Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Herbal Teas for Better Health

From a previous article I wrote on herbal teas:

Herbal teas, as well as being pleasurable to drink, can be used as a preventative measure. If drunk regularly, they can help to tone and balance the body. The transition to herbal tea (from your regular caffeinated tea or coffee) can be gradual. Lemon balm, lemon thyme, lemon verbena, apple mint, and peppermint all make incredibly delicious teas and also add lovely flavor to otherwise less than pleasant herbal preparations. Try to drink 3 cups of herbal tea every day, after meals (to prevent interference with gastric juices and hinder proper digestion). Sweeten your herbal tea with honey or sugar if you like. A slice of lemon or orange is another tasty addition. Here are a few common herbs for tea preparations, with associated indications.

Basil Leaves: Soothing, cleansing, diarrhea, poor digestion.

Calendula: Indigestion, skin troubles.

Catnip Leaves: Headaches, restlessness, menstrual pains, hyperactive children.

Chamomile Flowers*: Headaches, nervousness, & indigestion.

Chickweed*: Coughs, colds, weight problems.

Dandelion Leaves & Root*: Liver & kidney troubles, fluid retention, constipation.

Elder Flower: Chills, fever.

Fenugreek Seeds*: Cleansing, soothing, excess catarrh, increase breast milk supply.

Lavender Flowers*: Headache, nervousness.

Lemon Balm Leaves: Headache, insomnia, melancholy.

Lemon Grass: Skin troubles, high in vitamin A.

Mullein Flowers*: Coughs, inflammation.

Nettle Leaf*: Kidney trouble, fluid retention.

Oatstraw*: Dry, brittle hair & nails, excessive mucus.

Peppermint*: Flatulence, nausea, stomach cramps.

Plantain*: Colds, diarrhea.

Red Clover Flowers: Nervousness, cleanser, whooping cough.

Red Raspberry Leaves*: Profuse menstruation, great for pregnant and/or lactating mothers.

Rosehips*: Coughs, colds.

Rosemary: Circulation, nervousness, depression, headache.

Sage: Fevers, tonic, sore throat.

Thyme: Colds, indigestion.

Valerian*: Tension, headache, insomnia.

Yarrow: Colds, indigestion, fevers.

Basic herbal tea preparation instructions:
1 T. dried herbs
½ pint water
Place herb(s) into a non-reactive metal or enamel pot with a lid. Bring water to a boil; turn off the heat and pour the water over the herb(s). Cover the pot and let steep for 5 to 10 minutes. Strain through a non-aluminum strainer. Herbal tea may be enjoyed fresh and warm or chilled. Honey, lemon, or milk can be added, although milk tends to mask the delicate flavors. Refrigerated unused tea to prevent spoilage.

There are no definite rules for combining herbs in a tea mixture. Taste is a major priority! Aromatic herbs such as peppermint, fennel, mint, ginger, lemon balm and lemon verbena will all enhance the flavor of a bland tea such as oatstraw, or a bitter tea such as valerian (valerian has a VERY strong odor which is unpleasant to some).

*Considered safe in moderation for pregnancy and lactation. Always consult your professional herbalist or naturopath before consuming any herbs while pregnant.

This information is for educational purposes only and not meant to prescribe, diagnose, treat or prevent any disease. It should not substitute the advice or recommendations of your physician or health professional, nor should it replace prescription medications without proper supervision. You are encouraged to seek professional medical advice from a qualified medical practitioner, naturopath or local professional herbalist, especially if you are pregnant, lactating, have a medical condition, or are taking prescription medication.


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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

May & June Gardening Calendar, Zone 7

Late again! Please accept my apologies, although this time I have a very good excuse, being that I gave birth (by c-section) three weeks ago ;) I'll post about all that later (baby Ella is wonderful .. healthy and happy). Right now I have a very long list of chores to complete before suppertime!

So here is May, even though more than half the month is gone, and June. I hope your gardens are thriving!


•Vegetable Seed - Plant heat-loving and tender vegetables. Start cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and celery in cold frame for fall garden.
•Vegetable Plants - Plant tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and sweet potatoes.
•Control grass and weeds; they compete for moisture and fertilizer.
•Locate mulching materials for such crops as tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, Irish potatoes, okra and lima beans. Apply before dry spells occur but after plants are well established (usually by blooming time).
•Pole beans cling to the trellis or sticks more readily if attached by the time they start running.
•Try a few tomato plants on stakes or trellises this year. Now is the time to start removing suckers and tying the plants up.
•Watch out for the "10 most wanted culprits": Mexican bean beetle, Colorado potato beetle, bean leaf beetle, Harlequin cabbage bug, blister beetle, cabbage worm, tomato hornworm, tomato fruit worm (and corn earworm), cucumber beetle and squash bug. Early discovery makes possible early control. Follow the schedule given in Extension Circular 594, Control Vegetable Garden Insects, for control of corn earworm and pickleworm.
•Begin disease control measures as needed. Check with your county extension office for more information.
•Water as needed.
•Mulch as needed.
•Keep a log book of problems and failures that occur so you can avoid or prevent them in the next planting season. Note successful techniques and varieties for consideration next season.
•Make plans now for putting up some of your garden produce. Check with your county extension office for more information.

Note: This is a great time to lacto-ferment dandelion green kimchi.


•Vegetable Seed - Plant beans, field peas, pumpkins, squash, corn, cantaloupes and watermelons.
•Vegetable Plants - Plant tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and sweet potato vine cuttings.
•Harvest vegetables such as beans, peas, squash, cucumbers and okra regularly to prolong production and enjoy peak freshness.
•Eat "high on the hog" this month and in July and preserve enough to last during the winter months ahead.
•For best results, harvest onions and Irish potatoes when two-thirds of the tops have died down. Store potatoes in a cool, dark place and onions in a dry, airy place.
•Clean off rows of early crops as soon as they are through bearing and use rows for replanting or keep them fallow for fall crops.
•Water as needed.
•Plant sweet potatoes and a second planting of Southern peas.

This is when we can/preserve from our first planting of beans, peas, and squash. We also pickle cucumbers, peppers, and okra. Dehydrate strawberries and preserve strawberry jam. Pickle early baby beets, if possible. Freeze snap peas, dehydrate sweet shelling peas. Dehydrate greens (this is great for greens on the verge of bolting late in the month - they are wonderful crumbled up and added to soups). Dry onions.

Happy gardening! :)