How To Make & Use Homemade Magnesium Oil To Benefit Your Health

How To Make & Use Homemade Magnesium Oil | Herbal Academy | Magnesium is an essential nutrient that can be used internally or externally for health purposes. Learn how to make a homemade magnesium oil in this post.

Do you experience insomnia, constipation, leg cramps, or general stress and anxiety more than you’d like? If so, magnesium may be of some assistance to you.

Magnesium is an essential nutrient, but in this high-stress, fast-paced world we all seem to be lacking sufficient amounts of it. Did you know that other than getting magnesium naturally from food sources (such as spinach, almonds, pumpkin seeds, avocado, or yogurt) or taking it internally in your favorite multivitamin or supplement, it can be applied topically for additional health benefits?

In this blog post, we will explain some magnesium health benefits and teach you how to make your own homemade magnesium oil at home!

Magnesium Health Benefits

How To Make & Use Homemade Magnesium Oil | Herbal Academy | Magnesium is an essential nutrient that can be used internally or externally for health purposes. Learn how to make a homemade magnesium oil in this post.

Responsible for over 600 enzymatic reactions including energy metabolism and protein synthesis, magnesium plays an important physiological role in the body and is essential for the health of the brain, heart, and skeletal muscles (De Baaij, Hoenderop, & Bindels, 2015). Magnesium also assists in calcium uptake and absorption (Balch, 2006).

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of magnesium for adult men 19-30 years old is 400 mg, and for adult women, the RDA is a little less at 310 mg. For men 31-50+ years old, the RDA increases by 20 mg, and for women in that age range, it only rises by 10 mg (Berkheiser, 2018).

Magnesium deficiency is estimated to affect around 10%–30% of a given population (DiNicolantonio, O’Keefe, & Wilson, 2018). One supposed reason is that despite our constant pursuit of healthy eating, our food is grown in soil that has become devoid of many nutrients due to industrial agriculture and over-farming. Most fertilizers do not contain magnesium, leading to an insufficient amount of this mineral in the soil, thus resulting in food being grown without much magnesium content. Cooking and processing foods can also deplete magnesium, and the foods that magnesium naturally occurs in (whole grains, greens, nuts, and seeds) are, unfortunately, not as prevalent in the Standard American Diet (Dean, n.d.).

While the cause of magnesium deficiency isn’t known, there are a few contributing factors that may be correlated. As humans in this current culture of overwork, many of us are struggling from lack of sleep, constant stress, dependence on prescription drugs, and high alcohol, caffeine, and sugar consumption. These lifestyle factors cause our bodies to burn magnesium faster, therefore, contributing to a deficiency (Robbins, 2012; Tarasov, Blinov, Zimovina & Sandakova, 2015).

A deficiency of magnesium interferes with the transmission of nerve and muscle impulses (Balch, 2006) — leading to many health issues. Along with poor digestion and possible cardiovascular issues, a person with magnesium deficiency may experience muscle weakness, confusion, mood changes, muscle spasms, and insomnia (Balch, Stengler, & Balch, 2004).

Supplementing with magnesium can help to support the nervous and musculoskeletal systems in several ways.

  • It can offer support during acute constipation by easing muscle tension in the gastrointestinal tract. Magnesium improves gut motility and retains water in the colon  (Balch et al., 2004).
  • In a double-blind trial of 81 people (ages 18-65) with migraines, a dose of 600 mg of magnesium per day was found significantly more effective than a placebo in reducing the frequency of migraine headaches (Peikert, Wilimzig, & Kohne-Volland, 1996).
  • Magnesium is often used after vigorous exercise or sports to help the muscles recover and discourage soreness. Taking magnesium has also been shown to decrease symptoms of muscle pain and specifically leg cramps (Berkheiser, 2018).
  • Many women may also find assistance with premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms such as back pain and menstrual cramps (Gaynor, 2009).
  • Magnesium can also help encourage sleep by helping the mind and body to relax (Berkheiser, 2018).

Which Type of Magnesium Should You Use

How To Make & Use Homemade Magnesium Oil | Herbal Academy | Magnesium is an essential nutrient that can be used internally or externally for health purposes. Learn how to make a homemade magnesium oil in this post.

There are several forms of magnesium, but it is best to listen to your body when choosing the right form for you.

  • Magnesium citrate is best for intestines and moving the bowels (it has a laxative effect so less is more for some people). My favorite form of magnesium citrate is a powdered form called Natural Calm. Taken right before bed, it is wonderful for relaxing your body and ensuring a good night’s rest.
  • Magnesium glycinate is a chelated form of magnesium (which is believed to be more bioavailable) and does not affect the bowels.
  • Magnesium malate and magnesium taurate are the best forms of magnesium for the heart, according to magnesium expert Morley Robbins.
  • Magnesium chloride and sulfate are best used for foot or full body baths. Epsom salt, or magnesium sulfate, is quite affordable and a readily available form of magnesium for most people. Since Epsom salt is a sulfate, if you are sensitive to sulfur or sulfates, this may not be the best choice for you.

Sourced from Hay, Khadro, & Dane, (2014).

Internal Versus External Magnesium

How To Make & Use Homemade Magnesium Oil | Herbal Academy | Magnesium is an essential nutrient that can be used internally or externally for health purposes. Learn how to make a homemade magnesium oil in this post.

According to most findings, taking magnesium internally as a supplement is the most effective way to counter a magnesium deficiency. However, some evidence shows that for individuals with challenged digestive systems, applying magnesium externally on the skin may help to bypass the digestive tract, allowing them to absorb the magnesium more quickly and completely (Hay, Khadro, & Dane, 2014).

How effective are external magnesium applications at boosting serum magnesium levels? While there are many studies that support the use of topical magnesium, there are just as many that show a lack of support for it. The effectiveness of external magnesium is a topic of much debate with no clear answers — at least not yet.

A 2017 review by Grober, Kisters, Vormann, Werner, and Petty (2017) evaluated current literature and evidence-based data on transdermal magnesium application and found that the use of external magnesium wasn’t supported by science. They suggested that future research needed to be done on a larger number of human subjects using higher concentrations of magnesium for longer durations as a way to investigate whether a transdermal application is able to increase magnesium levels in the body.

Although high-quality studies are lacking that show the effectiveness of topical magnesium use, anecdotal evidence supports the external use of magnesium.

Personally, I prefer soaking in a warm bath of Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) in an effort to relax. Ancient people have been using soaking therapies for years in the form of Dead Sea salt baths, mineral springs, mud packs, steams, and other natural topical applications. According to some studies, prolonged soaking in Epsom salts can increase blood magnesium concentrates, measured by rising urine levels (mean 94.81 ± 44.26 ppm/mL to 198.93 ± 97.52 ppm/mL) (Epsom Salt Council, n.d.). Despite these findings, this study was only published online via the website of an Epsom salt council, without any backing from a scientific journal.

At the end of a long day, I love relaxing my body and mind in a warm bath with salts and essential oils, but as a busy working mother and entrepreneur, there isn’t always time for lengthy self-care treatments. In place of a nightly bath, I like to use what I call “Bath-in-a-Bottle.” Bath-in-a-Bottle is simply homemade magnesium oil.

What About Magnesium Oil?

How To Make & Use Homemade Magnesium Oil | Herbal Academy | Magnesium is an essential nutrient that can be used internally or externally for health purposes. Learn how to make a homemade magnesium oil in this post.

Magnesium oil is a blend of magnesium chloride flakes and water. When these two are mixed together, it creates a “brine” or a substance that has an oily feel. This easy-to-absorb form of magnesium may be able to raise magnesium levels in the body when applied to the skin (Whelan, 2018).

I apply magnesium oil to my sore legs, back, stomach, or feet before bedtime. There are some wonderful high-quality magnesium oils available for purchase now, but it is very easy and inexpensive to make a homemade magnesium oil in the comfort of your own home.

Most research has been done on supplementing magnesium through dietary and oral supplements. However, a 2015 study reported in the Journal of Integrative Medicine, found that transdermal application of magnesium chloride to people with fibromyalgia reduced their pain symptoms. The participants in the study were asked to spray magnesium chloride on their arms and legs twice a day for four weeks. Research shows that most magnesium is housed in muscle cells and that some people with fibromyalgia lack adequate amounts. (Whelan, 2018). The conclusion of the study suggested that transdermal magnesium chloride applied topically may be beneficial to patients with fibromyalgia (Engen et al., 2015).

How To Make & Use Homemade Magnesium Oil | Herbal Academy | Magnesium is an essential nutrient that can be used internally or externally for health purposes. Learn how to make a homemade magnesium oil in this post.

How To Make Homemade Magnesium Oil

[recipe_ingredients]

½ cup magnesium chloride flakes
½ cup distilled water (to extend the shelf life)
Glass spray bottles

[/recipe_ingredients][recipe_directions]

  • Bring ½ cup of distilled water to a boil.
  • Add ½ cup magnesium flakes to a glass measuring cup or bowl.
  • Once water has boiled, pour it into the bowl of magnesium flakes and stir until the flakes completely dissolve.
  • Let this mixture cool and transfer to labeled spray bottles for daily use.
  • Store your homemade magnesium oil at room temperature for up to 6 months.

[/recipe_directions]

To Use:

Start by using just a few sprays on your skin; initially no more than five. Over the next few days, gradually work up to 10-20 sprays a day. I like to apply my homemade magnesium oil in the crook of my arms, back of my knees, and stomach for best absorption.

It is also wise to do a patch test on your skin (particularly if you have sensitive skin) before applying the spray all over your body. A lot of people may initially experience tingling or a slight itching sensation where the oil is applied. This can be relieved by applying aloe vera on the site or coconut oil about 20 minutes after applying the oil (to give it a chance to absorb properly).

How To Make & Use Homemade Magnesium Oil | Herbal Academy | Magnesium is an essential nutrient that can be used internally or externally for health purposes. Learn how to make a homemade magnesium oil in this post.

REFERENCES

Balch, J.F., Stengler, M., & Balch, R.Y. (2004). Prescription for natural cures. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Balch, P. A. (2006). Prescription for nutritional healing. New York, NY: Penguin Group.

Berkheiser, K. (2018). Magnesium dosage: How much should you take per day? [Online Article]. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/magnesium-dosage

Dean, C. (n.d.). The magnesium miracle. [Blog post]. Retrieved from

https://drcarolyndean.com/magnesium_miracle/

De Baaij, J.H., Hoenderop, J.G., & Bindels, R.J. (2015). Magnesium in man: implications for health and disease. Physiol Rev, 95(1),1-46. doi: 10.1152/physrev.00012.2014

DiNicolantonio, J.J., O’Keefe, J.H., & Wilson, W. (2018). Subclinical magnesium deficiency: a principal driver of cardiovascular disease and a public health crisis. Open Heart, 5(1): e000668.

Engen, D.J., McAllister, S.J., Whipple, M.O., Cha, S.S., Dion, L.J., Vincent, A.,… Wahner-Roedler, D.L. (2015). Effects of transdermal magnesium chloride on quality of life for patients with fibromyalgia: A feasibility study. Journal Of Integrative Medicine, 13(5), 306-313. doi:10.1016/s2095-4964(15)60195-9

Epsom Salt Council. (n.d.). Report on absorption of magnesium sulfate (Epsom salts) across the skin. [PDF]. Retrieved from http://www.epsomsaltcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/report_on_absorption_of_magnesium_sulfate.pdf

Gaynor, B. (2009). Pre-menstrual Syndrome and Diet [Abstract]. Journal of Nutritional & Environmental Medicine, 8(1), 65-75. doi: 10.1080/13590849862302

Gröber, U., Kisters, K., Vormann, J., & Werner, T. (2017). Myth or reality-transdermal magnesium? Nutrients, 9(8): 813. doi: 10.3390/nu9080813

Hay, L., Khadro, A., & Dane, H. (2014). Loving yourself to great health. Carlsbad, CA: Hay House, Inc.

National Institute for Health. (2018). Magnesium fact sheet for health professionals. [Online Article]. Retrieved from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/

Peikert, A., Wilimzig, C., &  Kohne-Volland, R. (1996). Prophylaxis of migraine with oral magnesium: Results from a prospective, multi-center, placebo-controlled and double-blind randomized study. [Abstract]. Cephalalgia 16, 257-63.

Robbins, M. (2012). How to restore magnesium in 3 steps. [Online Article]. Retrieved from http://gotmag.org/how-to-restore-magnesium/

Tarasov, E., Blinov, D., Zimovina, U., & Sandakova, E. (2015). Magnesium deficiency and stress: Issues of their relationship, diagnostic tests, and approaches to therapy. Ter Arkh, 87(9):114-122. doi:10.17116/terarkh2015879114-122.

Whelan, C. (2018). Magnesium oil. [Online Article]. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/magnesium-oil-benefits

Herbal Roots 101: How to Prepare and Use Roots for Wellness

Herbal Roots 101: How to Prepare and Use Roots for Wellness | Herbal Academy | Use herbal roots for wellness! In this post, you'll learn when to harvest roots, how to prepare them for use, and you'll even find several recipes to try.

Autumn is here, and by now, most plants have gone to seed. The vibrant energy we saw so abundantly all summer has sunk down into the roots of the plants, and as they die back, the nutrients that once flowed in the above-ground portions are returned downward into the roots. This makes fall the perfect time to harvest and use many roots for wellness.

Finding Value in Roots

Roots are grounding, and the practice of gathering roots should be one of deep reverence. When gathering herbal roots, for me, there is a sense of deep connection between the body and the earth, even more so when using an herbal preparation made with herbal roots.

Before harvesting herbal roots, I find it important to connect with the plant and to ask permission for the use of its roots. It is also important when gathering roots to be aware of your impact on the plant and its habitat. One way to do this is to visit the plants the following year to see how they are faring. This provides an important opportunity to notice your impact, give back, and offer respect, gratitude, and reciprocity for the gifts of the plant. You can learn more about being a sustainable herbalist in this post.

Herbal Roots 101: How to Prepare and Use Roots for Wellness | Herbal Academy | Use herbal roots for wellness! In this post, you'll learn when to harvest roots, how to prepare them for use, and you'll even find several recipes to try.

A Timeframe for Harvesting Herbal Roots

If you’re wondering what the right time is to begin harvesting the roots of your plants, here are some general guidelines.

  • Digging up your annuals, when their cycle is completed, is a good way to gather roots.
  • With perennials, you should wait until their third year, or later, to harvest them — when active compounds have more fully developed.
  • Larger shrubs and bushes have many roots off-shooting the main taproot, so gathering small pieces of the offshoots allows the shrub or bush to live on.
  • Also, keep in mind that sap rises and falls with the sun. This is a good way to navigate when it’s best to harvest roots during the day. Early morning or evening will be the time when the most vitality and energy stores are held deep in the roots (Easley & Horne, 2016).

Preparing Herbal Roots for Use

Once you have gathered your roots, you should remove the soil and dirt. An easy way to do so is with an old toothbrush. Roots should be washed gently to make sure the tiny root hairs remain intact as they hold important constituents.

Cutting roots can be nearly impossible when dry so it’s a good idea to cut or chop your roots while they’re still fresh. Once cut, dry the roots on a tray or screen out of direct sunlight. You can also use a food dehydrator at 150 degrees Fahrenheit or on the lowest setting in the oven with the door propped open.

Note: Some roots can absorb moisture from the air. Be sure to discard these roots if they become soft.

If you are not gathering your own roots, it’s important to find an herbal supplier that has a sustainable practice. Mountain Rose Herbs is a good place to start!

Herbal Roots 101: How to Prepare and Use Roots for Wellness | Herbal Academy | Use herbal roots for wellness! In this post, you'll learn when to harvest roots, how to prepare them for use, and you'll even find several recipes to try.

How to Use Roots in Herbal Preparations

Water, our universal solvent, makes a great extraction. Given enough time, water can dissolve anything.

When using water-based herbal preparations, you’ll want to make only a small amount at a time and consume it within 24-48 hours, depending on the type of preparation. You’ll also want to make sure to refrigerate any unused extraction as cooler temperatures help to slow down bacterial growth.

I feel that when water is your solvent, you are more present with your herbal preparations. It can become a time during your day where you slow down, connect with plants, and revel in the self-care aspect of making an herbal preparation. Fall is a true time of transition and moving slowly during those shifts can be an immense gift and opportunity to feel into your body, ground yourself with the nourishment of the earth, and honor the changing seasons.

Let’s look at two different water extractions and how to use them with herbal roots below.

Overnight Infusions:

Overnight infusions are one of the easiest ways to utilize the qualities of herbal roots. Because the roots are soaking in their menstruum overnight (often 8 or more hours), water soluble constituents have ample time to be pulled out (Tilgner, 2009). You can learn more about herbal infusions in this post: https://theherbalacademy.com/a-deeper-look-at-herbal-infusions/.

For a busy lifestyle, I find overnight infusions to be a very easy and simple way to incorporate the benefits of herbs daily. You may choose to warm your infusion in the morning in a water bath or to drink your infusion at room temperature. I also recommend refrigerating unused infusions for up to 24 hours. You can find more information on the shelf-life of herbal preparations in this post.

Decoctions:

The decoction method is a faster way to pull out the active constituents of herbal roots (as well as seeds and barks) into your tea. To make a basic decoction, add 28g of herb and 1 quart of water to a pot on the stove. Bring your herb and water to a slow, rolling boil. Once you have your slow boil, cover your decoction for 30-40 minutes. Check on this frequently to make sure your boil is still slow and soft.

Decoctions may be ingested hot or cold or applied externally to the body. You can learn more about decoctions and suitable herbs for this preparation in our post, How to Make an Herbal Decoction.

Herbal Roots 101: How to Prepare and Use Roots for Wellness | Herbal Academy | Use herbal roots for wellness! In this post, you'll learn when to harvest roots, how to prepare them for use, and you'll even find several recipes to try.

Fall Root Recipes

Simple Ginger Decoction

[recipe_ingredients]

28g dried ginger (Zingiber officinale) rhizome (56g fresh chopped ginger will work too, though dried ginger is known to have more heating qualities)
1 quart of water

[/recipe_ingredients][recipe_directions]

  • Bring your ginger and water to a slow, rolling boil for 30-40 minutes, covered.
  • Strain ginger from water and drink hot to induce internal warming, sweating, or digestive soothing.
  • Apply ginger decoction topically (referred to as a fomentation) with a washcloth to achy body parts.

[/recipe_directions]

Like an infusion, a decoction can be made with one herb or several. Below is an autumn decoction formula that is warming, nutritious, supporting to digestion and the liver, and soothing to the nervous system.

Herbal Roots 101: How to Prepare and Use Roots for Wellness | Herbal Academy | Use herbal roots for wellness! In this post, you'll learn when to harvest roots, how to prepare them for use, and you'll even find several recipes to try.

Autumn Decoction Formula

Here is a simple base formula for wellness during cooler fall days and nights. This formula, at its root (pun intended), is nutritive. When we are able to keep our nutritional intake up, our immune system can function properly. Along with the nutritive aspects of dandelion and burdock, they are supportive to the body’s natural detoxification systems and specifically the liver. Hawthorn berry brings in support of the nervous system, nutritive aspects, as well as a slightly moistening effect. This is a drying formula and keeping up your water intake is important. Ginger is warming, anti-inflammatory, and digestive. If you are feeling a cold coming on, increase the amount of ginger in your formula, take a hot bath, and let yourself sweat. As your body temperature increases, it can support your body in battling the cold.

  • Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) root
  • Ginger (Zingiber officinale) rhizome
  • Hawthorn (Crataegus spp.) berry
  • Burdock (Arctium lappa) root

*For an extra treat, add a bit of coconut milk and cinnamon for a rooty, yet creamy, beverage.

Feel free to experiment with different amounts of each herb depending on your wellness needs and taste preferences. This can also act as a base formula in which to add other immune supporting herbs during cold and flu season. Echinacea (Echinacea angustifolia), elecampane (Inula helenium), or astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus) roots are all good additions.

Local, raw honey is also soothing when you find yourself under the weather. Feel welcome to add honey before you drink your decoction.

Herbal Bone Broth

One of my favorite ways to utilize roots in the fall (and winter) is to add them to hearty soups and bone broths. Adding nutritive roots to your bone broth is a great way to bring in additional nourishment, especially during seasons of transition and weather changes. You can learn more about making herbal bone broths here: https://theherbalacademy.com/diy-herbal-infused-broth/.

Herbal Roots 101: How to Prepare and Use Roots for Wellness | Herbal Academy | Use herbal roots for wellness! In this post, you'll learn when to harvest roots, how to prepare them for use, and you'll even find several recipes to try.

Fire Cider

Traditional fire cider recipes call for many roots and is a fun way to be involved with your herbal preparations. It takes a bit of chopping, cutting, and engagement; however, your senses will be alive, and you’ll truly feel like you’ve made a powerful tonic. This is a great way to use herbal roots to help tone your immune system as well as ward off a cold.   

Common roots used in fire cider:

  • Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
  • Turmeric (Curcuma longa)
  • Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana, syn. Cochlearia armoracia)
  • Beets (for taste and liver support)

Rosemary Gladstar's Traditional Fire Cider

[recipe_ingredients]

½ cup grated fresh horseradish root
½ cup or more fresh chopped onions
¼ cup or more fresh chopped garlic
¼ cup or more fresh grated ginger
Raw apple cider vinegar
Raw honey

[/recipe_ingredients][recipe_directions]

  • Place herbs in a half-gallon canning jar and cover with enough raw, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar to cover the herbs by at least 3-4 inches. Cover tightly with a tight-fitting lid.
  • Place the jar in a warm place and let sit for 3-4 weeks. It’s best to shake this mixture every day to help in the maceration process.
  • After 3-4 weeks, strain out the herbs and reserve the liquid.
  • Add honey to taste. Feel free to warm the honey first so it mixes in well. To taste means your fire cider should taste hot, spicy, and sweet.
  • Rebottle and enjoy! Fire cider will keep for up to 6 months refrigerated.

[/recipe_directions]

Finally

Using roots for well-being can support us during times when we go inwards, cold and flu season is at the door, and we feel the weather changing. Herbal roots offer immune support, nervous system care, liver focus, nutritive qualities, and so much more. Here’s to staying warm and grounded this season!

Herbal Roots 101: How to Prepare and Use Roots for Wellness | Herbal Academy | Use herbal roots for wellness! In this post, you'll learn when to harvest roots, how to prepare them for use, and you'll even find several recipes to try.

REFERENCES

Easley, T., & Horne, S. (2016). The modern herbal dispensatory: A medicine-making guide. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books.

Gladstar, R. (2014). Rosemary’s story. [Online Article]. Retrieved from http://freefirecider.com/rosemarys-story/

Tilgner, S. (2009). Herbal medicine: From the heart of the earth. Pleasant Hill, OR: Wise Acres LLC.

How to Create a Simmering Herbal Potpourri

How to Create a Simmering Herbal Potpourri | Herbal Academy | Banish every day odors throughout your home without causing health hazards with this simmering herbal potpourri recipe, perfect for the holidays too!

Does your home ever get that stale feeling? Does it smell like a cast iron skillet or a dusty antique store?

Let’s be honest — odors happen!

If the weather isn’t ideal for opening the windows, then you may be looking for some help to freshen the air in your home! So, where do most of us turn for help? Room sprays.

In case you haven’t heard, the Environmental Working Group rates the average room freshener at a range of D to F for significant hazards to health and the environment (Amerelo & Geller, 2018).

The good news is that you can make your own natural room spray to freshen up a space. However, room sprays are best used for a quick fix, such as a spritz or two to deodorize the kitchen or bathroom, and just like most quick fixes, the results aren’t long-lasting.

Instead, you may be searching for a solution that cuts through nearly any and all odors with lasting results. One option is to make a simmering herbal potpourri to help banish odors throughout your home without causing health hazards.

How to Create a Simmering Herbal Potpourri | Herbal Academy | Banish every day odors throughout your home without causing health hazards with this simmering herbal potpourri recipe, perfect for the holidays too!

What Is A Simmering Herbal Potpourri?

A simmering herbal potpourri is basically an herbal potpourri mix of dry ingredients that you boil in water. Unlike chemical fragrances that mimic the real deal, the aroma of an herbal potpourri will last throughout the day and even after you’ve stopped simmering.  

Is It Safe To Boil Potpourri?

Boiling potpourri is safe, as long you as follow a few guidelines.

  • First, choose a large pot to simmer your herbal potpourri in.
  • Next, be careful not to overfill the pot with ingredients or water.
  • Keep an eye or an ear on the herbal potpourri while it simmers, being sure to not let the water get too low.  

What Do You Need To Make A Simmering Herbal Potpourri?

While having fresh herbs within reach to use in your recipes is ideal, I know from experience that not all herbs do well indoors during the winter months. Fortunately, dried herbs can be just as potent when it comes to aroma! Here’s list of aromatic herbs perfect for simmering herbal potpourri grouped by scent.

How to Create a Simmering Herbal Potpourri | Herbal Academy | Banish every day odors throughout your home without causing health hazards with this simmering herbal potpourri recipe, perfect for the holidays too!

Culinary Herbs:

This group of herbs is full of familiar scents. They are often grown for culinary purposes, and I’m sure you have enjoyed many of them in flavorful dishes.  You’ll find minty, citrus, and even candy-like scents, all of which are wonderful in herbal potpourri. If you have a culinary garden, you’ve just found a new way to use the herbs growing in it!

  • Tulsi (Ocimum tenuiflorum)
  • Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
  • Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)
  • Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)
  • Peppermint (Mentha x piperita)
  • Sage (Salvia officinalis)
  • Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis)

How to Create a Simmering Herbal Potpourri | Herbal Academy | Banish every day odors throughout your home without causing health hazards with this simmering herbal potpourri recipe, perfect for the holidays too!

Woodland Herbs:

In this group, you’ll find herbs that remind us of a walk in the woods. Each will add a breath of fresh air and woodland scent to your simmering herbal potpourri recipes.

  • Cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica)
  • White pine (Pinus strobus L.)
  • Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens)
  • Juniper (Juniperus spp.)

How to Create a Simmering Herbal Potpourri | Herbal Academy | Banish every day odors throughout your home without causing health hazards with this simmering herbal potpourri recipe, perfect for the holidays too!

Floral Herbs:

These herbs are some of the most popular for soap making and perfumes, and I can see why — each have a unique, incredibly soothing floral scent.

  • Lavender (Lavandula spp.)
  • Rose (Rosa spp.)
  • Hibiscus (Hibiscus sabdariffa)
  • German chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla)
  • Echinacea (Echinacea angustifolia)

How to Create a Simmering Herbal Potpourri | Herbal Academy | Banish every day odors throughout your home without causing health hazards with this simmering herbal potpourri recipe, perfect for the holidays too!

Spicy Herbs:

In the cooler months of the year, I crave spicy herbal aromas. Cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, and cardamom have my name written all over them! Who doesn’t want to add a little spice to their life? Try a spicy herb or two in your simmering herbal potpourri.

  • Cinnamon sticks (Cinnamomum zeylanicum)
  • Whole nutmeg (Myristica fragrans)
  • Cardamom seeds (Elettaria cardamomum)
  • Ginger root (Zingiber officinale)
  • Star anise (Illicium verum)
  • Whole cloves (Syzygium aromaticum)
  • Vanilla beans (Vanilla planifolia)
  • Coriander (Coriandrum sativum L.)

How to Create a Simmering Herbal Potpourri | Herbal Academy | Banish every day odors throughout your home without causing health hazards with this simmering herbal potpourri recipe, perfect for the holidays too!

Fruits

Many of us share a love of citrus, and a simmering herbal potpourri is a great way to enjoy your favorites. You can simply toss the peeled rinds into a pot after enjoying the fruit or can dry fruit slices in a food dehydrator to store in a dry potpourri mix. You can also dry fruit slices in the oven if you don’t have a dehydrator.  Here’s a quick list of aromatic fruits to use in simmering herbal potpourri:

  • Orange
  • Grapefruit
  • Lime
  • Apple
  • Lemon
  • Pear
  • Pomegranate

How to Make a Simmering Herbal Potpourri

When making a simmering herbal potpourri, keep in mind that ingredients and their amounts can vary. Each blend may be used as a new aroma to remove odors from the home or simply to enjoy on a rainy day. You’ll want to keep your dry ingredients at one to two cups total, allowing room in the stock pot for water and to reduce the risk of boiling over.

Here’s an example of a simmering herbal potpourri recipe I love to make.

Simmering Herbal Potpourri

[recipe_ingredients]

1 lemon, sliced
1 apple, sliced
2 cinnamon sticks  
3 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon lavender
4 cups water

[/recipe_ingredients][recipe_directions]

  • Gather your ingredients, slice or peel fruits, and tear or rub the leaves of culinary herbs to release their fragrance.
  • Place each item into a medium stock pot and pour in four cups of water. Bring the herbal potpourri to boil.
  • Boil two to three minutes, then reduce to a low simmer.
  • Simmer for up to four hours, while adding an additional half a cup of water every half hour as needed to avoid burning the ingredients.

[/recipe_directions]

Creating a simmering herbal potpourri is not only purposeful, it is a beautiful experience. Foraging for woodland herbs, hand picking culinary herbs, slicing fresh fruits, and gathering whole spices is a rewarding adventure, and the result is an aromatic infusion of ingredients made just for you!

How to Create a Simmering Herbal Potpourri | Herbal Academy | Banish every day odors throughout your home without causing health hazards with this simmering herbal potpourri recipe, perfect for the holidays too!REFERENCES

(Amerelo, M. and Geller, S.). (2018). Chemicals in everyday products rival cars as source of air pollution. [Online Article]. Retrieved from https://www.ewg.org/news-and-analysis/2018/02/chemicals-everyday-products-rival-cars-source-air-pollution

The Best and Worst Plants for Pets

The Best and Worst Plants for Pets | Herbal Academy | While there are many plants that are safe for domestic animals, there is also a list of plants that are toxic. Here's the best and worst plants for pets.

While there are many herbs, plants, and vegetables that are healthy and safe for domestic animals, there is a long list of plants that are downright toxic to our four-legged companions. Sadly, these dangerous plants are prevalent, lurking in our yards and homes. You know your companion animal better than anyone else, so when cultivating your backyard garden or indoor potted plants, work to keep your pets safe by learning the best and worst plants for pets.

A Pet-Safe Yard and Garden: The Best & Worst Plants for Pets

Grasses

“Mother nature did more than sprinkle the earth with healing plants. She gave animals the instincts to nibble those plants… When your cat is demolishing your houseplants, or your dog is grazing on the lawn like a sheep, he is probably not doing it because he is sick… he is probably just having a salad for lunch,” (Shojai, 2016, p. 41).

Most animals naturally crave plants, so be sure the ones you grow are safe if eaten. While it’s a natural instinct for dogs and cats to eat grass to settle an upset stomach, never let pets graze on plants or grasses that have been treated with pesticides.

The Best and Worst Plants for Pets | Herbal Academy | While there are many plants that are safe for domestic animals, there is also a list of plants that are toxic. Here's the best and worst plants for pets.

Herbs and Herbal Products

With proper preparation and precaution, herbs can be safely used to support healthy pets. Although adverse reactions are rare, herbs require care and common sense. When using herbs, select the appropriate form and amount of plant matter. Dried or fresh herbs can be added directly to pet food or steeped in a tea that can be poured over food. Caution should always be used with concentrated plant extracts and tinctures, particularly those made with alcohol (Shojai, 2016), and it’s always a good idea to consult your veterinarian before using any herbal products.

With that being said, many herbs and vegetables that we grow are safe to share with our dogs and cats. The well-known book, Herbs for Pets, by Gregory l. Tilford and Mary L. Wulff contains an exhaustive list of pet-safe herbs.

Please Note: Although the plants listed here are non-toxic to domestic animals, dogs and cats should not be allowed to graze freely in the garden. In large or uncontrolled amounts, any of the plants listed can cause adverse reactions such as upset stomach, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. If your pet seems unwell, contact your veterinarian or a pet poison hotline.

Top Backyard Herbs for Pets

Herbs and flowers in the massive sunflower (Asteraceae) family, including favorites such as chamomile (Matricaria recutita), dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), milk thistle (Silybum marianum), calendula (Calendula officinalis), and echinacea (Echinacea spp.), are safe for dogs and cats (Tilford & Wulff, 2009, p.95).

The Best and Worst Plants for Pets | Herbal Academy | While there are many plants that are safe for domestic animals, there is also a list of plants that are toxic. Here's the best and worst plants for pets.

Chamomile

Cherished for its beneficial properties and fragrance, chamomile helps to soothe the mind and body. Although rare, some pets can be allergic to this herb (Puotinen, 1998).

Dandelion

The humble dandelion contains a wealth of vitamins and minerals and is considered “one of the most complete plant foods on earth” (Tilford & Wulff, 2009, p.95). Since it grows just about everywhere, it is comforting to know that our pets can safely snack on it. Better yet, try adding some harvested dandelion greens to their food.

The Best and Worst Plants for Pets | Herbal Academy | While there are many plants that are safe for domestic animals, there is also a list of plants that are toxic. Here's the best and worst plants for pets.

The Mint Family

Nearly all members of the mint (Lamiaceae) family — peppermint (Mentha piperita), spearmint (M. spicata or M. aquatica), lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), thyme (Thymus vulgaris), and catnip (Nepeta cataria) are non-toxic and generally well-tolerated by animals when used correctly. Fresh or dried mint leaves can be direct-fed or used to make a tea.  

Despite its reputation for exciting cats, catnip can help to calm both the nervous and digestive systems of animals (Puotinen, 1998). Similarly, peppermint and spearmint have been shown to aid in digestion, while lemon balm can ease anxiety, insomnia, and nausea (Puotinen, 1998). Note that mint grows rapidly and can quickly take over planting beds. Consider planting it in containers or separating it from other herbs.  

The Best and Worst Plants for Pets | Herbal Academy | While there are many plants that are safe for domestic animals, there is also a list of plants that are toxic. Here's the best and worst plants for pets.

Culinary Herbs

Although similar in appearance to pet-safe dill, fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) is actually a member of the parsley family and can serve as a substitute for the (rare) 20 percent of cats who dislike catnip. Fennel works similarly to catnip in the digestive tract and is often preferred by dogs and cats who dislike “minty herbs” (Tilford & Wulff, 2009).

Once a lowly garnish, parsley (Petroselinum crispum) is rich in protein, fiber, vitamins, and trace minerals (Blarowski, 2017). It is known as an excellent diuretic, can help with gastric issues, may ease the inflammation of arthritis, and the highly nutritive stems can boost anemic animals (Tilford & Wulff, 2009). Both parsley and fennel are easy to grow.

Other Herbs

Additional pet-safe herbs include ginger (Zingiber officinale), burdock (Arctium lappa), and oregano (Origanum vulgare) (Blarowski, 2017).

Leafy Greens and Healthy Vegetables

The Best and Worst Plants for Pets | Herbal Academy | While there are many plants that are safe for domestic animals, there is also a list of plants that are toxic. Here's the best and worst plants for pets.

A variety of leafy greens and healthy vegetables can be added directly to our pets’ food for health benefits, variety, and texture. When it comes to edible plants, carrots, parsnips, zucchini, cucumbers, celery, peas, sweet potatoes, broccoli, and green beans are safe for dogs and cats (Puotinen, 1998). Other pet-safe favorites include asparagus, cauliflower, blueberries, strawberries, lettuce, and spinach (Coulter, 2014).

Keep in mind that many of garden staples — including eggplant, garlic**, onions, potatoes, tomatoes, and mushrooms — are toxic to pets. Cooked potatoes and ripe tomatoes are acceptable in small amounts, but the roots, vines, foliage, and unripe fruit should never be consumed by dogs or cats (Coulter, 2014).

**While garlic has myriad herbal applications, the plant should never be consumed by animals.

When introducing new foods to your companion animals, be sure to go slow and consult your veterinarian as an upset stomach can occur. Note: Several common foods are toxic to animals. Be sure to conduct proper research before feeding human foods to your pets.

Backyard Flowers: The Good, the Bad, and the Toxic

The Best and Worst Plants for Pets | Herbal Academy | While there are many plants that are safe for domestic animals, there is also a list of plants that are toxic. Here's the best and worst plants for pets.

While we often plant flowers for their beauty and fragrance, we unwittingly bringing poisonous plants into our yard. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), which maintains an extensive database of plants that are toxic and non-toxic to dogs and cats, pinpoints that countless well-known plants are hazardous to domestic animals.

It is not unusual to find poisonous flora like autumn crocus (Colchicum autumnale), azaleas and rhododendrons (Rhododendron spp.), English ivy (Hedera helix), and yew (Taxus spp.) in yards across the country. The bulbs of spring staples like tulips (Tulipa spp.); daffodils, jonquils, and narcissus (Narcissus spp.), as well as amaryllis (Amaryllis spp.), are also toxic to dogs and cats. Most lilies, even as cut flowers, are toxic to cats and can be life-threatening, so they are best avoided altogether if you have feline friends (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, (n.d.a.).

While containers, raised beds, and gates can help keep curious critters away from problematic plants, if your pets are particularly nosey, it is best to stick with pet-safe picks such as African violets (Saintpaulias), alyssum (Lobularia maritima), snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus), hibiscus (Hibiscus), impatiens (Impatiens), pansies (Viola x wittrockiana), petunias (Petunia), and sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas).

Don’t forget the wonderful Asteraceae family that includes aster (Aster), blue-eyed or African daisy (Arctotis stoechadifolia), sunflowers (Helianthus annuus), zinnia (Zinnia elegans), marigolds (Tagetes), cornflower also known as bachelor’s button (Centaurea cyanus), and other backyard champions which are beautiful and safe for companion animals (Southern Living, n.d.).

The Best and Worst Indoor Plants

The Best and Worst Plants for Pets | Herbal Academy | While there are many plants that are safe for domestic animals, there is also a list of plants that are toxic. Here's the best and worst plants for pets.

Houseplants add so much to our indoor spaces such as color, texture, and oxygen, but unfortunately, many common houseplants are poisonous to pets. Maintaining pet-safe plants indoors offers peace of mind as lots of animals — especially cats, kittens, and puppies — like to nibble.

The classic spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) is easy to grow, air purifying, and safe for dogs and cats. True ferns, including Boston fern (Nephrolepis exaltata) and asparagus fern (Asparagus densiflorus cv sprengeri) are also non-toxic and make great hanging plants (Wong, 2016).

The majority of plants in the Palmae family are non-toxic to dogs and cats and easy to maintain. Look for ponytail palm (Beaucarnea recurvata), cane palm (Dypsis lutescen), paradise palm (Howea forsteriana), and the ubiquitous parlor/bamboo palm (Chamaedorea elegans) (ASPCA, n.d.a.). However, despite the name, sago palm (Cycas revolute) is NOT a true palm and is toxic to domestic animals (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, (n.d.b.).

Two of the most popular houseplants, pothos (Epipremnum aureum) and philodendron (Philodendron bipennifolium), are also highly toxic and harmful if ingested by dogs and cats. If you have these at home, be sure to move them to a high shelf, out of reach, or take them to work to be safe.

Numerous people are saddened to learn that holiday favorite, the poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima), is toxic to their four-legged friends. However, the equally cheerful Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera bridgesii) is safe. And, if you enjoy a bright red bloom, you can also opt for a bromeliad (Bromeliaceae), which is pet-safe as well.

Aloe vera is a favorite herb and houseplant; however, the plant is toxic and should not be eaten by dogs or cats. The gel-like juice of the inner leaves can be used topically on animals for skin irritation or wounds, and, although bitter, it is generally considered safe for internal and external use in dogs and cats, but do not let them chew directly on the leaves or stalks of this plant (Tilford & Wulff, 2009).

Remember animals are smart and inquisitive. Cats are exceptionally curious, and they often investigate plants even if they are not looking for a snack. If you know your dog or cat loves to check out your houseplants, keep some safe options like catnip or wheatgrass (Thinopyrum intermedium) available for them to explore.  

The Best and Worst Plants for Pets | Herbal Academy | While there are many plants that are safe for domestic animals, there is also a list of plants that are toxic. Here's the best and worst plants for pets.

REFERENCES:

American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. (n.d.a.). Seventeen plants poisonous to pets [Online Article]. Retrieved from https://www.aspcapro.org/resource/shelter-health-poison-control/17-plants-poisonous-pets

American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. (n.d.b.). Toxic and non-toxic plants: Sago palm. [Online Article]. Retrieved from https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants/sago-palm

Blarowski, Z. (2017). 12 herbs to grow for your pets. [Online Article]. Retrieved from https://www.care2.com/greenliving/12-herbs-to-grow-for-your-pets.html

Coulter, C. (2014). How to grow a pet-friendly vegetable garden. [Online Article]. Retrieved from https://www.babble.com/pets/how-to-grow-a-pet-friendly-vegetable-garden/

Darrisaw, M. (n.d.) Southern Living. (n.d.). Best and worst flowers to plant for a pet-friendly garden. [Online Article]. Retrieved from https://www.southernliving.com/garden/flowers/pet-friendly-plants

Mountain Rose Herbs. (2014). Basic botany: Sunflower family. [Online Article]. Retrieved from https://blog.mountainroseherbs.com/basic-botany-sunflower-family.

Puotinen, C.J. (1998). The encyclopedia of natural pet care. New Canaan, CT: Keats Publishing.

Shojai, A. (2016). New choices in natural healing for dogs and cats. Furry Muse Publishing with Rodale Inc.

Tilford, G. & Wulff, M. (2009). Herbs for pets: The natural way to enhance your pet’s life (2nd ed.). Irvine, CA: Lumina Media.

Wong, K. (2016). The Best Low-Maintenance, Pet-Friendly Houseplants. Retrieved from https://lifehacker.com/the-best-low-maintenance-pet-friendly-houseplants-1773512170

How To Use Chromotherapy And Gemstones For Mind-Body Balance

How To Use Chromotherapy And Gemstones For Mind-Body Balance | Herbal Academy | This article will explore chromotherapy and gemstones that are beneficial for your dosha, and ultimately, mind-body balance.

A core ayurvedic teaching is that all things in nature are comprised of the five elements: earth, water, fire, air, and ether. The five elements exist in a very real way and also represent qualities or energies within us and within the natural world. When it comes to choosing appropriate foods, herbs, aromas, and other remedies, it is vital to understand the qualities of the individual, as well as the energetics of the foods, herbs, etc. that are being received.

Chromotherapy and gemstones are wonderful tools that can be utilized in order to bring about harmony and balance. This article will explore chromotherapy and gemstones that are beneficial for your dosha, and ultimately, mind-body balance.

Chromotherapy And Gemstones For Mind-Body Balance

Before we dive into the use of gemstones, let’s take a brief look at the role of chromotherapy (color therapy) in Ayurveda. Chromotherapy and gemstones are closely linked, as gemstones are a more potent form of chromotherapy. However, just like gemstones, colors may either have an aggravating or harmonizing effect on the doshas (Frawley, 2000).

How To Use Chromotherapy And Gemstones For Mind-Body Balance | Herbal Academy | This article will explore chromotherapy and gemstones that are beneficial for your dosha, and ultimately, mind-body balance.

Chromotherapy: Balance Through Color

As mentioned earlier, Ayurveda teaches that all things in nature are made of a combination of the five elements. The particular balance of the five elements within a color, scent, or herb is its energetic expression. The table below outlines the energetics of the major colors in terms of each colors associated elements and doshic effects. When you see a “+” sign after a dosha, it means that the color increases or aggravates that dosha. A “-” means that the color decreases, reduces, or pacifies that dosha. A “=” means that the color has a neutral effect on that dosha (Halpern, 2012).

Color Elements Effect on Doshas
brown earth, water kapha+ vata- pitta-
red fire, air vata+ pitta+ kapha-
orange fire, air, water pitta+ vata = kapha-
yellow fire, ether, air, water pitta+ vata- kapha-
green air, water, fire pitta+ (ex)* vata- kapha-
blue air, ether vata+ pitta- kapha –
purple fire, air, ether vata- kapha- pitta+
violet air, ether, fire pitta- kapha- vata+
gold fire, water, earth vata, pitta, kapha=
black all elements, predominantly earth vata+ kapha+ pitta+ (ex)*
white ether, water pitta- kapha- vata+ (ex)*
  • Aggravates the dosha only if used in excess.

As you can see, each color possesses complex qualities and has the power to impact one’s energetic balance by either increasing or decreasing the doshas. It may also be helpful to view these colors grouped according to their impact on the doshas. If a color is listed as pacifying to a dosha, it means that if you predominate in that particular dosha, that color is helpful to you because it balances or reduces that dosha (Halpern, 2012).

Pacifies Vata Pacifies Pitta Pacifies Kapha
orange, yellow, green, gold, brown, purple gold, blue, white, brown, violet, black yellow, green, gold, blue, white, violet

Practical Ways To Play With Color

In terms of how to incorporate chromotherapy into your everyday life, the sky (or shall I say the rainbow) is the limit! Here are a few ideas (Halpern, 2012):

Attend to Your Painter’s Palette

If you are thinking about repainting the inside of your home or workplace, use the doshic color guide to help inform your paint selection. The colors that we wake up to and come home to on a daily basis can have a tremendous effect on our outlook, as well as the overall mood and feeling of a room.

Furniture and Upholstery

While I am not suggesting that you do a complete home and office makeover today, the next time you decide to replace your furniture, curtains, bedding, and other home decor items, you can make a smart selection based on what you now know about colors and the doshas.

Clothing and Accessories

The next time you go shopping or swap for new clothing, jewelry, or accessories, you may want to bear in mind the colors that are most balancing for you. It is also interesting to observe the colors that predominate in your closet right now. By scanning over your wardrobe to observe its color pattern, you can reflect on whether or not your current choices are optimal.

Make a Color Chamber with Tinted Lights

You can choose a single room in the house with which to do this. Colored lights are relatively inexpensive and may be less of a hassle than purchasing new furniture or repainting your home interior. Simply fill the room’s light fixtures with bulbs in your focus color. Additional lamps can be brought in to amplify the effects.

Drink in Color!

Colored glass mason jars are available for purchase both in stores and online. Fill a colored mason jar with water and let the water sit for a few hours to absorb the color’s energetic vibrations. Then enjoy your water! If you have trouble finding a glass jar in your particular desired color, you can achieve a similar effect by wrapping colored paper or fabric around a water-filled jar. Place the wrapped water-filled jar in the sunlight for an hour so that the sun rays can help transmit the color vibrations into the water. You will want to make sure that the paper or fabric is thin enough so that the sun rays can reach your water through the wrapping.

How To Use Chromotherapy And Gemstones For Mind-Body Balance | Herbal Academy | This article will explore chromotherapy and gemstones that are beneficial for your dosha, and ultimately, mind-body balance.

Flowers and Other Decorations

Natural objects can really light up a room. Not only do flowers and other natural decorations add life, warmth, and vibrancy to a space, but by carefully selecting these objects, you can work on balancing your constitution.

Gemstones: Let There Be Light

Gemstone therapy is classically an important aspect of Vedic Astrology, the astrological system that stems from the ancient Vedic culture of India. Ayurveda deals primarily with physical health. However, Vedic Astrology is used to balance prana (life force), the mind, and the subtle body (Frawley, 2000).

In order to fully appreciate how to use gemstones for their harmonizing effects, an understanding of astrology is needed. As mentioned earlier, gemstones can be viewed as supercharged colors. Due to their potency, it is helpful to consult with a jyotish (Vedic astrologer), particularly before working with the more valuable gemstones such as diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and sapphires. However, even without specific astrological knowledge, we can make strides in incorporating gemstones for their harmonizing effects. By learning about their inherent qualities, we can begin to see how these beautiful natural wonders can be used as part of a doshic balancing protocol, especially when it comes to working with the mind and subtle realms.

Renowned ayurvedic teacher and practitioner, Dr. Vasant Lad, eloquently summarizes the interplay between light, energy, and gemstones: “Light is energy. Light is vibration…The different frequencies of light are responsible for color…Gemstone crystals are frozen light” (Lad,  May 5, 2017, part 2 ). In this same lecture, Dr. Lad goes on to discuss how gemstones work on the subtle, energetic realms, and at the same time, are quite potent for their power to influence our lives and well-being over time. Dr. Lad reminds us that, much like Ayurveda as a whole, gemstones are not a quick fix. Rather it is their cumulative effect over time that makes a difference (2017). Below is a summary of some of the major gemstones along with descriptions of their doshic and energetic attributes.

How To Use Chromotherapy And Gemstones For Mind-Body Balance | Herbal Academy | This article will explore chromotherapy and gemstones that are beneficial for your dosha, and ultimately, mind-body balance.

How To Use Chromotherapy And Gemstones For Mind-Body Balance | Herbal Academy | This article will explore chromotherapy and gemstones that are beneficial for your dosha, and ultimately, mind-body balance.

Gemstones For Your Dosha

Ruby represents the sun and solar energy and is made of fire, air, and ether (Frawley, 2000). Its warming energy is balancing for vata and kapha doshas, but pitta doshas should take caution with ruby. This lovely red colored stone is warming and pungent. It is said to be good for the heart, circulation, and memory. Ruby may also be recommended for enhancing self-confidence (Frawley, 2000).

Pearl, on the other hand, represents the moon and is made of water, earth, and ether (Frawley, 2000). It pacifies pitta dosha, calms vata, and increases kapha (Lad, 2017). With its cool, nourishing, lunar energy, pearl is said to calm the nervous system and promote the increase of bodily fluids. It is a good general strengthener for women and infants (Frawley, 2000).

Emerald has a slightly cool energy and is said to be made of water, air, and ether. It increases kapha while harmonizing vata and decreasing pitta. Emeralds relate to the planet Mercury, and thus, communication. Emerald is said to improve speech, intelligence, and ease of communication (Frawley, 2000). It is a good stone for speakers and writers (Lad, 2017).

Diamond is a very powerful stone. It is considered to be an ojas builder, ojas being the subtle essence of the immune system. Diamond is good for love and intimacy, but to be sure one should consult with a jyotish for a recommendation on a good marriage stone. Another option is to choose a ring without a stone (Lad, 2017). Diamond has a slightly cool energy and is made of ether and water. It increases kapha and decreases vata and pitta (Frawley, 2000).

Yellow sapphire has a slightly warm energy. It is made of the ether, fire, and water elements. It decreases vata, balances kapha, and may increase pitta due to its warming energy. Like the diamond, yellow sapphire builds ojas and is considered to generally promote vitality, energy, and general health (Frawley, 2000).

Blue sapphire possesses a cold energy and is comprised of ether and air. Being that vata is also made of ether and air, blue sapphire increases vata, yet decreases pitta and kapha. Blue sapphire is used in Ayurveda for promoting calm and peace. Also, the color blue is special in Ayurveda as it is considered to have anti-tumor capabilities. This, of course, does not mean that those with tumors should treat their illness exclusively with blue sapphire (Frawley, 2000). However, working with gemstones can provide a wonderful complement to other alternative or conventional treatments.

Some other noteworthy stones are amethyst and citrine. Amethyst is tridoshic, meaning that it is suitable for all three doshas. According to Dr. Lad it is helpful for safety in travel. He recommends putting a small amethyst in your pocket to assist in trouble-free travel. Citrine is broadly considered to be the stone of success. It correlates to Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. Dr. Lad recommends wearing citrine on Fridays, the day of luxury, or placing a citrine stone in your money box (2017).

How To Use Chromotherapy And Gemstones For Mind-Body Balance | Herbal Academy | This article will explore chromotherapy and gemstones that are beneficial for your dosha, and ultimately, mind-body balance.

Though gemstones are a very appealing and beautiful tool, you are likely not alone if your jaw is dropping at the potential cost. Rest assured there are less expensive analogous options for each of the precious stones mentioned above. When looking for alternatives, let color be your guide. For instance, garnet is a suitable alternative for ruby. Blue topaz or amethyst may be used in lieu of blue sapphire, and peridot or jade for emerald. Clear stones such as quartz crystal or white sapphire may be substituted for diamond (Frawley, 2000).

If you really want to make a gemstone work for you, it is important that the stone is of ample size and that it touches the skin. For instance, if you decide to wear a citrine ring, you want the stone set in such a way that it touches the skin. A simple stone pendant worn as a necklace also works well, as do bracelets. The most valuable gemstones, such as emeralds, should be two or more carats, whereas the less expensive options, such as jade, should be four or more carats (Frawley, 2000).

Again, gemstones and colors work with your mind and your subtle, energetic aspects. This means, if you are looking for a silver bullet or a quick fix, you will likely be disappointed. However, bringing awareness to how you incorporate color and light in your life may have a profound effect over time. Also, chromotherapy and gemstones can be a delightful and beautiful way to experiment with the impact of vision, light, and color in your life.

How To Use Chromotherapy And Gemstones For Mind-Body Balance | Herbal Academy | This article will explore chromotherapy and gemstones that are beneficial for your dosha, and ultimately, mind-body balance.

REFERENCES

Frawley, D. (2000). Ayurvedic healing: A comprehensive guide. Twin Lakes, WI: Lotus Press.

Halpern, M. (2012).  Principles of ayurvedic medicine. Nevada City, CA: California College of Ayurveda.

Lad, V. (2017). Vibrations of light: Using gemstones and crystals for healing and protection. [Video]. Retrieved from https://www.ayurveda.com/videostream/

How To Make A DIY Herbal-Infused Broth

How To Make A DIY Herbal-Infused Broth | Herbal Academy | An herbal-infused broth is a tasty alternative way to enjoy herbs and add a nutritious boost to your meals all year long. Learn how to make it here!

Are herbal-infused broths the new tea?! Although nothing can truly compete with a nourishing cup of herbal tea, an herbal-infused broth is a tasty alternative way to enjoy your herbs and add a nutritious boost to your meals all year long. Herbal-infused broths can be incorporated into soups and other dishes or enjoyed on their own as a savory sipping broth on a crisp, cool day.

In this article, I will show you how to make your own DIY herbal-infused broth at home including a couple of easy recipes to get you inspired.

How To Make A DIY Herbal-Infused Broth | Herbal Academy | An herbal-infused broth is a tasty alternative way to enjoy herbs and add a nutritious boost to your meals all year long. Learn how to make it here!

3 Steps to Making an Herbal-Infused Broth Formula

Step 1: Decide Your Focus

When making your own DIY herbal-infused broth, the first step is to decide your focus. Why are you making the broth? Is there a specific wellness-supporting reason you have in mind? Or perhaps a particular dish you would like to use it for? Choose no more than three core focal points for your broth so the formula does not become too complex or confused in action, energetic, and flavor.

For example, your three core focal points could be:

  1. Creating a nutrient-rich broth to add extra vitamins and minerals to your diet.
  2. Enhancing immune system function during cold and flu season.
  3. Using the broth as a base for your favorite squash soup recipe.

How To Make A DIY Herbal-Infused Broth | Herbal Academy | An herbal-infused broth is a tasty alternative way to enjoy herbs and add a nutritious boost to your meals all year long. Learn how to make it here!

Step 2: Choosing Your Herbs & Base

After deciding your focus, you have the option to choose a base for your herbal-infused broth. This base can consist of animal parts and/or vegetables. Using a base in your herbal-infused broth is entirely optional. If you do decide to use one, make sure you choose the elements of your base at the same time you are deciding which herbs to use. This way the flavor profiles of your herbs and animal parts and/or vegetables can be well-balanced.

For example, a broth using fish bones will have a very different flavor profile than one using mushrooms! Incorporating a base of animal parts and/or vegetables can also offer added nutritional benefits and other wellness-supportive qualities depending on your reasons for making the broth.

Whether you plan on cooking with your herbal-infused broth or not, it is important to keep the overall flavor profile of your herbs in respect to your base in mind. This can take some experimentation to figure out which flavor pairings go well together. When starting out, try sticking to culinary herbs such as sage (Salvia officinalis), rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) and parsley (Petroselinum crispum) at first. Then you can choose another herb that you feel would pair well in the broth and would be balanced in flavor to add to the formula.

Looking for more creative herbal ideas? Here are a few of my favorite flavorful herbs and mushrooms to draw from when building an herbal-infused broth: sage, rosemary, parsley, thyme (Thymus vulgaris), oregano (Origanum vulgare), lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus), reishi (Ganoderma lucidum), ginger (Zingiber officinale), fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), cayenne (Capsicum annuum), garlic (Allium sativum), astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus), hawthorn berries (Crataegus spp.), elderberries (Sambucus nigra), chaga (Inonotus obliquus), turmeric (Curcuma longa), anise (Pimpinella anisum), and clove (Syzygium aromaticum).

How To Make A DIY Herbal-Infused Broth | Herbal Academy | An herbal-infused broth is a tasty alternative way to enjoy herbs and add a nutritious boost to your meals all year long. Learn how to make it here!

Let’s use the example I gave in the previous section and build a DIY herbal-infused broth formula for it. Using vegetables and mushrooms as a base for the broth is a great way to boost the nutrient profile of the broth, but, since we are planning on using the broth as a base in a squash soup, we want to make sure that the flavor of the broth will pair well in that dish. In this case, it might be wiser to steer away from more pungent-flavored vegetables and herbs including most mushrooms.

Sage and rosemary are two great kitchen herbs we could use that complement both the flavor-profile of the soup and carry qualities that support the immune and respiratory systems. Incorporating fresh ginger and garlic could add a gentle kick of spice while lending a stronger antiviral property.

A good herb to experiment with adding into this herbal-infused broth would be astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus) root. Mostly neutral in flavor, astragalus is traditionally used for long-term immune support and is ideal to draw from before sickness has taken root (Bellebuono, 2016).

How To Make A DIY Herbal-Infused Broth | Herbal Academy | An herbal-infused broth is a tasty alternative way to enjoy herbs and add a nutritious boost to your meals all year long. Learn how to make it here!

Step 3: Herb Proportions

After choosing your herbal formula, consider the proportions of the herbs you are using in relation to your base and/or the amount of broth you want to create. Figuring out the right proportions could take a little bit of experimentation over the course of several batches before you find the ideal balance for your taste palate.

Consider the intensity of flavor or spice in the herbs you chose when deciding how much of the herbs to add into your broth base. Keep in mind with many aromatic herbs and seeds, it is helpful to lightly chop or crush them to release more of their volatile oil content before adding them to your broth base.

How To Make A DIY Herbal-Infused Broth | Herbal Academy | An herbal-infused broth is a tasty alternative way to enjoy herbs and add a nutritious boost to your meals all year long. Learn how to make it here!

2 Methods & Recipes To Try

Here are two of my favorite herbal-infused broth recipes for you to try at home or to help inspire your own personal DIY broth. The first recipe uses a bone broth base and the second is vegetarian. They present two different methods you can use to prepare an herbal-infused broth at home. Feel free to try these recipes as they are or simply use them as a model to branch off from and create your own personalized DIY broth.

Herbal Bone Broth

Recipe adapted from The Herbalist’s Kitchen by Brittany Wood Nickerson

[recipe_ingredients]

1-gallon water (or whatever quantity your crock pot will carry)
4-6 fresh sprigs of parsley (Petroselinum crispum)
4-6 sprigs of fresh thyme (Thymus vulgaris) (or 1 tablespoon dried thyme)
2 sprigs fresh rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) (or 1 tablespoon dried)
2 sprigs fresh sage (Salvia officinalis) (or 1 tablespoon dried)
1 bay laurel (Laurus nobilis) leaf
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
2 pounds of animal bones (ex: lamb, beef, fish)

[/recipe_ingredients][recipe_directions]

  • Add the animal bones and vinegar in a crock pot then cover with water until there is 1 inch of water above the bones. Turn on the crockpot to the high setting until the broth is simmering. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 48-72 hours. The water will reduce while the broth is cooking, check on the broth periodically and add hot water as needed to maintain the original water level. If the bones float to the top of the liquid, simply keep the crock pot relatively full with water.
  • Add the parsley, thyme, rosemary, sage, and bay laurel leaf when the broth is 2-3 hours away from completion.
  • Turn off the heat and let the broth cool slightly once it is done cooking. Strain the broth into a soup pot then discard the bones and herbs.
  • Allow the broth to cool completely before pouring into a container to store in the refrigerator or freezer. In the refrigerator, the broth will keep for up to 1 week and in the freezer, the broth will keep for up to 6 months.

[/recipe_directions]

Thai Lemongrass Broth

Recipe adapted from The Healing Kitchen by Holly Bellebuono

[recipe_ingredients]

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
10-15 medium-sized shiitake (Lentinula edodes) mushrooms (dried or fresh), chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
1-inch piece of fresh ginger (Zingiber officinale), minced
1 teaspoon of dried chopped angelica (Angelica sinensis) root (optional)
2 teaspoons of dried chopped astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus) root (or two 2-inch slices of dried astragalus root)
1 tablespoon dried chopped lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus)
2 quarts water
A handful of fresh parsley (Petroselinum crispum) leaves (or 2 teaspoons dried parsley leaves)
Sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons lemon or lime juice per serving

[/recipe_ingredients][recipe_directions]

  • Add the olive oil in a large pot and warm over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, garlic, ginger, angelica (if using), astragalus, and lemongrass to the pot. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Add the water and increase the heat to high until the mixture has reached a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Simmer the broth for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the roots have softened.
  • At the very end, add the parsley and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Strain the broth. Add the lemon or lime juice to each serving and enjoy hot.

[/recipe_directions]

Herbal-Infused Broth For All Seasons

While we are more inclined to enjoy broths and soups during the colder months of the year, you can incorporate an herbal-infused broth into your daily routine throughout all seasons! Herbal-infused broths can add a flavorful and nutrient-rich boost to cook grains in, sauté vegetables with, incorporate into gazpacho, blend into a creamy dip, and more.

Intrigued by herbal-infused bone broth? Learn more about the virtues of bone broth and try another recipe in our post here.

How To Make A DIY Herbal-Infused Broth | Herbal Academy | An herbal-infused broth is a tasty alternative way to enjoy herbs and add a nutritious boost to your meals all year long. Learn how to make it here!

REFERENCES

Bellebuono, H. (2016). The healing kitchen. Boulder, CO: Roost Books.

Nickerson, B.W. (2017). The herbalist’s kitchen. North Adams, MA: Storey Publishing.

Adding Devil’s Club to your Materia Medica

Adding Devil’s Club to your Materia Medica | Herbal Academy | Devil's club is a useful plant to have in one's materia medica. In this post, we'll explore and deepen our knowledge and understanding of this herbal ally.

When I first saw devil’s club in the wild woods, I had no idea what it was, but I was immediately entranced by it. The thick, yellowish-white stalk, wrapped in huge spines, was taller than me, and at the top, there sprouted several foot-long, alternate, umbrella-shaped leaves that also had numerous spines along the top and underside. To me, this plant covered in spikes symbolizes strength and protection. If you have ever crossed paths with devil’s club, you may have had a similar experience. In this post, we will deepen our knowledge and understanding of this powerful plant.

Getting to Know Devil’s Club

Devil’s club, Oplopanax horridum, is in the Araliaceae family and is related to ginseng. It is common to find it growing along the edges of bogs, creeks, and streams. It thrives in moist woods, with deep, wet, well-drained soil, and grows in northern Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, and Alaska. It can also be found growing sporadically in the forests of northern Idaho, Montana, western Wyoming, and along Lake Superior (Moore, 1993).

The spiny stems range anywhere from 3-10 feet in height and grow up from spreading rootstocks under the earth (Moore, 1993). Compact heads of numerous small, whitish flowers bloom in pyramidal terminal clusters in the spring and mature into flattened, bright red berries in late summer (Pojar & MacKinnon, 1994).

The root bark, lower stem bark, and greenish inner bark are the parts used in herbal preparations. Sweet, spicy, saponaceous, and pungent, this plant is a slightly warming expectorant supportive to the adrenal and respiratory systems (Kloos, 2017).

Adding Devil’s Club to your Materia Medica | Herbal Academy | Devil's club is a useful plant to have in one's materia medica. In this post, we'll explore and deepen our knowledge and understanding of this herbal ally.

Traditional Use and Folklore

When diving deeper into the details of an herb, it is important to acknowledge and respect the awareness and information passed on to us from indigenous people. Native cultures across northwestern North America address health and wellbeing in two main ways.

  1. Physically, with the use of herbal preparations, and/or
  2. Spiritually, with the work of shamans that deal with the energy associated with illness rather than the physical manifestation.

Devil’s club has and continues to play a big part in both of these types of approaches, and in some instances, the two are so closely entwined that separating them would be difficult (Turner, 1982).

Turner (1982) says that devil’s club was traditionally used to soothe a variety of ailments, from arthritis, ulcers and digestive tract issues, to diabetes. The Cree, Haida, Halkomelem, Heiltsuk, Metis, Nlaka’pamux, Nuxalk, Sechelt, Secwepemc, Squamish, Stl’atl’imx, Straits Salish, and Tsimshian have all been documented to use it for diabetes, and it has often been used as a purgative or laxative, as well as a soothing aid to the common cold and other respiratory ailments (Turner, 1982).

Most likely, because of its dangerous, devilish spikes that symbolize protection, it is considered a highly powerful plant that can protect against outside evil influences. Devil’s club sticks have often been used as protective charms. Some burn the plant and use its charcoal to make protective face paint (Pojar & MacKinnon, 1994). John Thomas of the Nitinaht considers devil’s club to be a sacred link between the ordinary and the spiritual world (Turner, 1982).

Adding Devil’s Club to your Materia Medica | Herbal Academy | Devil's club is a useful plant to have in one's materia medica. In this post, we'll explore and deepen our knowledge and understanding of this herbal ally.

Clinical and Contemporary Use of Devil’s Club

Adaptogen & Anti-inflammatory Agent

Devil’s club is known as an adaptogen, as it supports the adrenals by moderating the body’s reaction to stress. The tea or tincture can nourish and relax a hypervigilant nervous system (Kloos, 2017). A cold infusion or tincture is reported to be helpful for rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune disorders when taken regularly and with proper diet (Moore, 1993).

Respiratory Expectorant

Devil’s club is traditionally used as a strong expectorant and respiratory stimulant. It can increase or loosen mucus to initiate helpful coughing and speed the healing of respiratory infections (Kloos, 2017).

Moderate Blood Sugar Levels

As already mentioned, devil’s club has a long history of use in native cultures for those with adult-onset type 2 diabetes. Early clinical research inspired by its widespread use by indigenous peoples found that an isolated extract of devil’s club root bark showed a hypoglycemic effect in lab rabbits with no observed toxic effects (Large, & Brocklesby, 1938). However, additional studies provide data that do not support the hypoglycemic activity reported previously (Thommasen, Wilson, & McIlwain, 1990). Either way, devil’s club is still widely used for support with type 2 diabetes and additional research and clinical trials are needed to determine its effectiveness.

Michael Moore reports that his observations, as well as those of other herbalists and physicians, have been that “the herb works better for stocky, mesomorphic, anabolic-stress-type, middle-aged folks with elevated blood lipids, moderately high blood pressure, and early signs of adult-onset, insulin-resistant diabetes. Furthermore, it seems to decrease the lust for sugars and binge food of those with this physical type who deal with generally elevated blood fats and glucose” (Moore, 1993, p.128).

Adding Devil’s Club to your Materia Medica | Herbal Academy | Devil's club is a useful plant to have in one's materia medica. In this post, we'll explore and deepen our knowledge and understanding of this herbal ally.

Adding Devil’s Club to your Materia Medica | Herbal Academy | Devil's club is a useful plant to have in one's materia medica. In this post, we'll explore and deepen our knowledge and understanding of this herbal ally.

Safety and Precautions

The berries have been reported to be toxic. As always, if you attempt to harvest the plant, make sure you have properly identified it first. Harvest sustainably by only taking the root bark from the roots that connect each plant underground, so that the established plant can continue to grow and thrive. Take care not to prick your skin on the spikes of devil’s club, since it can sometimes lead to infection (Kloos, 2017).

Closing in Gratitude

Native Americans have used devil’s club for over one hundred years for many different physical and spiritual reasons. We are honored and privileged to have learned from indigenous people about the traditional uses of devil’s club for nourishing the adrenals, the respiratory system, and supporting healthy blood sugar levels. Many modern-day herbalists and energy workers also attempt to respect and call upon the protective spirit of devil’s club in their practice, drinking the tea or taking a few drops of the tincture during challenging times. As its appearance suggests, devil’s club seems to be a powerful and protective plant after all.

Adding Devil’s Club to your Materia Medica | Herbal Academy | Devil's club is a useful plant to have in one's materia medica. In this post, we'll explore and deepen our knowledge and understanding of this herbal ally.

REFERENCES

Kloos, S. (2017). Pacific Northwest medicinal plants: Identify, harvest, and use 120 wild herbs for health and wellness. Portland, OR: Timber Press.

Large, R.G., & Brocklesby, H.N. (1938). A hypoglycemic substance from the roots of devil’s club (Fatsia horrida). Canadian Medical Association Journal, 39, 32-35. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC536608/?page=1

Moore, M. (1993). Medicinal plants of the Pacific West. Sante Fe, NM: Museum of New Mexico Press.

Pojar, J., & MacKinnon, A. (1994). Plants of the Pacific Northwest coast (revised). Vancouver, BC: Lone Pine Publishing.

Thommasen, H.V., Wilson, R.A., & McIlwain, R.G. (1990). Effects of devil’s club tea on blood glucose in diabetes mellitus. Canadian Family Physician, 36, 62-5. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21249104

Turner, N.J. (1982). Traditional use of devil’s club (Oplopanax horridus; Araliaceae) by native peoples in Western North America. Ethnobiology, 2(1): 17-38. Retrieved from https://ethnobiology.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/JoE/2-1/Turner1982.pdf

How To Make DIY Herbal Soup Rings

Autumn is the season for colored leaves, warm clothes, and hearty comfort foods. And while those things may bring a sense of rest and relaxation, autumn can be a busy time of year. There are sporting events to attend, holiday preparations to make, shorter days to fit everything into, and for many gardeners, food preservation to keep up with in an effort to stock up before the cold winter months ahead.

One way to preserve the herbal bounty of the summer herb garden before the first frost comes is to gather the remaining bits of fresh herbs and make DIY herbal soup rings to use in a variety of foods throughout the fall and winter.

Herbal Soup Rings

How To Make DIY Herbal Soup Rings | Herbal Academy | Take your water-based foods to the next level by using these herbal soup rings to amp up the flavor and nutritional benefits! Learn to make them in this post.

Herbal soup rings are just what they sound like. Rings of herbs. They consist of one or more herb varieties that are braided together, formed into a ring or circle, and tied off. These rings can be used fresh, or they can be placed in the freezer or hung to dry for later use. They can be made up of a single herb, such as a thyme ring or a sage ring, or they can be made from a combination of several herbs — my favorite being rosemary, thyme, and sage.

Herbal soup rings can be used when making bone broth, cooking rice or other grains, or when making soups and stews. All you have to do is toss your herbal soup ring into the pot with the rest of your ingredients and cook away! The herbs used in your herbal soup ring will infuse into the water lending their water-soluble properties as well as flavor to your final product.

Here are some recipes you can use as inspiration with your herbal soup ring this season:

14 Soup Recipe Ideas for Winter

Homemade Pumpkin Soup Recipe

Vegan Herb and Veggie Stew

How To Make Herbal Soup Rings

Herbal soup rings can be made in four simple steps.

Step 1: Choose Your Herbs

Head out to your herb garden and cut 6-12 inch pieces of thyme, sage, rosemary, oregano, or any other herbs of your choosing. You’ll want to select from flexible stems to make braiding easier. Remove any old or damaged leaves, and wipe them with a damp cloth to remove any dirt. You can rinse them in water, but it’s a good idea to dry them well afterward, especially if you’re planning on hanging them to dry. Any extra water in the braid will prolong drying time and can lead to mold.

How To Make DIY Herbal Soup Rings | Herbal Academy | Take your water-based foods to the next level by using these herbal soup rings to amp up the flavor and nutritional benefits! Learn to make them in this post.

How To Make DIY Herbal Soup Rings | Herbal Academy | Take your water-based foods to the next level by using these herbal soup rings to amp up the flavor and nutritional benefits! Learn to make them in this post.

How To Make DIY Herbal Soup Rings | Herbal Academy | Take your water-based foods to the next level by using these herbal soup rings to amp up the flavor and nutritional benefits! Learn to make them in this post.

Step 2: Braiding

Chose three strands of herbs to braid together. This can be three of the same herb or three different herbs. Hold the ends of the herbs tight in your hand or tie them with some bakers twine to secure the base. Begin braiding the strands together until you reach the tip.

How To Make DIY Herbal Soup Rings | Herbal Academy | Take your water-based foods to the next level by using these herbal soup rings to amp up the flavor and nutritional benefits! Learn to make them in this post.

How To Make DIY Herbal Soup Rings | Herbal Academy | Take your water-based foods to the next level by using these herbal soup rings to amp up the flavor and nutritional benefits! Learn to make them in this post.

Step 3: Making Rings

Loop your braid in a circle and tie the tip and base of the braid together, creating a ring. You can use another herb to tie then ends together, or you can use baker’s twine.

How To Make DIY Herbal Soup Rings | Herbal Academy | Take your water-based foods to the next level by using these herbal soup rings to amp up the flavor and nutritional benefits! Learn to make them in this post.

Step 4: Using & Preserving Herbal Soup Rings

Once your herbal soup rings are finished, you can use them fresh or place them in the freezer for later use. You can also hang them to dry somewhere with good air circulation. Just be sure to check them daily to ensure they’re drying well and not holding moisture as this will lead to mold growth. If you think your herbal soup ring isn’t drying evenly, you may need to loosen the braid slightly in one or two places to let the air better circulate.

Other Ways To Use Herbal Soup Rings

How To Make DIY Herbal Soup Rings | Herbal Academy | Take your water-based foods to the next level by using these herbal soup rings to amp up the flavor and nutritional benefits! Learn to make them in this post.

Herbal soup rings also make great holiday gifts, especially if you are gifting mason jar soup mixes. Simply put your soup mix in your jar, use a festive piece of fabric between the lid and ring, then attach a dried herbal soup ring and tag using some extra twine.

Speaking of the holidays, you can also use herbal soup rings to decorate your gifts and packages. This looks particularly nice if you’re going for a simple, rustic look to your packages. Just wrap your package in some kraft paper or fabric and pin or tape an herbal soup ring to the front along with a tag. Don’t forget to tell the gift recipient how to use it! You wouldn’t want them to accidentally throw it away!

And there you have it! Herbal soup rings that help you reduce waste in the herb garden, improve the taste of your food, support your wellness, and add a little extra something to this year’s holiday gifts! Enjoy!

How To Make DIY Herbal Soup Rings | Herbal Academy | Take your water-based foods to the next level by using these herbal soup rings to amp up the flavor and nutritional benefits! Learn to make them in this post.

6 Herbal Vision Boards To Inspire Your Herbal Journey

6 Herbal Vision Boards To Inspire Your Herbal Journey | Herbal Academy | If you're struggling to find who you are as an herbalist, here are six herbal vision boards to inspire you in finding your herbal identity and future goals.

Herbalism speaks to each of us in different ways. When we first venture onto this path, many of us don’t have a clear idea of who we want to become as an herbalist. Even when we’ve been on our individual herbal journey for some time, we may still struggle with identifying who we are as an herbalist. This is one reason we created our free Becoming An Herbalist Mini Course.

One helpful way to clarify your identity or goals is to craft a vision for yourself through a vision board. A vision board helps you to bring visual representations of your interests together into one space—either physical or digital. You can display this board in your office, bedroom, workshop, journal, or on a digital device to serve as a reminder to set intentions and focus your ideas around your herb-related vision.

Styles of Herbal Vision Boards

Some people create vision boards with words by simply writing out all the emotions they want to feel as an herbalist and in their practice, the objects they want to surround themselves with, educational achievements they want to pursue, etc. Others prefer to cut illustrations and photos out of books or magazines that represent these concepts and paste them together in a collage. Some herbalists even prefer to bring their herbal vision boards to life through drawing or painting!

Regardless of your methods, the entire idea behind creating herbal vision boards is to include what motivates and inspires you toward the vision you want to create (or the one you already have) for yourself as an herbalist.

6 Herbal Vision Boards To Inspire You

We here at the Herbal Academy have an herbal vision board that guides and reminds us of our company’s goals in the world of herbalism. We’ve also reached out to some other amazing herbalists, teachers, and Herbal Academy team members who are all walking down different herbal paths—some working with clients, some selling herbal products, others teaching about herbs, and all using herbs in their own homes and with their own families. We’ve asked each of them to share their herbal vision boards with us in hopes that these examples will inspire others to create herbal vision boards of their own.

1. Herbal Academy

The Herbal Academy is an online school of herbalism offering affordable herbalist training programs for students at all experience levels. Whether you are looking to explore herbalism as a hobby or personal endeavor or preparing for a career, the Herbal Academy has designed herbalist programs to suit your path and your educational needs! The Academy celebrates the community-centered spirit of herbalism by collaborating with a wide diversity of seasoned clinical herbalists, folk herbalists, and medical professionals to create an herbal school that presents many herbal traditions and points of view.

6 Herbal Vision Boards To Inspire Your Herbal Journey | Herbal Academy | If you're struggling to find who you are as an herbalist, here are six herbal vision boards to inspire you in finding your herbal identity and future goals.

You can view our herbal vision board in full right here: https://www.pinterest.com/HerbalAcademyNE/herbal-academy-vision-board/

2. Meagan Visser of Growing Up Herbal

Meagan Visser is a wife, homeschool mom to four boys, and former Registered Nurse turned herbalist. She is the Blog Coordinator at the Herbal Academy, and she chronicles her journey of living life naturally in the mountains of East Tennessee over on her personal blog, Growing Up Herbal. Her goal is to encourage and inspire others in their personal wellness journey whether it be in cleaning up their diet, incorporating more time in nature, discovering the wonderful world of herbs, or creating their own non-toxic home and skincare products.

6 Herbal Vision Boards To Inspire Your Herbal Journey | Herbal Academy | If you're struggling to find who you are as an herbalist, here are six herbal vision boards to inspire you in finding your herbal identity and future goals.

You can view Meagan’s herbal vision board in full right here: https://www.pinterest.com/GrowingUpHerbal/herbal-vision-board/

3. Caitlin Frazier of The Locusts & Honey

Caitlin Frazier is an herbalist and blogger at Locusts & Honey. Caitlin’s journey into herbalism was founded upon the need for a gentle repose from the rush of the world and a longing to reconnect with nature. Through studying herbalism she is inspired daily by the calm and wise balance the plants bring to her mind, body, and spirit, and she hopes to encourage others to seek out a gentler life through herbalism and a reconnection with nature through Locusts & Honey.

6 Herbal Vision Boards To Inspire Your Herbal Journey | Herbal Academy | If you're struggling to find who you are as an herbalist, here are six herbal vision boards to inspire you in finding your herbal identity and future goals.

You can view Caitlin’s herbal vision board in full right here: https://www.pinterest.com/thelocustsandhoney/locusts-honey-vision-board/

4. Lindsey Kluge of Ginger Tonic Botanicals

Lindsay Kluge, MS, CNS, LDN is a clinical herbalist and nutritionist currently based in Portland, OR. She is an avid researcher and writer, and her blog, Ginger Tonic Botanicals, is where she shares holistic health advice, herbal inspirations, and education on cultivating your own herbal wisdom. She’s is a teacher and mentor to budding herbalists and nutritionists alike, and she practices clinically in Oregon and Virginia. Currently, she is adjunct faculty with the Maryland University of Integrative Health and offers herbal and nutrition appointments and mentorships virtually via http://gingertonicbotanicals.com/.

6 Herbal Vision Boards To Inspire Your Herbal Journey | Herbal Academy | If you're struggling to find who you are as an herbalist, here are six herbal vision boards to inspire you in finding your herbal identity and future goals.

You can view Lindsey’s herbal vision board in full right here: https://www.pinterest.com/GingerTonicB/herbal-vision-board/

5. FreeDom Flowers of Mama Flowers

FreeDom Danielle Flowers is a holistic health practitioner, clinical herbalist, and owner of an herbal product based business, Mama Flowers. She teaches herbal workshops at her wellness studio and offers online herbal courses. She also offers some of her recipes and herbal education on her blog and social media.

6 Herbal Vision Boards To Inspire Your Herbal Journey | Herbal Academy | If you're struggling to find who you are as an herbalist, here are six herbal vision boards to inspire you in finding your herbal identity and future goals.

You can view FreeDom’s herbal vision board in full right here: https://www.pinterest.com/mama_flowers/herbal-journey-vision-board/

6. Heather Saba

Heather Saba is a clinical herbalist and nutritionist who sees clients in-person in Boulder, CO and remotely via phone or Skype in addition to writing for The Herbal Academy’s blog and courses. Her herbal vision board embodies what her current practice offers and what she is striving to create in her work as an herbalist. From writing and seeing clients in a picturesque office nested within a beautiful herbal garden to creating custom formulas in an expansive apothecary, this board helps focus her dreams as an herbalist through vivid photos.

6 Herbal Vision Boards To Inspire Your Herbal Journey | Herbal Academy | If you're struggling to find who you are as an herbalist, here are six herbal vision boards to inspire you in finding your herbal identity and future goals.

You can view Heather’s herbal vision board in full right here: https://www.pinterest.com/heathersabaherbalist/herbal-vision-board/

Would You Like To Know How To Become An Herbalist?

6 Herbal Vision Boards To Inspire Your Herbal Journey | Herbal Academy | If you're struggling to find who you are as an herbalist, here are six herbal vision boards to inspire you in finding your herbal identity and future goals.

Our free Becoming An Herbalist Mini Course is now open for enrollment. This free herbal course was created with those interested in herbalism in mind, and it’s designed to teach what an herbalist does (and doesn’t do) as well as how herbalists navigate the legal, ethical, and logistical considerations of using herbs.

There are five lessons in this course, and you will have three months to complete them. You’ll find checklists and assignments along the way as well as study aids, tools, and charts to download and print if you wish. You can even enjoy exclusive discounts from our partners!

Upgrade to The Herbal Journey Planner

6 Herbal Vision Boards To Inspire Your Herbal Journey | Herbal Academy | If you're struggling to find who you are as an herbalist, here are six herbal vision boards to inspire you in finding your herbal identity and future goals.

Once you register for our free Becoming An Herbalist Mini Course, you can choose to upgrade to receive one of our beautifully designed Herbal Journey Planners in the mail!

This full-color planner contains all five lessons from the course as well as all checklists, study aids, and charts. In addition, it has a two-year calendar to help you get started planning your herbal journey, notes pages to help you organize your thoughts, and bonus activities like the herbal vision board activity above to help you gain insight and clarify your goals.

Start your herbal journey today by enrolling in our free Becoming An Herbalist Mini Course.

You can learn more here: https://theherbalacademy.com/product/becoming-herbalist-mini-course/.

6 Herbal Vision Boards To Inspire Your Herbal Journey | Herbal Academy | If you're struggling to find who you are as an herbalist, here are six herbal vision boards to inspire you in finding your herbal identity and future goals.

4 Fall Herbal Tea Recipes To Cozy Up With

4 Fall Herbal Tea Recipes To Cozy Up With | Herbal Academy | In this article, we're sharing four flavorful fall herbal tea recipes to cozy up with during the cooler months of the year.

It’s easy for herbalists to rejoice with the turning of fall since cooler weather invites warm tea back into our daily routine. Whether you love to cozy up with a good book and a warm mug of tea, prepare an entire nourishing quart of tea to sip throughout the day, or enjoy a simple cup of tea as part of your morning ritual, herbal tea is a fall staple. In this article, I’m sharing four fresh, new, and flavorful fall herbal tea recipes to cozy up with soon.

4 Fall Herbal Tea Recipes To Cozy Up With

1. Vanilla Rooibos

The first of my fall herbal tea recipes is an herbal twist on a classic fall favorite. This vanilla rooibos herbal tea recipe brings in a couple new and tasty ingredients with no artificial or natural flavorings. The immune-boosting, floral aromatic of the elderflower (Sambucus nigra) is a surprisingly wonderful pairing with the naturally energizing and tannic red rooibos (Aspalathus linearis), (Hoffmann, 2003). The lightly toasted coconut flavor with the subtle sweetness of the vanilla (Vanilla spp.) extract makes for a delightful tea to cozy up with this fall.

Vanilla Rooibos

[recipe_ingredients]

1 teaspoon red rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) leaves
½ teaspoon vanilla (Vanilla spp.) extract or powder
1 teaspoon dried elder (Sambucus nigra) flower
1 teaspoon toasted shredded coconut
1 cup of freshly boiled water

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  • Add the rooibos, elderflower, and coconut together in a tea strainer over a heat-safe container.
  • Pour freshly boiled water over dry ingredients and allow to steep for about 10 minutes.
  • Strain the ingredients from the tea then stir in the vanilla extract. Sweeten if desired.
  • Enjoy!

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2. Goddess Drink

The next of my fall herbal tea recipes was spontaneously created years ago, and I jokingly called in my “goddess drink” since it felt so nourishing to yin energies and the entire quality of the tea reminded me of something a goddess herself would regularly drink. The name stuck, and the tea continues to provide a sense of “goddess-like” nourishment to all who have enjoyed it. White peony (Paeonia lactiflora) root and shatavari (Asparagus racemosus) root are both classic tonics for the female reproductive system while carrying a neutral flavor. The aromatic from the rose (Rosa spp.) buds offers a subtle floral note and a heart-relaxing effect while the nut milk creates a delightful creaminess.

Goddess Drink

[recipe_ingredients]

1 tablespoon dried white peony (Paeonia lactiflora) root
1 tablespoon dried shatavari (Asparagus racemosus) root
3-5 dried rose (Rosa spp.) buds
2 cups water
Cashew or coconut milk
Raw honey to taste

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  • Add the water, peony root, and shatavari root to a small pot and place on the stove over high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil then cover with a lid, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for about 40 minutes.
  • Turn off the stove and remove the pot from the hot burner. Immediately add the rose buds to the pot of tea and cover with the lid. Allow the rose buds to infuse for about 5 minutes.
  • Strain all of the herbs from the tea and pour into a heat-safe container. Add a splash of cashew or coconut milk and raw honey to taste (depending on how sweet you like your tea to taste).
  • Relax, sip, and feel nourished.

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4 Fall Herbal Tea Recipes To Cozy Up With | Herbal Academy | In this article, we're sharing four flavorful fall herbal tea recipes to cozy up with during the cooler months of the year.

3. Tulsi Sunrise

Another of my favorite fall herbal tea recipes is this part sweet, part spicy golden tea that truly feels like a warm cup of sunshine on a cool fall day. Tulsi (Ocimum tenuiflorum) is considered a mild adaptogenic herb, helping boost our body’s ability to both defend against and adapt to the effects of stress (Hoffmann, 2003), making it an ideal herb to draw from as you transition seasons and in the morning to set the tone for the day ahead. The remaining herbs lend an inflammation-soothing, antioxidant-rich, and flavorful complement to the tulsi base. Feel free to play with the amount of lemon juice and honey you add depending on the amount of sour versus sweet you prefer.

Tulsi Sunrise

[recipe_ingredients]

1 teaspoon dried tulsi (Ocimum tenuiflorum) aerial parts
¼ teaspoon turmeric (Curcuma longa) root powder
½ teaspoon dried lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus) aerial parts
¼ teaspoon dried ginger (Zingiber officinalis) root
½ teaspoon dried orange (Citrus x aurantium var. sinensis) peel
1 cup freshly boiled water
½ teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Raw honey to taste

[/recipe_ingredients][recipe_directions]

  • Add the tulsi, turmeric, lemongrass, ginger, and orange peel into a tea bag and place in a heat-safe container.
  • Pour the freshly boiled water over the tea bag and allow to steep for about 10 minutes.
  • Squeeze the excess tea from the tea bag and remove it from the mug.
  • Add lemon juice and raw honey to taste. Stir well to combine.
  • Sip and enjoy!

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4. Cinnamon Oats

Sometimes a simple trio of herbs is all you need to make a delicious tea perfect to cozy up with this fall. The last of my fall herbal tea recipes combines cinnamon (Cinnamomum spp.) and oatstraw (Avena sativa) — two of my go-to “comfort” herbs for their naturally sweet and soothing aromatics and flavors. This tea replicates the warming, cozy feeling of preparing a steaming bowl of oatmeal on a crisp fall day. Oatstraw is a wonderful herb to nourish the nervous system while the cinnamon chips provide a warming, circulatory boost (Hoffmann, 2003). Adding a pinch of licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) root helps tie the two together with a touch of sweetness.

Cinnamon Oats

[recipe_ingredients]

½ teaspoon cinnamon (Cinnamomum spp.) chips
1 tablespoon oatstraw (Avena sativa) leaf and stem
A “pinch” (about ~⅛ teaspoon) shredded licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) root
1 cup freshly boiled water

[/recipe_ingredients][recipe_directions]

  • Add all of the herbs in a tea strainer and place in a heat-safe container.
  • Pour freshly boiled water over the herbs and allow to steep for about 10 minutes.
  • Strain, sweeten if desired, sip, and enjoy!

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Time To Start Brewing

After learning 4 new fall herbal tea recipes to cozy up with, now it’s time to start brewing in the kitchen! Curious to learn more about which herbs are great to use during fall? Read my post on 5 Herbs To Help You Transition Seasons From Summer To Fall.

4 Fall Herbal Tea Recipes To Cozy Up With | Herbal Academy | In this article, we're sharing four flavorful fall herbal tea recipes to cozy up with during the cooler months of the year.

REFERENCES

Hoffmann, D. (2003). Medical herbalism. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press.