Monday, September 1st, 2014

My New French Press Yields Big-Ass Batches of Herbal Medicine

by Kristen Suzanne in herbs
Big french press for big batches of herbal medicine

Big french press for big batches of herbal medicine. Above: Nettle, Burdock Root, Licorice Root, and Spearmint.

I’m having a lot of fun learning about herbal medicine. And, I’ve learned that one of the easiest ways to administer herbal medicine is via tea. Every one likes a nice cuppa tea, eh?

Herbal teas are also known as infusions or decoctions, but there is a difference in how they’re prepared. An infusion is hot water infused with the loose leaf teas, and can be made with a french press like the one pictured. A decoction is made by simmering the parts over heat. Simmering is proper for roots and tougher herbs and stems to get a nice extraction of nutrients and flavor. Today, I’m talking infusions which is what most people experience when they drink a cup of tea.

Herbal teas (tisanes) are something I drink daily. One way to make it extra easy is to simply brew a large batch, which I can enjoy all day long. That means no fussing in the kitchen more than once a day for tea.

Enter: My new big, bad-ass French Press.

The french press, I’ve learned (through trying different methods), is the simplest way to make herbal tea. The loose herbs are free to float and steep, while covered which is important. Then, you press them down via the plunger, and pour the tea into your favorite cup, all without messing with the loose tea and a separate strainer.

When I found myself making multiple batches of tea throughout the day with my small french press, I knew I needed something bigger. As usual, on Amazon.com, I found what I was looking for… The Gorsche Madrid French Press Tea and Coffee Maker makes a whopping 1.5 liters (1500 ml) of tea or coffee. Nice.

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Friday, August 29th, 2014

Recipe: Longevity Bone Broth Soup to Help Live a Long Life

by Kristen Suzanne in gluten free, herbs, longevity, paleo, recipe
Longevity Bone Broth

Longevity Bone Broth

The fall weather is approaching.

It’s time to get serious and prep our bodies with nourishing foods to get through flu season with ease. Bone broth (i.e., stock) is essential to help prevent getting sick, and to help you heal in record speed, if you do get sick. My family consumes homemade bone broth (on a very regular basis) delivered by mug, soup, stew, sauce (I make demi-glace from it which serves as the bases for many unbelievable sauces), and rice pilaf. We also rely on herbal medicine to keep our immune systems in the best shape possible. See posts here and here for herbal medicine. Oh and this post with a delicious(!) berry tea recipe, great for helping you fight and prevent colds and flu.

In case you haven’t read it yet, I wrote an epic blog post showing you many variations to making your own homemade bone broth (i.e., stock). Today, I’m quickly sharing a groovy longevity twist I have been making: Longevity Bone Broth.

I am naming it Longevity Bone Broth because I’ve added a number of longevity supporting ingredients such as:

Bone broth is a pretty bad-ass longevity food on its own, but this version takes it to new levels.

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Saturday, August 9th, 2014

Recipe: Minted Mango Salad

Minted Mango Salad

Minted Mango Salad

I love cooking on the spot, where you take a look at what’s in the kitchen and throw things together. That’s what I did today when I made this Minted Mango Salad.

I recently bought a few potted herb plants so that I can always have fresh herbs whenever I need. I bought rosemary, basil, and mint. I saw the mint this morning and was drawn to it. It was breakfast time so maybe that was the attraction… something minty. I was also in the mood for the mango and avocado I had in the fridge.

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Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

Recipe: Elderberry Cognac Health Elixir

by Kristen Suzanne in herbs, longevity, recipe
Elderberry Cognac Health Elixir

Elderberry Cognac Health Elixir

As many of you know, I’m really enjoying the study of herbal medicine. One of my favorite things to make is organic elderberry syrup. It’s easy, fun, and so much less expensive than buying it from the store. I source all of my medicinal herb ingredients from Mountain Rose to get the highest quality at a good price.

Well, today I made something different. I made Elderberry Cognac Health Elixir. Elderberries have been used for thousands of years to promote health. Today, similarly, people use elderberry for preventing and treating colds and flu. They are high in flavonoids which are helpful in fighting viruses. They can also have an anti-inflammatory effect. The French often refer to this plant as the house pharmacy.

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Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

Recipe: Fresh Herb Tea – Who Knew?!

by Kristen Suzanne in gluten free, herbs, paleo, recipe, vegan
Fresh Herb Tea: fresh basil, fresh rosemary, and fennel seeds

Fresh Herb Tea: fresh basil, fresh rosemary, and fennel seeds

Did you know that you can make a deliciously nutritious tea using simply fresh (or even dried) herbs?

I never knew this until I learned it in my recent herbal medicine studies. It makes sense, of course, when I think about it. After all, we eat the herbs, we make tinctures with herbs (fresh and/or dried), so why not make a tea?

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Monday, July 14th, 2014

Recipe: Berry Nourishing Tea (So Good!)

by Kristen Suzanne in herbs, longevity, recipe
Dried fruits and herbs for Beautiful Berry Nourishing Heart Tea #HerbalMedicine

Dried fruits and herbs for Berry Nourishing Tea #HerbalMedicine

I’ve been studying the medicinal powers of herbs this past year (as I detailed in this post on tinctures). As a result, I don’t go a day without some sort of herbal medicine in my diet via tea, tincture, homemade syrup, or herbal-medicine-rich food (pesto anyone?).

I’ve created quite the beautiful collection of herbs. What can I say? I’m now an herb geek. When I read books and articles on medicinal herbs I can’t help but get wrapped up in their history and seemingly magical powers. It’s all very romantic to me.

Here is a wonderful tea recipe that can be used to help the health of heart, eyes, immune system, and beauty. It’s delicious, rich, and fun to drink warm or over ice, sweetened with raw honey or not (though the licorice root sweetens it perfectly for me).

I sourced all of the ingredients for this mixture from Mountain Rose Herbs. I highly recommend that you start a collection of organic herbs for medicine. I use them (internally and externally) for everything: skin beauty, boo boos, immune strength, adrenal support, vision support, longevity, calming, sleep, dreaming, and overall optimal performance. Honestly, I feel empowered using medicinal herbs… like I know secrets of the earth that many others do not.  Read More »

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Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

Tincture Making Basics – Part 2 – Herbs n Health Goals

Medicinal Herbs n Health Chart

Medicinal Herbs n Health Chart

In my last post I shared how you can easily make your own herbal tinctures and why you want to do that (health, vitality, immune protection, optimal performance, enhanced energy, better dreams, sublime relaxation, fertility benefits, brain and memory boosting, to name a few). Today, I share with you some popular herbs and how they might benefit you when you make your next cup of tea or herbal tincture.

With herbs, sometimes the effect is immediate and sometimes it takes a few weeks to feel the benefits. Therefore, if you’re working on your hormones for example, and you’re a woman, you might notice improvements over the following 2 to 3 menstrual cycles if you’re using herbs (teas, tinctures, capsules, etc) on a pretty regular basis. If you’re looking for some relaxation because you’re stressed out or have a headache, then a single cup of (strong) herbal tea or a few squirts of tincture throughout the day can do the trick.

I’m having a blast making my own herbal tinctures and part of the fun comes from mixing up various herbs based on my own health goals. In order to do that I read books, articles, and blogs to determine which organic herbs to buy when making my herbal tinctures (and drinking as teas or taking in the form of syrups). I consider myself a bit of an herb collector now, and I even bought a special herb bookshelf to store my herbs (pictured below). These herbs are used in various ways, especially in my home pharmacy and travel pharmacy first aid (I’ll share that with you in the future).

It took a lot of time to compile my list, which by the way is always changing as I learn more. I decided to share my labor of love. I have not tried every herb listed, and there are many great herbs that are not on here simply because I selected ones that made sense for my family. Some I put on the list because I want to research them more before trying.

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Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

Tincture Making Basics – Important, Simple n Good For You – PART 1

by Kristen Suzanne in first aid, herbs, tinctures
My first tinctures with organic herbs. #FirstAid

My first tinctures with organic herbs. #FirstAid

I’ve entered the tincture making world and for good reason. Tinctures offer health, vitality, immune protection, enhanced energy, better dreams, sublime relaxation, fertility benefits, brain and memory boosting, and more.

Now, I’ve always been a fan of herbal teas and supplements but I never thought to make my own tinctures. Why? Honestly, because I felt intimidated. I would hear stories of people making them like it’s easy-peasy, but it was always a bit too mysterious to me. I thought you needed to study herbs and be very well versed in order to make them. So, I pretty much wrote them off. I didn’t make them. I didn’t even buy them pre-made.

Big mistake. Tinctures are amazing little gems for maintaining a healthy robust body (both chronic and acute situations), and they’re easy to make. Think of tinctures as basically herbal tea on steroids. You get a strong dose of the healing powers of plants in a tiny (convenient) amount (some say that two droppersful of tincture equals an 8 ounce cup of herbal tea). Tinctures are highly assimilable especially if you can stand to put them, straight, under your tongue for a few moments. Tinctures made using alcohol preserve active plant constituents. Another big selling point is that alcohol based tinctures last for years (pretty much indefinitely so long as they’re stored in a cool dark place. No refrigeration is necessary for alcohol based tinctures). Bonus #1: They’re convenient for travel. Bonus #2: Homemade tinctures make great gifts.

What prompted me to make the leap into tinctures? I decided it was imperative to create a home pharmacy for my family and tinctures kept coming up as an effective asset for that. They offer potency, effectiveness, and convenience. Over the past 4 months I’ve been building my home pharmacy (as well as my travel pharmacy first aid kit) and I’ll share all the juicy deets about those in future posts because you’ll want to know what I’m including, and maybe more importantly what I’m not including. For the sake of this blog post on tinctures, however, I keep tinctures in my home pharmacy.

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