You’ve heard me talk about it in videos and probably seen me eat the leaves right out of the jar. Stevia is one of my favorite herbs, with a sweetness 300 times greater than sugar.
Not to be confused with artificial sweeteners of any kind, Stevia is absolutely the real deal. If you have children around your garden, it’s even more fun to grow. I love taking a leaf and chewing it, making all of my typical ‘yum, ooh, aww’ noises and then - if I’m very convincing, they will try it too. I love to see the look on their faces when they taste the intense sweetness of this herb!
If you decide to use Stevia in your kitchen, then growing and drying your own stevia is really important. I know I sound a little bossy, but please watch out for the Stevia-fakers at the store. Green packets that say Stevia, implying that the contents is - you know, Stevia.
But it’s not.
It’s sugar, filler and some Stevia. Please beware of those...
Stevia: Relax & Renew Garden
I happen to LOVE Stevia, but it’s an acquired taste.
Stevia is a staple in my herb garden and I often include it in medicinal tea formulas. No need for sugar or honey, adding a few dried stevia leaves to your tea herbs will ensure that your tea will always be naturally sweet. It has zero calories, and zero glycemic index impact, meaning it doesn’t cause insulin release.
Best of all, you can GROW YOUR OWN.
Stevia is 300 times sweeter than sugar and will retain its sweetness in a jar for at least 18 months. Pull a leaf right off the plant and chew it - yum!
Nigella Sativa aka Black Seed: Skin Care Garden
This tiny seed is packed with loads of healing power. I found 318 clinical studies and even more research articles defining the ability of Nigella to improve or eradicate conditions ranging from MRSA and asthma to diabetes, obesity, and bacterial and fungal infections.
Many people use black seed as an oil, and others...
First we have Aloe Vera or Aloe Arborescens aka Candelabra Aloe
It’s spring and these beauties are in bloom! I can see this gorgeous Aloe Vera through my office window, reminding me to calendar our sunburn salve formulas! The Aloe Vera has over 250 species, but the one with the highest degree of medicinal value for topical burns? This giant, the Arborescens. Some people use the juice, which is taken from the base of the leaf, but the gel is easy to access by cutting a leaf open and squeezing or scraping out the cooling gel. Aloe has been an herbal staple around the world for centuries, often referred to as the ‘First Aid Plant’.
Commercial Aloe Vera can contain nasty residue from the collection and packaging process, so always opt for organic, or even better – grow your own!!
Next, we have the Passion Flower!
Few flowers impact our mood regulators as greatly as Passiflora Incarnata. Packed with flavonoids that combat anxiety, a recent...
This weeks Alltogetherb(s): Citronella, Clove & Thyme for an Herbal Mosquito Repellent
They’re baaaaaacckk! It’s summer and along with the warm days and umbrella drinks comes a pesky number of bugs, among them the mosquito.
Mosquito bites can range from annoying to dangerous, as mosquitos around the globe carry a host of dangerous diseases including Malaria, West Nile virus, Encephalitis, Dengue fever, Parasitic diseases, and more recently, the Zika virus.
The US Department of Agriculture shared this report, stating that Coconut Oil Compounds actually protect from mosquito bites better than DEET, which is the chemical ingredient in most over the counter mosquito repellents.
But the best mosquito repellent comes from a combination of these coconut compounds and a few key herbs that have been repelling mosquitoes and biting bugs since bugs and plants began!
We found research published in the US National Library of Medicine and the Malaria...
This weeks Alltogetherb is Bupleurum
Bupleurum has been used in Eastern medicine for thousands of years to clear the liver. Ancient herbalists believed that unresolved emotions were held in the liver and could manifest as physical illness. Today, researchers have found science-based connections between Unresolved Emotions and Liver Imbalance.
Clients using Bupleurum for a liver cleansing often report having a ‘good cry’ for no apparent reason, which is a vital part of the liver cleansing process. So find some Bupleurum, grab a box of tissues and let the cleansing begin!
This week we're sharing tips for growing Lavender for your Skin Care Garden!
Lavender is antiseptic, aromatic, and astringent, and eases flare-ups caused by eczema and psoriasis. The word Lavender is from the Greek word Lavare, which means ‘to wash’, indicating its use in skin and topical treatments for thousands of years.
Harvesting Lavender is an easy process, ongoing throughout the summer months. Start now and you’ll have plenty of Lavender when we start making skin care treatments later this summer.
Cut the lavender in the late morning if possible. Rinse it really early in the morning and let it dry. Harvest before noon, after it’s dry, but before the heat of the day. Cut the stems low in the plant, bundle and tie them. Hang them blossom-side down in a cool dry place with the flower heads over a bowl or container.
Each time you walk by, gently shake the lavender, which will give up the blossom seeds as it dries out. I learned this...
This weeks Alltogetherb is the California Poppy! Eschscholzia Californica
These babies are in full bloom so harvest them before they start to drop their seeds and dry out. Reminder, this is the state flower in California so no wild harvesting there without permission. They are prolific wildflowers throughout the US and Canada so most of us can find or grow these easily.
California Poppy is an important part of our Anxiety and Relaxation formulas so try not to miss this harvest time.
Although they share a few of the key alkaloids found in Opium poppies, California poppies do not contain any opium (that question comes up a lot.) Throughout the summer, and as the rest of your Herbal Medicine Garden is ready to harvest, we’ll teach you how to use these poppies in formulas for relaxation, anxiety, sleep, as a nervine, sedative and an analgesic. If you missed Herbellum's Medicine Garden, see details here.
We use the Aerial Parts of the poppy plant,...
My Dad’s Budweiser Planting Brew
My Dad grew legendary veggies. In fact, at his memorial service, we gave away seed packets with his custom label and cartoon face. ‘Bob’s swanky tomatoes’.
So what was his secret? That’s right - he passed along this legacy to me, and I know he’ll be proud to have you carry on this classy tradition. He called it his ‘planting brew’. It was the raunchiest stuff around, but how could we argue with success? Year after year he grew giant, happy, healthy veggies.
Start by digging 6” x 12” holes 12” apart. BTW, those holes need to be perfectly straight (you just got a flash into my childhood.) For each hole, mix the following:
Even the frostiest climates have passed the mid-April threshold for starting a summer garden. With the intense focus on our health and safety in recent months, it feels right to move the tomatoes and cucumbers over a smidge and make way for an Herbal Medicine Garden.
Community gardens are becoming more common, spurred by our recent experiences with food and medicine shortages, and word on the street is that gardens and growing our own food and medicine are making a big comeback!
If you’ve followed our work for long, you know that when we plant herbs, there is a science-based medicinal purpose for each one. Every herb is an important part of a healing herbal formula which we’ll help you create throughout the summer or at harvest time.
So, what to plant? How do the herbs work together? And what will you make from all these herbs when they’re ready to harvest? All great questions, which we’ll walk you through with each passing week in our...
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