Notes
  1. Kids take 1/2 teaspoon a day for prevention and 1/2 teaspoon 3 times a day during a cold or flu for treatment. Adults take 1/2 tablespoon a day for prevention and 1/2 tablespoon 3 times a day during a cold or flu for treatment.
Reclaiming Vitality http://reclaimingvitality.com/
 Have you ever used elderberry syrup? Have you tried making your own?

 

Fermented Garlic

Fermented Garlic: Your Dragon Glass for this Winter’s War

Ok. I truly hate to be the one to bring this up while we are all enjoying a beautiful summer, but…Winter Is Coming! We need a stockpile of “dragon glass” (aka fermented garlic) to win the war against colds, sinus infections, flus, bronchitis, and stomach bugs this sickness season. (If you’re not a Game Of Thrones fan, I apologize, but I just couldn’t resist.) Even though I believe a crucial part of being healthy is being present in the moment, this, of course, has to be balanced with preparation for the future, something I failed at last year because “winter” came early. 

Last winter:

Last winter was a doozy for us here in the pacific northwest, especially my little household! I can usually get through the winter with a cold or two (and rarely a GI bug), but not last winter. My littlest one started preschool and brought home every sniffle and flu. Every single one. I had meant to make this fermented garlic, but the season started off with a bang in September, and if I wasn’t sick myself, I was caring for a sick child (or two). I had my usual arsenal of homemade echinacea tincture (go here to learn how to make your own tinctures), elderberry syrup, raw cod liver oil, and kraut juice (this one was our savior), but I feel like if I had had the fermented garlic, I could have prevented more of the colds or nipped them in the bud before they took me (and my family) down.  

This summer:

Fast forward to this beautiful, sunny summer day, and I am starting my preparations for the winter to come. The first item on my list is to stockpile fermented garlic for my family and friends. With fermented garlic, you get the benefits of raw garlic multiplied without the drawbacks such as garlic breath and garlic sweat. I am sensitive to the smell of raw garlic on my breath or through my skin, but fermented garlic and cooked garlic are fine. Although cooked garlic is good for you, it doesn’t hold a candle to raw garlic, and can’t even come close to being compared with fermented garlic. As always, I would love to break down the nutrition for you in my attempt to convince you to make this for your family as well.  



Fermented Raw Garlic:

Garlic Cloves

  • Is powerfully antibacterial. It has been shown to be effective against drug resistant bacteria. 
  • Is anti-fungal, and antiviral. It can not only prevent colds and flus but also lessen the severity and duration. It has been shown to be particularly effective in inhibiting the growth of bacteria in the GI tract and lungs. This is due to the high allicin content. 
  • Is loaded with probiotics to support your microbiome
  • Lowers blood pressure and protects against heart disease
  • Balances cholesterol levels by lowering bad cholesterol
  • Contains protective antioxidants
  • Promotes healthy blood sugar levels and can even help with diabetes
  • Has anti-cancer properties
  • Reduces yeast infections such as Candida
  • Can reduce build up of plaque in the arteries
  • Removes heavy metals, such as mercury, from the body
  • Is helpful for ulcerative colitis

To make one quart of fermented garlic you will need:

  • 12-14 heads of garlic, peeled
  • 2 T sea salt
  • One quart mason jar
  • Airlock lid (optional)
  • herbs (optional) Some good and tasty antibacterial and antiviral herbs are oregano and rosemary.
  • Optional: starter culture (if you use starter culture, you will want to reduce the amount of salt.)

First, to peel the garlic, start by smashing one head with the heel of your hand. Next, place the cloves in between two bowls and shake, shake, shake!! (Metal bowls are really the only way to go here. Borrow them if you have to. You don’t want to peel this many cloves with a paring knife or even one of those rollers. ) Your garlic head should be peeled. Continue on with the rest of your garlic heads.

Second, fill your clean quart jar with your peeled garlic. Leave at least one inch of headspace. Next, pour your salt water (or dissolved culture plus salt water) over your peeled garlic. Add any herbs such as rosemary or oregano. Top with a fermentation weight. Leave out of direct sunlight for at least 3 or 4 weeks. The longer it ferments, the more powerful it gets and the milder it tastes. A win, win in my book. I prefer it to have a more mild roasted garlic flavor. You can ferment it much longer than 4 weeks if you like. 

 

Fermented Garlic
Fermented garlic to prevent and lessen the severity of colds and flus.
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 12-14 heads of garlic, peeled
  2. 2 T sea salt
  3. One quart mason jar
  4. Airlock lid (optional)
  5. herbs (optional)
  6. Optional: starter culture (if you use starter culture, you will want to reduce the amount of salt.)
Instructions
  1. First, to peel the garlic, start by smashing one head with the heel of your hand. Next, place the cloves in between two bowls (metal is best) and shake, shake, shake!! Your garlic head should be peeled. Continue on with the rest of your garlic heads.
  2. Second, fill your clean quart jar with your peeled garlic. Leave at least one inch of headspace. Next, pour your salt water (or dissolved culture plus salt water) over your peeled garlic. Add any herbs such as rosemary or oregano. Top with a fermentation weight. Leave out of direct sunlight for at least 3 or 4 weeks. The longer it ferments, the more powerful it gets and the milder it tastes. A win, win in my book. I prefer it to have a roasted garlic flavor. You can ferment it much longer than 4 weeks if you like.
Reclaiming Vitality http://reclaimingvitality.com/

Fermented Garlic

How should I use my fermented garlic?

  • First, you can just chomp on a clove if you feel a cold coming on. I would probably follow that with some elderberry syrup mixed with echinacea tincture a few times a day. Mixing fermented garlic with raw honey is another (tastier) possibility. Raw honey has it’s own host of benefits when it comes to fighting colds and flus. You can’t go wrong with a bit of kraut juice either. 
  • Second, use your fermented garlic preventatively in cooking. (This will probably be the easiest way to get it in your children if you have them.) I prefer to use it in unheated dishes so that I don’t kill the probiotics. Some ideas are white bean dip, hummus, salsas, salad dressings, garlic butter, and pesto. Basically, anywhere you would use raw garlic or roasted garlic should work.Be sure to save the garlic brine after all the garlic is used up. It is great to use in dressings or marinades.

 

Have you had fermented garlic before? If so, did you ferment it yourself? What did you think?

 

 

Holy Basil

Lower Stress Hormones and Boost Energy with Holy Basil (aka Tulsi)

Holy Basil tea has been a part of my evening ritual again for the past few weeks. I discovered it last summer and drank a lot of it, but then I couldn’t find it in loose leaf form for about 6 months and so I got out of the habit of drinking it. Finally, I found it again, but I decided that I needed to start growing it so that I would always have a secure supply on hand. It is THAT good. Luckily it is very easy to grow. (You can find seeds here if you decide to grow it.) The pictures are from my Holy Basil plants that are just starting to flower. If you’re still reading, you are probably wondering just what is so awesome about this Holy Basil plant, right? Well, I am just thrilled to answer you! Read on, my friend.

Holy Basil Flowering

Holy Basil (aka Tulsi) is an adaptogenic herb. An adaptogenic herb is an herb that “adapts” to your needs. How cool is that? It will lower your cortisol levels (stress hormones), but only if you need it. If you don’t need it, it doesn’t do it. It promotes a feeling of calm and well-being. Just smelling the plant or the dried leaves relaxes me in a similar way that smelling lavender or chamomile does. It also gives you energy at the same time it relaxes you. I am not talking about caffeine-like energy but real energy from within. Here are a few more benefits for you.

Benefits of Holy Basil:

  • Boost immunity
  • Antiviral
  • Antibacterial
  • Anti-fungal
  • Liver protective
  • Strengthens cardiovascular system
  • Normalizes blood sugar
  • Great for healing respiratory issues such as bronchitis, tuberculosis, and asthma.
  • Excellent for oral health. 
  • Effects mood, memory and cognitive function positively.
  • Detoxifier and mild diuretic. Holy Basil is great for kidney issues such as kidney stones and gout because it helps the body excrete uric acid.
  • Insect repellent
  • Heals skin lesions and many diseases.
  • Is taken as a tonic in India to maintain youthful skin and lengthen life span. 
  • Protects from radiation damage
  • Lowers fevers
  • Lowers cortisol levels if they are too high (as stated above).
  • Boosts energy (as stated above).

 



Things to do with Holy Basil:

Holy Basil

  • Make Holy Basil tea: Holy Basil makes a very tasty tea alone or blended with some of your other favorite herbal flavors. I love to mix it with dried ginger. Teas are my favorite way to consume this herb. I try to get at least one large tea cup full of it daily. Steep it covered for 10-15 minutes to get the most out of your Holy Basil. (As with most herbs, the longer you steep, the more medicinal the flavor. If you are just starting out, try 10 minutes at first and work your way up if you like.) Organic India has a whole line of flavored Holy Basil teas. Sweet Rose is my favorite, but they have Turmeric Ginger, Lemon Ginger, Green, Chai, and a Sleep Combo. 
  • Make or buy a tincture: This provides a more concentrated dose than tea and is a very portable option. Go here for a tutorial on tincture making. 
  • Make an herbal vinegar (either medicinal or culinary): Fill a mason jar 3/4 of the way with fresh Holy Basil Leaves (pack them down). Fill the jar with Raw Apple Cider Vinegar. Put a lid on the jar and shake it. Let sit for 3 or 4 weeks. When it is ready, strain out the leaves and keep the vinegar! You can use this to make salad dressing, or to drink before meals (a tablespoon in a cup of water 15-20 minutes before meals.)

 

If you are interested in learning more about common herbs that you can grow and use safely, I recommend Rosemary Gladstar’s book Medicinal Herbs, A Beginner’s Guide. It is awesome!

If you want to more about adaptogenic herbs, I recommend Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief by David Winston. Also Awesome.

 

 

Do you drink or use Holy Basil? If not, are you going to start?

 

 

Lemon Balm

Lemon Balm: Calms Anxiety, Encourages Restful Sleep, Fights Viruses and More!

Meet the lovely lemon balm! This relative to mint is so easy to grow; you can basically put it in the ground and forget about it. (If you don’t have space, you can grow it in a container and water it when you water your house plants.)

Lemon balm is a miracle worker for us humans and a favorite of the bees. It is completely safe for adults and children. In fact, it used to be a combined with chamomile and dill as common colic remedy for fussy babies. Made as a tea, it is so tasty! If you are interested in learning more about herbal remedies, Rosemary Gladstar has an excellent introductory book called Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner’s Guide. I highly recommend it!

Note: If you have an under-active thyroid or Hashimoto’s, it is best to use this herb only under the guidance of a trusted health care professional as it is considered a thyroid suppressant, for everyone else, enjoy!

Use lemon balm for:

  • viral infections (especially effective against coldsores, shingles, etc.)
  • bacterial infections
  • restless sleep
  • hyperactive children
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • heart disease
  • heart ache
  • nervous disorders

How to use lemon balm:

  • As a culinary herb:

    Use lemon balm in salads, smoothies, and other dishes where you would put mint in.

  • Lemon balm tea:

    You can steep the fresh or dried leaves with hot water. About 10 minutes will give you a pleasant drinking tea. If you want a more medicinal tea, let it steep for longer. Feel free to add other herbs depending on what you are trying to accomplish.

    • Relaxing tea: lemon balm with chamomile, lavender, and or holy basil
    • Antiviral tea: lemon balm and licorice

     



  • lemon balm tincture:

    A tincture is a good way to get a high dose of lemon balm (or another herb) into your body for an acute situation, such as the onset of a flu or cold sore. They only take a few minutes to prepare, but you will have to wait at least a few weeks for it to be ready. Go here for a tutorial on how to make you own tincture, or you can buy a ready made tincture to have on hand such as those by Herb Pharm.

  • Lemon Balm Bath:

    Add at least 1/2 cup fresh or dried herbs to cheesecloth or a strainer and secure it to the tub faucet under hot running water for the first few minutes. Next, adjust the water to a comfortable temperature. Feel free to add other herbs such as lavender or chamomile if desired.  

 

Lemon Balm

 

Do you use lemon balm? Are you going to try it?

Homemade Tincture

Homemade Tinctures: How and Why to Make them

Homemade tinctures are as easy to make as putting herbs and alcohol in a glass jar and waiting! Should I back up and remind you what a tincture is first? A tincture is a highly concentrated extract of herbs. Tinctures provides a concentrated dose of the herb which can be taken by the dropper and mixed into water or juice.

Why use a tincture?

There are a few reasons to take a tincture. First, a tincture is good for herbs that are not very tasty and you would not be able to suffer through a cup of tea made from them. Second, it is good for roots and barks that are harder to get the active constituents out by hot water steeping. Third, you can use a tincture to simply save time. Maybe you would need to drink 3 cups of an herbal tea (also called a tisane) but instead can take a dropper full of the tincture in juice or water three times a day. They can especially be good for children who may not want to drink a whole cup of tea. Third, tinctures are good for acute situations, such as the onset of the flu or a cold sore, where you want to get a lot of an herb into your body quickly. 

Why make a homemade tincture?

Homemade Tincture Bottles

There are two main reasons to make your own tinctures. First, they are so much less expensive. Second, you can control the ingredients. I like to use organic herbs and organic alcohol for instance. Those who are grain-free could choose a grain-free alcohol. If you have to avoid alcohol completely, you can make your tincture with raw apple cider vinegar.

 

How to make a HOmemade tincture

As stated above, making homemade tinctures is as simple as putting herbs in a jar and covering the with alcohol. You use different amounts of herbs depending on whether you are using fresh or dried herbs and whether you are using  the leaves/flowers or the roots/bark/berries. Also, if you are using fresh herbs, you will need to chop them first to release the juices. If you are using dried, you can just add the alcohol. 

To make a tincture you will need:

  • Organic Herbs (leaves and/or flowers or roots, bark, and/or berries)
  • 80-100 proof alcohol such as vodka or brandy
  • Glass jars
  • Glass droppers (If you don’t have any, you can buy them on Amazon, of course.)
  • Cheesecloth (unbleached and organic is best) for straining out herbs

If you are using leaves and/or flowers:

  • Fill your jar 2/3 to 3/4 full of your chopped fresh leaves and flowers. Next, fill the jar to the top with your alcohol. The herbs need to be submerged in the alcohol.  
  • Or fill you jar with 1/2 to 3/4 with dried leaves and flowers.Next, fill the jar to the top with your alcohol. The herbs need to be submerged in the alcohol.

If you are using roots, bark, and/or berries:

  • Fill your jar 1/3 to 1/2 full of your chopped fresh leaves and flowers. Next, fill the jar to the top with your alcohol. The herbs need to be submerged in the alcohol. 
  • Or fill you jar with 1/4 to 1/3 with dried leaves and flowers.Next, fill the jar to the top with your alcohol. The herbs need to be submerged in the alcohol.

Storing and Using your homemade tinctures

Store your herb/alcohol mixture in a cool, dark place where you will remember to shake it several times a week for 6-8 weeks, or a sunny warm location for 4-6 weeks. Watch the level of alcohol. If some of it evaporates, you will need to add more. The herbs must be submerged in alcohol or there is the possibility of introducing mold into your tincture. Yuck!

After the requisite waiting period, strain the herbs through the cheesecloth and compost them. Bottle your tincture in clean glass jars or bottles (dark glass is best). Label them!! These will keep for many years in a cool, dark place!!!

The usual dosage for an adult is 2 droppers full 3 times a day for an acute situation, i.e. a cold coming on. For children, consult a trusted pediatrician. 

Which homemade tinctures should you make?

Of course this answer depends on what ailment you are trying to treat or prevent. A great introductory book is called Medicinal herbs: A Beginner’s guide by Rosemary Gladstar. My favorite homemade tinctures to make are echinacea and olive leaf. Both are great for the immune system. As you probably know, echinacea tincture is superb when taken at the onset of a cold or flu. Olive leaf tincture is an amazing antiviral so it is good for sinus infections and ear infections (both of which have a 90% viral origin), as well as other viral infections. You can make combination tinctures as well. The possibilities are endless. Happy homemade tincture-making!

 

Homemade Tincture

 

Do you make homemade tinctures? Do you want to try?

Dandelion

Dandelion: A Super Food?

Oh, the lowly dandelion! This “weed” is actually anything but lowly, and now that it is spring, it is the perfect time to bring to mind their benefits before you start your war with them (if you do). Please allow me break down the benefits of consuming the different parts of dandelions for you.

Dandelion Root:

  • Helps with digestion
  • improves liver function and increases production of superoxide dismutase (the body’s primary antioxidant)
  • Contains resistant starch which balances your microbiome)
  • Full of anti-cancer phytonutrients and antioxidants
  • Regulates blood sugar and insulin
  • Improves cholesterol ratios
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Improves gall bladder function by increasing bile production
  • Boosts immune function
  • Regulates blood pressure

The roots are most often made into tea. There are many brands sold at Amazon and even your local grocery store. Dandy Blend is a brand of dandelion “coffee” that contains beetroot and chicory as well (both have health promoting properties). It is tasty and you can control the strength easily. I drink it at more of a tea strength, but your can just add more and have “espresso”. It is instant and dissolves in hot or cold water.

If you want to make  dandelion tea or Coffee from the roots yourself:

    1. Harvest dandelion roots from a safe place (that hasn’t been sprayed and there aren’t pets using that area as a restroom).
    2. Wash the roots and chop them up.
    3. Dehydrate. You can do this in a dehydrator, or in your oven on the lowest setting. 
    4. Grind roots in a spice grinder.
    5. Put 1 to 2 tablespoons ground dandelion roots in a pot and add filtered water. (You could also add ground chicory and/or a cinnamon stick for flavor.)
    6. Bring to a boil and simmer for five minutes.
    7. Strain grounds out when pouring into your mug and enjoy!

Dandelion leaves:

  • High in calcium (higher than kale!), vitamin K (which is not so easy to get, vitamins A, B, C
  • Loaded with antioxidants and minerals
  • Contain complete protein (contains all essential fatty acids)
  • A natural diuretic that relieves bloating and swelling
  • Aids kidney function
  • Detoxifies your liver
  • Boosts immune function
  • Helps regulate blood pressure
  • Helps with PMS

Dandelion greens are usually served mixed with other greens in a salad. You can harvest the leaves from a safe place (one that hasn’t been sprayed and isn’t a bathroom for local pets.) The smallest leaves taste the best because they are less bitter. You can also saute them to mellow their flavor. Here is a simple recipe for sauteed dandelion greens. The leaves are also used to make dandelion leaf tea. Some people use dandelion their greens in smoothies as well. They are sold at specialty grocery stores such as Whole Foods and PCC (Seattle area), but they are free from  your back yard.

Let’s not forget dandelion flowers!

Dandelion

  • Full of antioxidants
  • Contain vitamins A, B, C, potassium, and iron.

Here is a recipe for dandelion wine. I have not tried making this yet, but it is on my to-do list. (Oh, my ever growing to-do list!) It is from Susan Weed’s book, Healing Wise. This is a great book for learning how common plants can benefit you. You can also make dandelion jam. This sounds interesting, and I also plan on trying this. I will let you know how it goes when I do.

Do you harvest dandelions from your yard or local meadow? Do you eat dandelions? Do you plan on starting? How about dandelion wine or jelly? I would love to hear from you!

Dandelion

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Chopped Slippery Elm Bark, Marshmallow Root, and Licorice Root

Decoction of Marshmallow Root and Slippery Elm Bark to Heal and Seal your Gut

Decoction of Slippery Elm Bark and Marshmallow Root

What is a Decoction?

A decoction is simply a very strong tea made from the chopped, sturdier parts of herbs (roots, barks, etc). In this decoction, we use chopped Slippery Elm bark and chopped Marshmallow root. Both are demulcents. A demulcent relieves irritation and inflammation and forms a film over your  mucous membranes to soothe Them. This decoction is great for anyone with leaky gut (go here to find out if that is you) or someone dealing with diarrhea or constipation. For mild cases, you can simply take a tablespoon upon waking, about 15 minutes before each meal, and before bed. For extreme cases of leaky gut, you can take a tablespoon every two hours or so. This can be done for a month, or even two if your leaky gut is really bad. For my decoction, I add a little bit of Licorice root. Let me break down the individual ingredients for you before I give you the recipe. The printable version will be at the bottom of the post.

Slippery Elm Bark:

  • stress relieving
  • loaded with antioxidants
  • soothes the mouth, throat, stomach, and intestines
  • improves digestion (which can help with weight loss) and helps with digestive issues such as bloating, constipation, diarrhea, leaky gut, acid reflux, IBS, Colitis, Crohns
  • it is great for sore throats and coughs as well as certain skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema.

Marshmallow Root:

  • good for coughs and colds.
  • fights bacterial infections such as UTIs and bronchitis.
  • repairs and coats the lining of the intestines.
  • helps with heartburn, stomach ulcers, constipation and diarrhea.
  • lowers acute and chronic inflammation
  • supports heart health
  • reduces water retention (edema, bloating)
  • good to use in homemade beauty products for skin and hair.
  • Make marshmallows the way they were originally made! Go here for a marshmallow recipe from Wellness Mama.

Licorice Root: (Use only if you are not pregnant and have no problems with your blood pressure, liver, or kidneys.)

  • an adaptogenic herb that is great at lowering cortisol (good for some stages of Adrenal Fatigue-go here if you think you might have it and want to know which stage.)
  • anti-viral (especially helpful for hepatitis)
  • enhances immune system by boosting interferon
  • anti-inflammatory
  • pain reliever
  • it’s an expectorant, so it is excellent for coughs
  • it is also a demulcent so it soothes the mouth, throat, stomach, and intestines
  • good for premenstrual cramping (it’s anti-spamodic which helps with cramps)
  • good for premenstrual irritability, bloating, and breast tenderness
  • supports heart health by limiting the damage done by “bad” cholesterol
  • provides a natural sweetness to teas and decoctions 



Decoction of Marshmallow Root and slippery elm bark:

You will need:

Decoction of Slippery Elm Bark and Marshmallow Root

  1. Add all ingredients into a large pot with a lid.
  2. Let sit overnight.
  3. In the morning, bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer.
  4. Simmer until mixture is reduced by half.
  5. Let the mixture cool before bottling.
  6. strain through a stainless steel sieve and funnel into a glass bottle.
  7. Keep the mixture in the fridge. It will keep for a month or so. (Throw it out if it starts to smell “off”)
  8. For diarrhea and constipation, take 1 tablespoon before meals and before bed.  For leaky gut,  take 1 tablespoon every 2 hours while awake for one month (can do two months if needed).

 

Decoction of Marshmallow Root and Slippery Elm Bark
Yields 2
A decoction to heal and seal your gut lining. Will alleviate constipation and diarrhea as well.
Print
Prep Time
2 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
12 hr
Prep Time
2 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
12 hr
Ingredients
  1. 2 Tablespoons chopped Slippery Elm Bark
  2. 2 Tablespoons chopped Marshmallow Root
  3. Optional: 1 teaspoon to 2 tablespoons chopped licorice (see information regarding licorice)
  4. 2 Quarts filtered water
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in a stock pan and cover with a lid.
  2. Allow to soak overnight.
  3. In the morning, bring it to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.
  4. Simmer until it is reduced by half.
  5. Allow mixture to cool before handling.
  6. Once cool, pour the mixture through a stainless steel strainer and then funnel into a glass bottle.
  7. Keep mixture in the fridge to keep it fresh.
Notes
  1. Take 1 tablespoon before meals and bed for constipation and diarrhea.
  2. For leaky gut, take 1 tablespoon every two hours for one month.
Reclaiming Vitality http://reclaimingvitality.com/
         

Please remember that I am NOT a doctor. You should have one with whom you can discuss adding herbs and supplements to your regimen in case they interfere with any medications you are already taking.

Slippery Elm Marshmallow Decoction Benefits

Have you ever made a decoction? How about a decoction of Slippery Elm Bark and Marshmallow Root? Are you going to try? I would love to hear from you!

magnesium oil roll on ingredients

Magnesium Oil Roller (DIY) for Better Sleep

Did you know that you are most likely magnesium deficient? Over 80% of us are, so unless you eat a perfect diet that excludes sugar, caffeine, and alcohol, are not stressed, and haven’t been sick recently, you probably are deficient.

Magnesium actually plays a big role in how soundly you sleep. As if that weren’t enough, being deficient in magnesium, as I already stated that many of us are, can have grave health concerns. If you would like to read more about how magnesium deficiency can contribute to everything from heart problems, to anxiety, to cancer, check out the book The Magnesium Miracle. It is eye-opening and a short read. You can read it easily in a few hours.

Use Magnesium oil to safely increase your magnesium intake

So I have you convinced that you need to pay attention to your magnesium needs, right? How should you do it? Well, taking a magnesium supplement is an option, but it can act like a bit of a colon cleanse and you have to be very careful of which type of magnesium you use. A better way to get your supplemental magnesium is trans-dermally! You can do this by taking Epsom salt baths and/or Magnesium baths. Another way is to buy a magnesium spray or gel and apply it to the fatty parts of your body.  I put it on my thighs and tummy about a half an hour before bed to ensure a nice, deep sleep. Be forewarned, however, that this will may sting until you build up your magnesium stores again. However, the best places to absorb magnesium are the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet and these don’t sting!

Ingredients for adult magnesium oil roll-on

In order to compound the benefits of magnesium and essential oils, I created a simple roller mixed with magnesium oil and a sleep synergy blend of essential oils for my feet. This is the same synergy blend that I use in my essential oil diffuser next to my bed. The synergy blend I use is called Dreamtime by Rocky Mountain Oils. It is just divine! I also made one for the kids that is mixed with Aloe Vera to alleviate any possible stinging. For theirs, I used a “kid safe” synergy blend for sleep called Nighty Night from Plant Therapy. Both of these make great gifts!!

Supplies for magnesium oil rollers:

FOr Kids’ Magnesium ROller:

First add 1 teaspoon of Aloe Vera gel. Next add your magnesium oil almost to the top of the bottle. Finally, add 6 drops of your essential oilblend and top the bottle with the roller lid. (Be sure choose a version that is safe for kids.of essential oils and add 6 drops per one ounce bottle (this is a 1% dilution rate).

For an adult magnesium oil roller:

magnesium oil roll on ingredientsFirst add 12-15 drops of your essential oil blend per once ounce bottle. You do not need to add the aloe. Next, fill your bottle almost to the top with magnesium oil and add the roller lid.

Now you are ready to go. Simply give your bottle a light shake and then roll onto your feet before bed. I actually do this right when I get into bed. I go to bed about an hour before I want to be asleep so that I can read first. This is part of my sleep routine. If you feel like you could use some tweaking in your bedtime routine, you can look forward to a future post about improving your sleep hygiene.

 

Do you use magnesium oil or gel before bed? Has it helped you to sleep better?