Guilt and the Herbal Helper

 

 

Disclaimer: The author receives no compensation for this article. The author is not a medical professional, nutritionist or dietician. Content on this website is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to substitute for medical treatment or diagnosis and is not monitored or evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration/FDA. Consult your health care provider if you are experiencing any symptoms and before using any herbal product. Any application of the material provided is at the reader’s discretion and is his or her sole responsibility.

Colds are no fun. Unproductive coughs, combined with colds and/or flu are even worse. When you’re down for the count, and you ran out of “Fire Cider” before your cold was on the downside and before the next batch was ready, perhaps before the next batch was even started, because the cold/flu brought on a huge delay in herbal remedy productivity, the last thing you want to do is become involved in laborious processes for crafting herbal aid.  What about garlic honey? That was sitting on the counter. Oh wait… You ran out of that too. For hopeful planners, a discovery like that is mortifying.

Amidst the foggy brain, reminders to make remedies for colds ahead of time may swim upstream, laying all kinds of heavy guilt along the shoreline of shaky coherence. The little voice of opposition chastising getting sick in the first place may chime in too. Thankfully, with a little self-compassion, the guilt subsides and rescue is within reach.

If you’re one of the fortunate budding herbalists to sign up for Rosalee de La Foret’s “Herbal Cold Care” course, her mantra of use “the one you have on hand” will float into consciousness, like a fairy godmother. When illness and caring for loved ones tires you out, it’s nice to have a reference to come back to when you need it, to buoy you up.

Break out the ginger, because maybe there’s lots of it on hand that had been purchased for making the next batch of “Fire Cider” for prevention and support.  But chopping it may not only be a time issue for those standing woozily at the height of a heinous cold or flu bug, but sharp knives? Not a good idea. Thankfully, a cute little helper is available that brings joy to herbal aid, as well as cooking. Enter: Vibe, by Chef’n. It not only easily chops garlic with its zippy rolling motion, but ginger too (and says so on the package). And the sharp parts are within the little bubble of purposeful cuteness. It’s easy to rinse out, and deemed dishwasher safe in the top rack by the manufacturer. Perfect for the procrastinating herbalist in need of self-care and relief, fast.

The fresh ginger then gently steeps in a helpful water infusion, ready in minutes. And maker beware, don’t use a handy tea infuser ball, as the tougher ginger rhizome needs broader contact with the water. Just throw the ginger into the water and let it sit for what your recipe calls for, then strain it out if you’d like. Save the ball for leaves and flowers, the less dense “aerial parts” of our other herbal allies.

If you can smell the ginger, you’re way ahead of the game. If you can’t smell it, hopefully after a cup or two you will. That’s its job. Nasal passages begin to open and the brain fog lifts with peace settling in its place. Clarity, well-being and a mouth-breathing reprieve!  Win-win-win!

Ginger is a highly versatile herb and food. When the cold subsides a bit, then it’s time to add to the restoration of herbal remedies by making garlic honey too, because the Vibe will make that a quick job as well, and garlic honey is ready in 24 hours, instead of the four to six weeks until “Fire Cider” can rescue you.

Results may vary. Wishing you wellness and well-being!

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The heart of Botaniscape™ and budding Herbalist/Wildcrafter, Lori McClellan sees the Art of Herbalism as her lifelong connection to Nature and wonder manifested most fully—another exciting medium and source of abundant joy. A daily meditator and career Journalist, Author, Artist and Poet, she creates as Loretta Boyer McClellan. Her works as a publisher and writer of fiction, nonfiction and poetry; conscious PR, brand, graphic design, and communications; and as an Arts instructor, journalist and artist, “sized the canvas,” so to speak, for a fruitful life of expression, connection and inspiration. Author of The Nature of BEing: A Healing Journey, The Misthaven of Maine Series, and Dodging Raindrops: Poems and Prose of Beauty, Peace and Healing, Lori creates from a place of Oneness. Writing, meditating, painting, and her relationship with Nature and all beings, most tangibly through Herbalism, are her connection to the Infinite. 

The Herbal Kitchen: A Book Review

“It is really not in our cellular memory to be alone in the kitchen,” writes Author, Herbalist and Teacher, Kami McBride, of LivingAwareness.com. Not being alone in the kitchen applies two-fold: for having both people and the herbs as kitchen companions, to prepare with and to dine together. This is the heart of her book, The Herbal Kitchen: 50 Easy-to-Find Herbs and Over 250 Recipes to Bring Lasting Health to You and Your Family. Through its 258 pages, Kami offers a cornucopia of recipes and plant wisdom, in support of wellness and togetherness, both with family and for effervescent hospitality for guests.

The book offers engaging storytelling, with tremendous insight on the author’s focus on food as medicine. Kami’s description of her upbringing laden with local fruit and nut harvests, and her experience of the ritual of picking blackberries in August, were so tangible I could taste the berries. Her ruminations mixed with the wholesome goodness of the meal created a longing within myself for a similar childhood experience. Her special relationship with her grandparents in particular, was abundantly clear. Family traditions evolving from food, such as the gathering of wild mushrooms made me want to ask, “May I please be adopted into your family?”

I grew up in Northern California as well, in what was historically a major fruit capital, yet the stork landed me in suburbia; the tract homes had already laid waste to most of the orchards and the fruit packing evidence was replaced by shopping malls. Kami’s reflections on her childhood and the bounty of fresh food left me waxing poetic, consoling myself that I experienced it somewhat in other ways, such as a backyard garden one summer as a youth, and my best friend’s grandparents’ weekly produce truck that would park nearby, where I would visit as a teen.

Not to be focused solely on the dietary or even the energetics of herbs, as there is a plentiful harvest of both, Kami reminds us of the sanctity of the Plant Kingdom. She writes, “Herbs and spices are a gift from nature. We are nature, and plants have an affinity with our bodies. They are our allies, not only enlivening the taste of our food but also working in hundreds of ways to keep our bodies healthy.” She also touches on the body-mind-spirit connection, or interconnection with herbs, specifically with Mugwort: “It enhances mental clarity, clairvoyance, and self-awareness. It is a purifying and stimulating herb that activates intuition and memory.” This is but one of the 50 herbs she showcases, providing not just a dynamic read, but also a ready reference manual.

The book’s beverage section alone will have readers clamoring to tinker with the hundreds of recipes and tantalize their taste buds, yet there is an additional, vitally important message: “With the widespread consumption of prepackaged and conventionally farmed foods, we are experiencing the phenomenon of being overfed yet undernourished. Eat fresh, whole, organic, and locally grown food and add herbs to as many meals as possible.” This established a sense of urgency, making not only perfect sense to a budding herbalist, parent, or chef, but a teachable moment fit for the masses.

Interspersed throughout the book are varied glimpses into the author’s personality. We can become acquainted with elder flower for its versatility, but its introduction by Kami on Page 63, paragraph one, also brings across the author’s ability to further sing its praises with an amusing brand of candor: “But when we are stuck with an exorbitant amount of fluid dripping and draining from various locations, it is time to engage the snot-busting features of elder flower.” Who ya gonna call?

Whether urgent, reminiscent or resplendent, Kami’s words echoed, leaving a legacy of truth that was deeply affecting, nothing more so than, “Many family home lineages in the Western world were lost in the last several generations. We were mesmerized by the novelty and scientifically proven ‘superiority’ of synthetic food and modern medicine. We cast our grandmothers’ teas and herbal powders to the wind. I have often wondered how it must feel to a grandmother when her clan dismisses her ancient wisdom as an old wives’ tale. This loss of ancestral food is nothing short of tragic.”

We can move forward with knowledge and thanksgiving, together, as in The Herbal Kitchen, we celebrate this multifaceted gem of Herbalism through recipes, teachings and insight that will leave an indelible impression upon the reader’s heart, just as the kitchen is the heart of the home.

Botaniscape™ received a complimentary book copy for an honest review.

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The heart of Botaniscape™ and budding Herbalist/Wildcrafter, Lori McClellan sees the Art of Herbalism as her lifelong connection to Nature and wonder manifested most fully—another exciting medium and source of abundant joy. A daily meditator and career Journalist, Author, Artist and Poet, she creates as Loretta Boyer McClellan. Her works as a publisher and writer of fiction, nonfiction and poetry; conscious PR, brand, graphic design, and communications; and as an Arts instructor, journalist and artist, “sized the canvas,” so to speak, for a fruitful life of expression, connection and inspiration. Author of The Nature of BEing: A Healing Journey, The Misthaven of Maine Series, and Dodging Raindrops: Poems and Prose of Beauty, Peace and Healing, Lori creates from a place of Oneness. Writing, meditating, painting, and her relationship with Nature and all beings, most tangibly through Herbalism, are her connection to the Infinite. 

Alchemy in the Herbalist’s Kitchen: A Tandem Herbal Cookbooks Review

 

When the student is ready, the teacher appears.

Likewise, the learning method appears, often in the form of a book. If you would have added “cook” with “book,” however, in the past I’d have rolled my eyes—sighed even, out of mock disdain, but in its essence, defeat. Not anymore, as cooking is now a treat.

My family will tell you that historically for me, cooking has been a legacy of lethargy, a bore, even a painful chore for me. They’ll also tell you that suddenly my culinary pursuits—and skills—have taken flight. The reason? Herbalism. Exemplary meals prepared with ease and served with joy are much more meaningful—and probable—when paired with herbs that support self-healing. It is my passion for the Art of Plant Medicine that has ignited a genuine interest in facilitating fine dining in my own home, by my own hand. The answer is indeed a Botaniscape, an inspirational and nurturing botanical view, through the plant allies’ perspective, as I can see clearly now what I’ve been missing, which is a deeper connection with the ingredients and the process.

This renaissance of interest, even success, stems from two cookbooks, yes, COOK-books: Alchemy of Herbs: Transform Everyday Ingredients Into Foods and Remedies that Heal by Rosalee de la Forêt, and Recipes from The Herbalist’s Kitchen: Delicious, Nourishing Food for Lifelong Health and Well-being by Brittany Wood Nickerson. Although the books are more about herbalism as a way of life than cooking primer, these herbalists have breathed life onto my dinner plate through their words, as I’m not only enriched by them, but truly transformed as a reawakened chef through herbal awareness.

As an author, I must say that nothing can be truer than the writer’s heart and soul pouring out onto the page. Writing is a labor of love. Writing nonfiction is also teaching; not only is the author’s essence ever-present, but their unique style as an educator, as well. Both de la Forêt’s and Nickerson’s culinary and literary stylings resonated. I’m certain that plant energetics and vibrational medicine through the realized, uncomplicated recipes also had something to do with it!

Photo: Garlic Honey ©2017 Loretta McClellan

In Alchemy of Herbs, which was my first herbal goodness cookbook, my inaugural introduction came by way of “Garlic Honey” on page 84. Functioning as effective food-as-medicine, it was my first foray into crafting immune support. After my family got over the fear of garlic breath, it has become our go-to remedy to stave-off the wicked strains of colds and flu that have permeated our region this summer. I felt an atypical summer sore throat coming on, took the garlic honey several times that day and the next day: Poof! Symptoms gone!

Photo: Sage Chicken ©2017 Loretta McClellan

My next recipe from Rosalee’s book has been such a triumph for me I have made it frequently ever since: “Sage Chicken,” on page 166 in the paperback edition, with the sage butter technique courtesy of Jenny McGruther of NourishedKitchen.com, per the recipe’s preface. Using fresh sage, or Salvia officinalis, along with lemons and onions provided a trifecta of delectability! (As a side note, I have both Kindle and paperback editions of this book. I rarely own more than one version of a book. This volume of reference warranted both, as I needed to be able to highlight ad nauseum in the digital version and have the tangible, crisp, page-flipping experience of the printed copy. The only negative is that the book binding separated from the cover at the spine after its first laying open for use while I cooked; repositioning the spine to the cover each use has proven effective). Back to the Sage Chicken recipe: I differ from her recipe a bit, as I use boneless, skinless chicken breasts instead of thighs with the skin on. It is the most delectable dish, so much so, that my family keeps asking me to increase the portions, it’s so yummy!

Rosalee has a considerable online presence as well, through the book’s moderated Facebook page which she comments on, as Education Director for LearningHerbs.com, and her own Herbs by Rosalee (HerbalRemediesAdvice.org), among many others, so I’ve become well acquainted with her methods of conveying herbal benefits, discerning our own individual constitutions, and materia medica on numerous herbs. Each has been a rewarding and fulfilling extension of the book, and most importantly, learning.

Photo: Steak with a Lavender-Black pepper Crust; Tumbled Rosemary Potatoes ©2017 Loretta McClellan

I am only recently introduced to Brittany Wood Nickerson, of ThymeHerbal.com, fortuitously finding her hardcover book at Costco; however, like the blossoms she regularly showcases in her media, her personality as an herbalist immediately opened me up to remembrance and re-discovery. Intuition led me to her book, mostly for the subtle, but noticeable theme of fermented foods, a topic of interest. Regardless of dietary need, however, the cuisine offered between its pages is fantastic!

I love lavender, but wouldn’t have considered at this stage in my culinary ascent in pairing it with beef. Brittany’s “Steak with a Lavender-Black Pepper Crust” recipe on page 120 gave me the courage to be bold; it is a potent, tantalizing entrée, dazzling all the senses, particularly using dried Lavandula angustifolia. I ground the lavender and even peppercorns by hand, using my Japanese style mortar and pestle, a suribachi, for how it was meant to be used—with mindful beauty (see video). The aroma of the two herbs was like a dance—perfect complements to each other. I chose to opt for more control and broil the dish to medium rare, instead of fry in a cast iron pan as directed. Again, my intuition was right. I rarely eat red meat, but when I do again, this will be at the top of the list of menu possibilities!

Along with fresh strawberries, as a side dish to this lavender extravaganza, I opted for simple yet tasty, tumbled baked potatoes with pressed garlic and fresh rosemary drizzled with olive oil, inspired by Rosalee’s “Parsley Potatoes” on page 138. After a day beginning with an homage on Botaniscape.com to Rosemary Gladstar quoting her “Mantra for Home Health Care” from her book, Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner’s Guide, then noticing for the first time after many visits, of fresh rosemary growing everywhere near my favorite market, my evening meal and day had to be complete with a third rosemary treat!

With each of these herbal-guides-that-double-as-a-cookbook, prepare yourself for an overflowing measure of plant wisdom and easy methods for dishes that are divine. All it takes is intention and a dash of time—or for some recipes, thyme!

Disclaimer: The author is not a medical professional, nutritionist or dietician. Content on this website is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to substitute for medical treatment or diagnosis and is not monitored or evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration/FDA. Consult your health care provider if you are experiencing any symptoms and before using any herbal product. Any application of the material provided is at the reader’s discretion and is his or her sole responsibility.


The heart of Botaniscape™ and budding Herbalist, Lori McClellan sees the Art of Herbalism as her lifelong connection to Nature and wonder manifested most fully—another exciting medium and source of abundant joy. A Journalist, Author, Artist and Poet, creating as Loretta Boyer McClellan, her works as a writer of fiction, nonfiction and poetry; conscious PR, brand, graphic design, and communications; and as an Arts instructor, journalist and artist, “sized the canvas,” so to speak, for a fruitful life of expression, connection and inspiration. Author of The Nature of BEing: A Healing Journey, The Misthaven of Maine Series, and Dodging Raindrops: Poems and Prose of Beauty, Peace and Healing, Lori creates from a place of Oneness. Writing, meditating, painting, and her relationship with Nature and all beings, most tangibly through Herbalism, are her connection to the Infinite.