Warm, Spicy Aroma of Cinnamon

Good Witches Homestead

The warm, spicy aroma of cinnamon wafting from baked goods and hot apple cider is one of the first and welcome signs of autumn. An ancient and beloved spice, we have long valued cinnamon to enliven cuisine, create exotic perfumes, and as a staple spice rack remedy.

Though many species of cinnamon exist, the most common is Cassia {cinnamomum cassia}, known also as Chinese cinnamon, and Ceylon {Cinnamomum zylanicum}, which is a related species of tropical evergreen trees in the Lauraceae family native to East and Southeast Asia. While Cassia is most familiar to the United States, its cousin Ceylon is considered “true” cinnamon and more popular in Europe and Mexico.

cinnamon two types

First appearing in Traditional Chinese Medical texts over 4,000 years ago, cinnamon was used to boost the immune system and unblock yang qi. The Egyptians prized it as food, perfume, and incense while Ayurvedic…

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Deadly Delicacies from Emporium Black | Coby Michael Ward

Good Witches Homestead

I love introducing people to new things in the magical community.  I love networking with fellow practitioners and pointing people in the right direction to help meet their needs because I know how difficult this labyrinth can be to navigate.

The chocolate was amazing and the subtle taste of the herb-infused honey was noticeable enough that you knew there was more than a trace amount of plant material in them.  The exact amounts are a trade secret, and Seamus is always happy to answer any questions potential customers might have.

The rose flavor was pervasive, not in a bad way.  You could taste and smell the roses long after eating the truffle, an interesting aromatic effect.  The flavor was exactly like the smell of fresh roses, and not artificial at all. The effects of this truffle came on in about an hour as well.

The white chocolate coating of these…

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Goldenrod Benefits: The Bee’s Knees for Allergies, Sinus Infections, and Urinary Tract Infections

Written and Photographed by Juliet Blankespoor (except where credited)

Goldenrod Benefits: The Bee’s Knees for Allergies, Sinus Infections, and Urinary Tract Infections

The following article is a sneak peek into our 375-hour Online Foraging Course: Edible and Medicinal Wild Herbs. The course begins with the basic ground rules of foraging safety and ethics and then moves on to botany and plant identification. Before you know it, you’ll have the skills and confidence to safely identify and harvest wild plants.

You’ll befriend THE most common edible and medicinal wayside plants, including dandelion, stinging nettles, violet, yarrow, burdock, rose, goldenrod, and many others. The printable manual is hundreds of pages long and filled with close-up photos for identification, medicinal uses, and loads of easy-to-follow recipes. In fact, most of our plant profiles contain more detail than you’ll find in any book on wild foods and herbs.

Registration for this online course will re-open in 2020. Check out our other online programs, which have ongoing enrollment: The Herbal Immersion Program (which includes the Foraging Course and likewise features our glowing lesson on goldenrod) and the Medicine Making Course.

Sign up here for free tutorials (videos + articles) on foraging and herbal medicine, and to be notified when enrollment reopens.

Identifying Goldenrod Flowers

Scientific Name: Solidago spp.

Plant Family: Asteraceae, aster family

Other Common Names: Goldruthe, woundwort, Aaron’s rod, and solidago

Introduction: Each fall, all across North America, goldenrod lights up meadows and fields with a refreshing blend of ruggedness and jubilation. In addition to the sunshine it lends to the landscape, its flowers attract native pollinators and beneficial insects. Goldenrod’s piney-tasting leaves and flowers are an important medicinal remedy for the urinary, digestive, and respiratory systems. The goldenrod genus encompasses one hundred species of late-blooming, knee- or hip-high herbaceous perennials.

Locust borer on a goldenrod inflorescence

Goldenrod is imbued with a decided botanical exceptionalism—heralding primarily from America, where it has been employed for centuries as a medicine, dye plant, and beverage tea. Although most goldenrod species are native to North America, a few species are native to Eurasia and South America. European goldenrod (Solidago virgaurea) is an important folk remedy for lessening bleeding and diarrhea and healing wounds—earning it the name woundwort.1

Read remaining article via: Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine ~ Goldenrod Benefits for Allergies, Sinus Infections, and Urinary Tract Infections

A Deeper Look At Forest Roots

Black and Blue Cohosh Forest

Sandy loam, a substance created by the breakdown of minerals (rock) mixed with the breakdown of carbon (tree or grass detritus). Sandy loam is what we all want, because it is the best all around substrate for growing the plants we love the most: GoldensealGinsengBlack and Blue CohoshWild YamTwinleafBloodroot, Stonerooot, Mayapple — the entire interconnected clan of powerfully medicinal shade-loving forest roots. My book “Growing At-Risk” gives a chapter on each of these (and other) herbs of the hardwood forest biome. Let’s look a bit deeper into what can be done to bring these entities down home and help them prosper!

Survey the growing area. It may be a woodland with trees, brush and diverse broadleaf species already intact. If this is the case, identify areas overgrown by weedy species or heavily shaded by dead wood or thin-able trees. Such areas have often been left undisturbed for some time, and the soil may be rich and undisturbed. Clear away dead wood and crowded trees, giving access to the forest floor and providing more light to the growing beds. Forest roots like dappled shade, where sunlight moves across the moist and humus-laden soil in amorphous patches.

After all, even shade-loving herbs eat light! Remove existing weedy species and push your spade into the ground. If you have at least 6 inches of good dirt, then it’s a go. Pull the existing mulch away from the planting bed, which should be at

Mayapple Forest

least 4 feet wide, arranged with a path to the side to guide forest creatures and humans away from the planting, not over the top of the sensitive plants. Pile the mulch in the path, and plant the dormant roots in the bed, then rake the mulch back over the top of the bed. Mark the bed with a heavy stake and a label giving the date and the species planted there. Metal tags may be used for this, so that they do not fade or disintegrate with time. You will be oh-so-happy that you marked your planting spot!

 

Read full article via Ricoh’s Blog: A Deeper Look at Forest Roots

Make Your Own Herb Kombucha

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

This popular, fizzy beverage provides flavor, health benefits, and an opportunity to use some of your favorite herbs. Learn how to brew up a batch of homemade kombucha.

Known as the “tea of immortality” in China, where the earliest recorded use dates back to 221 BCE, kombucha has enjoyed an epic rise in popularity here in North America over the last several years. Cruise through the beverage aisles in any grocery store and you’ll likely find kombucha from several different brewing companies, with a huge range of flavors to choose from. The appeal of this unique beverage and the opportunity to personalize it with herbs and other additions make brewing your own kombucha a creative endeavor that tastes good and may also offer some benefits to your health.

Getting Started

So, what exactly is kombucha? It’s a fermented tea – a combination of brewed tea from the Camellia sinensis plant…

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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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Best Herbal Iced Teas for Summer

Good Witches Homestead

PRO TIPS FOR MAKING ICED TEA:

  • Brew your iced tea a little stronger than you would if you were going to enjoy it hot since the ice will water down the tea infusion and its flavor.
  • Some heat is required for the initial brewing, and this can be done either on the stovetop or as a sun brewed tea. Sun teas take more time but less work to make, requiring three to five hours in direct sunlight to properly infuse.
  • Once your tea has brewed and cooled, store in the fridge for optimal shelf life and consume within a week or less.

Iced tea is one of the joys of summer! Get ready for those hot days with our guide to the best teas to serve iced.

Source: Best Herbal Iced Teas for Summer

5 Herbal Iced Teas for Summer:

  1. Mint Tea
    This delightful blend is made with mints from…

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Sunflower Lore — Good Witches Homestead

COMMON NAME: sunflower GENUS: Helianthus SPECIES: H. annuus-grown for seed and flower FAMILY: Compositae BLOOMS: summer TYPE: annual DESCRIPTION: Characterized by its height and size of the flower, the sunflower has earned a welcome place in the summer garden. Many varieties on the market now offer diversity in color {even a white sunflower!}, size of the flower, and plant […]

via Sunflower Lore — Good Witches Homestead