Bitter Herbs to the Rescue

Feeling a bit better today now that I’ve had a couple of days away from holiday treats. I haven’t felt the bloating and indigestion that can accompany eating gluten, dairy, sugar and other irritants. I credit my healthy digestion to Digestive Bitters. I’ve been taking Bitters for almost fifteen years, and now they are all the rage (with good reason!) Many of our digestive issues could benefit from taking Bitters before meals as a way to stimulate digestion, transform nutrients, and maintain the integrity of cellular membranes.

Digestive Bitters

1 gram organic dried Skullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis) root

1 gram organic dried Gentian (Gentiiana lute)a root

1 gram organic dried Tangerine (Citrus reticulata) peel

1 gram organic dried Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) seeds

1 inch slice of organic fresh Ginger (Zingiber officinale) root

Add all ingredients to 8 ounces of Organic Vodka. Cover with lid and store in dark, cool location. Shake daily for 2-4 weeks. Strain out herbs and store liquid in dark colored, glass container. Take 8-10 drops of tincture before each meal to prevent indigestion or after meals to reduce gas and bloating.

I’d love to hear how this recipe worked for you!

For the love of plants,

 

Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows

Winter Solstice Celebration

Winter Solstice is the celebration of the longest night of the year. It is a time to gather with loved ones and reflect on the past year. It is a time to honor what we have lost and gained. We celebrate the harvest and the cycles of the Earth. We honor our own cycles and what has transpired for us since the last dark night.

On Winter Solstice, we gather to write down what we need to get rid of before the return of the Sun. We go deep within and root out our darkest fears, so they can be brought to light, transformed, and released. Build a fire and write down these fears, throw them into the flames and watch them burn and be transformed into smoke and ash. Now write down what you want to cultivate in the year ahead. It can be cultivating kindness, community, or money. Tape your intentions to your bathroom mirror and say them out loud every morning. You will be surprised at how quickly these thoughts and words become reality.

As you hold your ceremony, you might want to have your herbal allies to help bring insight into your fears and intentions.

Herbs that Ground & Guide

Rosemary– spicy, aromatic, and stimulating, rosemary reminds you of who you are. Rosemary guides energy through all three burners (san jiao in Chinese medicine) and transforms dampness, bringing clarity to all situations. A sprig in 8 ounces of hot water will also help with bloating and nausea after eating.

Reishi mushroom– bitter and calming, reishi mushroom assists you in going deep. Reishi calms the mind and the spirit, making it an important herb in quieting an overactive mind and nervous system. One medium sized mushroom can be decocted in a quart of water for 1-12 hours as a medicinal tonic (take 1-4 ounces of decoction daily). The longer you boil, the more bitter the tea becomes.

Marshmallow root– cool and nourishing, marshmallow root soothes irritation in the digestive and urinary tracts. It benefits anybody that needs to be nurtured and supported. One tablespoon of marshmallow root simmered in 8 ounces of water for 15 minutes makes a grounding, earthy tasting tea.

For the love of plants,

cropped-jessicabaker

Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows

Image credit: Annya

 

The Herb Walk Podcast Interview with Jane Bothwell

I wasn’t going to release another podcast episode until next year and then I thought you might want one to listen to on your holiday travels! In this episode I speak with my very first herb teacher, Jane Bothwell.

We discuss her annual medicinal cannabis conference and her many herbal offerings in northern California and around the globe (she is taking small groups to Hawaii and Greece in 2018). Jane’s herb school, Dandelion Herbal Center, is nestled in the redwoods in beautiful and remote Humboldt County, California. An ideal location to connect with the spirit of plants! Through her Festival of Herbs series, she invites herbalists like Rosemary Gladstar, Pam Montgomery, Christopher Hobbs and others from across the U.S. to visit and share their wisdom to the herbal community. She is a gift to us all and I am so happy to share a little of her story with you!

Enjoy this episode of The Herb Walk Podcast and Subscribe today to catch up on all of Season 1 and find out when Season 2 is released next year!

Spiced Cocoa Love Recipe

Yesterday was National Cocoa Day, and although I didn’t know that was a “thing” I am always happy to sit down and enjoy a steaming cup of hot chocolate.

Here is my go-to recipe for an aromatically spiced hot chocolate.

Aromatic Spice Cocoa Love 

8 ounces of organic almond or coconut milk

1-2 heaping tablespoons of organic, fair trade cocoa powder or chocolate sauce

1/8-1/4 teaspoon organic powdered cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon organic powdered nutmeg

1 teaspoon dried organic rose petals

Warm the almond milk and stir in cocoa powder, cinnamon and nutmeg until milk powders are well blended. Turn off heat and steep rose petals for a couple of minutes. Strain out petals and pour cocoa into your favorite mug. Extra points for dunking in your favorite cookie!

For the love of plants,

 cropped-jess-plant-bath

Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows

Image credit: Pinterest

Aromatic Spices for the Holy Days

‘Tis the season for warming carminative spices! We all associate cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves with pumpkin pie, hot apple cider, and holiday cookies, but they are also some of our most important herbal medicines. The exoticness of their fragrances has fueled their trade and popularity for centuries, making them now common spices in kitchens around the world. Spices, like other herbs, have distinct medicinal properties and have been present in cooking since time immemorial. It is ingrained in our nature to add spices to our food. All of our traditions reflect this connection to food as medicine, whether we celebrate Solstice, Chanukah, Christmas, or Kwanzaa.

Aromatic Medicine for the Holy Days:

Cinnamon/Rou Gui (Cinnamomum cassia)- Spicy, sweet and hot; Chinese cinnamon bark is used to strengthen mingmen fire (gate of life), making it excellent for treating internal coldness that causes abdominal pain, vomiting or diarrhea

Cloves/ Ding Xiang (Syzygium aromaticum): Spicy and warm; cloves are a key herb for warming digestion and treating abdominal fullness, vomiting, nausea, and hiccups

Star Anise/Da Hui Xiang (Illicium verum): Spicy, sweet, and warm; star anise is wonderful for treating cold digestion that causes abdominal pain with bloating, vomiting, and nausea

I look forward to hearing about (and tasting) how you incorporate spices into your holy day dishes!

For the love of plants,

 

Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows

Image credit © Adam Ward

Elderberry Dreaming on a Winter’s Day

December is here already and I am as shocked as everyone else. I’m back in Denver and the nights are cold and windy. There isn’t any snow in the city and I hate to say that I am glad!

I can hear people sniffling and coughing around me as I’m out and about. It’s a good reminder to keep my immunity strong! Small things like washing your hands frequently (many people don’t wash door handles or light switches) and eating nutrient dense foods like soups and stews will be a big help in staving off other people’s germs.

I also drink elderberry tea every morning, switching up the other ingredients depending on what I have going on.

My 3 favorite Elderberry blends:

1 tsp Elderberries, 1 tsp Hawthorn berries, 2 inch piece of Citrus peel – I make this on those days of over-indulgence, where there may just be a cookie or two enjoyed

1 tsp Elderberries, 1 tsp Yarrow flowers, 1 tsp Peppermint– This is my go-to when I begin to feel that chill or fever coming on and I need to kick it out

1 tsp Elderberries, 1 tsp Rose petals, 1 inch piece of Citrus peel– This is my base tea on most days. I drink as is or add an herb or two that is calling me that day.

Steep herbs in 8 ounces of hot water for 15 minutes. Strain and drink while warm.

I’d love to hear what herbs you like with elderberry!

For the love of plants,

cropped-jess-plant-bath

Jessica

when energy flows, wellnes grows

 

Citrus Cinnamon Cranberry Sauce Recipe

I, like many people, love Thanksgiving although I hate that it is through colonization and genocide of millions of people that we celebrate this day of gratitude. Those that know me may grow tired of my tirades against all so-called holidays that have been turned into excuses to do nothing more than consume.

That being said, on Thanksgiving I do love to share my favorite foods with those I love and am most grateful for! One of my favorite dishes is homemade cranberry sauce. It is super easy to make, and tastes way better than that weird gelatinous canned version I grew up with.

Citrus Cinnamon Cranberry Sauce

16 ounces cranberries

1/2 cup orange zest 

1 cinnamon stick

3/4-1 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice

Dissolve sugar in water and orange juice. Add cranberries and stir for 10-15 minutes. Add citrus peel and cinnamon (in muslin bag) and continue to stir for another 15-20 minutes. Add more liquid if cranberries thicken too much. Turn off heat when it is to the consistency and taste you desire. Enjoy on top of a big slice of pumpkin pie!

For the love of plants,

cropped-jess-plant-bath 

Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows

Image credit:©Erin Clarke/Well Plated

Herbs & Spices for Samhain

Today we celebrate Samhain, a day between times, where the Celts celebrated the end of Summer and the beginning of Winter. It is the feast of the dead, a time of the thin veil, where spirits, ghosts and beings of other worlds walk among us. To appease them, remember to leave food and drink offerings on altars and doorsteps for the “wandering dead.”

Today is also known as witches day. An auspicious day where medicine made is very strong as it is infused with all the celestial energy of timeless space. Add herbs and spices of the season to honor the coming dark, cold time.

Some of my favorites herbs for Samhain are the warm carminative spices of ginger, clove, nutmeg, and cinnamon. I decoct the spices with freshly harvested roots of dandelion, yellowdock, and angelica for 20 minutes. Turn off heat and throw in a pinch of mugwort leaves to help with dreamspace and astral travel. Sip throughout the night as you celebrate the spirits around and within you.

For the love of plants,

cropped-jess-plant-bath

Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows

Photo credit: Smithsonian

Transforming Fear into Wisdom

I have been frustrated and fearful lately. Frustrated at our political system, upset about humanity’s disregard for life, and angry with myself for the insecurities that hold me back from living my truth. I am afraid that we have taken our consumption and greed too far. I fear we have done irreparable damage to the planet. I fear that the one in five plants that are becoming extinct are warning signs for human survival. I mourn the devastating loss of countless species that have perished because of our unrelenting desire for power. I mourn humanity and our genocide of countless other life forms.

There are many days that I don’t know what to do with these thoughts and feelings. At times I can push through and think that the planet is equipped with ways to deal with our destruction. In other moments I am hopeful that we will gain an unyielding understanding of what needs to be done to reverse global climate change and evolve into a more enlightened, compassionate species.

Most of the time I remain realistic and know that the Earth will prevail much longer than the human race. We are but one species in a long line of beings that have come and gone before us. Our damage may be irreparable to us, but life will live on. I am grateful for that. It is enough to keep me peaceful in our violent world.

It is with the love of my husband, family, and friends that I have the courage to acknowledge these personal truths. It is in my women’s circle and at herbal gatherings that I gain the clarity to move beyond emotion and into action. It is Nature herself that gives me the strength to carry on and to share to my thoughts with you.

I am grateful for my knowledge of herbalism and the deep connection I have with the Earth and her cycles. Despite my fears I will continue to be strong. I will be a voice for the plants and I will spread as much love as I can . I will continue to share the innate wisdom of plants with anyone that will listen. I will overcome my fears of being misunderstood, dismissed, or ridiculed for believing a different paradigm is possible. I wish the same for you.

For the love of plants,

 cropped-jess-plant-bath

Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows

Harvest Moon Elixir Recipe

Happy Harvest Moon!! May the fruits of your love be blessed with abundance and joy!

I love the Harvest Moon so much that my husband and I chose to be married ten years ago on the date of the Harvest Moon, the first full moon after the Autumn Equinox. We had a private ceremony on the cliffs above Luffenholtz Beach, the first place we went when we moved to Humboldt County twenty years ago. Two decades later our love burns bright.

To celebrate our love for each other and for harvest season I want to share one of my favorite recipes with you. Harvest flowers under the light of the full moon. If you are using dried flowers, prepare the elixir outside. If you have a significant other, harvest and prepare elixir together.

Harvest Moon Elixir

1 bundle of yarrow flowers

2 wild roses

2 organic cannabis buds

Place flowers in a clean, glass quart jar. Fill jar with fresh spring water and cover with a lid. Place jar in a location where the full moon is in sight and can infuse the elixir throughout the night. In the morning, strain out flowers and sip infusion throughout the day. Share with the one you love the most.

For the love of plants,

cropped-jess-plant-bath

Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows

Photo credit: Chrystalinks