Food as Medicine: Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis, Asparagaceae)

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

History and Traditional Use

Range and Habitat

Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis, Asparagaceae) is a herbaceous perennial with stalks that can grow to several feet in height. Most asparagus is harvested once the stalk reaches 6-8 inches in height. The stalk is the edible portion of the plant, along with its pointed, budlike tip.1,2 If asparagus is not harvested, the stalks grow into finely textured, fern-like plants before going dormant in winter.3 In the United States, the primary asparagus producers are the states of California, Washington, and Michigan.4

Depending on the cultivation method, asparagus yields a crop in one of three colors: green, white, or purple. Green asparagus, the most common in the US, is allowed to grow exposed to sunlight until harvested. White asparagus contains no chlorophyll due to human intervention, which involves mounding dirt on the stalk as it grows to shield it from sunlight.

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The Mind and Shadows of the Mental Body

Elder Mountain Dreaming @gmail

By Phoenix of Elder Mountain – Holistic healing of the Mental Body / Mind is generally the first approach to the spiritual path, especially when dealing with any mind, body or emotional body issues. Learning to Silence and Quiet the Minds insistent call of mind-noise, distractions and attention getting behaviors. We heal by learning to listen if a talker and sharing if we are a more silent or shy person.

For those not in crisis, there are silent retreats (Vispasana) and peaceful heart and a more committed Buddhist Mediation practices in which there are several. Some of the issues the mental body has are more severe and should be addressed with a talk therapist first. Only those who do not like medications and are firmly committed to practices everyday, should consult a holistic healer or shaman.

1. All or Nothing Thinking of Duality
Looking at life in two categories, fight or…

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Calendula – A Golden Herb for Garden and Kitchen

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

Known also as the poet’s marigold or pot marigold, calendula brightens garden beds, pots, vases and culinary creations from spring to frost {or beyond} with its sunny flowers.

The flowers smell like honey, slightly spicy and woody- reminiscent of fresh rhubarb or angelica flowers- and their flavor is pleasantly mild and vegetable-sweet. Traditionally, the golden petals were used to flavor and color broths {hence the nickname “pot marigold}, butter, cheese. The dried petals even were used as a saffron substitute because they impart a rich golden color. In my own kitchen, I use calendula in vegetable dishes, salads- particularly egg salad- custards and puddings, herb butters, baked goods, with grains and in mild-mannered soups.

For best flavor, gather the flowers at their peak bloom. Gently pull the petals from the bitter center disk and discard it. The petals can be used either whole or chopped. {Note that the petals are…

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The Basics: Quick Guide to Every Herb and Spice in the Cupboard

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs


Ever get coriander confused with cumin? Or wonder just what exactly curry powder is made out of? As much for our benefit as for yours, we’ve put together this quick reference guide to all the most common (and some uncommon) herbs and spices!


For any herb or spice listed below, click on the name to read the full description. We’ll continue adding to this list as we cover more of the seasonings we use in our cooking.

Dried Herbs & Spices

  • Asafoetida (Asafetida) – Used as a digestive aid in Indian cooking, asafoetida has a strong odor that mellows out into a garlic-onion flavor.
  • Achiote Paste and Powder – Reddish-brown paste or powder ground from annatto seeds with an earthy flavor. Used primarily in Mexican dishes like mole sauce, cochinita pibil, and tamales.
  • Allspice – Similar to cloves, but more pungent and deeply flavored…

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Learn Your Land

By Adam Haritan

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Cooking for Health

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

Serving medicine for dinner may not seem terribly appetizing, but most cultures traditionally eat much of their medicine. It may not be a coincidence that nature has provided so many of our medicinal needs in herbs that taste good. When you want to take herbs over a long period of time – either to treat a chronic problem or to fend off disease – incorporating medicinal plants into your meals makes a lot of sense.

The next time you add a pinch of this or that, consider that you are doing far more than flavoring your meal. Throughout these posts and other websites, you have seen many familiar kitchen herbs and spices mentioned as medicines. For example, ginger relieves pain, garlic is “nature’s antibiotic” and ginger and turmeric, two of the main ingredients in curry powder, improve liver function.

Almost every cookbook is filled with recipes that rely on herbs…

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Edible Spring Greens {Recipes}

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

Spring Green Salad

It’s time to renew. This applies to our outer worlds as well as to our inner worlds. Spring has traditionally been a time to jump-start the liver and gently cleanse our bodies.  The natural world, with its infinite wisdom, provides us with every opportunity to do just this. Bitter and nutrient-packed greens come to life, and for those of us paying attention to nature’s hints, provide us with delicious and nutritious Spring tonics.

Dandelion greens are packed with vitamins and minerals, and also, provide a bitter kick that helps support liver function.  This is important during spring because the hepatic function can become naturally a little sluggish after a more sedentary winter filled with rich seasonal food.  Violet-greens and chickweed are super-packed with nutrients, making them just the spring pick-me-up your body needs.  Young greens of dandelion and violet especially are ideal, for both texture and taste reasons.  You’ll…

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Mexican Mint Marigold

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

This very ancient herb goes by a variety of common, but somewhat confusing names. ‘Mexican mint’ marigold is the most common, but you’ll also find it listed as ‘Texas’ tarragon, ‘Mexican’ tarragon, cloud plant, Coronilla, winter tarragon, sweet mace, sweet marigold and ‘Spanish’ tarragon. It isn’t, however, related to ‘French’ tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus ‘Sativa’) at all.

Don’t confuse ‘French’ tarragon, which is used for cooking, with false or ‘Russian’ tarragon, A. dracunculoides, because it is somewhat invasive, grows well in hotter climates, and is grown from seed.

The Latin name, Tagetes Lucida, refers to its other Tagetes relatives, the marigolds. ‘Mint’ marigold is a perennial, native to Central and South America and has been used as a seasoning herb, tea plant and medicinal in native cultures for more than a thousand years.

The flavor is anise-like, a bit sweeter than ‘French’ tarragon, but used in some of…

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Spring’s Rebirth – Slavic and Balkan Pysanky

Elder Mountain Dreaming @gmail

Compilation by Phoenix of Elder Mountain –The Rites of Spring is about honoring our rebirth and the earth’s rebirth, this has specific rituals that are ancient and help us stay connected to our moon nature, our soul and our emotional nature in a positive way. Here at Elder Mountain we do the ritual of building the archaic Goddess Marzanna Effigy (at the autumn equinox and winter solstice) and then burn and throw her into the lake or river, on the day of the Spring Equinox to transform Winter into Spring (and the symbolism of the grandmother into the maiden once again.)

A Pysanka (Ukrainian: писанка, plural: pysanky) is a spring or easter (ostara) egg, decorated with traditional folk designs using a wax-resist method. The word pysanka comes from the verb pysaty, “to write”, as the designs are not painted on, but written with beeswax. Many other eastern Europeans decorate eggs using…

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We are what we repeatedly do. Whether your life is good or bad, it is all from your habits. You are only as good as your habits. Quality of your daily routine is going to be the quality of your life. Witches and Wizards understand that Magic doesn’t just make things magically appear, they know that it is all about our habits.

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