Astragalus; Adaptogen Herb for Stress and Balance

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

What are adaptogens?

Adaptogens are herbs that help us adapt to changes and stress caused by physical, biological, emotional, and environmental factors. They can assist in restoring balance within the body and help us defend against both chronic and acute stressors.

One of my favorite adaptogens is astragalus.

Astragalus (Astragalus Membranaceus)

Astragalus is an adaptogenic herb often used in Chinese medicine. It is calming to the Central Nervous System (CNS) and has antimicrobial properties. Astragalus helps support respiratory functions making it useful in times of infection and useful for allergies and asthma. This herb thought to boost the immune system, increase energy, and address fatigue associated with chemotherapy and chronic illness.

Due to it’s antibacterial and antiviral properties, along with its immune-boosting capabilities it may be useful in preventing and decreasing the severity of common colds and respiratory infections. Astragalus may also be used with herbs such…

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Back to School; Finding Your Herbal Path — Good Witches Homestead

Looking for a career in the burgeoning and rewarding field of herbs? Start by finding the right educational program to suit your individual needs and goals. By some estimates, 70 percent of Americans are not fully satisfied with their current jobs, and this lack of contentment impacts not only the workplace but also our personal […]

via Back to School; Finding Your Herbal Path — Good Witches Homestead

Herbal Digestive Calendula Tea: A Remedy for Heartburn and Peptic Ulcers

Written and Photographed by Juliet Blankespoor

If you’re looking for an herb to soothe and repair digestive issues, the cheery flowers of calendula (Calendula officinalis) will be one of your primary allies. Calendula tea is commonly used to help remedy peptic ulcers, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It supports the healing of gastric and intestinal inflammation from infection or irritation through its vulnerary (wound healing), anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial actions.

Calendula can be combined with licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra), slippery elm (Ulmus rubra), marshmallow root (Althaea officinalis), and meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria) as a natural remedy for GERD, which commonly affects people with the symptoms of heartburn. In the case of peptic ulcers, calendula can be taken concurrently with antibiotic therapy (to address the presence of the bacterial infection of H. pylori or Helicobacter pylori), and then continued for two weeks after finishing treatment. See the notes below for important contraindications.

For a more detailed guide to calendula’s expansive medicinal benefits, visit my article on Growing and Using Calendula.

Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria) harvest

Safety and Contraindications: Do not use calendula internally during pregnancy since it has traditionally been used to bring on menses. As calendula is in the aster family, it may cause a reaction for people who are highly sensitive to plants like ragweed (Ambrosia spp.) and chamomile (Matricaria recutita); this possibility is rare, but sensitive individuals should proceed with caution when using calendula for the first time. Rare incidences of allergic contact dermatitis have occurred with the topical use of calendula.

Read complete original article at: Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine ~ Herbal Digestive Calendula Tea: A Remedy for Heartbur and Peptic Ulcers

Summer Herbals: Estafiate

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

Artemisia ludoviciana – Estafiate

Other names: Western Mugwort, Western Wormwood, Louisiana Sagewort, Prairie Sagewort, Mountain Sage, Simonillo, Itzauhyatl (Nahuatl)

Origin: Native throughout the entire western US

Energetics: Warm & Dry. Bitter, Pungent, slightly Astringent. Vital stimulant, Tonic Relaxant

Properties: Digestive, Carminative, Diaphoretic, Aromatic Bitter, Anti-inflammatory, Analgesic, Decongestant, Sedative, Nervine, Hepatic, Cholagogue, Choleretic, Diuretic, Expectorant, Emmenagogue, Anodyne, Anthelmintic, Antioxidant, Antispasmodic, Anti-fungal, Hemostatic, Styptic

Organ Affinities: Liver, gall bladder, gut, nervous system, female reproductive, lungs, muscle tissue, tendons/ligaments, endocrine, brain, skin, blood

Uses: Internally: Indigestion, gas, bloating, poor appetite, acid reflux, GERD, mild constipation, gastritis, diarrhea, IBS symptoms, weakened digestion, gastroenteritis, pinworms, cold, flu, chest congestion, fever, traumatic injuries, amenorrhea, edema, nervous exhaustion, muscle pain.  Externally: Broken bones, bruises, sprains, strains, nosebleeds, insect bites, stings (bee, scorpion), poison ivy rash, rheumatism, moxibustion Other uses from ethnobotanical sources include: Foot deodorant (placed in shoes), poultice of leaves applied to…

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Sacred Tree Profile: Cherry (Prunus Serotina)’s Magic, Mythology, Medicine and Meaning

The Druid's Garden

Butterfly on choke cherry

When most people think of cherry trees, they think about plump, juicy, red or purple cherries from cultivated cherry trees.  However, here in the USA, we have a variety of wild cherries that are an interwoven and rich part of our landscape. An enigmatic tree found throughout the eastern part of North America and South America is prunus serotina, the wild cherry, black cherry, mountain black cherry, or rum cherry tree. Most people interact with this tree not in its living form, but through the beautiful reddish-brown heartwood that this tree produces, and that can be frequently found in their furniture and flooring.  And yet, this tree has so much more to offer than just beautiful wood! While I’m targeting my comments today about the black cherry, many of the material found here can be about *any* cherry tree local to you, including domesticated cherries.  Many…

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Lemon Balm Infused Oil

Hedgerow Vintage

Lemon Balm, or you may know this herb as Melissa, is an easy plant to grow. It likes a sunny spot, and if it can be watered every now and again it will reward you with a big bushy plant very quickly – in fact a little too quickly at times – and it is also fantastically good for the bees.

My Lemon Balm is one of the oldest plants I have planted myself in the garden at around 10 years old, it is next to my Tess of the D’Urbervilles Rose (planted for my Daughter Tess), and in the summer provides a good contrast to the deepest pink of the rose with its fresh bright green leaves. Both plants magically are associated with Love, so they make a good companion planting combination. It does, however, get a little too big for its boots at times, and I need to…

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Spring Greens and Spring Awakening

Good Witches Homestead

Spring has arrived in our mountain forest. The emergence from the long cold nights of winter gives way to spring and the eternal reminder of rebirth and renewal. Dandelion flowers are everywhere, basking in the warming of the earth, opening to the sun. I’ve been gathering the young leaves for cooking and adding to smoothies. The grosbeaks have returned and our bears have awoken; hungrily eating the young grasses and soaking in our pond. This year the “fever” has been strong. I’ve cleaned the closets, put away winter clothes, worked compost into the garden beds, sowed seeds, and bulbs, put out the hummingbird feeders, spent hours brushing out the horses, changed the shavings in the coop, and am hiking longer.

This strong drive seems ancient. Many cultures believed springtime was the optimal season for “cleansing” – home, land, mind, and body. People would eat the early bitter greens, aiding digestion…

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The Finesse of Grossing Mommy Out

Good Witches Homestead

Little Granddaughter has developed a way to utterly gross out her mommy, but also adds to the many reasons why we are an herbalist. Herbal infusions come to play and thank goodness she takes her herbal vitamins every day.

We also raise and rescue German Shepherds, Bones is a rescue, but maybe in this video, Bones again needs rescuing from one very precocious Granddaughter…

Herbal infusions, which are basically strong teas,  are incredibly useful for providing the body with easy to assimilate nutrition.  It is best to use gentle, nutritive and tonifying herbs which act mostly as food for the body.  Examples are nettles,  chamomile, oatstraw and raspberry leaf.  This type of herbal preparation is used for extracting and making bio-available the richness of vitamins and minerals found in many plants.  It is important to note that herbs work overtime to bring about health and increased vitality.  They do not offer quick fixes, but…

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The Business of Herbalism

Good Witches Homestead

Botanical medicine, the art, and science of collecting, preparing, and utilizing plants for healing, is one of the oldest healing methods in human history. The World Health Organization estimates that 80 percent of the world’s population presently uses herbal medicine for some aspect of primary healthcare.

There is a wide range, however, in what is marketed as herbal medicine. The effectiveness of botanical medicine necessarily depends on the quality and vitality of the original plant material and on the care and attention brought to harvesting, processing, and storage. These issues are crucial to the quality of any product we consume; they are especially important when we use remedies as medicine for healing.

As the natural products industry has grown—it was measured to be $5 billion in the United States alone in 2009—compromises have been made along the chain of production that undermine the integrity and efficacy of the medicines produced…

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Benefits of Organic Blue Tea – Butterfly Pea or Asian Pigeonwing

Good Witches Homestead

Native to South-East Asia and India is the butterfly blue pea, a beautiful cerulean floral creation, which has been an important ingredient of traditional medicine in this part of the world since the era of ancient civilizations. For a flower, to have endured through several centuries is indeed credible and what is more noteworthy is the fact that its importance remains undiminished and unaffected by the passage of time. There could only one explanation for this continued sustenance – the natural presence of curative and therapeutic attributes that easily transit into lukewarm water like its color and can be consumed as such.Blue tea in a white teacup and loose leaf tea surrounding the cup from top view

Amongst the several exotic beverages that are prepared with the butterfly blue pea flowers, one of the simplest as also the most appealing is organic blue tea. In the phrase ‘organic blue tea’, while the word ‘blue’ owes its presence to the color that is typical of the…

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