I put together this blend the other week and have been enjoying it so much on these winter days. It's a perfect nourishing, grounding and earthy-sweet tea. I hope this simple trio of berries and roots will warm your heart and spirit.
4 Tblsp. hawthorn berries
3 Tblsp. codonopsis root
1 Tblsp. burdock root
Place 2 heaping Tablespoons of this mixture in 1.5 cups of water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil then lower the heat to a simmer, cover, and let cook for 15 to 20 minutes. Strain and drink.
This recipe will make enough for 3-4 servings.
Last year was full of plants and people, learning and teaching, home and travel. I am grateful for it all! Before fully moving into the new year ahead I'm taking one more glance back at 2015's memories....
Thank you, old year. Welcome in, new year!
Ashwagandha is the root of a plant that comes to us from the Ayurvedic tradition. It is known as an herb that helps to improve one's resiliency, cope with stress, and reestablish healthy sleep patterns. I'll be writing more about this wonderful herb in future weeks...
In the meantime, though, here's a fun little recipe for enjoying ashwagandha root powder... What better way to take your herbs than in hot chocolate?! Make this brew on cold winter nights -- it is lovely to sip on as you are winding down from the day.
2 tablespoons Cocoa powder
1 teaspoon Ashwagandha root powder
1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
a few sprinkles of freshly grated Nutmeg
8 oz. Coconut milk* (or other milk of choice)
Honey or maple syrup to taste
This recipe makes one serving. Pour the milk into a small saucepan and whisk in the cocoa powder, ashwaganda powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. Heat gently over low heat for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour into a mug and add honey or maple syrup to your taste. Enjoy!
*If using full fat coconut milk from a can I usually dilute it down with water to equal parts, i.e. 4 oz coconut milk plus 4 oz. water
You are cordially invited to my annual open house this Friday evening! Come enjoy some mulled wine or tea and chat about herbs. I'll also have my handmade herbal products available for sale, including comfrey salve, rose empress elixir, elderberry syrup, herbal oils, root chai, tea blends, pressed botanical art specimens, and more!...
Steph's home in Davis Square, Somerville
Friday, December 11th
drop in from 6:30 - 8:00pm
My friend Shari Apotheker of Apotheker's Kitchen will also be joining us with their delightful array of cocoa mixes! These are so, so good and make amazing gifts.
Chocolate and herbs - what could be better?!
Hope to see you! Please RSVP to: firstname.lastname@example.org to receive the private address.
This weekend I'm running an event near and dear to my heart, Herbstalk's Wintergreen Herbal Market. We are bringing together over 30 herbal and botanical-related vendors from across New England to kick off the holiday season and to celebrate "Shop Local Saturday."
If you love plants, herbs, natural products, handmade items, good food and lovely people, this is the place to be!
We'll also be hosting a handful of free educational herbal demos. Learn how to: make your own cocktail bitters, use plant-based dyes, choose herbs for times of stress, use essential oils, and make traditional herbal recipes for the winter months.
Here are the details...
The Wintergreen Herbal Market
Saturday, November 28th from 11am to 5pm
The Armory, 191 Highland Ave, Somerville, MA
Learn more here
I'll have several of my handmade products for sale, including the ever-popular root chai tea, comfrey salve, and rose empress elixir! Look for me at the Herbstalk table!
I hope you can join us for this wonderful, herb-filled event!
One of my favorite books is Judith Berger's Herbal Rituals. Her beautiful words take the reader through a full year of herbal collecting and concocting, and each chapter focuses on the seasonal aspects of each month. I love what she has to say about November...
"According to the Celtic calendar, November is the first lunar month and belongs to the birch tree, the tree of beginnings. I find it important that the beginning time is situated at a moment when nature has ceased any outward signs of growth and has plunged its vitality underground. From nature's rhythm I learn that beginnings extend their tethers from an invisible core or seed that germinates best in the ground of dormancy and otherworldly visions which accompanies this month. The dropping temperatures encourage our bodies to rest, to enter the realm of sleep, so that the unconscious can send us information for our growth through the messenger of our dreams...."
- from Judith Berger's Herbal Rituals, November
In honor of the birch tree of beginnings, and of this season of rest and dreaming, I created this tea blend. Drink it before bed and enter sleep with the intention of remembering your dreams the next day...
1/4 to 1/2 Tblsp. Birch twigs/bark (or birch leaves if you have them)
1/2 Tblsp. Valerian root
1 Tbsp. Mugwort leaves
1 Tblsp. Sage leaves
1 Tblsp. Rosemary leaves
Blend together all the herbs. Steep one heaping spoonful of the tea in a cup of hot water, for at least 10 minutes. Strain out the herbs, light a candle, and sip quietly.
This recipe will make enough for 4-5 servings.
Just this past week I was in Iceland with an amazing group of people. It was my second trip to this gorgeous country... Eight years ago my best friend Jenn and I spontaneously traveled to Iceland for the first time and ever since then this special land has stayed firmly rooted in our hearts.
After all these years it was amazing to return. This time Jenn and I took a group of 11 people on a yoga and herbalism retreat. For five days we traveled around the rugged and remote Snaefellsnes Peninsula, having daily yoga and herbalism classes. We went on incredible hikes, visited waterfalls and streams, gathered wild herbs, and were even lucky enough to see the northern lights one night.
Jenn taught her special blend of yin and vinyasa yoga, with a combination of movement and restorative introspective poses. And I was so happy to be able to offer a different herbal class each day, on topics such as how to connect with plants through drawing, to making different kinds of teas, to using herbs during transitional times.
Throughout the trip we spotted some of my favorite herbs, and became better acquainted with the Icelandic flora. Even so late in the season there were still many vibrant plants -- we saw lots of dandelions, chickweed, dock, yarrow, lady's mantle, wild thyme, blueberries, crowberries, angelica and rose root, amongst others!
We were guided throughout the trip by our fearless local tour organizer, Vally. She was an incredible guide who enriched our trip so much with her vast knowledge of Icelandic history, culture and geology. She brought us to the top of a crater, showed us a secret waterfall, led us to a beach full of magic stones, and even introduced us to "chocolate-covered lava!"
I am still coming down to earth after being in such a majestic and expansive place. Words cannot describe the beauty, mystery and intensity of Iceland, so I'll let these photos speak for me...