Green Goddess Vinegar

This blend was inspired by all the green “weeds” that pop up from mama earth in the cool, wet springtime. 

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The thing about these often overlooked and sometimes grumbled over plants is that they offer us not only their powerhouse of nutrients, but also their strength and tenacity. 

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There’s a reason they are hard to get rid of and spread easily and abundantly; part of  why they’re here is because we need them. Some of them have long, strong roots that tap mineral resources from deep underground, pulling those minerals up into their leaves making them available for our (and other animal’s) bodies.  They can carpet disturbed areas quickly, helping increase the biomass of fallow fields and growing on land (and cracks!) where many other plants cannot survive, preparing the soil for future growth.

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Chickweed! (Stellaria media)
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Stinging nettles! (Urtica dioica)

All of these green wonders are mildly cleansing, helping to flush the body of toxins and build-up by supporting the liver and lymph system. They are just what our bodies are asking for after a winter of rich foods and cozy inactivity.  They are also super high in vitamins and minerals, like drinking a multi-vitamin. The raw apple cider vinegar has its own health benefits: normalizing blood sugar and cholesterol, aiding in digestion and elimination, and helping manage fatigue.  So wake up! It’s time to move, cleanse and revitalize our bodies!

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Cleavers! (Galium aparine)

 

 

Suggested Use

Use up to 1 Tbsp 3-5 times per day. It’s delicious in warm water with honey as a way to wake up the belly in the morning. I put a splash in my water bottle for the day. Mix it in salad dressing, sprinkle it on rice and beans, add it to anything. And Shake Well!

nettles* dandelion leaf and flower* cleavers* chickweed* violet leaf and flower* in raw apple cider vinegar+

10oz. $15

*Grown and harvested in RI with love and without chemicals        +certified organic

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B. Glorious

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This blend was born out of the lovely calm that comes with harvesting flowers.  Their colors, their smell and those pollinators(!) all create a dreamy haze of beauty.  The bees were covering the lavender bushes as I carefully gathered a few bundles, they were hiding in the beach roses while we harvested on the summer solstice and they were zooming through the meadows as my kids and I got to meander through Hidden Meadows Farm this year with our friend Heidi, leisuring picking red clover.

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The chamomile is a self-seeding hedge of volunteer blossoms at Cathy and George’s land where I garden. We are so blessed by its abundance! I try to plant it in my garden beds, but it remains straggly and rarely self-seeds. Then a few feet away, mixed with clover and grass it carpets the ground, coming back every year.

 

 

 

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For summer blends I like to use mint and lemon-scented herbs because of their cooling and uplifting properties. The mint this year came from the orchards at Earth Care Farm and the garden of my friend Jeanne who lets it send out its copious runners wherever it pleases. 

As for lemon, I added every lemony herb that I grow. They are all uplifting as well as anti-viral.  I started growing lemon verbena last year and its smell is tied in first place as my favorite scent ever.  And I finally have thriving lemon balm, thanks to my friend Sara K who brought me her volunteer lemon balm that was taking over. I’m so happy to have it taking over my garden! 

To all these lovely beginnings, I added deeply nourishing, calcium-rich oatstraw and oat tops. Plus some nervous system support with skullcap and chamomile. The result is a cooling and uplifting yet calming walk through a flower garden. Imagine how it feels to deeply smell a beach rose: that inner peace, contented smile, refreshing beauty….that’s what I’m going for here. Let’s all be glorious this summer. You can choose with or without a dash of freshly dried stevia.

Suggested Use:

Steep 1 Tbsp. per cup of boiling water for at least 20 minutes with a lid. The longer you steep it, the more minerals will be infused into the water, and I think the taste improves. You can even steep it overnight for the full nutrient value. And try it with cold water as a sun tea!

Ingredients:

mint* lemon balm* oatstraw+ lemongrass* red clover* lemon verbena* chamomile* skullcap* rose petals* oat tops+ lavender* stevia*

16oz. $13

*Grown and harvested in RI with love and without chemicals        +certified organic

 

 

Clear Lung Syrup

This is a blend of demulcent herbs to soothe the throat and lungs, and expectorants to clear the lungs of gunk.  Elecampane is great for wet, mucousy bronchial infections and is used for bronchitis, asthma, chronic lung ailments, and even tuberculosis. Coltsfoot helps dilate the bronchioles and expel mucus. Pleurisy root is great for the lingering cough that just won’t go away. Marshmallow and licorice help to coat the mucous membranes and soothe sore throats and dry coughs. I added tulsi tincture for its expectorant and adaptogenic properties, plus sage and thyme tinctures to help dry and clear mucous.

Suggested Use:

Take 1-2 Tbsp, one to three times per day as needed.  

Keep the syrup refrigerated!

Ingredients: elecampane, marshmallow and pleurisy roots, coltsfoot, mullein, tulsi (holy basil), thyme, sage, water, grain alcohol, raw RI honey

Iron Syrup

Love Yr Liver: Herbal Iron and Mineral Syrup

This delicious blend of roots and leaves is a potent and easily absorbable source of bio-chelated iron, as well as many other vitamins and minerals. It is also a wonderful support for your liver.  As our body’s master detoxifier and processor of all we ingest, the liver is a very important organ to keep in balance. The liver also manufactures many of the building blocks needed for hormone production and helps regulate hormone activity.  When addressing any imbalance, it is helpful to also support the liver.

Suggested Use:

You can take up to 6 Tbsp daily if you know you are iron or mineral deficient or need extra liver support. I recommend starting with 2 Tbsp and see how you feel. If you experience loose bowels, reduce the dose and gradually increase it over time.

Keep Refrigerated

Ingredients:

dandelion, burdock and yellow dock roots, dandelion leaf, raspberry leaf, nettles, water, molasses, black cherry juice concentrate, and (optional) brandy.

*All herbs freshly harvested with love in Rhode Island

**Recipe adapted from Rosemary Gladstar’s A Family Herbal

B. Clear Tea Blend

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Freshly harvested nettles!

 

Yes, to be clear. To be open and moving and free. These are the qualities this tea brings in as our bodies awake from their winter stagnation.  Nettles, dandelion and cleavers are all supporting our bodies to flush out the old and make way for the new. These spring weeds, plus alfalfa, make a mineral packed powerhouse of spring time energy.  Holy basil (tied with nettles for first place as my favorite herb) is the great balancer in a group of plants known as adaptogens. Adaptogens support our bodies to adapt to stress of any kind (even the simple stress of a change of season). It also supports immune and respiratory function and sharpens memory.  The sage helps clear out the sinuses and the licorice enhances the action of all the other herbs, plus adds its silky sweetness to balance all that green vitality. Yum.

Suggested Use:

Steep 1 Tbsp per cup of hot water for 20+ minutes, covered. The longer it is steeped, the more minerals are extracted. You can even let it steep overnight.

Ingredients: nettles, alfalfa, tulsi (holy basil), dandelion leaf, cleavers, sage, licorice (licorice is optional).

Autumn tinctures

SWEET CITRUS SUNSHINE

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Similar to the Shine the Light blend, this creation is about bringing the vibrancy and sunshine of summer into our darker days. I grew lemon verbena for the first time this year and its scent is on its way to becoming my all-time favorite smell ever; I could just float away on its lemony cloud of loveliness. So that’s what I was trying to bottle when I made this blend. It’s that feeling of being on Cloud 9, just drifting along without a care in the world: so calm, so content, spirits soaring. All of these lemony herbs certainly lift the spirits and promote a feeling of well-being while soothing and toning the nervous system. They are also all wonderful digestive herbs, helping relieve abdominal discomfort of all kinds. Plus, they help alleviate fever, are anti-spasmodic and anti-viral. I added a handful of fresh raspberries and sunny flowers for that extra little taste of summer.  I must say, it’s really like summer in a bottle.

Suggested Use:  1-3 dropperfuls one to three times per day, as needed.

Ingredients:
Lemon verbena, lemon balm, lemongrass, lime basil, lemon, fresh raspberries, calendula, nasturtium in vodka. 1oz. $13

Autumn Tinctures

Shine the Light Blend

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This blend is inspired by the wonders of St. John’s Wort (some like to call it “St. Joan’s Wort and I recently saw an herbalist label hers as “Solstice Wort”), which is in its full glory on the summer solstice, soaking in all the magic of the sun and the feeling of unlimited potential and abundance in the air.  

I mixed in some lemon balm oxymel; an infusion of lemon balm in raw apple cider vinegar and raw honey, my new favorite way to preserve an herb.  So much yum. Lemon balm is a special nervine that is soothing and calming to the mind as well as the digestive tract.  It is also anti-viral, helping a body stay healthy during cold season.  In magical lore it is said to attract love and its flower essence “develops self-love and strengthens the belief that you are worthy and deserving of love” (from Opening our Wild Hearts to the Healing Herbs).

And then of course I mixed in some tulsi, aka holy basil.  As we move into the dark time of year, this herb (as is true of all basils) is wonderfully uplifting and comforting.  It helps us maintain a balanced state of mind and a feeling of well-being. It is also antiseptic and anti-viral, keeping the body free of infection.

The rose is added whenever we need a little boost of summer splendor.  Associated with beauty and love in so many cultures in all of time, the rose helps bring that beauty into your heart.  I love that the beach roses here in Rhode Island are also in full bloom on the summer solstice, making this blend really like some sunshine in a bottle.

Suggested Use: 1-3 dropperfuls one to three times per day, as needed.

**St. John’s wort does interact and/or decrease the efficacy of many prescription drugs.  Please look at the drug interactions list if you are taking any pharmaceutical medication**

Ingredients:

St. John’s wort, lemon balm, tulsi, rose in grain alcohol, vodka, water, raw apple cider vinegar and raw honey

Digestive Bitters

Herbal Bitters: Digestion Tonic

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These miraculous herbs offer us the gift of a very under-used and under-appreciated taste.  Bitter is the flavor that is suggested in Chinese medicine when the weather is turning colder at the end of autumn. “Bitter challenges the body, alerting it through taste that a complex food is being ingested,” says the Urban Moonshine website. When the bitter flavor hits the tongue, it signals the body to produce bile and enzymes for digestion, thus making it easier on the body to break down food.  Bitters can help with such digestive complications as acid reflux, heartburn, indigestion, gas and cramping.

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Suggested Use:

One to two dropperfuls (30-60 drops) before or after meals.

Ingredients:

burdock root, dandelion leaf and root, chamomile, green apple, fennel seed, ginger in grain alcohol and water

Astragalus

Astragalus

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Astragalus is one of the premier herbal remedies for Lyme disease support.  It enhances immune system function in such a way that it assists the body in getting rid of the Lyme infection.  Stephen Buhner has done extensive research on Lyme treatment and has developed an herbal protocol to address acute Lyme as well as chronic Lyme.  He also suggests using astragalus as a preventative because of its positive effect on the immune system.  He actually recommends taking it every day, all year round if living in a Lyme disease area.  Another important detail is that with chronic Lyme, sometimes astragalus can make symptoms worse. But Buhner notes that sometimes that is not the case. So I recommend avoiding it in cases of chronic Lyme.

Astragalus has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years as an adaptogen, meaning it helps the body deal with symptoms of stress.  Besides being one of the best herbs for building immune system strength, it is also energizing to the entire body, improving athletic endurance. It also promotes circulatory health and stimulates regular metabolism of dietary sugars (often used by diabetics).  Here’s more info than you ever wanted to know about astragalus.

I make my astragalus tincture as a strong water decoction, meaning I boil the fresh or dried root in water.  Water is the best extractor of the active constituents in astragalus. Because it is water soluble and has a mild flavor, astragalus makes a fine addition to food.  You can add astragalus powder to anything: smoothies, grains, soups.  Some folks put the sliced dry root (sometimes called a tongue depressor because of its shape) into their pot of soup, grains, or beans so that the simmering action extracts the medicinal properties.  I also make astragalus ice cubes by making a strong decoction and then freezing it in an ice cube tray. This makes an easy dosing for my family.  I add it to any of our drinks, smoothies or soup.

Suggested Use:

3-4 dropperfuls (1/2 to 1 teaspoon) once daily for prevention. Use 2 to 3 teaspoons a day after a tick bite or when dealing with acute Lyme symptoms. **Not for use in chronic Lyme**

Ingredients:

fresh and dried astragalus root, water, grain alcohol (20% for preservation)