Saturday, November 29, 2014

Special - Short and Sweet!

Our offer - though Monday - is this:
Shop around on our website, and pick out over $40 worth of merchandise.  Nothing is excluded.  When you're finished, look around on the downloadable book tab.
Choose from:
     Crafting the Bath
     Fairy Home Companion
     An Elder Gathering
     Herb Soaps from Scratch
     Herbie Word Puzzles
     Herb Beads
     Blending Herbal Teas
     Balms & Salves
     Making and Using Herb Vinegars
      Perfect Potpourri and Scented Gifts
OR any of our listed back issues.
When you've found the one you want, place your order for $40 or more, and in the comments section, give us the title.  We'll send you the link to that book or magazine as soon as the order arrives in our in-box.  And just about the time you've finished enjoying it, your order will arrive!
Pretty good deal, eh?

Friday, November 28, 2014

More Homemade Herbal Gifts!

A few years ago, we gathered all of the posts together in one post (it will be the last link given in this post) so that it would be easy to find great projects for making gifts and decoration.  That was years ago though, and so we pulled together some that were written since then, to add to the list!  In case you're wondering, yes... this is exactly the sort of thing you might find in our magazine or compilation books, but here's a fantabulous sampling:

This one might be fun to try with the spice and applesauce clay that we all use to make ornaments.

Naturally, you can use whatever oil/fat you'd like. 
A craft that never goes out of style.

herbal candy and cough drops

pretty spiffy, right?
a gift directly from your kitchen, via the garden

grown up play dough that smolders and scents

Flower fun from the garden, into the cup!
This one is particularly fun to do with young'uns.  Crewel needles aren't very sharp.
Or follow the general directions to make many different herb and fruit jellies.

Original list where you'll find many other crafts:

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Giving Thanks

Today I'm taking this moment to be full of thanks for everyone who is a part of what we do here.  This has been one amazing year.  I didn't have more than a minute here and there to stop and think about what was happening!
About this time last year, I started work on Healing Herbs for  Fair Winds Press.

With only a chapter or two left to be finished, we were joined for several months here on the hill by a little darling (and her mother) and she was fun to wake up to each morning.

In summer, I submitted an article to The Herbarist, the yearly journal of the Herb Society of America, and while I haven't seen it yet, friends have told me that it turned out very well.

Just a couple of months later, our roomies moved on to their new home and within days, work on the newest book, "Through the Seasons" was underway.  We finished that last month and all of the preordered books went out a couple of weeks ago to great reviews.

Molly came on board as our Social Media Director, and we're about 2 shakes of a tail feather from sending off the final issue of our 13th year of The Essential Herbal magazine!

Quite a year indeed!  None of what we accomplish here would be possible without all of you!  Without our writers, magazine subscribers, book lovers, and HERBIES, there'd be nothing to talk about here.  We view ourselves as the hub of a wheel, with all of you the spokes and the wheel itself.  Over the years, we've been so grateful to have witnessed real life friendships form among our readers, people helping each other, and the joy of herbs finding its way into so many lives.  There is no better life that I can think of, and while it may be what I call my "job", it is a pure delight. 

So thank you.  Thank you for finding us, reading our magazine, loving our books, participating on our social media, and being as in love with herbs as we are.  Thank you.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Herb of the Week: Lemon Balm

When I first started working at The Rosemary House, Susanna taught me about lemon balm. Other than the fact that it is delicious the herb is fantastic for seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and what I found most amazing was that its root system lives all year round!

Lemon balm is in the mint family and has been used for everything from insomnia to colic for hundreds of years. Lemon balm is often used in tea for its flavor but can bring positive affects medicinally. Lemon balm has been used to encourage perspiration to break a fever. The herb can also be mixed with valerian or chamomile to calm an anxious mind and get ready for sleep. The flavor is mild enough for children.

The herb contains tannins, volatile oils, and terpenes. It is also carminative, diaphoretic and febrifuge. These encourage relaxation and have antiviral effects. It contains eugenol as well. This can calm muscles and help relieve aches and pains during a fever or flu.

As mentioned, what amazes me most about this herb is that, virtually, it never dies. While the leaves fall off, the root system thrives throughout the winter. Since lemon balm is a known combatant of depression and SAD, there is something to be said about the fact that no matter what, lemon balm will always be there when you need it (even though you may have to dig it out of the snow).

So beat the winter blues by adding lemon balm to tea, cookies, or scones and relax. Spring will be here before you know it!


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Mint Nut Bread

 In the current issue, you'll find several delicious breads for entertaining, and I decided to give one a shot.  After putting together the food and beverage chapter for Through the Seasons, it seems like we should be doing a LOT more cooking around here!

Cooling - smells incredible!

So I should mention that we did not have any applesauce in the house, but we did have some frozen persimmon pulp.  Since the persimmons are just perfect for gathering right now (after a deep freeze over the last few days), I decided to use some of the frozen stuff, giving me a good excuse to go gather more.  Also, it turns out that Molly hasn't really had much experience with persimmons, and that needs to be remedied since there are 2 trees out back!  I'll try it again with applesauce, but just so you know, it is delicious made with persimmon, too.

It is just as good as it looks.  Dense, moist, and full of flavor.

So here's a little excerpt from the article...

From the article:
Unique Holiday Season Recipes
by Marcy Lautanen-Raleigh

I love quick breads.  No raise time to worry about and you can blend in just about any combination of herbs to craft an infinite number of flavors.  I make mixes for herb breads for the holiday season at the Backyard Patch, and this one is among my favorites. This bread is actually better the second day after baked.  It also freezes well.
Mint Nut Breads
2 cups unbleached flour.
¾ cup brown sugar
1 Tbls. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. nutmeg
1 cup nut meats (walnut, pecans, and such)
1 egg, beaten
1 cup applesauce
¼ cup vegetable or canola oil
1 to 2 Tbls. mint, crumbled dry (to taste)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and nuts in a large bowl.  Combine mint, egg, applesauce and oil, then add liquid to flour mixture and stir until just blended.

Pour batter into two-greased loaf pan (8 x4 x 2 inches.)  Bake in preheated oven for about 45 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Herb of the Week: Licorice

As the days have gotten shorter and the scarves have gotten longer I’ve begun craving licorice tea almost every morning. There is something about the warming bouquet of spices that just make waking up much, much easier.

I wondered why this need for licorice suddenly occurred. I had always been given licorice root on days that I’ve had a sore throat or licorice tea to help stop a cough but I’ve never had cravings for the herb.

So I had to research it, of course!

What I found was that licorice is a surprisingly versatile herb that is incredibly tasty.
Licorice is great for PMS symptoms, coughs, sore throat, indigestion, and as a sweetener.

Licorice is fantastic for sore throats and coughs because it is an expectorant. It helps keep mucus moving out of the body and also helps reduce inflammation for those who are suffering from bronchitis.

Since it is bitter and sweet, depending on the plant, it is great for stimulating digestion, encouraging bile production, and helping the gut maintain good health. This is partly the reason why it is given to children with bellyaches, that and it’s a tasty way to maintain fluids.

The herb also has some estrogenic qualities. This may help with PMS issues such as irritability, cramps, and breast tenderness. It has yet to curb my chocolate cravings, however.

If you have high blood pressure or kidney issues avoid taking large amounts of licorice as they may exacerbate your condition.

Like many other herbs I’ve learned about, licorice has a variety of uses. From sweetening your tea to helping soothe a tummy ache licorice can be a lifesaver in the winter months or during cold and flu seasons. So find a blanket, a good book, and relax with a cup of licorice tea!


Through The Seasons. Maryanne Schwartz’s article “Licorice Glycyrrhiza Glabra” (p. 49)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

It's all over but the presents...

Our prebuy for "Through the Seasons" is over.  They are now on sale, as are the downloadable puzzle books.  It's been a wild ride!  We're a small company, and getting something like this printed is a real nail-biter, hopint to be able to pay the printer upon delivery, but thanks to you we made it!  Whew!

We pulled winners from the names of those who purchased.  There were 42 prizes altogether, and odds were about 1 in 4.  Not too shabby.  Everyone got the free puzzle book download and the free shipping in the US, so in a way, everyone won.  And just wait until the book arrives!  It's amazing.

So here are the winners.  We've listed the prize, the winner's first name and last initial, and their order number:

Spiked Cacao from Morgan Botanicals        C McC 6168
Sunrose - USB aromatherapy diffuser        Maryelise H 6187
one year subscription to Herbal Roots Zine    Shelley S 6173
Sweet Dreams Spray - Lee's Teas            Mary Lynn B 6190
Healing Herbs from Quarto Publishing        Mary T 6201
Elixir from Blessed Maine Herbs            Angela W 6188
Autumn Earrings from Torchsong Studio        Elizabeth F 6179
Salve from Missouri Herbs            Tali B 6090
Zom-Be-Gone Spray from Lee's Teas        Vicky W 6034
Gypsy Plus Elixir from Nettlejuice Herbals    Marty W 6092
Wishing Vessel from Torchsong Studio        Marie McC 6163
First Issue TEH                    Cynthia J 6072
First Issue TEH                    Holly O 6011
First Issue TEH                    Danielle B 6172
First Issue TEH                    Marcia E 6150
First Issue TEH                    Barbara K 6227
All Natural Facial Kit from Mountain Rose    Patricia S 6207
Goddess Molded Soap Set from TEH        Kerry C 6198
Foot Spa Set from Colorado Aromatics        Jeanne R 5974
Ornament from Herbs By Sarah            Liz M 5995
Silky Hand Butter from Green Spiral Herbs    Gabriella C-R 6083
Herb-a-tat Salve from Ravenwood Gardens        Marci T 6009
12 Must Have Herbs - TEH            Carol McC 6193
12 Must Have Herbs - TEH            Susan R 6006
12 Must Have Herbs - TEH            Kathleen P 5982
12 Must Have Herbs - TEH            Christine Mac 6004
12 Must Have Herbs - TEH            Em S 5999
12 Must Have Herbs - TEH            Nancy H 6005
12 Must Have herbs - TEH            Ann McD 6000
12 Must Have herbs - TEH            Cathy K 6044
12 Must Have herbs - TEH            Pamela S 6137
12 Must Have herbs - TEH            Manda R 6017
Magazine Subscription - TEH            Elizabeth K 6141
Magazine Subscription - TEH            Sheri W 6147
Magazine Subscription - TEH            Cheryl S 6027
CALMA™ Eye Pillow from Winged Seed        Donna H 6170
Faux Joe from Farm at Coventry            Patricia S 6206
Shortbread Mixes from The Backyard Patch    Vicki McG 6174
Luscious Face Cream from Herbs from the Labyrinth    Stephanie C 6078
Salt Free Dressing Mixes from The Backyard Patch    Stephanie R (check)
Chocolate Peppermint Tea from Lee's Teas    Jeffrey T 6229
Celtic Knot Soap Set from TEH            Gwen H 5978

We'll be in touch with the winners and those contributing prizes within the next 24 hours.  Thank you so much, everyone!  It's been fun.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Peach Leaves

Before the buzz around our house about the new Through The Seasons, Mom had begun researching the benefits of using peach leaves medicinally. She was amazed by the versatility of the plant and I decided to further her research while she worked tirelessly on her new book.

Peach leaves are energetically cooling so the plant is wonderful for skin irritation and inflammation in your gut. Since it has mild effects herbalists from Matthew Wood to Culpepper suggest giving it to children for everything from coughs to restlessness. Peach leaves reduce inflammation because it contains small amounts of cyanide. “Each kernal, leaf, and twig contain fruit acids and cyanogens which are strongly cooling. Cyanide turns down the Kreb’s cycle in the mitochondria to prevent energy production – which is why it is toxic in large doses,” according to Matthew Wood.

This may be why many know of the plant for its use during pregnancy and menopause. Since it is a cooling plant it can help fight off heat flashes and has often been used for emotional distress related to menopause. It helps curb morning sickness since it has been known to ease nausea. It is also used topically as a poultice against swelling; perfect for swollen feet in the last months of pregnancy.

Volatile oils are water-soluble. According to “the young branches and flowers, after maceration in water, yield a volatile oil.” Mixed with alcohol such as brandy, they can make a tasty cordial or tincture and will keep through the winter months when coughs and restlessness can be at their worst. Be sure to release pressure from the container that has been created by the cyanide (otherwise it can flip your lid!). If made into a poultice or mixed with lavender oil, it can also be perfect for sunburn.

Be it tea, cordial, wine, or even ice cream peach leaves can be a tasty addition to any kitchen.