How to Make Elderberry Syrup for Immune Health

Good Witches Homestead

Each year as winter approaches, I reliably find my patients asking me about the best herbal remedies to use during the cold weather months. One of the most common questions I encounter is, “What nutritional preparations can I use to help keep my family strong and healthy throughout the sniffle season?”. There’s a wide array of herbs well-suited to addressing specific and general winter wellness goals, but one of my favorite, tried-and-true choices for general immune support is the elderberry.

And while there are lots of ways to enjoy the healthful benefits of elderberries, one of the best-loved is that longtime herbal apothecary staple, elderberry syrup.

Elderberry Syrup Benefits

The berries, flowers, and bark of the elder (Sambucus) plant have long been prized by herbalists across the globe, and modern studies have also substantiated the berries’ ability to help maintain normal, healthy functioning of our immune system*. This makes elderberry an…

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Ancestral Herbalism and Samhain: Working Deeply with Rosemary

The Druid's Garden

Rosemary from the Plant Spirit Oracle Rosemary Card from the Plant Spirit Oracle

As we quickly approach Samhain, it is a useful practice to spend some time with rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) and build here into your Samhain practices. In this post, we look into some of the magic and medicine of Rosemary, and I share a number of ancestor and Samhain-focused practices that you can use with Rosemary.

An Ancestral Ally of Humans: History, Medicine, Magic

Before we get into what you can make or do with rosemary, let’s spend some time exploring and understanding this ancient herb. Rosemary has been with humanity almost as long as we have written records. Native to the mediterranean region, rosemary was first found referenced on cuineform tablets from Ancient Egypt that are from 5000 BCE–thus, humanity has at least an 8000 year old relationship with this herb (but I suspect it is much longer than our written history!)…

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For the home herbalist, the easiest and safest way to use the plant is by making a poultice of the seeds.

RICHO CECH

On the walk home from school, there on the corner of Hutchinson and River, stood a stately tree with heavy arms holding aloft a rounded crown of green, an English Horse Chestnut tree that made in mid-spring a fantastic display of upright, conical flower clusters and in fall, dropped spiny balls that split apart to reveal the shiny, mahogany-colored seeds we called buckeyes.  Ginny was wearing shorts, and as the more athletic of us two, was elected to climb up and see if she could shake down some seed balls, which didn’t tend to fall on their own until after frost.  Her tennies gripped the light bark of the tree as she scrabbled, ignoring the scratches to her knobby knees.

“Ginny knows how to shimmy!” I called out. “Quit trying to make a rhyme and give me a leg up,” she winced, reaching for the lowest branch.  I stood below and held both of my palms up for her to step on, and thus assisted she swung herself onto the limb. She called down, “I’m getting the willies!” “Just shake,” I exhorted, and she did.  Several of the treasured orbs came bouncing down onto the grass. I started to pry one apart, soon to be interrupted by a gasping call, “Help!” I looked up to find Ginny hanging from the branch, her arms stretched as straight as clothespins.  Some kids called her “Skinny Ginny” but I never did, because I was her friend.  She didn’t want to drop — it was too far.  So I stood and extended my palms as before, to give her a boost down.  Just then she slipped off the limb and came crashing down on me, and we both ended up flat in the grass, unhurt and laughing.  The nuts jumped out of the husk when we whacked them on the sidewalk.  I put one in my pocket, but kept my hand there, massaging the soothing surface with my thumb.  Buckeyes were good luck, everybody knew that.  These treasures sometimes accompanied me to school, but eventually ended up rolling loudly in the bottom of my socks drawer, or bouncing in the laundry.  My mom didn’t mind. Little did I then know how conspicuously this tree would serve me later in life.

Read complete article at:  Richo’s Blog ~ The Lucky Buckeye

DIY Decongestant Rub

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

Use this DIY decongestant rub to drive away persistent coughs.

I’m not going to lie, I actually love the smell of Vicks vapor rub, but in the aim of having a DIY home, I had to give this a go myself and it really does work. The other beauty here is that when you put Vicks under your nose, it kind of burns; this does not! It’s also great for headaches – just put a little on your temples and where the pain is on your forehead.

Yield: makes 150g

Ingredients

  • 150g coconut oil
  • 4 sprigs each of oregano, sage, thyme, and basil, ripped into pieces
  • 15 drops of thyme essential oil
  • 15 drops of eucalyptus essential oil
  • 15 drops of lavender essential oil
  • 10 drops of lemon essential oil

Instructions

Gently heat the coconut oil and all of the herbs in a double boiler until the oil begins to…

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How to Boost Your Immune System with Herbs

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

The coming cold and flu season is only one of the hundreds of reasons that immune function should always be at the top of your list of health priorities. The immune system doesn’t just keep sniffles away—it also is the body’s best defense against potentially deadly diseases, such as H1N1 flu, and well-known killers, such as cancer. Your daily habits, including the foods you eat and your exercise and sleep routines, have a significant effect on your immune function. And even if your lifestyle choices are exemplary, environmental toxins, emotional stress, and the wear and tear of aging all conspire to weaken immunity.

How to Protect Your Immune System

The most complex system of the body, the immune system includes the thymus gland, the spleen, bone marrow and a vast network of lymph nodes that are scattered throughout the body. The immune system also maintains a variety of white blood…

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Medicine Chest: Herbal First Aid Kit

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

Topical Herbal First Aid Kit

As you delve into the world of herbal medicine, at some point or another you take a look at your medicine cabinet and think, “What kinds of natural remedies should I stock in my first aid kit?” Many herbs offer topical applications for a variety of everyday woes, including aches and bruises, cuts and scrapes, bug bites and rashes. And conveniently, you can cultivate or wildcraft most of these herbs or find them easily at natural food stores and online herb shops. Here are a few basics to consider stocking:

Plantain {Plantago major} leaf, a ubiquitous and easily recognizable weed, is readily available in most lawns, woodland path edges, and pavement cracks. You can apply the freshly chewed or mashed leaves directly to bug bites, bee stings, poison ivy, rashes, and splinters to quickly draw out inflammation, irritation, venom, and foreign objects. How…

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Tonic Herbs for Stress and Anxiety

Written by Ricky Bratz
Photographed by Juliet Blankespoor (except where noted)

Tonic Herbs for Stress and Anxiety

The types of stress we experience these days are very different from the stress that our ancestors lived with throughout history. Perhaps our stress responses aren’t being triggered by fending off a wild animal to survive, but we have a slew of modern-day stressors to process: trauma around school shootings, worry of impending climate catastrophe, violence in our homes or neighborhoods, life demands, deadlines, our health status, or caring for kids or aging parents, to name a few examples. These events can set in motion that same stress response system in the body that was historically activated by that hungry predator.

Remainder of article via: Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine ~ Tonic Herbs for Stress and Anxiety

Caring With Calendula

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

This vibrant orange blossom pops in the garden add a burst of color to cuisine and is a powerhouse in the medicine cabinet. Learn more about this amazing, autumn-loving species.

Brilliantly striking, calendula’s gorgeous yellow and deep-orange blossoms bring a smile to both gardener and herbalist alike. In the fall, you’ll find this plant gracing many doorways, a staple among other autumn harbingers that herald the colder weather to come. But this dazzling ornamental’s long, storied history and powerful medicine make it a must-have for the home.

Sunshine in the Yard

Visually delightful, sun-loving Calendula officinalis is also commonly called marigold, but don’t confuse it with Mexican marigold {Tagetes erecta}, which is another species entirely. A member of the Asteraceae family along with chamomile, dandelion, and Echinacea, calendula is native to southern Europe and parts of the Middle East, but now grows in temperate climates throughout the world…

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A Joyful Cup — Good Witches Homestead

With our non-stop, busy lives, it’s hard to find a quiet moment to relax and recharge. But even the practice of pouring a cup of tea can bring peace of mind – especially with the right herbs. Whether you take your tea at high noon or prefer a bedtime brew, these garden herbs provide the […]

via A Joyful Cup — Good Witches Homestead

Hemp Extract Benefits: Get Calm, Sleep Better, and More — Good Witches Homestead

Suddenly, hemp is everywhere! Thousands of new hemp products have flooded the market seemingly overnight, and you might be wondering what the excitement is about. Hemp products offer an astonishing number of health benefits, from boosting your mood and calming stress to easing joint discomfort. Hemp can also bring restful sleep, which helps you stay […]

via Hemp Extract Benefits: Get Calm, Sleep Better, and More — Good Witches Homestead