How to Make Herbal Sore Throat + Cough Drops

How to Make Herbal Sore Throat + Cough Drops

Well…

…it happened.

The dreaded morning wake-up call, “Mom, my throat hurts.”

After an assessment of symptoms and a thorough inspection of the back of the throat. It appears we’ve hit it at the early stages.

Everyone in the house knows to inform me at the very first sign — even hint — of deviation from health…this is when herbal medicine is at its’ finest!

I was able to get to work quickly in the kitchen, on a very simple herbal remedy.

Supported with some of my herbal cough syrup and homemade cold + flu tincture. I’m almost certain we’ve got a handle on it!

Herbs to Treat Sore Throat + Cough

Classic herbs used to treat a sore throat and cough include, yet are not limited to — rose petals, sage, goldenseal, marshmallow root, slippery elm, horehound, ginger, licorice root, elderberry, echinacea, and cayenne pepper.

For this recipe, I used the herbs I had on hand.

  • Slippery Elm. The soothing herb. Rachel Weaver, in her book Be Your Own Doctor: An Informative Guide to Herbal Home Health Care, defines slippery elm as, “mainly powdered for therapeutic use. It is a mucilaginous herb with properties similar to comfrey. It is gentle and soothing, yet it works extremely well. ‘Mucilaginous’ means sticky and with an ability to coat. Slippery elm does this very well, coating…and healing whatever it comes in contact with.”
  • Echinacea Angustifolia Root. One of the most popular herbs associated with immunity and health. Rosemary Gladstar in her book Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner’s Guide, says of echinacea, “Echinacea is always more effective if taken at the early signs of illness, before the illness has the opportunity to ‘settle in.’ Echinacea is particularly effective against bronchial and respiratory infections, sore throat, and oral infections, and in any situation where the immune system needs fortifying.”
  • Goldenseal. An extremely potent and highly effect herb, goldenseal is a must-have in all home wellness pantries. We’ll again look to Rosemary Gladstar who so wonderfully describes goldenseal to be, “a natural antibiotic, and it is often paired with echinacea to help fight off infections, colds, and flus. It is particularly effective in treating infections of the mucous membranes, found in the respiratory, digestive, skin, and reproductive systems.” Please note :: Due to it’s over-harvesting in the wild. Please only purchase goldenseal from reputable companies that buy from small organic cultivators of the herb. Be sure the goldenseal you use has been “organically grown,” “organically cultivated,” or grown yourself in the home garden — not “wildcrafted.” I ONLY recommend purchasing organically cultivated goldenseal here, from Mountain Rose Herbs.
  • Ginger Root. Ginger is a powerful antiseptic. A warming herb, functions effectively as a decongestant — used in the treatment of colds and flus, respiratory congestion, and sore throat.
  • Cinnamon (sweet). Cinnamon — used in combination with ginger — dispels colds and warms the chill of winter. It kills a wide variety of disease causing bacteria…a well-known treatment of colds, the flu, and fever. Please note :: For medicinal purposes, organic true cinnamon (sweet) is recommended.

WHY HERBS?

+Because they work gently and effectively.
+Because you can grow many yourselves, right outside your front door or even in your kitchen.
+Because it’s our birthright to use the gifts of nature with respect and wisdom.
+Because up until relatively recently, at least in the western world, herbs were an integral part of taking care of ourselves.

Health doesn’t come from plastic bottles. Vitality grows naturally from the way you live your life. Deep down, people already know this.

If you want to learn more about herbs as medicine and as food, and if you’re just too busy to enroll in an in-person program, join the Herbal Academy of New England for a comprehensive and convenient online herbal course you can complete anywhere and anytime!

Learn what your great ancestors knew about the natural world and begin to build your own apothecary.

Start classes anytime! Click this link to learn more and register.

Homemade Herbal Sore Throat + Cough Drops

Yield :: Approx. 40 herbal drops.
*Adjust recipe to meet your needs.

Ingredients
*Choose only organically grown herbs. I have linked directly to the herbs + ingredients I personally use and recommend. 

Optional Add-Ins

Where to buy essential oils for ingestion?

For the highest medicinal value available choose dōTERRA™  Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade™ essential oils or the organic oils from Mountain Rose Herbs…these are the brands I trust to provide the ultimate in health + safety for myself, my family, and my friends. 

How to make herbal sore throat + cough drops

Method
*The method for the creation of these drops, I learned from the great herbalists Kiva Rose + Rosemary Gladstar.

  1. In a small bowl combine all ingredients.
  2. With a spoon, work mixture into a “bread dough” like consistency. Add cinnamon to thicken, if needed.
  3. Pinch off very small bits of dough and roll them in the palm of your hand to form a pea-size ball. Note :: I like to add a small amount of cinnamon to my palm while I roll. 
  4. Dry the balls/pills/drops in a dehydrator OR on a cookie sheet in the oven. Note :: If using an oven, set to lowest possible temperature and leave the door to the oven slightly open. 
  5. Once dried, store these drops in a small glass container. They will keep fresh in a cool, dark space for a year.

Administration

Adults and children, take 1-2 drops, 2-4 times a day as needed.

Where Can I Get This Stuff?

-Mountain Rose Herbsthey have everything you’ll need by way of Bulk Herbs and Natural Products for Healthy, Natural Living! It’s your one-stop-shop!

-For the ultimate all-natural healthcare alternatives choose dōTERRA™  Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade™ essential oils. Click here to learn more…

Homemade Chocolate Chews :: Pure, Raw Plant-Based Energy

Homemade Chocolate Chews :: Pure, Raw Plant-Based Energy

This weekend, I was more-than-usual, super busy in the kitchen!

I’ve been inching toward the low end on several of the homemade condiments and staples that I typically keep readily available.

And then I was reminded of my recipe for Chocolate Chews!

They had to be made!

These Chocolate Chews are 100% pure, raw plant-based energy and nutrition.

I love having one a few hours before — or a little after — I go hiking, practice yoga, or do any type of strenuous exercise. They are perfect to wrap up for those grab-n-go mornings. They satisfy my sweet chocolate cravings.

They’re pretty much the yummiest things ever!

Homemade Chocolate Chews

Homemade Chocolate Chews

Ingredients
*Use organic ingredients whenever possible. I have linked to examples of products I purchase and use in my home. 

Method

  1. In a food processor, add all ingredients.
  2. Mix until well combined, 1-2 minutes.
  3. Transfer mixture to a 8×8 glass dish and press down using a spatula.
  4. Refrigerate for 4 hours to allow mixture to firm up.
  5. Cut into bars, size suitable for your needs.
  6. Wrap individual bars in unbleached parchment paper or plastic wrap. Store in refrigerator. Will keep for 2-3 weeks — if they last that long.

Enjoy!

 

Container Gardening :: The 10 Best Frost-Tolerant Vegetables to Grow During Winter

The 10 BEST vegetables to grow in pots during winter

Here in desert…the weather has definitely made a turn toward cooler temperatures.

And by that I mean, 50’s at night and 70-80’s during the day (keep in mind…it’s all relative).

Likewise, the Earth’s tilt is bringing shorter, darker days.

Both are seasonal shifts that nearly everyone, everywhere notice.

These shifts effect a significant change and bring new challenges to many areas of life…most notably, in the garden.

Nevertheless, one of the blessings of gardening in a mild-winter area is the opportunity to grow a variety of vegetables during the winter months.

I’ve actually grown quite fond of winter gardening here in my desert home.

Insects are fewer, the soil doesn’t dry out as quickly, and weeds aren’t much of a problem.

Yet, no matter where you live — with diligence and care — one is sure to extend the growing season well into winter by adding frost-tolerant veggies to the garden or a few containers.

Learn more :: Want to know when to expect your first frost? Click this link to the USDA’s Plant Hardiness Zone Map.

Cold Hardy Plants

Consider growing the following cold hardy plants (plants that tolerate temperatures as low as 25 degrees Fahrenheit) this winter (perhaps, they could even be considered for the early Spring).

These vegetables not only love the cold (a few even the indoors)…but they love small spaces due to their compact growth habit and thrive in containers. Note: I love container gardening, and I love container gardening even more in the winter! Growing plants in pots and smallish containers — indoors and out — makes it much easier to provide protection from colder temperatures. 

1. Broccoli RaabGrowing broccoli raab, at home in containers, has the potential to yield delicious benefits. It provides a very tasty and nutritious green vegetable that produces and thrives wonderfully in colder temperatures. And did I mention taste…it’s really sort of unusual, but I love it! The best I can describe it to you is to say that the leaves taste like turnip greens and the flower shoots taste very similar to mustard greens.

2. Carrots. Eating carrots right out of the soil in the winter is enough to make you never grow another summer carrot. Once they are exposed to frost, they become incredibly sweet. I like growing carrots, like this one, that are easy to grow in containers and require the fewest days to maturity.

3. Beets. Beets offer a double bonus! Growing them provides us with delicious roots AND nutritious greens. Beet seeds can germinate in cool soil, and they sprout best when soil temperatures are above 50 degrees Fahrenheit. I’ve had great success growing beets like these.

4. MicroGreens. Microgreens are 100% easy to grow indoors, in the light of a sunny window, all winter long. My children just love growing microgreens and take on the watering responsibility with great joy! Microgreens are extremely quick to mature — within an average of 7-14 days you’re ready to harvest! To grow microgreens, you’ll need an open, flat growing tray with drainage holes (or any type of flower pot will do), and a quality potting soil. Simply fill the tray with an inch of moistened potting soil (This organic potting soil is PERFECT for indoor growing of microgreens), spread seed (I use this organic, non-gmo, variety) evenly over the soil, gently press seed into the soil, keep seeds moist, at all times, by spraying with a mister bottle of water while germinating, keep in the light of a sunny window or grow light, harvest by cutting the stem at the soil level as soon as the first or second set of true leaves appear.

5. Lettuce. Lettuce…a classic cold weather crop. I love choosing from these reliable varieties for my winter containers.

6. Swiss Chard. I love growing and cooking chard. Perhaps because I’ve had the best luck growing it! Most years, I can plant chard in my Earth Box in the fall and it will produce nearly through the summer (that is, until the killer triple digit temps get a hold of it). These are my most favorite chard varieties.

7. Kale. You can be sure that kale as one of the true treasures for the winter gardener — its sweetness and full flavor exposed with the frost. This ultra-cold-hardy, ultra-frost-tolerant leafy green vegetable is a reliable, deeply rewarding vegetable for the cold season garden. There are those varieties that can grow to harvest in the dead of winter almost anywhere! Great for salads, soups, stews, steamed, and fresh green juice…grow kale!

8. Sugar Snap Peas. Planting sugar snap peas between early November-January allows for a super early Spring harvest. Sugar snap peas are a huge favorite around here…they’re nutritious and totally yummy. Not to mention, if bought at the grocery, expensive. Most importantly, sugar snap peas are very easy to grow and produce abundantly.

9. Spinach. Another highly nutritious leafy green that’s extremely easy to grow in the winter container garden. Spinach is super-cold-hardy — the perfect crop for winter and early spring.

10. Sprouts. Winter is when we need greens the most, and sprouts are the nutritional powerhouse of the season. Grown without soil — only requiring water and your kitchen countertop — sprouts are extremely easy for everyone, everywhere to grow over winter and can be started at any time. They make excellent additions to salads, sandwiches, soups, dips, stir-fry’s, etc. Sprouts are the ultimate “container gardening” vegetable! To grow sprouts all your really need is a small container…i.e. a glass mason jar and a straining lid (I have this one). Or you could get really serious and get one, two, or a few kitchen seed sprouters like this one (I absolutely love my kitchen seed sprouters, they have revolutionized the sprout growing process for me). Tip :: New to growing sprouts? This organic, non-GMO sprouting seeds sampler is a great place to start. My favorite seed mixes include this Organic Non-gmo Sprouting Seeds Salad Mix Broccoli, Clover, Radish, Alfalfa , this Organic Non-gmo Sprouting Seed Mix of Red Clover, Red Lentil, French Lentil, Daikon Radish, Fenugreek, and this Organic Non-gmo Sprouting Seeds Rainbow Bean Mix Garbanzo, Lentil, Green Pea

*Don’t forget Garlic…garlic does extremely well grown in containers and it’s very easy to grow. Plant it now for a beautiful late Spring/early Summer harvest.

What do you grow during the winter months?

Homemade Vaseline Recipe :: The Look + Feel of Petroleum Jelly Without the Toxins

How to make homemade vaseline with the feel and function of petroleum jelly without the toxins

Confession…

…after all of these years, I still have Vaseline in my bathroom drawer.

Yup!

See, there it is..

How to make homemade vaseline

Ugh…super horrible, I know!!!

Growing up, Vaseline was my Mom’s cure-all. She used it for EVERYthing! Eye makeup remover, facial moisturizer, lip balm, wound salve, she put it on her heels at night, EVERYthing! And I must say…at 60 years old, the woman has zero wrinkles. Nevertheless, I’m now well aware of the reality behind Vaseline, I guess in someway it’s always held some sort of nostalgia for me and it’s just one of those things!

Not to mention, the recipes for homemade non-petroleum jelly floating around on Pinterest…well…they never really produced the FEEL of Vaseline.

Speaking of Pinterest…you should follow me!
Click here and let’s share!

I want the feel — and function — of petroleum jelly…just not the petroleum jelly.

Make sense?!?

I could spend time writing about the dangers and toxic concerns over petroleum jelly…

…but I won’t.

The name itself is enough.

If you’d like to read more, these fine folks do a wonderful job
presenting the reasons why Vaseline should be abandoned.
They give a great case and motivation for making your own!
Little House Living
Jenni Raincloud
Brooklyn Herborium

All of that to say, after working in the kitchen for a few hours, I came up with a recipe that’s PERFECT!

Finally!

I love this homemade petroleum-free jelly, more so because I can once-and-for-all say good-bye to conventional Vaseline (I love you Mom)!

Homemade Vaseline

Ingredients
*Use organic ingredients whenever possible. I have linked to the products I use as a reference.

Method

  1. In a small sauce pan, over low to medium heat, warm coconut oil and beeswax until melted.
  2. Remove from heat and add olive oil, castor oil, lanolin, and vitamin E oil.
  3. Whisk until all ingredients are well combined.
  4. Continue to whisk as mixture cools, whisk until mixture is creamy yet still pourable.
  5. Pour from pan into a 4 ounce glass jar (I keep these on hand at all times) or any other appropriate storage container of your choosing.

This homemade product will keep fresh on the counter for up to a year.

Use as you would Vaseline.

How to Make Medicinal Pickled Turmeric :: To Reduce Inflammation & Promote Wellness

How to make medicinal pickled turmeric

Today I set a few jars of pickled garlic.

Following Rosemary Gladstar’s recipe — in her book Medicinal Herbs — garlic is transformed into irresistible “taste morsels” with the power to strengthen the body in its’ efforts to maintain health and heal from illness.

All of that to say…

…while I was at the market purchasing what some would consider insane amounts of garlic, I picked up a pound of fresh turmeric root.

Using a similar method to that Rosemary institutes for the garlic…pickled turmeric now sits on my windowsill.

How to make medicinal pickled turmeric

A Bit About Turmeric

Turmeric root is one of the world’s most powerful natural healers.

Its’ active ingredient curcumin, has been known for centuries to have extremely potent medicinal properties — and is documented as being effective in treating a variety of conditions.

Most notably, Turmeric is used for immune system support and in the treatment of inflammatory disorders (i.e. arthritis)…but that’s not all!

Top 10 Reasons to Incorporate Turmeric into your Daily Diet

  1. Turmeric root is an anti-microbial. That means it will attack both bacterial infections and viral infections and destroy both. It is particularly effective in treating illnesses of the respiratory system (this makes it a superb remedy for the cold and flu season).
  2. It has shown to prevent and stop the growth of prostate, breast, skin, lung and colon cancer
  3. Known to reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes
  4. A natural liver detoxifier.
  5. Research shows it may prevent and slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
  6. As a potent natural anti-inflammatory, turmeric may work just as well as many anti-inflammatory drugs. Furthermore, reducing the risks associated with the side effects of those types of medications.
  7. It’s a natural painkiller.
  8. Aids in fat metabolism (i.e. helps with weight management)
  9. Trusted for many, many years in other cultures as a treatment for depression.
  10. Skin health! It speeds up wound healing and assists in the treatment of acne, eczema, psoriasis, and uneven pigmentation.

No local source for fresh Turmeric Root?
Purchase raw, organic Turmeric Root here…

With all this goodness…I’m always eager to create ways to incorporate turmeric in my diet!

Read more :: How to Make Herbal Anti-Inflammatory Capsules

Pickled turmeric is a super tasty fix! Ready for the recipe?

How to make medicinal pickled turmeric

Pickled Turmeric Root

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. raw, organic turmeric root, washed, peeled, and sliced into bite-size pieces
  • organic apple cider vinegar, enough to cover 
  • juice of one (1) lemon
  • 1-3 peppers, chopped (Peppers such as cayenne, jalapeno, thai, etc. accelerate the absorption of turmeric through the blood stream by relaxing blood vessels down to capillaries allowing the medicinal properties of turmeric to get to the problem areas more efficiently.)
  • raw, organic honey

Optional Add-Ins
**Add the following according to availability and taste.

-sliced fresh ginger
-whole fresh garlic
-a true cinnamon (sweet) stick or two
-just a few whole cloves, star anise, and/or cardamon pods

Method
**As according to Rosemary Gladstar’s method for Pickled Garlic.

  1. Fill a glass jar (I used a recycled pickle jar, however a pound of turmeric root will fill a quart-size mason jar just fine) with washed, peeled, and sliced into bite-size pieces of fresh turmeric root. Top with the chopped peppers of your choosing. Note: Include any optional add-ins at this time also.
  2. Add juice of one lemon.
  3. Add enough apple cider vinegar to cover the turmeric root. Cap the jar.
  4. Place the jar in a sunny window for 1-2 (up to 4) weeks. Invert jar daily.
  5. Strain off the liquid into a clean bowl.
  6. Reserve half of the liquid to be used in salad dressings, and other kitchen delights (store this liquid in the refrigerator for up to a year).
  7. Place the rest of the liquid in a small sauce pan with equal amounts of honey.
  8. Warm on super low heat, just long enough to incorporate the honey and vinegar mixture completely.
  9. Pour mixture back over the turmeric root in the original jar, cap, and allow to steep another 1-2 (up to 4) weeks.
  10. Store in a cool, dark place. Will keep for up to a year.

Eat freely!

Enjoy especially during phases of acute inflammation or illness (a wonderful remedy for respiratory illness during cold and flu season).

How do you like your turmeric?!?

Super Simple Homemade Lip Balm

Super simple homemade lip balm recipe...perfect for winter

In my home, preparations are well underway for the colder, darker days of winter.

Along with healing plant-based remedies…

…lip balm making happens to be one of the items high on the list of priorities.

I started making my own homemade lip balm many, many moons ago.

It’s pretty safe to say, I’ll never go back to store bought! The truth is…you just can’t beat the savings of making your own. Not to mention, the health benefits of 100% pure, organic, and highly-nourishing ingredients.

It’s also super simple!

Follow my recipe below, and within a matter of minutes, you’ll have a lovely batch of balm on the counter cooling — ready to help you through the winter.

Homemade Lip Balm

Ingredients
*Whenever possible, use organic ingredients. I have linked to my favorites as examples of what to look for.

  • 2 tablespoons kokum butter
  • 2 tablespoon shea butter (This shea butter is the best…I’ve heated it up over low heat and melted it in with the other ingredients, and there hasn’t been any of the grittiness that some shea butter causes.)
  • 1 tablespoon jojoba oil
  • 2 teaspoons beeswax (to make this recipe vegan…use 1 teaspoon of carnauba wax instead of beeswax)

Optional Add-Ins

-1/4 teaspoon non-GMO vitamin E oil
-20 drops essential oils, below are my oils to use in lip balm

  • 20 drops Rose Absolute
  • 20 drops Peppermint
  • 8 drops peppermint, 8 drops sweet orange, and 4 drops tea tree

Method

  1. Set up makeshift double boiler. Fill a small sauce pan with 1-2 inches of water. Warm on stove over medium/high heat.
  2. Place a glass measuring cup — like this one — in the middle of the pan *do not allow water to enter cup*
  3. Put beeswax and kokum butter in cup, melt.
  4. Decrease heat to low.
  5. Add shea butter to cup, melt.
  6. Remove from heat.
  7. Add jojoba oil and essential oils (if using) to cup.
  8. Stir well to combine.
  9. Pour into lip balm tubes (this recipe makes more than enough to fill this pack of 12 lip balm containers).
  10. Leave containers untouched on counter until completely hardened.

Store in a cool, dry place.

Enjoy!

 

Preserving Herbs :: An All Natural, Independent Insurance Policy

Gathering and Preserving Herbs :: The Art of Creating an All Natural, Independent Insurance Policy

Wouldn’t it be so well-arranged if every region of the world contained medicinal plants — always at the peak of their healing magic!

Or better yet, what if our need for them only occurred when they were readily available!?!

Nevertheless, it’s not by chance or random occurrence that it DOES seem to have been designed that way in so many circumstances.

Take for example the following that we see in the natural world:

  • during the months of the harsh summer sun — comfrey and aloe flourish.
  • when poison ivy, oak, and sumac grow invasively –plantain or jewelweed will always be near by.
  • as the winter cold brings cough, colds, flus, sore throat, and a variety of respiratory illnesses — the bark of the wild cherry tree stands at the peak of it’s strength ready to soothe.
  • after long months of hibernation and preserved foods — Spring bursts through the darkness with colorful, cleansing tonics…ready to renew our bodies as nature herself renews.

Unfortunately, life and nature are not always so orderly.

We must show the wisdom of our ancestors, and plan ahead for the uncertain twists and turns.

Gathering and preserving herbs is a kind of insurance policy against those times when our health throws us an untimely curve, and presents us with a problem when our favored herbs are “out of season.”

WHY HERBS?

+Because they work gently and effectively.
+Because you can grow many yourselves, right outside your front door or even in your kitchen.
+Because it’s our birthright to use the gifts of nature with respect and wisdom.
+Because up until relatively recently, at least in the western world, herbs were an integral part of taking care of ourselves.

Health doesn’t come from plastic bottles. Vitality grows naturally from the way you live your life. Deep down, people already know this.

If you want to learn more about herbs as medicine and as food, and if you’re just too busy to enroll in an in-person program, join the Herbal Academy of New England for a comprehensive and convenient online herbal course you can complete anywhere and anytime!

Learn what your great ancestors knew about the natural world and begin to build your own apothecary.

Start classes anytime! Click this link to learn more and register.

As with an other type of insurance, we hope that it will never be needed, but our preserved harvest also offers great comfort by its presence.

In fact, the process of preserving and laying by our medicinal herbs can be very therapeutic in itself.

There is little more satisfying than knowing that our own labors have contributed to the preservation of our own health, and that of our loved ones.

Traditional methods of preserving herbs by…

  • drying
  • tincturing
  • oil extraction
  • making of salves and ointments
  • pill encapsulation

…are tried and true.

Yet whatever the method, the goal is the same — to capture the essence of the herb’s natural healing powers and protect it from deterioration so that it can be used whenever it might be needed.

Read more of my articles regarding the subject of preserving herbs here:

Nor could I ever more strongly recommend the following books:

Over the next few weeks I will be sharing recipes for homemade remedies that are presently in my pantry ready for use (acting as my family’s insurance policy) should we need them.

I sincerely hope you follow along and join me as together we create an all natural, independent insurance policy for the coming months of winter!

Be sure not to miss a single post…click this link and subscribe to the newsletter.

Looking for a supplier of plants, oils, and herbs…Mountain Rose Herbs
…they are my go-to for all my herbal needs!
Their quality, affordability, and adherence to strict organic and fair trade practices
make the dried herbs, plant-based cold-processed oils, and essential oils they offer
unmatched in the industry!

How has gathering and preserving herbs empowered you and given you peace of mind?