Welcome to Kirsten's Herbal Garden...
Horsetails Fennel Lavender Mint
Nettles Pennyroyal Plantain Poison Oak Red Clover
Sunset in Ventura, CA - Oct. 15, 2008 (Photo: K. Anderberg)
Natural Sunburn Remedies
As a fair-skinned, red-headed kid growing up in Los Angeles and Baja, sunburn was a regular part of my childhood. Chemical sprays were not effective and mainstream America was ignorant of aloe's properties. Once back in L.A., after a week in San Felipe, I had bright red burning skin and a sun blister on my eye which made it hard to close. A family friend suggested I smear pickle juice on my skin and hold a pickle on the blister. Desperate, I did it. Immediately, my skin stopped stinging and the blister went down. I stank but I was no longer hurting. (Read More...)
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Drying herbs at home on Vashon Island, WA - 2005 (Photo: K. Anderberg)
Let Food Be Thy Medicine This Flu Season
Hippocrates, the person the Hippocratic Oath that doctors take is named after, said, "Let food be your medicine, and medicine be your food." There is profound wisdom in that simple phrase. Modern Americans do not eat enough whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, even amidst the cheap abundance of such foods. But added to that, is the eating of foods that actually tax the system and lessen immunity, such as fast foods with little to no nutritional content. These foods take energy from the body to digest and give little back in return, depleting vitamins, not building them up. We also have a problematic, profit-driven health care crisis in America. From scheduled C-section births in conveyor belt succession, to doctors receiving drug company kickbacks, American health care is often lacking integrity. Corporate drug mogul motives have robbed essential plant and food healing knowledge, as well as health care knowledge, from the common people in an effort to capitalize on a health care monopoly based on greed. It is a revolutionary act for people to learn how to identify plants and herbs, and to learn how to use these plants and herbs. It is also revolutionary to learn how to avoid eating the foods that make us sick, regardless of what the advertising says, so we do not need the chemical prescriptions they feed us later to get "better." (Read More...)
Nettles on Vashon Island, WA - 2005 (Photo: K. Anderberg)
Nettles, Nettles, Everywhere!
Stinging Nettles (Urtica dioica) grow like weeds in the woods where I live in the Pacific Northwest (Washington State, USA). Spring is the time to collect the top 6-8 inches of stinging nettles before they flower. You can dry them for later use, or make fresh oil or vinegar infusions, tinctures, hair tonics, herbal drinks, etc. Nettles have been used for centuries in medicines, cosmetics, dyes, teas, and also as an edible, calcium-rich green, like spinach... (Read More...)
Dried Comfrey Leaves (Photo: K. Anderberg 2005)
Comfrey aka Knitbone: Nature's Bandaid
I first became aware of comfrey when a housemate in Santa Cruz, Ca. pointed to a plant with huge leaves in the yard and said that American Indians used the leaves as pouches to carry things in. I wondered how that worked, so I picked one of the big leaves and put some rosemary leaves in it, and rolled it up. The tissues of the leaf actually held it in place, like a weak Velcro, and as it dried, it dried in the shape of the pouch, similar to a fried eggroll, but more fragile. After that experience, I have since used comfrey in lotions and oils, skin poultices and compresses, hair tonics, as pouches, and more. Comfrey (symphytum officinale) has been cultivated since approximately 400 BC, is used medicinally and cosmetically, as well as in glue, leather tanning, soap making, fabric dying, fertilizer, etc. It is native to Europe and Asia, and grows in temperate climates. It is used in England, America, Germany, the USSR, Kenya, China, Angora, Haiti, Spain, Turkey…(Read More...)
Lavender in Seattle, WA (Photo: K. Anderberg)
Make Your Own Facials, Bath Salts, Lip Gloss, and Aloe Gel!
In the desert, it can be hard to find a diverse array of cosmetics to pamper yourself with. But you can make your own spa ingredients, using kitchen ingredients. Homemade cosmetics, the old-fashioned kind your granny used to make, are fresher and healthier for your skin, than products with chemicals in them to expand their shelf lives. For instance, you can have a fabulous facial by combining in a bowl: 1 egg yolk * 2 T. egg white * 1 T. honey * 1 t. rose water Beat together and then apply to the face and neck. Leave on for about 10-15 minutes, then rinse off with warm water. You will be amazed how refreshed you feel.(Read More...)
DISCLAIMER: Do not eat or drink tea from any plant you have not fully studied and identified properly. Please consult with your local alternative herbal care specialist before using herbs you are not familiar with.
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