Chocolate Orange Coconut Tea

I’ve been having fun blending my own teas. This is a strong tea that is sweet and satisfying. Give it a try.

Add the following into a mesh or cloth tea strainer:

1 tsp orange spice black tea (or plain black tea and a few pieces of dried orange peel)

1/2 tsp roasted dandelion root

1/4 tsp unsweetened, flakes coconut

1/4 tsp cocoa nibs

Cover with boiling water. Steep at least 15 minutes. Sweeten with a touch of sugar or honey.


Spicy Herbal Chai – Cleansing Tea, Safe for Pregnancy and Nursing

So, I’m picky about my teas. I’ve experimented for months to get a combination that I like. Too many herbs – too weak. Too much black tea – too much caffeine. Too many cloves – too strong. Too much black pepper – too spicy. Too much dandelion – too bitter.

This is just right. It’s sweet and spicy, hearty and robust. And it is a gentle cleanser for your liver and digestive system. The addition of dandelion, red clover, and milk thistle are gentle cleaners and liver protectors of for your liver. Dandelion, red clover, and nettle add excellent vitamins, nutrients, and minerals to your body.

These herbs are not only cleansing, but safe for pregnancy and nursing. Most are suggested herbs for using to add nutrients to your diet when pregnant and to your milk when nursing. As always, you should consult with your doctor or midwife before using any herbs especially if you take any medication.

Wanna try it…. here’s the recipe.

Spicy Cleansing Herbal Chai:

This recipe makes approximately 2 cups of loose leaf tea.

8 tsp loose leaf black tea

6 tsp dandelion leaf

5 tsp red clover

4 tsp nettle leaf

2 tsp mullien

2 tsp cinnamon sticks, crushed

2 tsp dried ginger

1 tsp stevia leaf

1 tsp dried orange peel

1 tsp cardamom pods, crushed

1/2 tsp black peppercorns, crushed

1/2 tsp whole cloves, crushed

1/2 tsp milk thistle, crushed

Mix all the ingredients. Add 2 tsp of tea mix to a tea strainer and steep for 5 minutes in boiling water.

Drink and enjoy!

Pantry Help – Organize Those Bulk Herbs and Spices

I love my herbs and spices. One of the biggest perks of living near the City is that you can get bulk herbs and spices very cheap. (See last week’s post bulk spices on the Since Your Last Visit page.)

But a cute little spice rack will not do for keeping them organized. These bulk containers were wreaking havoc with my pantry shelves. So I came up with a handy DIY solution.

Over-the-door shoe organizer to the rescue!

I labeled all the lids of my spice containers with a permanent marker and filled up all those pockets. 

I love the results. My favorite herbs and spices within easy reach and I don’t have to shuffle through my shelves looking for them anymore. Hooray for organization!

City Life: Save money buying Bulk Herbs and Spices

So much in the City is so expensive – mostly rent! But if you live in or around NYC stock up on bulk herbs and spices at the local city grocery stores. The herbs and spices are soooo much cheaper than the typical suburban grocery store chain. Trade Fair is my favorite NYC grocery store with Associated coming in second. 
If you don’t live in the NYC area there are still options other than paying $8 for a tiny jar of cloves at your local supermarket. I have actually found reasonable prices on bulk spices on Amazon. So check there. My favorite online stores for bulk herbs are Mountain Rose Herbs and Bulk Herb Store. And be sure to check your local Walmart. They have some basic spices in the $1 category. So save some money and add some spice to your life!

(Note: None of these are affiliate links.)

“More Drops please, Mom?”

I’ve been making what we call “Drops” for at least six years. My base recipe has changed little over the years except that for about the last four years rather than making an herbal tincture, about once a week I make an herbal syrup since it’s more economical than tinctures, and that’s about how fast we go through them giving them to four kids every day.

So, here’s what’s simmering on my stove right now. You can visit The Herb Shed for more herb recipes and ideas.

Well Drops Herbal Syrup:

This is my base recipe.

6 cups of water in a sauce pan

1/2 cup nettle

1/4 cup dried elderberries 

2 cinnamon sticks

1 head of garlic, chopped with peelings left on

2 tbls chopped ginger

Simmer for about 20-30 minutes. Cool, strain, rinse the pan. Return to the pan. Bring back to a simmer and add 1-2 cup of honey. Stir and simmer for about 15 more minutes. Cool again. Pour into a clean jar and store in the fridge. Use within a week. Makes about 32 ounces. 

I give my kids 2-4 ounces a day. These taste great and are a great carrier for other supplements like vitamin d, iron, cod liver oil, etc.

These are easily customizable. For example, my kids all have coughs and colds right now so today I threw in two handfuls of mullein to the mix as well to help with the coughs and congestion. Another one I toss in occasionally is milk thistle for liver support. 

Drink up everyone and stay well.

Postpartum Sitz Bath

IMG_0887I’ve been mixing this up a lot lately. Three friends have had babies in the last few weeks. I didn’t discover herbal sitz baths for postpartum use until my second child. This is one of my favorite remedies. It makes a great gift for a new mom. It really helps speed and facilitate postpartum healing. Be sure to bathe the baby  too. This mix will help disinfect and heal the baby’s cord stump.

All of these herbs are helpful in some way. Opinions may vary, but I think the most important to postpartum healing are shepherd’s purse, yarrow and red raspberry. But, if you don’t have one of the herbs below, that’s okay. They are all beneficial in some way. Just omit the ones you are missing and substitute more of one of the others in the list. Keep in mind though that lavender, yarrow and shepherd’s purse are fairly potent and should not be used in excess. Use the others as the base herbs and add lavender, yarrow and shepherd’s purse in moderation. A little of those goes a long way. Also, chamomile and yarrow should be avoided if you have an allergy to sunflower, safflower or dandelion.

Use wisely. Read my Disclaimer here.


All bagged up ready to pass along to a friend.

Postpartum Sitz Bath:

4 parts Red Raspberry Leaf
2 parts Plantain
2 parts Comfrey
2 parts Calendula
2 parts Shepherd’s Purse
1 part Lavender
1 part Yarrow
1 part Chamomile
1/2 -1 tsp. Sea Salt

To use, steep one cup of the herb mix  in four cups of water to make a strong tea. Strain the herbs an add the tea to your bath water. You can also add this to your peri-bottle and apply after you go to the bathroom to disinfect and heal.

Where do I get these herbs you ask? My favorite places to order herbs are The Bulk Herb Store and Mountain Rose Herbs.

Announcing: Essential Oil and Herb Quick Reference Chart

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Front side of chart.

Last spring I created this chart for a class I was teaching on herbal first aid. The chart covers commonly used herbs and essential oils and their properties and gives suggested remedies for common first aid situations and illnesses. This laminated chart is two-sided. The front side is color coded based on the safety of the herb or oil and covers 17 herbs/oils. The back side of the chart is covers 66 ailments and conditions listing the herbs/oils that are good for them. Cautions are listed on the front of the chart.

I’ll be offering this for sale on Amazon this for sale on Amazon in the future, and have plans to eventually offer an expanded Kindle format was well. In the meantime, however,  if you’d like to buy one from the source (me), you can comment on this post you will receive payment instructions via email. Cost is $5.00 (free shipping). The chart measures approximately 7 x 4 inches. It is printed on heavy cover stock and laminated so that you can take it with you so that you’ll know what to do when you are out and about or travelling away from home. If you find it helpful be sure to comment here and let me know.

Back side of the chart.

Back side of the chart.

Color-coded by safety level.

Color-coded by safety level.

Disclaimer: By purchasing this chart, you take full responsibility for any outcomes based on it’s use and release the author from any liability either real or perceived. The author makes no claims as to expected results and takes no responsibility for either positive or negative results. This chart should be considered to be personal opinion and is based on personal research and should be taken as such. It should be used with common sense, your own personal research and should not be considered medical advice. See full Disclosures/Disclaimers here. By requesting to purchases this chart you release the author from any liability and agree to all the terms and conditions in the Disclaimer linked above.

Spicy Limeade

IMG_0517 crop (2)Just saw this recipe for Spicy Lemonade posted by the Bulk Herb Store. It sounds good for any illness. I came down with a cold yesterday and may try this tonight. Except, I’m out of lemons. I’m a Texan after all so I do have limes on hand. I think I’ll use those and turn mine into Spicy Limeade. 🙂 Stay well everyone!

Spicy Lemonade or Limeade:
2 fresh garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger root
Juice of 3 freshly squeezed lemons (or limes)
Organic Honey to taste
Small pinch Cayenne Pepper

2-Minute, 2-Ingredient DIY Sunblock

7.13.12 104If you’ve read my blog at all then you know that I have a kid who reacts to lots of things – including sunscreen. A fun-filled day trip to Coney Island resulted 2 weeks of no sleep due to the itchy rash that he got where ever we had put sunscreen on him. What does that mean? No more sunscreen for us! So, what’s a mom to do? Make her own of course.

I immediately went to the internet and researched all the homemade sunscreen and sunblock recipes. I came away knowing that I wanted to go with a zinc oxide based sunblock since that seemed to have the best safety profile and effectiveness ratings. However, I didn’t want to spend the money on a huge bag of zinc oxide powder from Amazon. (Note: It is much more affordable now than it was when I was looking 3 years ago and available in smaller bags.) So, necessity breeds creativity here. I was in the drug store and realized that Desitin is 40% zinc oxide. Immediately I knew I had instant sunscreen here.

Now, you may be thinking, “Wait a minute. There is no way I’m rubbing that white gooey stuff all over myself and my kids. What a mess!” And you would be right. Yet, never fear. All you need is 2 minutes to turn that Desitin into a smooth, lotiony sunblock.

Most zinc oxide sunblocks with an SPF of 30 are 20% zinc oxide. Which means that if you mix equal parts Desitin and your favorite lotion, it cuts the percentage of zinc oxide in the mixture by half and you have an instant SPF 30 sunblock! It’s that easy.

Playing at the lake. She would play there all day if we would let her.

Playing at the lake. She would play there all day if we would let her.

I’ve used this  Desitin sunblock with my homemade lotions for the past three years and it works great. I find that this sunblock is fairly waterproof, but if you want to improve that “waterproofness” of your mixture then add a little bit of liquid lanolin to it. Our oldest loves the water and has played for hours in the full sun without a sunburn. So, what are you waiting for? Everyone run to their medicine cabinet and pull out that tube of Desitin and start mixing!

If you want to make your own lotion first to mix the Desitin with, you can visit the Herb Shed and scroll down for directions and more sunscreen tips and recipes. If you use regular lotion and find that you can’t get the Desitin to blend well, then melt the two ingredients (lotion and Desitin) in heat proof bowl over a small saucepan (double boiler technique) until it is blended. I like to mix it with a popsicle stick so that I can just throw it out when I’m done and don’t have to worry about cleaning the mixture off of my spoons. The other nice thing about this recipe is that you can make small batches easily so that you don’t have to worry about unused sunscreen, or you can make a large batch if your family goes through a lot of sunscreen.

Here’s to a happy and sunburn free summer!

Note: Zinc oxide can stain dark clothing so take care when applying it. Also, individual results can vary so use with care and common sense. The author is not responsible for any adverse reaction or sunburns if you choose to use the recipe recommended here. Read my full Disclaimer here.

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Visit the Herb Shed if you want to make a homemade lotion to mix with your Desitin.

Sneak Peek on my new project…

8.8.13 009Sorry for the blog silence of late. I’m working on a new project that has a time sensitive deadline. Watch for it to appear in the near future. For a sneak peak, refer to my Essential Oil Quick Reference Chart. Want a hint on what’s in store? Imagine a more comprehensive version of this chart (linked above) that includes more herbs too. I hope it will be available soon. For now, refer to the page linked above if you need to know what oil to use for a particular use or application.

See my Disclosures and Disclaimers here.

Make your own delicious herb and tea blends

140130_0000You don’t have a to be a tea master to come up with your own tasty herb and tea blends. It just takes a little experimenting to figure out what tastes go well together and what combinations taste good to you. Here are some of my favorite. These are ones that the flavors blend particularly well together. As with any herb, be sure you know the herb you are using if you begin using one that is new to you. My favorite research resources are listed at the end of this post. Take responsibility for your herb use and do your own research (see my Disclaimers page here). Please make note of any cautions that I list on these blends, but keep in mind that this is not a complete list. You should always research it further if you aren’t sure that an herb is safe to use or consult with your doctor or an herbal practitioner.

12.1.11 003My favorite herb and tea blends:

Christmas Chai – A great robust, flavorful chai. Click for recipe

Dandelion/Red Raspberry Leaf/Red Clover – Ironically, I don’t much like the taste of these herbs individually, but put together they are quite delicious. All three herbs are very nutritious and dandelion and red clover work very well together as a gentle blood purifier and liver cleanser. Please note that Red Clover is an estrogenic herb and should be avoided if pregnant or nursing.

Chai/Nettle/Chastetree Berry/Milk Thistle – I came up with this blend when I started to use chastetree berry to help balance my hormones and I think I like this blend of flavors better than plain chai tea. The chastetree berries have a light peppery flavor that really accentuate and blend well with the chai and nettle. Mmmm. Another cup please. Chastetree berry is safe and beneficial to use while nursing but not during pregnancy. Milk Thistle is a good liver support herb.

Chai/Nettle/Turmeric/Cocoa Powder – If you do your reading, you’ll find turmeric has many health benefits (read more here and here). Turmeric has many anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and is great for any issues of inflammation and joint pain. You may want to avoid turmeric if pregnant or trying to conceive. As for the rest, who could ever object to chocolate, and then nettle is my favorite herb of all time. This blend is tasty and delicious if blended with a little sweetener and cream. For best results, brew your dried herbs as a tea and then blend 1/4 tsp of each powder with your favorite sweetener and cream in an immersion blender. If left to sit the powders may settle to the bottom a little. Caution: Turmeric is not for long-term use. Consume no more than 1 tsp. per day and use with caution if pregnant or nursing.

English Breakfast/Nettle/Yellow Dock/Tumeric/Cocoa Powder – This may seem like a strange combination but it is a variation on the previous recipe and quite tasty in it’s own right. Yellow Dock is a good liver cleanser and blood purifier. This (or the recipe above) is my substitute when I feel like coffee is getting to me and I need to take a break from it. Simmer 2 tsp. of English Breakfast, 3 tsp. Nettle and 1/2 tsp. of Yellow Dock in a sauce pan in 2 cups of water until you have a strong tea. Strain and rinse the pan. Return the tea to the pan and add 1/2 tsp. cocoa powder and 1/4 tsp of turmeric. Stir and heat until combined. Sweeten with maple syrup and cream to taste.  Caution: Turmeric is not for long-term use. Consume no more than 1 tsp. per day and use with caution if pregnant or nursing. Yellow dock is a cleanser and laxative. Not for long-term use (8-10 days at most). Do not use if pregnant or nursing.

Turmeric/Ginger: Continuing on the turmeric theme, I found this recipe just yesterday for “Golden Milk.” It’s made with coconut milk and sounds delicious.

Nettle/Raspberry flavored black tea – This may be my all time, most basic, go-to blend that I never get tired of. I find something about the flavor of the nettle and raspberry flavored black tea (I purchase mine here or here) to be very satisfying and delicious. I like to drink this blend straight with no sweeteners or added milk or cream.

Nettle/Garlic/Cinnamon/Ginger: This is my go to tea when I’m feeling like I’m coming down with something or that I need a little extra immune boost. I can’t say enough about the health benefits of nettle and garlic (my two favorite herbs). And one of the thing that I like the most about the herbs and this blend is that it is very safe for anyone to consume. Steep using a tea infuser/strainer: 1 tsp nettle, 1-2 cloves coarsely chopped garlic, 1 tsp. chopped fresh ginger root, 1 cinnamon stick.  Sweeten with honey. You could even add some black tea to the mix if you wish.

Black Raspberry Tea/Lime: This one is easy. Brew some raspberry flavored black tea and squeeze in some fresh lime juice. Mmmm. Refreshing.

Experiment with your own blends. What do you like?

(Note: All external links on this site are for informational purposes only and not affiliate links. I receive no compensation for any purchase made through these links.)

Christmas Chai Tea

Christmas Chai Tea

New and Improved Chocolate Spice Toothpaste

130606_0000This is a paste version of my Chocolate Spice Tooth Powder recipe. My kids didn’t like the powder version much because the texture was dry and it wasn’t sweetened. This sweetened paste is quite tasty. First simmer a pinch of stevia leaf (maybe half a teaspoon), 2 cinnamon sticks in 1/2 cup of distilled water for 15 minutes. While this simmers, blend the powdered ingredients from the powder recipe. Turn the heat off the liquid mixture and let it cool a bit. Strain the herbs from the liquid and add two drops of clove essential oil. Add just enough of the liquid to your powder mix to make a thick paste (you might not need the whole amount of liquid so add a little bit at a time so that your end product isn’t too runny). Blend with a popsicle stick and store in a glass jar. Apply to your toothbrush using a popsicle stick. This does not have an indefinite shelf life like the powder does, but should last a couple of months if you use distilled water. I like to make a large batch of the powder since it doesn’t go bad and then make small batches of paste as we need it.