This summer was very full for me: moving, traveling, camping, digging our things out of storage and oh! digging in the garden in my free time. Thankfully, I had some support with harvesting at friends’ gardens and watering in my garden and the season was a beautiful (though weedy) success.
I want to share with you the summer products that I made. And if there is ever something that looks yummy to you, let me know and you can place a special order before you commit to a full year CSA share. Also, you can join the CSA at any point in the year. So hop on in!
This spiraling yellow petaled beauty is the hibiscus that I grew in 2015
What I really wanted, however, is the classic dark red hibiscus that colors tea pink with its brilliant pigment. So I tried to grow it this year, but the big beautiful buds never got a chance to open before the frost. Back to the drawing board for next year!
So B. Radiant includes this beautiful red flower, but not in an overpowering red zinger kind of way. The tangy zing of this tropical flower is blended with other cooling and nourishing herbs, providing extra vitamins and minerals for these active months, helping your shine to your full radiant potential. The spearmint, lemongrass, lemon balm, hibiscus and orange peel give this blend a cool and fruity energy that’s delicious as an iced tea. The raspberry leaf, alfalfa, and red clover are super high in Vitamin C and A, the B Vitamins, iron and calcium. I added just a pinch of freshly dried stevia leaves for a subtle sweetness. Feel free to add honey for a sweet iced tea.
Bugs B. Gone
I love this blend of water, vodka and oil as a carrier for the essential oils because it’s so easy to spray and so much less messy than pure oil. Also, I’ve read that fractionated coconut oil is easy to wash out of clothes. I have watched this specific essential oil blend repel mosquitos right in front of my eyes, so it is definitely effective in the backyard and on hikes for at least an hour. I can’t promise it will work for heavy clouds of mosquitoes in the deep woods, sorry! It should also repel ticks and other biting insects.
Poison Ivy Relief
Check out how this plant must have gotten its name! Look at that beautiful jewel of water held in the leaf. Jewelweed is wonderful for lessening the effects of poison ivy, and conveniently grows in among the poison ivy vines in the forest. Isn’t it amazing that nature provides exactly what we need, right where we need it?
(here’s a more info on jewelweed, how to identify and use it: http://www.wildmanstevebrill.com/Plants.Folder/Jewelweed.html ).
The other herbs help reduce skin irritation and promote healing. I add aloe vera and peppermint essential oil to each bottle for a nice cooling effect on the hot p.i. rash.
I used a highly effective (so I’m told) essential oil blend from last year and mixed it with infused olive oil to make this muscle salve. I infused the oil with three great sore muscle and nerve pain healing herbs. The first is St. John’s Wort flowers (pictured above) that grow wild on the sides of the bike path here. St. John’s Wort oil is great at penetrating into the nerve endings, relieving pain and inflammation and is also an antispasmodic. The arnica flowers in oil are great for pain, inflammation and bruising. Cottonwood buds are also anti-inflammatory and helpful for arthritic joints.
This blend features lavender, chamomile, lemon balm, frankincense; relaxing herbs that ease tension and stress. It also includes peppermint for cooling and refreshing the body. Lavender is specific for headaches, and is especially effective as an essential oil. Just smelling an essential oil sends the medicinal properties of the plants through the body’s limbic system and directly to the bloodstream and brain.
Astragalus is often recommended in the treatment of lyme disease and some herbalists recommend to use it as soon as a tick has attached. It’s one of the best herbs for building immune system strength and energizing the 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: http://www.herbalremediesadvice.org/astragalus-health-benefits.html
Love Yr Brain: Memory Tonic
So this is a repeat from last year because almost all of us need this at some point! This combines the famous Ginkgo leaf, harvested at East Farm in South Kingstown with other brain tonic herbs as well as blueberries for their antioxidant value. Ginkgo actually dilates the blood vessels to the brain, improves overall circulation in the body, strengthens arterial walls, reduces inflammation in the blood vessels and prevents blood clotting. Wow! Gotu Kola is also a vasodilator and “gently but firmly increases mental alertness and vitality by feeding and nourishing the brain,” says Rosemary Gladstar. Rosemary (the herb, not the herbalist) is also a memory aid and is good for circulation as well as reducing high blood pressure.
Herbal Bitters: Digestion Tonic
Also a repeat. It’s just so perfect as we move into the colder weather and the holiday season where we tend to eat richer foods and sometimes more food than our bodies are used to. 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.
Calm Belly Calm Mind Glycerite
That’s my little guy in a catnip jungle. My catnip got so out of control this summer, it squished half of my sage on one side and some of my chamomile on the other. Sheesh, catnip, calm down! Ha ha, my dad would love that joke. Get it? (Read below if you need more info to get my unintended and amazing humor).
This is a blend that my friend Lia (who’s also a b. tree member!) and I created with a group of homeschool kids during a healing herbs class. We love how the flavors blended so beautifully. Lemon balm is a wonderful nervine, meaning that it nourishes the nervous system, helping reduce stress and anxiety and providing a sense of well-being. The catnip and chamomile both have the dual properties of calming the mind and promoting sleep, as well as soothing the lining of the digestive tract. Ginger and fennel are both excellent after dinner digestive aids. They help with gas pains, indigestion, over-full stomachs, acid reflux, and nausea.
Rose Violet Glycerite
Whoa, you can pretend to be a tiny ant in this picture, crawling through the massive violet flower forest. Be sure to check them out when they pop up next spring. They are delicious in salads, beautiful to make lemonade with, and so good at moving out the wintertime sludge from our systems.
Roses and violets are also good friends to have around in times of sadness and heartache. They are both uplifting nervines, soothing the emotional body like a big hug. Violet is also known as “heart’s ease” because of its strong affinity for lifting a person out of sadness. And of course roses have long been associated with love and beauty. The incredible thing about these delicate flowers is that they also have strong medicine to combat serious illness. Violets have been used for all kinds of bronchial infections as well as sore throats and lymph blockages. Roses are antiviral, antibacterial, and astringent, making them great medicine for colds, flus and infections. I continue to be amazed and grateful for how much these unassuming flowers offer to us humans.