“Greetings Mr Fenugreek, I hear that you are such a handy and capable fellow”, said an earnest looking man as Mr Fenugreek was busily working. “Yes I am, very much so in fact,” replied Mr Fenugreek. “I have been helping many folk for a very long time, and I’m sure I can help you too.”

You know, we find different peoples around the place, but strangely enough, no matter how different they seem to be, they can have similar strengths and abilities, and this is comparable to three other friends to Mr Fenugreek and they are Mr Comfrey, Mr Garlic and Mr Irish Moss.

Fenugreek can be used in place of Comfrey when dealing with healing, especially with bones and Fenugreek can be used instead of or in conjunction with Garlic, in which it boosts the benefits of garlic, and the seeds are comparable to Irish moss.

Fenugreek, and its botanical name – Trigonella foenum-graecum is one of the oldest used herbs known to man, and it has also been very beneficial to animals as well, even before it was used for humans, such as, cattle, pigs, and chickens as apparently they liked the taste of it, its supposed to increase milk supply, improve their coats and even enlarge the egg size of chickens.

The word ‘Trigonella’ is used to describe its three-lobed or three-angled leaves and the term ‘foenum-graecum’ basically means Greek hay. Fenugreek has certainly been around for a very long time, as it is recorded that the Pharaoh, King Tut, had it in his tomb after he died in 1323 B.C. Long before it was used by the Greeks and Romans as a medicine it was used to feed livestock. Here, it was mixed with insect damaged or mouldy hay to encourage their livestock to eat it, and then it turned out that if the animals were sick, they would only pick out the fenugreek and eat it, and wouldn’t eat anything else. And we called them dumb animals? I have read where veterinarians still give fenugreek to encourage sick animals to eat.

Originally from the European Mediterranean coast, it spread all round the Mediterranean and was grown from Morocco to Turkey and ultimately from India and to China.

The Indian physicians used it to treat tummy upsets, bronchitis and even arthritis, and to improve milk supply in their women, and the Chinese doctors used it to treat muscle pains and hernias, from fevers to gallbladder issues and impotence, and the earliest mention of Chinese doctors using it I can find is in 1057 A.D. for the treating of kidney complaints. (If you have or believe that you may have a hernia, please go and see your doctor.)

It was used by Arabian and African women gain weight and enlarge their breast size, and as it was mentioned in one piece of Arabian medical literature, it is “for alluring roundness of the female breast” and also the women from Syria to Libya, roasted the seeds also to gain weight and enlarge their breasts as well.

I have read that these effects are due to fenugreek slowing down the rate at which the liver enzymes break down oestrogen, but this does not appear to affect women when lactating.

Herbs should be used for healing, but apparently according to the Historian Flavius Josephus, when the future Roman Emperor Vespasian commanded his troops to climb the walls of Jerusalem, the Jewish defenders mixed fenugreek to the oil so that the attackers could not easily climb their ladders.

John Gerard, the superintendent of Lord Burleigh’s Gardens in the 16th century wrote when speaking of Colewort, “The same being applied with pouder of Fenugreeke, taketh away the paine of the gout”.

And finally, did you know that fenugreek is one of the major ingredients to the contraceptive pill, possibly due to it containing precursors to progesterone, which may mean it can be a help to peri-menopausal women.


How to use Fenugreek

Fenugreek can be used in a number of ways and two of the most well known methods are as a tea, which is quite simple to make, and can be made several different ways depending on what you are trying to achieve, and the other is sprouting the seed to include in different meals. Culinarily the seeds and it’s powdered form can be used in those famous Indian curries, but it can also be used in marinades, chutneys, pastries, pickles, and brines, and it has a spicy, somewhat pungent and bitter celery or maple aroma. If you lightly roast the seed, it gains a sweet maple syrupy like flavour. If you want to make your own fenugreek powder, just make enough to use each time, as it can lose it flavour quickly.

Commercially, it is used as a source of imitation maple flavouring, plus it is used in flavouring vanilla essence, caramel and butterscotch creations.

Fenugreek Herbal Teas

Fenugreek teas are very easy to make with an unusual bitter maple flavour.

The simplest fenugreek tea

  • Take 1/2 a teaspoon of fenugreek seeds and put them into a cup
  • Pour in boiling hot water
  • Allow to steep for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Add sweetener if required such as raw honey or stevia
  • And enjoy.
  • A simple addition to the tea is light squeeze of lemon juice

A more therapeutic version of fenugreek tea

  • Crush 1 to 2 teaspoons of fenugreek tea
  • Place them into a small saucepan
  • Add just over a cup of water
  • Bring it to a boil
  • Gently simmer for 15 minutes
  • Take it in two lots of half a cup, 1/2 in the morning and 1/2 in the afternoon
  • And for extra boost eat the seed when you finish the drink

If you gently and slowly roast the seeds it can be used as a coffee substitute.

Culinary uses of Fenugreek

It appears to have been the Egyptians who may have been the first used fenugreek as a culinary herb, but we do know that the Indians added it to their curries, but it is also used in Persian, and Ethiopian dishes. The Jewish and Arab communities call it Halbah or Helbah and use it in a sweet called ‘halva’. I won’t add or suggest any Indian curry recipes that include fenugreek simply due to the fact that there are thousands upon thousands of them out there that are simply just so delicious, but I do encourage you to find one you like and give it a try. And let me know how you wen’t and I’d love to see a photo of it!

But two ideas I would like to suggest are how to make fenugreek berries and how to sprout fenugreek yourself, which actually has higher nutritional value than the seeds, plus added fibre.

Fenugreek Berries

Depending on the size of the salad or meal soak for 24 hours 2 to 4 tablespoons of fenugreek seeds in water. Depending on the weather, this make take a little longer. After the soaking period drain off the water, then add the jelly like soft berries to a tossed salad or any other dish you wish to add them too.

How to sprout Fenugreek

Equipment
  • A glass jar that holds a bit more than two cups
  • A piece of gauze, old stocking, curtain netting or similar
  • A large rubber band to fit firmly over the top of the jar
Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons of Fenugreek seeds
  • A supply of fresh pure water
How to do
  • Place the seeds into the glass jar
  • Add approximately 2 cups of water
  • Place the mesh over the top of the jar and fasten on with the rubber band
  • Allow to soak overnight or at least for 8 hours
  • After the soak, drain off the water through the mesh
  • Wash the seeds with fresh water and tip that off
  • Stand the jar with the seeds upside down and leave on a good angle to drain. (This can be done in the kitchen sink dish drainer)
  • Twice a day, wash the seeds with fresh water and repeat the process above
  • After each rinse, roll the jar to loosen up the seeds
  • Depending on the weather, your sprouts should be ready in about 2 to 4 days, or, about 1 to 3cm / 3/8 to 1 1/4″ long
  • If you’re not going to use them all immediately, then store them in the fridge, but allow them to breathe

Once they have reached your preferred length, they can be simply eaten raw used in your lunches, in sandwiches or in different types of salads such as green, summer, potato and pasta. But don’t forget fruit salads with Papaya or mangos, let alone on toast with avocado, cream cheeses, or ginger jams or marmalades and lemon butter. As well as many vegetable dishes, stir-fries or just a garnish to decorate your meals.

If you grow the fenugreek in pots or close by in your garden, you can also harvest the leaves, which can be used in salads, sandwiches, as a steamed green vegetable, plus in stews and soups. These leaves should be picked young and used fairly quickly to enjoy their freshness, which have a similar flavour to fresh peas.

Fenugreek’s medicinal uses

Fenugreek has many medicinal virtues helping with all sorts of upper respiratory issues, inflammation inside and outside the body and digestive problems such as an inflamed gastrointestinal system, plus peri-menopause, a possible aphrodisiac to lowering cholesterol or improving milk production in mothers to breast enlargement, or even helping with bad breath by just chewing on a few seeds (be careful they can be hard, allow them to soften a bit). The simple beauty of many of the complaints it can help with, can be provided by drinking its tea specifically, or eating the sprouts or leaves.

Because fenugreek is a vulnerary, (it promotes healing of bodily damage) it can assist in the healing of wounds, and the suggestion I would like to make, is that you can use it as a poultice or a compress, which is similar, to draw out toxins from the body, helping with ulcers, skin irritations, bruises, boils and abscesses on the skin, as well as simple things such as speeding the healing of wounds and other skin problems.

Lots of other herbs and not just fenugreek, can be used either as just the herb itself or mixed with other herbs to gain further benefits that each added herb may give, so this type of preparation or technique below, can be used with other herbs.

Fenugreek Poultice

  • Either obtain as much fenugreek powder or grind up enough whole seed either in a mortar and pestle or use an electric coffee grinder until you have enough to cover the desired area with a thick smear, say 6mm/ 1/4″
  • If you want to increase the blood circulation then you can use a hot poultice at no more then 41C / 105F or if you want to cool inflammation you can make a cold poultice
  • Here you could use a herbal decoction for the liquid or even a vegetable oil or raw honey, plus add a few drops of essential oil to gain extra benefit
  • You can add a little charcoal too
  • Mix in enough liquid to make it into a thick paste
  • Smear it thickly over the area to be treated
  • Cover the area with plastic such as ‘cling wrap’
  • Then wrap around with a cloth or towel

Examples of a herbal decoction could be chamomile or dandelion and an example of oil could be olive, castor or coconut oils. The best time to apply a poultice is just before going to bed, but if you need it through the day, and sometimes you may need to, and require mobility, wrap around with plastic cling wrap, then a linen cloth and tie off without cutting off circulation or creating pain, or you may need a 10cm/4″ bandage wrapping from the thinner part of the limb to the thicker part.

Sometimes you can place the thick paste onto a linen cloth and fold it and then apply this to the area, or you can put it into muslin bag and place this onto the area as well. Many do it this way.

So why the difference between hot and cold poultices?

Let’s say you’ve got a month old injury, you’ve had a fall and hurt your knee and now it is still swollen, some what sore at times, and when you feel the swollen area its like thick gravy under plastic, but cold. This is when you would use a hot poultice, because you want to remove the stagnation and free up the fluid underneath. This can happen so much so that the bruise that would have occurred a few days after the accident can finally come through, and even hurt, so be aware.

A cold poultice is designed to ‘calm’ down’ the inflammation similar to a cold pack you would put on a sprain, numbing and reducing pain. This is done by reducing fluid leakage by constricting vessels. This reduces swelling, pressure, inflammation and muscle spasms, that are common sources of pain.

Fenugreek Water

The two main uses for fenugreek water is for diarrhoea and dyspepsia. One of the principles behind the effectiveness of fenugreek is the mucilaginous substance, which is 1/3 of the seed. So wherever it goes throughout the body, it creates a protective layer between ‘where it hurts’ and what’s around it.

  • Simply add 35 grams/ 1 oz of fenugreek seeds to a saucepan
  • Bring to a boil, then turn back to gently simmer for 15 minutes
  • Turn off and allow to cool
  • Strain and drink whilst the condition continues

Fenugreek Oil

  • For a massage oil you can add a few drops to a carrier oil to soothe the skin
  • Fenugreek oil can be used as a calming and aromatic experience
  • As a gargle, place one to two drops of oil to a glass of water
  • For your hair and scalp, add a few drops to your shampoo and conditioner

Fenugreek dye

The seed can be used as a yellow dye.

Gardening with fenugreek

Fenugreek has a variety of uses in the garden, the best would be growing it for culinary uses, as the young leaves are the best, which can be cooked or steamed or used fresh like a spinach and added to a potato salad or curry. The seed can be used in curries and other spicy dishes, teas and to flavour foods and beverages, as well as making sprouts and growing your own microgreens.

It is a well known fodder crop for many animals such as pigs, horses, chickens and buffalo, cattle/dairy cows, rabbits, sheep and goats, and even fish (seed).

It can be used as a nitrogen fixer, but apparently it needs the right bacteria to do this, which is Rhizobium melilot to improve your soil, or you can grow it as a cover crop and plow it back into the ground to add humus to your soil or just chop and drop to increase mulch or grow it for erosion control.


How to Grow

Fenugreek – Trigonella Foenum-graecum is a half hardy annual, that has a ‘trifoil’ -three-angle leaves that are obovate that alternate and it grows to approximately 60cm/ 2′ and has a spread of about 23cm/9″. The flowers are a white to yellow that are a pea flower.

Fenugreek likes a soil that is approximately neutral, but it can be either lower or higher, from 6.5 to 8.2 pH, but doesn’t mind a little lime. It grows in full sunlight, or it needs at least 4 to 5 hours of good sun and can tolerate some shade and the colder you go, you’ll need to have more sunlight.

It likes the soils to be slightly moist but it doesn’t like sitting in water and don’t let it dry out. Poor care does tend to lead to more pests and diseases.

From Seed

Seed is really the only way to grow and cultivate fenugreek, as it is just so quick and easy to grow.

  • Planting is anywhere from spring to early autumn
  • Don’t plant if frost is still around
  • Soak the amount of seeds you wish to plant overnight
  • Place the seeds into drills or holes that are about 6mm/1/4″ deep and 5cm to 2″ apart
  • Cover over and lightly water in
  • Germination is usually from 2 to 7 days
  • It reaches full maturity in about 2 to 4 months
  • Let some grow to seed so that you’ll have some for next planting

If you are growing for the leafy vegetable, then you can plant them much closer together, in a wide container that doesn’t have to be very deep. Keep this pot or container close to your kitchen for easy harvesting.

Maintenance

So long as you keep it watered just enough, and give it plenty of sun and fresh air, and generally things should go well. It doesn’t have a high demand for fertiliser, but you can make sure it is well manured at the time of planting or just add a little liquid fertiliser once every one to two weeks.

Pests and diseases

Fenugreek doesn’t have a lot of issues with pests and diseases but it can get a few, here below are some to watch out for.

  • Pests are aphids, slugs, snails and grasshoppers/crickets
  • Diseases can be powdery mildew, plus charcoal and root rot

Harvesting

If you are looking for a leafy vegetable crop it should be ready in about 20 to 30 days, don’t cut off at the base, just cut them off 3 to 5 cm above the ground. Then allow the stems to regrow and sometimes you can get a leaf crop every two weeks four times in a season.

Drying

Simply place the leaves on clean paper towelling or on clean dry kitchen towels in a well ventilated room until completely dry.

Storage

Typically the leaves are used fresh, but when thoroughly dry, place them into sealable airtight glass jars, label and date, and store in a cool, dry and dark place. If they become mouldy then throw them out.


Herbalism

The information below is for informational and education purposes only. So please do not “self-treat”. When seeking any ‘therapeutic’ advice always see a Qualified Health Care Professional first.

Common names:

Greek hay or hayseed, Bird’s foot, Foenugreek, Fenigreek, Hilba, Trigonella, Cow’s horn, and Goat’s horn

Parts used:

Seed therapeutically, but can use sprouts and leaf for more nutrition

Dosage:

Daily minimum to maximum dosage: 2.0 – 4.0 grams

Main actions:

Hypoglycaemic, hypocholesterolaemic, hypolipidaemic, demulcent, anti-inflammatory, galactagogue, and orexigenic

Indications:

Diabetes, dyspepsia, gastritis, gastrointestinal inflammation, anorexia, debility, convalescence, and difficult lactation, plus, the seed powdered for hypocholesterolaemia or high triglycerides

Constituents:

Steroidal saponin, mucilage, flavonoids, sterols, essential oil, 4-hydroxyisoleucine, trigonelline, bitter principle, arabinose, gentianine, phytosterols, coumarins, lecithin, and diosgenin

Safety concerns:

Saponins, can aggravate or cause gastro-oesophageal reflux, higher doses may cause body odour changes. Do not use if pregnant. Caution with those highly anaemic as it competes with iron. Don’t go over 100g/day.

Adulterants:

None known



Please remember, this blog cannot and should not replace a health care professional, and is for informational and educational purposes only and is not for medical advice or treatment, and no cure is implied in anyway. If you have a known serious condition, or are pregnant, please consult your health care professional, before use.

Kind Regards,

Russell a.k.a Herbal Panda

Website: http://www.theherbarius.com.au

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Email: theherbalist@theherbarius.com.au

Sales: sales@theherbarius.com.au

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The way you think you are, You probably are — Herbal Panda

Miss Raspberry! Please tell me, why O why are you so prickly yet so tasty! Miss Strawberry doesn’t behave like you, she is so bountiful and she doesn’t be so prickly. “Please understand kind person,” said Miss Raspberry, “I may be pretty, but I don’t come cheap.”

It is frankly no surprise that raspberries have been used for so long for so many purposes, for a start, its fruit is a treat to your taste buds, a melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness that nobody can deny.

It is also no surprise to find out that the ancient Chinese, Greeks, native American Indians and Indian ayurvedics all have used raspberry in the treating of many conditions over thousands of years. Over its history, it has been used in the same manner as blackberry, and in ‘general’ can be used interchangably too. In many ways, Miss Raspberry lived in Blackberry’s shadow, but in modern times she has come out to stand rightfully on her own.

Also, in the ancient times the raspberry bush grew abundantly on Mount Ida – Kazdağı, in Turkey and from here it gained its Latin name, Rubus idaeus‘Rubus’ coming from the Latin to mean ‘bramble’, and ‘idaeus’ because it came from Mt. Ida.

Raspberry – Rubus idaeus, part of the rose family, is a native of the northern hemisphere and is well known for its wonderful and most delicious fruit, ranging from pink to red cone shaped fruits that have tremendous flavour. Yes I know, I keep raving about the flavour, BUT, it also has a wonderful ability to add colour, texture and richness to any dessert, drink, smoothie or beverage, and a few other interesting meals if your daring enough. I have heard of omelettes.

Raspberries coming on

Culinary Uses

Raspberries have so many culinary uses, and as discussed earlier they are fantastic in desserts and drinks of all sorts, adding good nutrition to your diet. So I have decided here, not to suggest any cooking recipes as there are just so many in books and on the internet, that I didn’t feel it was necessary to share any.

Raspberry Herbal tea

Raspberry tea can be drunk just for the pleasure of it, but it can also be used medicinally internally for diarrhoea, menstrual issues, gargles and nausea, and when cooled, externally on burns, wound and as a wash for sore and tired eyes.

  • Place 1 to 2 teaspoons of dried or fresh finely chopped raspberry leaf in to cup
  • Pour in boiling hot water
  • Allow to steep for 3 to 4 minutes
  • Strain out the leaf
  • Add some sweetner if needed such as honey, stevia or erythritol
  • And enjoy

Raspberry vinegar

This vinegar preserves the vitamin C and other constituents found in the fruit. Drinking a little during cold and flu season may help prevent them, and can also be used as a gargle and mouthwash.

  • Gather enough bought or fresh organic raspberries to fill your chosen glass bottle
  • Fill and cover with a cider vinegar
  • Seal and store in a cool place for about three to four days
  • Give a little shake each day
  • Strain and reseal into a suitable sized glass bottle
  • Label and store in a cool dark place

Dosage

  • For prevention of winter chills, take 1 to 2 teaspoons with some warm water each day
  • For a gargle or mouthwash: prepare a mix of 3 parts water and 1 part raspberry vinegar. You can drink at this concentration if you already have a cold or flu too.

A Perfect Lady’s Herb

Apart from every girl loving raspberries, raspberry is a herb made in heaven for the women of this world, as it is up there with Chaste tree, Peony root, Cramp bark and Shatavari and oils like Evening primrose oil. Apart from weddings there isn’t a more stressful time than becoming a mother and then the baby arrives! No wonder so many women hit a wall when they become a first time mum, they are not weak, its just so much. Not to mention hormones, and everybody’s an expert too.

A little Story

Having kids can be rough; when my wife became a first time mum it really hit her, There I was at work, welding up farming equipment in the middle of the day and all of a sudden the wife of the manager of the firm comes and tells me that I need to go home. Why? Because my wife had just rang her in tears, totally distraught, so upset that her baby boy just wouldn’t stop crying. So off I went, and even though I couldn’t do much, at least I was there to support her, and at least it wasn’t serious, — she cried because she cared. (By the way, they gave me the rest of the day off with pay. (Thanks Irene and Ian.)

Sometimes women don’t want answers, mostly just a listening ear and to care.

Tears are more precious than makeup, that’s why they shine through –Herbal Panda

Raspberry Leaf or Fruit

When it comes to being ‘therapetic’, that is, having an affect on a person, it is the leaf that is most important, yes, the fruit does have benefits, but if you really want to make something happen, it is the leaf we need. Thankfully the leaf of the bush is available most of the time, that is, more than the fruit. Both fresh or dried leaf can be used in teas or decoctions and tinctures, plus, you can take the powder in capsules or mixed into smoothies.

Dried Raspberry Leaf

Raspberry leaf for Women

Menstruation

Raspberry leaf is great for ‘that time of the month’, as it is said that it helps to decrease a profuse menstrual flow as well as reducing painful menstruation and helps to regulate its flow as well. Raspberry leaf has a high iron content, therefore helping during iron loss.

Raspberry leaf for Childbirth

The suggestions given below are NOT medical advice, you should always check with your health care professional first. If you have had serious issues before with pregnancies, then you may be best to avoid it altogether. It is only given as educational and for informational purposes only.

Now getting back to the point of the story I was eluding to earlier, I believe that raspberry leaf can be used quite regularly by women for their benefit, but when is it the most helpful for motherhood? I would say from one to two months before attemping to conceive, “Skipping the first trimester” then right through to one to two months after birth.

Before Conception

The Mum to be, can take one to three cups a day of raspberry leaf tea, right up until conception. Always have this confirmed by a Medical Health Professional.

Conception to the Second Trimester

Completely avoid raspberry leaf in any form in the first trimester. Only use raspberry during the first trimester under strict guidance of a good health care professional never self treat.

From the Second Trimester to Third Trimester

During the second trimester, only take one cup on two different days of the week, for example, one on a Monday and one on a Thursday, it doesn’t have to be those days of course, so long as you keep them a couple days apart.

Third trimester to the last week before expected Birth

When you have reached the beginning of your third trimester, then you can have two cups of raspberry leaf tea per day. Take this until the last week ‘before’ the expected birth. You can add nettles to the tea if you are anaemic.

The Last week before Birth

Only in the last week before birth add two to three cloves to each cup of tea. Do not take cloves during the pregnancy, except for the ‘last week’.

At Birth

Have a large flask of raspberry leaf tea ready, and during the labour process you can drink freely. (It is your birthing, not the hospital’s, you have the right to have it as you like!) This can be mixed with any of your favourite relaxing herbs, such as Chamomile, Lemon balm or Linden flowers. (Some people are allergic to linden.)

After Birth

Add Fennel seeds to the raspberry leaf tea as this helps with milk production, amongst other things. If your milk production is sufficient, then you should stop, retake if you are dropping off again and you still want to keep feeding. You also add: Goat’s rue and Fenugreek too.


How to Grow Raspberry

Raspberry is a perennial that is decidious, that produces delicious fruit in the summer into autumn. It can be a rather vigorous and invasive plant and can grow into a dense spreading mass, and at times possibly considered impenetrable, if let go. Grow it in full sun in well-draining, loamy, rich and loose soil, and add either plenty of compost or mulch to the surface. Avoid clay and salty soils. Be aware, that ‘Primocane’ stems can pop out all over the place, but these are the best to take cuttings and root stock from not the floricanes, although they do work.

Raspberry Uses

Apart from growing heaps of delicious fruit that you can just eat straight off the bush, making wonderful dishes and desserts, drinks and beverages, the raspberry bush can be trained up trellises, over pergolas and other structures to act as wind breaks, sun shades and visual screens to gain privacy from neighbours, and have that secluded spot to rest. Also if placed carefully, trained and pruned well, they can be a thing of beauty, both in large pots and in garden. You could plant it in a spot to ‘intentionally’ let go wild, therefore making a hard to climb through hedge or barrier.

From seed

  • Sow seeds in a pot in mid- winter and keep indoors if you are in very cold climates, but not in snow or frozen ground of course
  • make holes in the mix about 2.5cm /1″ deep
  • Put one to two seeds into each hole
  • Cover and fill in with sand
  • Cover with a hessian bag or similar and put in cool place e.g. in the shade
  • Keep soil moist but not wet
  • In about a month and a half you should see leaves
  • When thy ehave at least four leaves transplant them into separate pots
  • When about 30cm / 1′ high transplant them into the ground
  • Water them in well and mulch to 7.5cm / 3″ deep
  • Train the branches as they grow

From Root Stock

  • If your root stock is dry, soak them for a couple of hours before planting
  • Plant about 8cm / 3″ below the soil
  • Plant the root stock about 60cm / 2′ apart
  • If planting in rows, keep the rows about 2.4 to 3.6m / 8′ to 12′ apart
  • Back fill each root stock and well water in, not flood in
  • Train as they grow

From Layering

You can progagate from first year canes by fixing the ends into the ground via a tent peg or similar.

Companion Planting

Good companions to raspberries are garlic, tansy, rue, turnip, marigold and even pine trees due to their pine needles helping to acidify the soil, as raspberries like a pH of 5.5 to 6.5.

Bad companions are members of the deadly nightshade family, such as, tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, peppers, also they are not good neighbours to strawberries and fennel doesn’t seem to like anybody much except for Dill.

Maintenence

Pests

Raspberry Pests are Aphids, Raspberry fruit worms and Raspberry beetle, Red-necked cane borers, Raspberry cane borer, Raspberry crown borer, Japanese beetles, Spider mites, Tarnished plant bugs, Thrips, Squash bugs (rare), Vinegar flies and Birds, which can be avoided by covering with mesh. Otherwise encouarge preditory insects, such as lady bugs, green lacewings, wasps, dragonflies, spiders and birds when there is no fruit, or spray with a neem oil/water mix if getting out of control.

Diseases

Some diseases are: Sooty mould, Raspberry mosaic virus, Cane blight, Spur blight, Fire blight, Gray mould, Raspberry leaf spot, Yellow rust, Phytophthora root rot, Verticillium wilt, Raspberry ring spot, and Leaf curl. Generally these can be avoided by hygenic pruning, good ventilation, plenty of sunlight, good trellising and well-draining soil and just enough water to the ground.


Collecting

Fruit

Pick the fruit during mid-summer onwards into early autumn and during the mornings and only pick fruit that comes off easily with a very light tug. If selling, protect greatly against damage due to handling and stacking and rough transport, and keep cool and sell quickly as they don’t keep very long.

Leaf

Leaves can be picked anytime, but may be better just before blossoming, as this would collect the energy before it is directed into the flowers and then steer the energy into the flowers and then fruit, collecting the energy before it shifts into the reproduction process. Make sure you are collecting healthy leaves that are of similar colour, and after all the moisture has dried off, cut with snips or a sharp knife or carefully pick off with your fingers, don’t strip the plant of its leaves. Make sure that there are no defects, from insect damage, discolouration, fungi damage, and free from insects, such as spiders and aphids and insect eggs.

Drying

Simply place the leaves on clean paper towelling or on clean dry kitchen towels in a well ventilated room until brittle.

Storage

Fruit

The fruit does not store for long, unless using a freezer, so you may be better off just eating them off the bush or follow the raspberry vinegar mentioned above.

Leaves

When thoroughly dry and feel brittle, place them into sealable airtight glass jars, label and date, and store in a cool, dry and dark place.


Herbalism

The information below is for informational and education purposes only. So please do not “self-treat”. When seeking any ‘therapeutic’ advice always see a Qualified Health Care Professional first.

COMMON NAMES:

Raspberry, European wild raspberry, American red raspberry, Bramble of Mt. Ida, Hindberry, common or Red raspberry

PARTS USED:

Mostly the leaf, but the fruit can be used and sometimes the root

DOSAGE:

Daily minimum to maximum dosage: 2.0 – 6.0 grams

MAIN ACTIONS:

Astringent, febrifuge, partus preparator, uterine tonic, smooth muscle stimulant, parturifacient, refrigerant, anti-spasmodic, alterative and antidiarrhoeal 

INDICATIONS:

Preparation for labour, dysmenorrhoea, morning sickness – second trimester, acute diarrhoea, mouth ulcers, diarrhoea, stomatitis. Topically for: inflammation of the throat and mouth, tonsillitis, conjunctivitis, and pharyngitis. Plus, Uterine prolapse, uterine haemorrhage, and gastrointestinal bleeding

CONSTITUENTS:

Flavonoids – rutin and quercetin, tannins – gallotannins and dimeric ellagitannins, volatile oils, vitamin C and organic acids – gallic acid

SAFETY CONCERNS:

DO NOT use in first trimester, use only in second and third trimesters. Don’t use with mineral supplements or with constipation

ADULTERANTS:

Has been confused with bramble or blackberry leaf



Please remember, this blog cannot and should not replace a health care professional, and is for informational and educational purposes only and is not for medical advice or treatment, and no cure is implied in anyway. If you have a known serious condition, or are pregnant, please consult your health care professional, before use.

Kind Regards,

Russell a.k.a Herbal Panda

Website: http://www.theherbarius.com.au

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Email: theherbalist@theherbarius.com.au

Sales: sales@theherbarius.com.au

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“I must hippity-hop and I must not stop” said Mister Rabbit. So, Hippity hop, off went Mister Rabbit, hippity hop, hippity hop, but all of a sudden, Mister Rabbit felt very tired, Yawn and yawn again, in fact, he began to feel very sleepy, “think I have a little lie down, surely a little sleep won’t hurt” said Mister Rabbit. So he curled up under some tall green vines with florally fruity smelling flowers, and he slept the whole day away.

Hops or its botanical name Humulus lupulus, is so well known for its ‘Beer’ production, that some may think that this is what this post will be all about. There really isn’t any need for me to put forward any details and recipes of this process as many have thoroughly covered this subject in many ways and it would be rather superfluous for me to harp on about these subjects and there are those who know much more about this process than I.

Therefore, I am intending to keep with the herbal theme as this side of Hops isn’t as well documented. But where they are relating, or of interesting and just a ‘matter-of-fact’ details of things, that may cause some cross-over a bit, so yes some mentions of the history of beer will be made.

It is believed that the earliest details point this plant back to originating in ancient Eygpt, but others have suggested “northern temperate zones”, which I tend to believe. The ancient Greeks and Roman doctors used hops as a digestive aid and the ancient natrualist Pliny suggested it as a garden vegetable and during the first century was already being used in salads.

Ancient Traditonal Chinese practitioners also used it for leprosy, dysentry and tuberculosis.

As far as I can find, the first documentation of Hops detailing its cultivation is in the region of Hallertau or Holledau a region in Bavaria Germany in 736 AD. The next mention is in 768 AD, where Pepin the Short, who was the father of the famous Charlemagne, wrote in his will of leaving his hop garden to Cloister of Saint-Denis.

I find this small snippet and seemingly meaningless piece of information rather interesting, why, because why were they purposefully growing it in the first place? Salads maybe? Like seriously, practically nobody ever grew anything back in those days unless they ‘had to’ for example, for food and income, or they were rather rich and could afford to grow something that is more decorative or ornamental in nature. So what was Pepin the Short growing it for in the first place, you can’t tell me he liked the look of the vine and the smell of the flower!

Somewhere from then until the 13th century the use of hops in beer making must have been developed and made popular as the use of “Gruit” was starting to decline and no doubt the governments of the time taxing either the gruit or hops would have had an affect on the use of either ingredient, which would have affected what choices would be used due the cost of manufacturing. It is interesting to note that the Archbishop of Cologne, had a monopoly with rights to gruit.

So what is Gruit? Gruit was a mix of bitter herbs and flowers that was used to bitter or flavour the alcohol. Gruit was made of several different herbs, such as, dandelion, mugwort, horehound, wormwood, heather, marjoram, ground ivy, burdock, marigold and butcher’s broom, and I would not be surprised if a few other ‘secret’ ingredients weren’t added during those times. The interesting thing about this list of ingredients, is that they all have specific healthy benefits, and therefore the alcoholic drinks at the time would have acted similar to a tincture. Although the high alcohol consumption probably completely ‘discounted’ any real health benefits; you know, there is a difference between a teaspoon of tincture and a pint of beer.

John Gerard (1597) said of hops, “The buds or first sprouts which come forth in the spring are used to be eaten in sallads; yet are they, as Pliny saith, more toothsome than nourishment for they yeeld but very small nourishment.”

Nicholas Culpeper (1826), said of hops that “In cleansing the blood, they help to cure French disease, and all manner of scabs, itch and other breaking-out of the body … The decoction of the flowers and tops… expel poison that anyone hath drank.”

I’m frankly not sure what “French disease” is?

Hops has a male and female plant and it is the Female variety that is use medicinally and commercially. If you want to grow seed, you will need to have both growing together.

One of the principle differences between Beer and Ale, is that beer uses hops in its production and Ale uses malt without hops in its process.


Uses of Hops

A small square bowl of dried hops flowers for a cup of tea

Hops does have many other uses other than beer making, and also apart from the medicinal benefits, which are anti-anxiety, sedative, analgesic, antimicrobial, and diuretic for example, (but no good for depression) there are other practical uses that can be explored.

  • The stems of the vine were used in basket weaving, although I believe not as good as wicker
  • A reddish brown dye was made from the wax that formed on the vines tendrils
  • Also the leaf can help make a brown dye too
  • As a replacement for textile fibre, the fibres of the hop vine were collected and used
  • The un-used parts of the plant were used a fodder for livestock
  • It has been used in making floral arrangements, therefore has uses in potpourri
  • In making garlands and decorations for ceremonies at weddings or to wear bodily
  • When sugar beet is being processed, hops are used for an antibotic
  • Has been suggested as an antibotic used in ethanol production
  • As an antibacterial in the process of small goods, baker’s yeast and cornstarch
  • As a preservative during other fermenting processes (If you know of any others, other than beer, which everybody already knows, send me a line, I would love to hear from you.)

Herbal Teas

Hops can be used straight as a herbal tea that has lots of benefits, therefore making it worth the effort to drink it, you can also flavour it by adding chamomile, lemon balm or lemon verbena or to add more efficacy by adding other herbs such as passionflower or valerian to gain other actions or stronger sedativeness. If you are going to drive or operate dangerous equipment, I would not advise you to use hops or even in stronger mixes.

A Simple Herbal Tea

  • Add 1 teaspoon into a cup
  • Pour in boiling hot water
  • Cover and allow to steep for 10 to 15 minutes
  • Drink over the next hour or so

Culinary Uses of Hops

From a culinary point of view, the young shoots were added to salads as an interesting treat. They were basically steamed or lightly boiled and then they are eaten and used in recipes to that of asparagus. The male flowers can be used as well, here they are parboiled (partly cooked), then allowed to cool and then tossed into salads. The leaves of the hops can be used in soups and salads, but they will need to be blanched to help remove the bitterness.

Hops Sleep Pillow

To make a sleep pillow, either purchase a small breathable cloth bag, which you can close up in some way such as a zip or pull string, or you can make it yourself by obtaining two pieces a loose open weaved soft cloth about 10cm x 15cm / 4″ x 6″, and sew up three sides, then you can either sew in a pull string to close up the bag or you can sew it up entirely. When stuffing the bag, don’t pack it in tightly as you want it to allow air flow through the pillow and loose enough to be able to ‘fluff it up’ a bit. Here also you can mix in the herbs chamomile, lavender, rose, lemon balm, lemon verbena or any other herb that promotes relaxation.

Place the pillow next to your own pillow and allow yourself to breath its aromas.

Also make sure that the ingredients for the pillow are really quite dry, because if they are damp in any way it can become mouldy.

Antiseptic Wash

The very same recipe described in the herbal teas can actually be used as an antiseptic wash for wounds, cuts and abrasions, or can be used in making poultices. If unsure of its effectiveness, just double the hops.

Potpourri

There are several ingredients that can be used to colour potpourris and hops certainly can be one of them, due to either using its flowers or ‘cones’ or better called strobiles or from the shape, look and scent of the papery calyces.


Gardening Uses

As mentioned earlier, hops can be grown for its young shoots, which act some what like asparagus, therefore providing food, and you could also use the vines to make a simple means of tying up various plants in the garden or making a light weight type trellis. Just as you can use other plants that grow on a strong trellis, you can use hops as a screening to keep out nosey neighbours or winds or cool a wall from the sun. Or you can keep it in large pots and place them on porches or verandahs, to hide yucky areas or grow them over pergolas for shade.

For screening and ease of harvesting there is a “hedgerow” variety, which grows only up to 2.4m / 8″, literally called hedgerow developed by the Wye College.

If you live near a brewery ask for their spent hops, as it can make great mulch or compost material.

Companion Planting Hops

Here hops tends to have different uses when thinking companion planting for a few reasons. It is a decidious plant, therefore you can plant it with another plant or vine that tends to grow better during the colder months dying back exposing the other companion. Or you can grow hops with another variety called Golden Hops – Humulus lupulus ‘aureus’, which when intertwined can make a lovely display of colours.

It can grow on strong tall plants as each crop will draw nutrients differently, plus some plants like corn like having the base roots covered, and you can cut down both plants once they are spent.

A list of herbs to companion plant hops with are: marigolds, yarrow, chives, coriander and anise.

Growing Hops

Hops grow better in cooler temperate climates, but if need be, it can tolerate subtropical conditions if given some shade at times to rest from the heat. Tasmania, the southern most state in Australia commercially grows hops. It likes moist conditions or at least good access to water, with loamy yet well drain soils that have a pH of 6.5 to 8.0. They will need something to climb on, which will need be a strong trellis as mentioned earlier, but will climb wires and string etc. These will need to be strong due to the increasing weight and mass of the plant. Do not grow near electrical wires and cables as it may completely cover them and lead on to more serious issues around fittings, lights or switches, eaves, roofs and other structures.

Hops can grow up to 6m /20′ and can grow up to 30cm / 1′ per day in its peak growing season, so give it plenty of space. Also, if you are attempting to grow it in much colder climates you will need 4 months of no frosts.

From Seed

You can grow from seed when attempting to grow hops, but germination isn’t very reliable and can be slow to germinate, but cold scarification will encourage better results. The biggest issue with growing from seed is the fact that you do not know if it will be male or female. Now if you are for growing for shade or seed, then that dosen’t matter, but if you are growing for the flowers then you’ll need female plants only. So personally, I wouldn’t bother. But if you’re keen enough, just use a container with seed raising mix, and once sown, keep moist and keep in a warm area until they are up.

From Cuttings

Cuttings are one of the best methods to propagate hops.

  • Take your cuttings about late spring into summer
  • Prepare your ground or pots by making sure that they are well draining
  • It is best to use a sterile potting mix
  • Prepare your soil to about a pH of 6.5 to 8.0, neutral is fine
  • They do like good composting
  • Cuttings should be around 12.5cm to 15cm / 5″ to 6″ long
  • Poke a hole into the ground or mix
  • Push the cutting 3cm to 5cm / 1 1/4″ to 2″ deep with at least two nodes in the soil
  • Provide support for your cutting and keep the soil moist
  • If using pots, cover over with a plastic bag to prevent drying out when undercover
  • They should be ready in about two weeks

From Rhizomes

The rhizomes are found under the soil close to the original plant, and collect them late spring.

  • Dig out the rhizomes that are about 8cm / 3″ from the main crown
  • Cut them off at around 12.5cm to 15cm / 5″ to 6″ long
  • Use a clean sharp sterile knife or clippers
  • Prepare the ground or pots the same as with cuttings mentioned above
  • Place them 5cm / 2″ below the ground
  • Keep the ground moist, but not soaking
  • After about a week they should be shooting up and have roots
  • When they are 5cm / 2″ tall begin building suitable supports for training

Maintenance

A simple means to prevent disease in your hops plant is to keep the vine off the ground and well ventilated, meaning to keep it light and airy. Trim the lower branches to keep the lower end of the vine away from the ground and allow air flow underneath. When watering, using a drip supply to the ground is best, as it is easily affected by fungal diseases due to humid, damp and wet conditions.

Diseases

Some of its disease can be Hop mosaic virus and Sooty mold which are spread by aphids, then there is Fusarium canker, Verticillium wilt, Black root rot, powdery mildew, gray mould and crown rot


Collecting

One of the more important things to be careful of when collecting hops is not to lose the pollen from rough or poor handling. Harvest the female flowers early in the day but after all the dew or moisture has dried off. Harvest in autumn when they are turning an amber colour, but not brown and are firm to touch, and you should be seeing a yellow dust on them, not orange. The yellow dust is yellow lupulin, this has the resins and essential oils that have those sedating effects

Some people report that they develop a rash when picking the flowers that they call hop dermatitis, but so far no harm has been reported. If you do find that you do get a rash, just wear long gloves or any other protective clothing when picking.

If havesting the leaves gather them while they are young, but they will need to be blanched to remove any bitterness, and also the male flowers can be harvested any time, and then parboiled (partly cooked) and used in tossed salads as well.

Drying

Drying should also be done carefully and as soon as possible, it is suggested to dry them in an oven or similar at no higher than 60C / 140 F, checking them about every 20 minutes.

You can use a food dehydrator, but make sure that it doesn’t get too hot and has plenty of air flow. Or you can use a fine meshed screen with a fan and plenty of air flow around and under it. A warm dry location and if needed, a fan would help, plus, turn them over to encourage an even drying.

To test to see if they are properly dry, see if you can break it in half, if not, it isn’t ready yet. Also that yellow powder should easily fall out and the leaves of the cone should feel papery with a springiness to it.

Storage

Once throughly dry, carefully place the dried flowers into an air-tight sealed glass jar, and store in a cool darkplace, if using for flavour then use within three months, but medicinally it can be stored for about two years, but can become bitter. (Some medicinal values actually keep strengthening for up to two years.) If any mould forms throw it out.

They also can be stored in freezer bags and placed in the freezer, and try to remove as much air as possible.


Herbalism

The information below is for informational and education purposes only. So please do not “self-treat”. When seeking any ‘therapeutic’ advice always see a Qualified Health Care Professional first.

COMMON NAMES:

Hop bine, Hoppen, Wild Hops, Beer Hops

PARTS USED:

The female flower or ‘Strobile’

DOSAGE:

Daily minimum to maximum dosage: 1.5 – 4.0 grams

MAIN ACTIONS:

Anodyne, antitussve, antiviral – topically, bitter tonic, digestive, hypnotic, oestrogen modulating, sedative, spasmolytic, and a anaphrodisiac – male, 

INDICATIONS:

Sleep maintenance, sleep onset for insomnia, anxiety, excitability, restlessness, panic attacks, anorexia, nervous dyspepsia, neuralgia, tension headache, trigeminal neuralgia, excessive libido in men, Plus, Menopausal symptoms, irritable bowel syndrome, and excess androgen

CONSTITUENTS:

Phloroglucinol derivatives, – bitter resin – contains humulone, lupulone; essential oil, flavonoids, phenolic acids, and osetrogenic chalcone (xanthohumol)

SAFETY CONCERNS:

Oestrogen sensitive breast cancer, and depression

ADULTERANTS:

Contaminated with wild hops, which is less effective



Please remember, this blog cannot and should not replace a health care professional, and is for informational and educational purposes only and is not for medical advice or treatment, and no cure is implied in anyway. If you have a known serious condition, or are pregnant, please consult your health care professional, before use.

Kind Regards,

Russell a.k.a Herbal Panda

Website: http://www.theherbarius.com.au

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Email: theherbalist@theherbarius.com.au

Sales: sales@theherbarius.com.au

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Passionflower, passionflower, passionflower, O, the desires that are wrapped up in thee. She is the love of every truly beloved.

My Lady Miss Passionflower, one can see the beautifully ‘pulchritudinous’ character in you. (Now I would like to hear you say that word ten times real fast.) Beauty is found everywhere, and in the sight of the passionflower, this is so true, with so many varieties in so many places her beauty is spread so wide and free.

Passionflower, a native of the central and south Americas and the south east of the United States, was a food for the Incas, Aztecs and many other native tribal peoples of that region of the world for thousands of years, it must have been an inspiration to celebrate colour in their lives and in their dress. Beautiful and flowing, unashamed to bloom and shine with real presents, even the fruit has intense flavour, colour and aromas, this is a plant that is alive in everyway.

The Cherokee indians have been using passion flower for thousands of years both for culinary and medicinal purposes. Called “ocoee” by the Cherokee indians, eventually gave the name to the river and valley also by the same name.

Passiflora or Flos passionis – Passionflower – Passiflora incarnata, has a long history of use, as long as people have been in the Americas there has been some connection with passionflower, from the moment they viewed the flower and tasted its fruit, humans must have been captivated with this plant.

When the Conquistadors arrived with Priests of Rome, they also discovered this wonderful plant and gave and influenced its modern name, and due to their strong Roman Catholic beliefs named it from the Crucifixion and Passion of Christ. Historian and churchman, Giacomo Bosia gave the flower itself its religious interpretation in 1609 AD. The Spanish of that time called it the “La Flor de las cinco Llagas” meaning, “The flower with the five wounds” pointing to the wounds during Christ’s Crucifixion.

Locals in that region I believe still call it by that name today, I wonder what was the first peoples name for it, and why?

Although I see nothing wrong with naming the flower ‘passionflower’, I do really like the lesser known name “Sweet cup”, how about you, can you think of another name? Another name given to this plant is “maypop”, apparently and logically this is due to the result of stepping on the round egg-shaped fruit and it ‘may pop’. Others have applied this to mean at what month it comes out, that is the month of May in the northern hemisphere.

Brought to Europe during the eighteenth century has now been developed into many varieties and has spread around the world. It became popular in the Victorian era, but lost some of its notoriety, but is now gaining its proper status, in these recent times.

In Australia, there is a plant that is called Wild or Bush Passionfruit, passiflora foetida, it is not native to Australia, but is edible and quite tasty. Don’t eat the green fruit, you must wait until the fruit turn yellow. In some places, especially in the northern half of Australia and it is becoming quite invasive and damaging to native flora.


How to use Passionflower/passionfruit

Culinary Uses

Usually when speaking about culinary uses we tend to use ‘passionfruit’ not passionflower. Passionfruit has many uses, and the best known are the culinary uses, such as drinks and beverages of all sorts, for example, a fruit punch or smoothies, and the most popular would be desserts, and here in Australia it looks fantastic on Pavlova or cheese cake. Other sweet combinations can be with ice cream, tarts, meringues, jellies, cake, creams, cheese such as ricotta, curds, trifles, souffles, and slices, just to name a few, if you not feeling hungry already.

Yep, I’m hungry already

But apart from starring in many fantastic sweet dishes, it can be used in breads and buns, on salads, both fruit and leaf salads, and in sauces and butters, on meats such as prawns and fish, (oh I’m melting) also in your breakfasts with banana and berries, with vegetables such as carrots and sweet potato.

Herbal Teas

Passionflower’s main action is a nerve relaxant or a mild sedative, therefore it has a natural relaxing affect, and helps to reduce anxiety issues and sleeplessness, that is encouraging better sleep. This can help a person just by having a cup of herbal passionflower tea, which is very easy to make.

Passionflower Tea

  • Put 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of dried flower and leaf into a cup
  • Pour in boiling hot water
  • Allow to steep for 5 to 10 minutes
  • Add a little sweetener if needed
  • Enjoy

You can have 2 – 3 cups per day. Also you can mix passionflower with other herbs to alter the flavour or make stronger, examples of this could be ginger, chamomile, oats, hops or lemon balm.

Don’t use or make stronger if you are operating dangerous equipment.

It is advised not to take passionflower tea therapeutically if you are pregnant. I am not aware of any harm due to eating the fruit plup or seed, unless you have diverticula.

Passionflower seed carrier oil

This oil can be used in several different ways, one, it is a light non-greasy oil that can be used in aromatherapy or in the bath, and for a smooth massage oil. You can easily thicken the oil if needed with another carrier oil once you have added your prefered drops of essential oils. Passionflower carrier oil can be use in various skin creams and even hair products due to its light non-greasiness or simply apply it directly to your skin as is.

You can get a fragranced passionflower oil that is oil soluble (now that sounds odd), which can be used in soaps, shampoos and conditioners, plus lotions, cologne and used in potpourri and in candle making. If you wanted to improve the smell of your kerosene lantern, just add a 1 teaspoon to 240mls / 8oz of kerosene.

Gardening

From a gardening point of view, it is a great way of growing your own fruit for desserts and making all those incredible recipes, but it also can be used as a screen, to keep out prying eyes and neighbour’s noses, also it can make a wind block to protect from constant blowing, it can be used as a sun shield, protecting that hot and sunny side of the house or to cool a pond or over a Barbeque pergola. Since it can be a prolific producer, it can be an income too, or trade the fruit or cuttings for new plants with your neighbours for something else you may want.

One of several passionfruit plants I have recently planted for food, visual screening and wind breaks, as a lot of wind comes from this direction

How to grow Passionflower

Generally, passionflower is an easy thing to grow and if living in a wonderful position that it loves, frankly it can start to take over the thing it is growing on, and will definitly need trimming back. Passionflower prefers well draining loamy soils in a sunny position or some shade. Passionflower needs something to climb on such as a fence or trellis, climbing via its tendrils. It is a perennial with three lobe leaves 8 to 12 cm / 3 1/4″ to 4 3/4″ long. Most varieties require a warm climate except for a few such as banana passionfruit. One of its largest varieties is called Granadilla that grows a fruit the size of a football, and the corky passionfruit that grows the size of a pea.

From seed

Passionflower can grow from seed, but it can be slow and erratic at times and can take up to 18 months to two years to flower and then produce fruit shortly after. Planting should be done approximately in the spring to early summer and if you cannot plant the seed just yet, then keep the seeds dry and in an airtight container.

  • Collect your seed from some fruit that you have recently eaten as the fresher the seed the better.
  • Clean away any pulp
  • Fill a 10cm wide container with good seed raising mix
  • Moisten the seed raising mix
  • Place one to two seeds into 3 – 1cm deep holes and cover
  • Water in preferably with a seaweed type fertilser
  • If you are in cold climates keep the pot/s in a warm glass or hot house
  • Or put them into a foam/polystyrene box and cover over with a glass sheet
  • Do not put them direct sunlight
  • Keep the soil moist with a mist until seed germinates
  • Water gently with a fine spray fitting once seedlings are coming up
  • At a height of 5cm /2″ use a liquid plant fertiliser again
  • Repeat every two weeks with the fertiliser
  • Once the plants are 10cm /4″ high transplant into 15 to 20cm / 6″ to 8″pots
  • Water in well and firm around the plant
  • Supply a support of some form to allow the plant to grow on
  • At six weeks either plant into a much larger pot or into the garden

From cuttings

Often cuttings are the easiest and quickest way to propagate, but things are differnet with passionflower vines, and only seem to be slower, but this may be due to other factors and you may be just fine, so still give it a go.

  • Take the stem cuttings from the ‘softwood stage’
  • Cut 10 to 15cm / 4″ to 6″ long cuttings just below the node
  • Remove any leaves or tendrils at the bottom
  • Dip the bottom end into rooting hormone, some use raw honey and some don’t bother (Experiment)
  • Make up a mix of equal parts sand and peat
  • Fill a 10cm / 4″ pot
  • Make a hole in the mix with a stick
  • Place the cutting in the hole and press firmly in
  • Lightly water in
  • Cover the pot, cutting and all with a clear plastic bag that has just a few holes in it
  • Support the bag away from the cutting
  • Keep them moist but not wet and in a shady position
  • After about a month you should see new growth coming on
  • Only Transplant when the roots are well developed

You also can propagate by layering and this is one by tying or anchoring the stem down to the ground with a little dirt covering, this acts the same as striking cuttings.

Maintenance

Passionflower can get several diseases, such as anthracnose, scab, septoriosis and alternaia spot, as well some more nasty ones such as fusarium wilt, crown rot and collar rot and viruses such as woodiness virus and cucumber mosaic virsus for example.

Some of the most common causes for disease are poor ventilation, over crowding, hot and rainy weather promoting fungal growth, plus poor hygenie of gardening tools and aphids and nematodes.


Collecting

The time to harvest your passionflower is when your plant is mature and blooming. Cut off the amount you want to dry and store for use, tie them together with string but allow the air to get through and hang them up inside a sunny window.

Drying

Leave them there for two weeks until they are dry and brittle to touch.

Storage

Once your leaves are completely dry and break up easily to touch in your hand, untie the the stems and crush the leaves, flowers and stems with your fingers and place them in a sealed glass jar and label and date it. anything too big and hard just throw out.


Herbalism

The information below is for informational and education purposes only. So please do not “self-treat”. When seeking any ‘therapeutic’ advice always see a Qualified Health Care Professional first.

PARTS USED:

Aerial parts: leaves, stems, flower and roots in a tea (though not so well known)

DOSAGE:

Daily minimum to maximum dosage: 1.5 – 2.5 grams

MAIN ACTIONS:

Anxiolytic, mild sedative, hypnotic, and spasmolytic

INDICATIONS:

Maintenance and sleep onset, insomnia, anxiety, excitability, irritability, nervous tachycardia, tension headache, and palpitations, plus, Drug addition and abuse (generally needs additional herbs to go with), trigeminal neuralgia, spasmodic dysmenorrhoea, asthma, and epilepsy

CONSTITUENTS:

Flavonoids – Flavone-C-glycosides – isovitexin, and derivatives, malt, isomalzol, Harman alkaloids – traces

SAFETY CONCERNS:

No major problems found, but do not use during pregnancy without professional advice.

ADULTERANTS:

Adulterated with “white flower” species



Please remember, this blog cannot and should not replace a health care professional, and is for informational and educational purposes only and is not for medical advice or treatment, and no cure is implied in anyway. If you have a known serious condition, or are pregnant, please consult your health care professional, before use.

Kind Regards,

Russell a.k.a Herbal Panda

Website: http://www.theherbarius.com.au

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Email: theherbalist@theherbarius.com.au

Sales: sales@theherbarius.com.au

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“Passion is a fire that attracts, be wise with what you are attracted to, it must only burn away the dross, or you will suffer loss” —Herbal Panda

Little Miss Anise, yes the dainty lass and did you see her lacy parasol, just beautiful?

Little Miss Anise, “where are you going with that pretty unbrella, to a wedding?”, they asked. “No, I am not,” she said, and thanked them kindly, “a smart girl is always ready for any occassion” as she continued strolling along with out missing a step. This wisdom must have been shared with many of her family, the Apiaceae Family, why, you ask, because so many of her siblings seem to have the same idea, such as Miss Fennel, the counrty girl Miss Cow Parsley, the classy Miss Chervil, Miss Dill, and her brothers, Mr Carrot and Mr Celery.

Anise or as some say Aniseed – Pimpinella anisum, appears to have originated from West Asia and has been cultivated and used in the Egypt since ancient times (used in breads) and middle eastern regions, plus the Greece, Syria and Turkey and was introduced to Europe from the Romans, who used it in a type of cake after meals, because it helps with digestion, (I hope they declared it at the border) and the Americas received it from the early settlers, and since these times it has spread around the world. Spain, France and Russia are major producers of anise these days.

Speaking of Russia, Anise was one of the first herbs ever to be accepted by Russian herbalists. During the 19th century a Landlord began cultivating it in the province of Voronez and since then it is largely grown in the Caucasus and the Ukraine. It is one of the most popular ingregdients in over-the-counter remedies.

King Edward the First, had anise used to pay the custom tax ‘luxuries’ for the repairing of London bridge during the 14th century.


Miss Anise being ready for every social occassion is why she along with many of her siblings, end up at the social and entertainment table, with sweets and candy, drinks and beverages, buns and breads and excellent dishes and can be mixed with cumin and fennel.

This is due to her wonderful ‘liquorice-like’ flavour and aromaaassss.

Miss Anise is a great compliment to many a refreshing and healthy drink, for example: she can be mixed with coffee, chocolate and carob beverages, and makes great liquorice-flavoured tea combinations with such herbs as dandelion, and ginger. She is great in baked sweet pies containing mince fruit, plus various pastries, cakes, buns and breads – raised or flat such as, Pan Chuta – a Peruvian flat bread, muffins and biscuits/cookies, and due to its lollie-like flavour, can be used in after dinner dessert drinks. Plus soups, sauces, creams, and relishes.

Some other uses apart from medicinal, are potpourris, insecticides, antibacterial and fungicide, and aromatherapy. Some of these uses are in the essential oil form, and pure essential oils should not be ingested. An infused anise oil can be made from the seed too.

Anise can be confused with other members of her family and fennel is the main one due to being such alike, ‘look-a-like fraternal twins’, and so many others looking very similar.

Another herb and cooking favourite is “Star anise” this girl is a real foodie and looks nothing like Miss Anise, yet people will mix them up, due to having a similar flavour and their common names.

One character that you should never ever mix Star anise or Chinese star anise Illicium verum with is Japanese Star anise Illiicum anisatum or I. japonicum, as nice and kind as the Japanese people are, this plant is highly toxic and must be avoided.


How to use Anise

Herbal Teas

To make a simple Anise herbal tea, just throw in 1 teaspsoon of anise seed into a cup or mug. Pour in boiling hot water and cover for 5 to 10 minutes, after the steeping time, if needed you can add your favourite sweetner such as raw honey, stevia, erythritol, and enjoy. Yes it really is that simple.

My Anise Tea that I decided to make whilst writing this very Blog

If you want to Jazz it up a bit, you can mix anise seed with many other herbs to add more therapeutic affects or frankly just to add flavour, an example of this is dandelion root.

Here you would add 1 teaspoon of anise seed and 1 teaspoon of dandelion root, pour in the boiling hot water, cover and allow to steep for 5 to 10 minutes, add your sweetener and enjoy. If you want extra ‘potency’, break or crush the seed a little with a mortar and pestle. And if you have issues such as seeds wanting to float in you cup of herbal tea then you can either strain out the seeds or use an infuser.

Culinary Uses

The leaves and soft stems of anise can be added to salads and mixed with vegetables when being cooked as they too are aromatic, or finely chopped and cooked into baked goods and pastries. Frankly the seeds and oils suitable for cooking can be used anywhere you want to add the anise/liquorice flavour.

Simple Anise Leaf Wafers

Ingredients

  • 1/2 teaspoons of crushed anise
  • 1 teaspoon of chopped anise leaves
  • 60 grams of butter
  • 1 cup of flour
  • Boiling water

Process

  • Place the chopped leaves into 2 tablespoons of boiling hot water and cover
  • Allow to steep for 10 minutes and chill
  • Rub the butter into the cup of flour, until looking like breadcrumbs
  • Add the wet ingredients
  • Make into a dough
  • Roll into balls and flatten out on a greased baking tray
  • Bake in a hot oven that has been ‘preheated’ for 10 – 12 minutes
  • Or until the edges are slightly browning
  • Cool and enjoy

Soaps

Due to its aromatic freshness and anti-microbial actions, anise can be used in soaps, creams and ointments and lotions. For example a ointment can be rubbed on the chest to help relieve chest discomfort from a cough, or a syrup can be made to ease chest congestion as well.

For Potpourri

The leaf and stem may be of good use as well as cracked seed or powder, depending on what you waht to do, as they all are aromatic.

Anise for Bad Breath

Simply chew on a few seeds , before meeting your loved one, EASY! And cheaper than those sugar or chemical filled breath poisoners, oops, I mean fresheners.

Anise for Lactation

Traditionally anise has been used to improve breastfeeding for mothers, so it can often be found in nurse maid teas. With breastfeeding, it is best to have a selection of several different herbs working in a few different ways:

Oxytocics

These are herbs that help the mother directly to produce milk: some herbs are fenugreek, goat’s rue and blessed thistle.

Digestives

These support the mother’s digestive system, calming and assiting her body to digest and obtain nutrients and to help baby too, some of these are: Fennel, anise, caraway, hops, and milk thistle

Nutritives

These herbs help simply to obtain nutrients, and improving the mothers health and well being, that’s why it’s called ‘Nutrition’, along with reasonable vitamins and minerals helps her baby as well via the breast milk.

Nervines

These primarily are to calm and relax her, the more happy she is and content the more her natural hormone oxytocin goes up and this should improve her milk supply. ‘A frazzled mum don’t milk to well’. These herbs are lemon balm hops and oats, plus if you wish you can add some rose, lavender or chamomile.

Once the milk supply is confirmed by a qualified lactatition consultant then there really is no more need to continue the herbs and this may take a few weeks. If you wish to continue taking these herbs in a tea, I would advise just lowering the amount per day.

Please understand that there are many issues in regards to poor breastfeeding, so it is best not to self treat, and find a caring, supportive, qualified lactation consultant, who takes the time to explain things, answer your questions and care about you.

Anise Oils

Anise Essential oil can be applied in the use of aromatherapy, and can also be used topically to help assist against skin infections, because it has anti-microbial actions, and is toxic to insects, therefore it can help to remove scabies, fleas or lice (nits) in the hair by placing and combing a little evenly throughout the hair and can be used to inhibit growth of fungus. Don’t use pure essential oils on babies and infants only and use inconjunction with a carrrier oil, for example olive oil, to dilute the concentration.

Infused Anise oil (not an essential oil)

Ingredients

  • Anise seeds (dried and approximately a handful)
  • A carrier oil – Almond oil or coconut or olive oil or similar

Equipment

  • Mortar and Pestle
  • Loosely woven cloth or cheese cloth
  • Glass container
  • Sticky label and pen

Process

  • Break up and bruise the Anise seeds, but don’t powderised
  • Place into a glass jar or bottle
  • Pour in the carrier oil, enough to thourougly cover the seeds
  • Seal on the lid and placed in the sunlight
  • Leave in the sunlight for at least 4 weeks, or a minimum of 2 weeks
  • Shake up the bottle once a day
  • After 4 weeks strain into another glass container through the cloth
  • Place the lid back on, and label with contents and date

You can speed up this process by following the same process as mentioned how to make Lavender oil in the lavender post.


Gardening uses

Anise is supposed to make a great companion plant to coriander, as it is said that coriander helps to speed anise’s germination and growth, and they assist the seed formation of each other. Anise attracts predatory wasps and helps to repel aphids. But its not a good idea to grow it with basil, rue and carrots.

How to grow Anise

Anise is an annual that grows to approximately between 45cm to 90cm or 18″ to 3′ that becomes a natural source of phosphorus and aids digestion. It should be noted that anise can be slow to germinate, depending on conditions, but I believe that it should be only 2 weeks. Sow after the last frost, when in colder climates, and when placing it out in the garden, give it a warm and sunny position, out of the wind, with well drained soil around 6.0 pH, and the best seasons to plant in are spring and summer. When young, it does prefer regular watering especially if it’s getting a dry, once established it can handle some dryness.

Plant the seed 6mm to 12mm 1/4″ to 1/2″ into seedling containers or into garden seed drills and cover over gently and water in and keep the soil slightly moist. If planting into seed drills, plant about one every 2.5 cm or 1 “. Water regularly 2 times a week until they are about 18cm high, then reduce watering.

A simple ready to sow packet of Anise seeds in my hands

If planting from seedlings from the nursery, be gentle with them as they are soft and fragile.

Maintenance

Pests and diseases

Some possible pests are: larvae from the Lepidoptera species, that is, butterflies and moths, for example, the lime-speck pug and the wormwood pug


Collecting

During late summer and into autumn collect from your garden or from the wild if it grows near you, (always carefully identify all herbs from the wild), once the first ‘Umbels’ appear, this is the beautiful array of tiny flowers that spread out like an umbrella.

Technically, an Umbel is the ‘infloresence’ from which the flower stalks arise from one point.

Drying

You can dry the seeds by tying them up together in small bunches upside down inside paper bags in an open space with plenty of fresh air to stay dry, for example, a well ventilated room or covered area

Once the seed is dry, you can store them in a cool, dry and dark place and will keep sealed in a glass container for up to 3 years, but if you grind it to powder, it will shorten its potency life, but the flavour should still be there.


Herbalism

The information below is for informational and education purposes only. So please do not “self-treat”. When seeking any ‘therapeutic’ advice always see a Qualified Health Care Professional first.

PARTS USED:

Seeds, but can use leaves and soft stems in cooking etc

DOSAGE:

Daily minimum to maximum dosage: 3.5 – 7.0 grams

MAIN ACTIONS:

Expectorant, oestrogen modulating, galactagogue, spasmolytic, carminative, and antimicrobial

INDICATIONS:

Intestinal colic, flatulence, flatulent colic, infantile colic, dyspepsia, acute and chronic bronchitis, bronchial asthma, tracheitis, gastrointestinal candidiasis, parasites, modify bowel flora, and hot flashes. Plus, Difficult lactation and pertussis, spasmodic cough, bronchial catarrh, scabies and pediculosis

CONSTITUENTS:

Essential oils, fixed oil, flavonoids, phenylpropenyl esters

SAFETY CONCERNS:

Gastro-oesophageal reflux disorder (GORD), do not consume in large doses, and do not use during pregnancy without professional advice.

ADULTERANTS:

Not very common



Please remember, this blog cannot and should not replace a health care professional, and is for informational and educational purposes only and is not for medical advice or treatment, and no cure is implied in anyway. If you have a known serious condition, or are pregnant, please consult your health care professional, before use.

Kind Regards,

Russell a.k.a Herbal Panda

Website: http://www.theherbarius.com.au

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Email: theherbalist@theherbarius.com.au

Sales: sales@theherbarius.com.au

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The Plain and Underrated, and often called common, but truly impressive Master Oats

The plain and ordinary young man and sometimes called ‘common’, Master Oats, has suffered badly with the middle child syndrome, older brothers such as Mister Wheat, Mister Barley and Mister Rye, have taken the limelight for too long and now it is time for Master Oats to rise and shine. This very gifted young man has more ability than you think. I ask you, “what are oats good for?” Breakfast cereal you say, well that is a good start but, he is a greater contender for a fight than just a bowl of porridge, or glue, as some may dare to judge.

Well, how good is he then, I here you say, okay, I’ll tell you how good he is, when Tina Turner sang, “We don’t need another hero”, I’m sure she must must have been singing about Master Oats, I’m not sure who this Mad Max guy is anyway.

Okay, I hear ya, that does sound a little ‘extreme’, but seriously, he is made of good stuff and if given half the chance, he could become a hero for our modern heart-failing age, which is full of depression, anxiety, stress, fatigue and bodily weakness.

Yes, Master Oats has been around for quite some time, so why do I call him ‘Master’, as if relating to him as if being ‘younger’, because he just hasn’t been allowed to ‘come of age’ such as his older half brothers wheat, barley and rye, as they all do come from the same family, ‘Poaceae/Gramineae’, but wheat, barley and rye come from a different Genus. Oats is a native to Europe and does still grow there wild. Back then, as is often today, animals are fed better than humans, and traditionally it was fed to the livestock at that time, but there is records of it being used in the human diet.

Mr John Gerard an Elizabethan physician had this to say about it: “Some of those good house-wives that delight not to have anything but from hand to mouth, according to our English proverbe, may (while the pot doth teeth) go to the barne, and rub forth with their hands sufficient for that present time.” … and “Otemeale is good for to make a faire and wel coloured maid to looke like a cake of tallow,”.

Oats – Avena sativa, with the name Avena coming from the Romans calling it Aveo, meaning to desire, and the term Oat comes from the old English – āte and nobody seems to know where that came from.


How to use Oats

So lets discuss some of Oats many uses. Historically, it seems to be the food of the poor or just a feed for livestock, and during the 1500’s it was turned into various forms of bread and cakes, and a replacement for “want of Barley”.

The first thing that comes to most peoples minds are its many Culinary uses and the most well known is Porridge, which can be made very basically or can be almost stylised into something very fancy, and if you want to then do it. Another more popular use of rolled oats is Muesli, developed by the Swiss Doctor – Bircher Berner and also in ‘muesli bars’. Using rolled oats has health benefits, but not as much as the original green product, for example ‘green oat straw’ and ‘green seed’.

Basic Porridge

  • Put 50 grams or 1/4 cup of rolled oats into a saucepan
  • Add a pinch of salt
  • Add 350ml (12fl oz) of water to the saucepan
  • Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes
  • Stir regularly to prevent sticking to the bottom
  • Pour into a bowl
  • Add some milk and sweetener
  • And enjoy

From this point you can multiply the formula to suit extra persons, and once you have completed this highly complex recipe, you can now move on to adding extras. Instead of adding water you can add your preferred milk to simmer the oats in or have half water and half milk. You can add many herbs and spices to your porridge during the cooking process or after you have put it in the bowl: these can be cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Or, you can add various berries such as, strawberries, cranberries, blueberries, mulberries or blackberries, as well as raisins and sultanas or fruit such as bananas. You can add extra fibre through various types of brans too. To add a little bite to your breakfast, you can throw in Greek yogurt, I have even tried a small splash of apple cider vinegar at the beginning, as it helps to break the oats down – predigestion, which is good for those trying to recover or convalescence. For sweeteners you can use honey, stevia, erythritol, and monk fruit, to name just a few. If I had to use sugar, I would use Jaggery or molasses, due to being very raw, and containing more nutrients.

Simple is usually the best

Lazy porridge

  • At night…
  • Place all your chosen ingredients from the list above (except for the water) into a Thermos, Vacuum or Dewar flask and evenly mix them up
  • Pour in boiling hot water, you may need a little extra hot water if adding more ‘dry’ ingredients
  • Place the lid on immediately
  • Leave until the morning
  • Open and enjoy

Oat Bread

Ingredients
  • 3 cups of wholemeal flour
  • 1 cup of rolled oats
  • 2 Tablespoons of finely chopped dandelion leaves or similar
  • 5 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons of honey or similar
  • 1 table spoon of coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 cups of milk
How to
  • Place flour, rolled oats, baking powder, and dandelion leaves into a bowl
  • Throughly and evenly mix
  • In another bowl beat the egg
  • Then to the beaten egg add the 2 tablespoons of sweetener, 1 tablespoon of oil and 1 1/2 cups of milk and mix
  • Add and mix in these to the dry mixture above
  • Put this mix into a suitable sized cake or bread tin
  • Cook at 177 C / 350 F for about 1 hour
  • Allow to cool and enjoy

Being an Aussie, I cannot dare to leave this thought here, as one of the most famous oat biscuit recipes in The land of Oz, is the ANZAC biscuit. The popular modern recipe for Anzac Biscuits has rolled oats, flour, sugar, butter, baking soda and boiling hot water and the modern version has desiccated coconut. These should never be called cookies and I won’t bother giving the recipe as there are many on the internet, and you promise to stick to the original recipe, hey mate.

Oat teas

Most of the oat plant can be used in a therapeutic manner, so with Oat tea, you normally use the oat straw, and on the whole it has the same values, but not exactly.

Simple Oat Straw Tea
  • Place 1 – 2 teaspoons of green oat straw into a cup (Dried or fresh)
  • Pour in boiling hot water
  • Steep for 10 – 15 minutes
  • If necessary, you can add a little sweetener
  • Drink freely

Please note: Green oat straw is better than dried, but if you can’t get the green version, then dried will do.

Strong Oat Straw Tea
  • Place equal parts of Oats, hops, passionflower and valerian into a cup
  • (Total amount should equal about a tablespoon)
  • Pour in boiling hot water
  • Allow to steep for 15 minutes
  • And drink
Menstrual Cramp Tea
  • Place equal parts of Oats, mugwort, chamomile and cramp bark into a cup
  • Pour in boiling hot water
  • Allow to steep for 15 minutes
  • And drink
  • Place the hot to warm cup onto the ‘sore spot’ as the heat will help to.

Other very good herbs for Menstrual cramps taken in capsules etc., are: Peony root, Cramp bark – very good and Primrose oil. With oats, both the seed and the straw are safe during both pregnancy and lactation as well.

You can grow oats as micro greens and use them in juices as well, similar to wheat grass.

Oat Straw Bath

  • Throw 2 -3 cups of oat straw into a large pot
  • Pour in 2 – 3 litres of water
  • Bring to boil and simmer for five minutes
  • Strain out the straw
  • Pour into a ready prepared bath
  • Soak to your hearts content

Oatmeal Sponge Bath

  • Place 500grams of ‘uncooked’ oatmeal into a loosely woven cloth bag
  • Tie up with a string
  • Place it under the hot running water whilst preparing your bath
  • Once your bath is ready, and the oatmeal is softened
  • Gently use the bag with the oatmeal as a sponge

You don’t have to use this in a bath setup and it is very helpful with conditions such as eczema and shingles.

Very Old Beauty Treatment

Nicholas Culpeper’s treatment (modified)

For the removal of freckles and spots on the face and other areas

  • Place enough oatmeal into a saucepan to cover the region wanted
  • Pour in enough vinegar to cover
  • Bring to boil and simmer for a few minutes
  • Allow to cool
  • Once cool enough apply to the face

How to grow

From seed

  • Prepare a decent sized container with rich potting mix
  • Evenly spread the seed over the top of the mix
  • You can have it close but not too close
  • Rake the seed into the mix
  • If you are planting the seed out in the garden, bury the seed at least 2.5cm / 1″ deep, to keep birds at bay
  • Water in
  • Keep the soil or mix slightly moist
  • After approximately 45 days depending on weather etc. you should be able to start harvesting
  • Depending how well the oats grow, they can reach anything from 60cm – 150cm / 2′ -5′

To the best of my knowledge, I don’t know of anybody propagating from cuttings or root division and probably not worth it anyway.

Maintenance

Due to the speed of the growth, so except for grasshoppers and other plant eating nasties, oats should be relatively easy to manage.

If you do get any disease it could be one of several things: Crown Rust, Yellow Dwarf Virus, Oats Halo Blight, Oat Leaf Blotch, Culm Rot or Stem Rust. But unless you are growing large crops then generally you should be fine and practice crop rotation and keep a hygenic garden.


Collecting

There is a simple test when to harvest the aerial parts, which at this stage can include young seed. This is described as ‘the milky stage’. Simply place the seed in between your two thumb nails and squeeze, and milky sap should come out. If you are specifically after the seed for things such as making your own rolled oats, then wait until the plant is mature and dry.

Drying

Place your harvest in a warm and dry area, spread it around as you are drying them out to cause even drying. Once they are fully dry, you can either store them or have a go at threshing them.

Storage

Store your product in a cool dry place in a airtight sealed jar or container and they should last approximately three months.




Herbalism.

The information below is for informational and education purposes only. So please do not “self-treat”. When seeking any ‘therapeutic’ advice always see a Health Care Professional first.

PARTS USED:

Aerial parts and seed

DOSAGE:

Aerial Parts: Infusion is 4 – 8 teaspoons per day

Seed: Minimum to maximum of dried powder is 3.0 – 6.0g per day

Rolled oats: simply a bowl a day

MAIN ACTIONS:

Aerial: Nervine tonic, anxiolytic, antipruritic, emollient, tonic, sedative, and antidepressant

Seed: Antipruritic, emollient, nervine tonic, tonic, antidepressant, lipid lowering, antihypertensive, blood sugar regulator, and mild thymoleptic

INDICATIONS:

Aerial: Fatigue – nervous, anxiety, insomnia, mild depression, dry skin, itching, eczema – bath, neurasthenia, shingles, herpes zoster, herpes simplex, and exhaustion. Convalescence, stress, plus nervous tension, 

Seed: Dry skin, itch, eczema, both topically and bath, neuralgia, anxiety, insomnia, mild depression, exhaustion, convalescence, stress, nervous tension, hyperlipidaemia, hypertension, hyper/hypoglycaemia, melancholia, menopausal neurasthenia, and general debility

CONSTITUENTS:

Aerial: Beta-glucan, triterpenoid, saponins, – avenacosides, alkaloids – avenue and trigonelline, sterol – avenasterol, flavonoids, starch, phytates, coumarins. Nutrients – silicic acid, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, iron, manganese, zinc, vitamins A, B-complex, C, E, K, and amino acids

Seed: Beta-glucan, triterpenoid, saponins, – avenacosides, alkaloids – avenue and trigonelline, sterol – avenasterol, flavonoids, starch, phytates, coumarins. Nutrients – silicic acid, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, iron, manganese, zinc, vitamins A, B-complex, C, E, K, and amino acids

SAFETY CONCERNS:

Pure certified organic oats, that have ‘not’ come in contact with other grains such as, wheat, barley and rye should not cause any trouble with coeliac or gluten intolerance. Always check before use if unsure. Do not use the seed/rolled oats if you have any intestinal obstruction.

ADULTERANTS:

None known



Please remember, this blog cannot and should not replace a health care professional, and is for informational and educational purposes only and is not for medical advice or treatment, and no cure is implied in anyway. If you have a known serious condition, or are pregnant, please consult your health care professional, before use.

Kind Regards,

Russell a.k.a Herbal Panda

Website: http://www.theherbarius.com.au

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Email: theherbalist@theherbarius.com.au

Sales: sales@theherbarius.com.au

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“Never made a mistake? How boring is your life?” – Herbal Panda

Introducing Miss Dandelion

Now that we have established that Miss Lavender and Miss Rosemary are sisters to Lamiaceae family, we look back to realise that Miss Chamomile had another true sister, who is well known around the world, but I am so upset to say that she is just not fairly treated, and some would say that she is the black sheep of the family, and just a ‘weeeed’, and that is just not true. Miss Dandelion is a real gal, no wimp and very adaptable to wherever she is found, therefore I’ll stand by her anytime because she has so much more to offer than we think.

Miss Dandelion, which grows to 15cm to 25cm (6″ – 10″) and is native to the regions of Europe and Asia, but due to the travels of man, she has spread along with him, and although she is sadly perceived as a ‘weed’ (nasty people), she is truly a gift. Oh by the way, we must not forget that she has versions in Russia – Taraxacum kok-saghyz Rodin, which grow to 30cm – 12″, which was harvested during WW2 for latex and a Chinese dandelion – Taraxacum mongolicum, which grows to 25cm – 30cm (10″ – 12″).

The Russians called Miss Dandelion, the “elixer of life” and was considered to be a “life infusion”. It was greatly used by the Russian aristocracy and was the favourite remedy of Russia’s most famous Herbalist and Russian Orthodox priest, – Panteleimon the Healer.

The Dandelion is sometimes called ‘Lion’s tooth’, and where did this name come from? When the French saw this plant they looked at the leaves and noted that the leaves look a lot like a set of lion’s teeth, therefore they called it ‘dent de lion, meaning lion’s tooth. Mr Culpeper notes the other rather frank and vulgar French term given to it as, ‘Piss-a-beds’, and although somewhat coarse, this term comes from it being an excellent diuretic. Mr John Gerard noted that her flower was “double, & thicke set together, of colour yellow, and sweet in smell … but bitterer in taste than Succorie.”

Dandelion, which comes by many other names such as Puff Ball, Royal Herb, Old man’s clock, wetweed, swinsnout, wild endive and Prince in Paupers Clothing, and many more, has the botanical name of Taraxacum officinale, which can be found either as T. officinale folia, which is dandelion leaf or T. officinale radix, which is dandelion root, two parts of the same plant that have many benefits. The flower is sometimes used but much less. There is a ‘Red-seeded’ dandelion – T. erythrospermum.

The Weed File – Detective work

She has a copy cat, who is called by the name of Cat’s ears, Hypochoeris glabra and H. radicata and another couple of imposter’s called Hawkbit, Leontodon saxatilis, and Hawksbeard, Crepis capillaris and to be fair, they are not really fakes because they are what they are, its just that they look very similar, but don’t have the same gifts. Who knows what true benefits they may have, and no-one has discovered them.

Dandelion

She has flower stems that do not branch with a single large flower up to 3.5cm – 5cm or 1 3/8″ – 2″ diameter flower. These stems as well as the leaf stalks are ‘hollow’ that once they are cut, produce milky sap and her leaves are ‘hairless’ with a point at the tip and the lobes are backward pointing – runcinate. This ‘hollowness’ is not found in the others, so this is important.

Cat’s ear

This girl has sparingly branched flower stems, that only have one flower each. Her leaves are ‘hairy’ in a ‘bristlely’ way and due to the ends of the leaves looking somewhat like cat’s ears, that is where she got her name of course.

Hawkbit

She has unbranched flower stems like Miss Dandelion with a single flower, but her stems are solid and not hollow. Her leaves are hairy and there is a ‘forking’ in the hairs making a ‘T-shape at the tip.

Hawksbeard

She has very branched flower stems that have lots of leaves on them, that produce many smaller sized flowers. She is the only one who is a ‘annual’ as the others are perennials.

A few things to note: If you are getting any of these plants growing in your garden, yard or paddock, it means that the soil is becoming compacted, so aeration and loosening up of the soil will ‘naturally reduce’ them, therefore there is no need to use chemicals and saves money. Also, it is said that ‘True Dandelion’ is healthy for horses, but the others are not and are said to cause ‘string holt’.

How to use Dandelion

Dandelion has many uses, but not quite like her sister Miss Chamomile, as principally its the chamomile flower that is used, and it is lovely don’t you think, but with Miss Dandelion we can use the whole plant, specifically the leaves and the roots. Apart from the medicinal uses of Dandelion, it has many culinary uses – for example, salads, vinegars, syrup, in soups (leaves) or on soups (petals), mustards, in and on breads, muffins, pizza and fritters and various herbal teas, gardening, in shampoos and even for dying.

Herbal teas

Dandelion tea comes generally in two forms, either from the leaf or the roots, both can be delicious and have therapeutic affects. Usually the roots are roasted but the leaves can be fresh, dried or fermented.

Dandelion ‘leaf’ tea

This can be made out of fresh, dried or fermented dandelion leaf

  • Put 2-3 teaspoons of dried leaves or 5 – 6 freshly chopped leaves per cup,
  • Pour in boiling hot water
  • Steep for 5 – 15 minutes (Longer is stronger)
  • Add a sweetener if desire such as raw honey, stevia or erythritol
  • Enjoy

Dandelion and Liquorice Root tea

1) Infusion

  • Put in 1-2 teaspoons of dandelion root tea per cup
  • Add 1-2 teaspoons of liquorice root per cup
  • Pour in boiling hot water
  • Steep for 5 – 15 minutes (Longer is stronger)
  • You can strain out the dandelion and liquorice root or leave it in there
  • Add a sweetener if desired, such as raw honey, stevia or erythritol
  • Enjoy

2) Decoction

  • Put 2-3 teaspoons per cup into a saucepan
  • Add 1-2 teaspoon of liquorice root per cup
  • Pour in the water – 250mls per cup
  • Bring to boil and simmer for 15 minutes (Longer is stronger)
  • You can strain out the dandelion root or leave it in there
  • Add a sweetener if desire such as raw honey, stevia or erythritol
  • Enjoy

How to make Roasted Dandelion Root Tea

If you are trying to make your own dandelion root tea, so you can have a caffeine free beverage, it is best to use roots from the third year, but they can be used younger, if you can’t wait, say, about a year or two.

  • Simply dig them out
  • Wash them clean
  • Chop the roots up into small bits, 6mm / 1/4″
  • Dry them out for 4 – 14 days (until hard and brittle)
  • Place them into a tray suitable for roasting
  • Spread them out evenly over the tray
  • Slowly roast them in an oven at 94C / 200F until brown similar to coffee
  • Seal in an air-tight jar with a label
  • Grind the roots as you need them

Bacon and Dandelion salad

Ingredients

  • 250 grams of fresh young dandelion leaves
  • 110g of diced bacon or bacon bits
  • Packet of croutons
  • 5 tablespoons of your preferred vinaigrette
  • 2 teaspoons of finely chopped garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Optionally, you can add finely chopped parsley, or red onion, and cottage cheese, or use lemon juice instead of vinaigrette

How to make

  • Wash and lightly chop up the leaves and throw them into a bowl
  • Fry up the bacon, garlic and croutons in ghee or similar until lightly browned
  • Place the fried bacon, garlic and croutons into the bowl with the leaves
  • Toss until mixed
  • Pour the vinaigrette over the contents
  • And toss again and serve fresh

Also, have you tried dandelion flowers dipped in batter and fried?

And what about juicing the leaves in a vegetable juice, instead of kale or spinach?

Dying Colours with Dandelion

The leaves of the dandelion can be used for dying a pink/magenta colour and the roots are supposed to dye a yellow brown colour.

Gardening

Whilst most are fiendishly out to poison her, and therefore, poisoning themselves and their animals, she really has gardening uses such as feeding yourself and the family nutritiously, and therefore one of the best places to keep her is in a deep pot, because she is such a strong minded girl and likes to travel, and she can get a bit determined when set free.

The Easiest

The simplest gardening tactic is just to throw some seed into a ‘tall’ container of potting mix with some water and let her grow and enjoy her flowers. Also, keeping her in a pot means she can be kept close to the kitchen door or on the balcony, for example, for easy collecting.

Gardening for Pets

If you can legally keep rabbits where you are, so please check with your local authorities as you can get into a lot of trouble; you can grow dandelions to grow your own food for them. Plus, this can be fed to Guinea pigs (oh so cute) and gerbils, really anything that likes leafy greens.

Fertiliser – a natural source copper

  • Dig out 3 large dandelion plants, roots, flowers, leaves and all
  • Roughly chop them up and put them into a bucket
  • Just cover over enough with boiling hot water, approximately one litre
  • Cover the bucket and allow to steep for 1/2 an hour
  • Strain and when cool use immediately, as it doesn’t keep

Dandelion leaves can be used as a compost activator to.

They normally don’t make good flower arrangments, but if you try, put them into water straight away. Or you could just pick a couple and hand them to your girlfriend or put them behind her ear and dazzle her with all your knowledge about this flower.

How to grow Dandelion

If you are growing for salad greens it is better to refresh your plant each year to prevent the leaves from getting bitter, plus, to encourage more nutrition and faster and bigger leaves, constantly cut off the flower stems, as this directs the energy into the leaves instead of the flowers. Also, the French dandelion, a cultivar, has the biggest leaves, if you are very keen to eat lots of leafy greens.

From seed

  • Due to dandelion having such a long tap root, plant the seed in tall pots such as those used for tree seedlings, don’t use flat seedling trays.
  • Dandelion likes reasonably nitrogen-rich soils
  • Dandelions can grow just about anywhere, except for in snow and ice, and maybe the ocean?, but they do come to life after a snowy winter. (I have seen thousands of them coming up just after winter near Moscow, just wonderful)
  • Just simply prepare your tall container
  • Sprinkle some seeds over the top
  • Rub them in
  • Water them in
  • And wait

From root

Dandelion can be progagated from the root, so unless you have a severely damaged root, you should be able to replant from a piece of the root system, this is similar to growing comfrey.

Maintenance

Dandelion is typically not affected by pests and diseases, but if there is nothing much else around for the bugs to eat, it can get severely attacked.

Collecting

There are three different possible stages to collect from the dandelion, if you are harvesting the ‘whole plant’ collect it before it flowers. If you are after the leaves for salads or juicing for example, then pick the leaves when it is flowering and three, the best time to collect the roots is late autumn when you see the above ground part of the plant dying down.

Drying

When drying for storage, make sure that they have been thoroughly washed and cleaned and properly dried out 4 – 14 days, that is, becoming brittle, if you are going to store the roots. Depending on you climate, this may take from a few days to two weeks. If you have fat roots, then cut them up into thinner pieces, as this guarantees more even drying. If dried thoroughly they should last a year or two. Throw out if you see mould. If you wish to make a coffee substitute, then follow the instructions mentioned above for making Roasted Dandelion Root Tea.


Herbalism.

The information below is for informational and education purposes only. So please do not “self-treat”. When seeking any ‘therapeutic’ advice always see a Health Care Professional first.

Parts used:

Leaves, roots and flowers

Dosage:

Leaf: Minimum to maximum of dried leaf is 12.0 – 30.0g per day

Root: Minimum to maximum of dried leaf is 9.0 – 15.0g per day

Main actions:

Bitter tonic, choleretic, mild laxative, anti-rheumatic (root), cholagogue, and mild diuretic

Indications:

Leaf: Oedema, hypertension, digestive liver insufficiency, dyspepsia, constipation, gallstones, cholecystitis, plus, Gout, and hot flashes

Root: Digestive liver insufficiency, dyspepsia, flatulent colic, anorexia, constipation, gallstones, cholecystitis, gall bladder dysfunction, plus, Rheumatism, chronic skin disorders, and hot flashes

Constituents:

Leaf: Sesquiterpene lactones, carotenoids, triterpenes, coumarins. potassium (4%) silicon

Root: Sesquiterpene lactones, carotenoids, triterpenes, taraxacoside,  phenolic acids, inulin, potassium (2%)

Safety Concerns:

No major problems found from normal use, if taking therapeutically, use under a qualified heath care professional if you have gallstones or inflammation of the gallbladder.

Adulterants:

The leaf is rarely adulterated , sometimes with Leontodon autumnalis and the root has been adulterated with Cichorium intybus



Please remember, this blog cannot and should not replace a health care professional, and is for informational and educational purposes only and is not for medical advice or treatment, and no cure is implied in anyway. If you have a known serious condition, or are pregnant, please consult your health care professional, before use.

Kind Regards,

Russell a.k.a Herbal Panda

Website: http://www.theherbarius.com.au

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Email: theherbalist@theherbarius.com.au

Sales: sales@theherbarius.com.au

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“Are you eccentric enough to make the World turn differently?” – Herbal Panda

The ever fragrant Rosemary.
The photo is taken from another garden I personally manage.

If ever Miss Lavender had a sister, as Miss Chamomile is really like a cousin belonging to the Asteraceae Family, it would be Miss Rosemary, I mean, she is literally from the same family, the ‘Lamiaceae’ family, so how can we argue. But as every sister is, they have their differences and therefore different preferences for style, colour, shades and hues, and here Miss Rosemary typically has dainty blue to pale lilac flowers that attract those ‘busy bees’, both the honey and native bees who buzz their way around Miss Rosemary’s flowers. Yet, she is not so well known for her flowers as beautiful as they are, it is her leaves they want. We should mention that she does have other flower colours which must be noted, such as white, pink and a darker blue, and so lovely, and these come from her various cultivars. Her flowers as good as they are, just haven’t caught the Herbalist’s eye as much as her leaves, which have the real efficacy, and this girls no ‘bimbo’ just flashing her colours, she has something to say and do.

Rosemary’s dainty blue/pale lilac flowers with her dark green/light green near linear revolute leaves

Lavender and Rosemary have the same heritage in that they both have a Mediterranean culture, where lavender came from the rocky hillsides of the Mediterranean and rosemary came from the seaside of the Mediterranean. This is probably why the name “Rosemary” comes from the Latin – Ros marinus, meaning – ‘Dew of the sea’, and the flowers smattered around the leaves could look like dew/salt drops just hanging there; what is your thinking?

Said to be written in cuneiform thousands of years before Christ, and then the next mention comes from the ancient Egyptians who used it in their burials, and after that the next mentions of rosemary was from the ancient Greeks such as Pliny the Great and Pedanius Dioscorides and the Romans. She even made it over to China after about 200 years, then to Merry Old England ‘officially’ around the 1300’s, and then America around the 17th century and from there she spread globally.

How to use Rosemary

The herb rosemary has literally many uses other than just culinary uses, which are fine, because hey, it tastes and smells great, and why wouldn’t you. So lets look at a few of them, there are bodily uses, such as, perfumes, in cosmetics, toiletries, soaps, shampoos, hair rinses for a hair tonic and conditioners. In potpourris, and used either in the dried leaf, in oil form or as a water and sprayed. To promote sleep, place a handful of dried leaves into a cloth sachet and put it under the edge of a child’s pillow. Rosemary is an excellent Mood Tonic, and dried bunches can be tied up in the air to act as a fly deterant and as a sachet again, it can be place into closets as a moth deterant as well. And finally have you tried ‘Spice balls’ for some unforgettable and wonderful aromas.

Medicinally, it can be used in herbal teas, liniments and a chest rub, in a wine (this is similar to a tincture), used as an essential oil, as a douche, and a warm douche for the vagina, or you can add the prepared liquid (decoction) for a Rosemary bath, Ahhhhh, I’m melting.

I won’t supply any recipes for meat dishes as there is just so many out there that are wonderfully made and easy to follow. Well, don’t let me stop you, off you go, find something yummy, and then write back and tell me about it.

Rosemary Tea

So easy to make:

  • Place 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of dried rosemary leaves, or 2 to 3 teaspoons of chopped fresh leaves into a herbal tea infuser and place it in a cup
  • Pour in boiling hot water
  • Cover to keep the volitile oils in
  • Steep for 5 to 15 minutes (longer times will be more bitter)
  • Add a little sweetener such as raw honey or stevia or erythritol

Rosemary Honey

  • Place a handful of chopped fresh rosemary leaves into a glass jar
  • Gently warm up some raw honey to thorougly cover the rosemary leaves
  • Make sure the leaves are fully mixed in and covered
  • Seal with a lid and place in a warm spot for at least 1 to 2 weeks
  • Warm gently to help strain out the leaves, and rebottle and label
  • Use it on buttered toast or whatever you like, so long as it tastes great

Potpourri

Potpourri Uplifter ingredients:

  • 1 cup of dried rose petals, plus a few buds mixed in for good looks
  • 1/2 a cup of dried rosemary leaves
  • 1/2 a cup of dried orange slices
  • 1/2 a cup of dried lemon slices
  • 1/2 a cup of lavender flowers and some leaves
  • And a spritz or two of Bergamot oil

Mix carefully and spritz it a few times whilst mixing gently and enjoy.

Note: You can make these from fresh ingredients and then dry them in the oven at 93C or 200F for two hours or until fully dried out.

Rosemary Liniment:

  • Place 50grams of chopped rosemary leaves into a glass jar
  • Pour 500mls or 1 pint of alcohol such as vodka over the leaves
  • Seal the bottle and place in a cool place
  • Shake the bottle vigorously each day
  • After 1 week, strain and label the bottle with its name
  • As needed rub onto stiff muscles and sore joints

Rosemary chest-rub

  • Put 3 to 5 drops of Rosemary essential oil into 2 teaspoons of almond oil
  • Rub onto the chest for relief of respiriatory distress

Rosemary hair rinse

  • Place a handful of squashed or well chopped rosemary leaves into mug
  • Pour in boiling hot water, and cover
  • Allow to steep for 15 to 20 minutes
  • When cool enough to use safely, and after shampooing
  • Strain and run the rinse slowly through hair, and thoroughly massage the scalp and gently rubbing the hair as well

Rosemary bath

The process shown below can used for other herbs such as lavender as well, which is more calming and less stimulating. It is easier to put in 30 drops of essential oil into a bath, but by making a decoction from rosemary leaves is far superior.

  • Place 4 handfuls of rosemary leaves into 1 litre of water
  • Bring it to boil and then simmer for 20 minutes
  • Strain out the leaves and pour into a already prepared bath
  • Optionally and better, you can add 4 cups of Epsom salts, which really does help
  • Soak wonderfully for 20 minutes

Rosemary does help to stimulate the vascular system whilst helping with the mood.

Gardening uses

Rosemary can be used as a ‘filler’ or a ‘thriller’ in both large pots and in gardens. Prostrate Rosemary, or creeping rosemary, R. officinalis prostratus, can be an interesting version to have in your garden due to its ‘prostrating/hanging’ branches. Or if it grows well in your area, rosemary is excellent as a hedge, beautifully screening out unwanted neighbours, whilst attracting bees and fragrance to your home. Rosemary is also a very good companion plant, working well with sage. Some veggies that companion plant with rosemary are beans, cabbage, cauliflower and carrots. Rosemary helps to repel most sap-sucking insects and is great for attracting ‘predatory’ insects to your garden, enabling more ‘organic’ control of pests.


How to grow Rosemary

From seed

  • Fill a suitable seed raising container with seed raising mix
  • Sprinkle some seed on top of the mix
  • Lightly rub you fingers over the top, gently rubbing the seed into the mix
  • Spray water lightly over the seeds and mix
  • Keep the mixture just on the moist side but not wet
  • Place a bag over the container, keeping the bag clear from the seed
  • It will take approximately 3 months before they germinate
  • Once they have begun to grow i.e. put out a few leaves, plant them into larger containers or in a suitable place in your garden
  • From seed, rosemary will take a ‘Very’ long time before you get a substantial crop, so I probably wouldn’t try

From cuttings

Cutings are the best and fastest way to get things going, saving you heaps of time.

  • Find a healthy rosemary plant
  • Find one with young healthy branches
  • Don’t use old woody branches
  • Unflowered cuttings tend to work better
  • Take off cuttings at about 8cm to 12cm long
  • These can be cut from the same ‘branch’, just don’t plant them upside down
  • Carefully strip off 4 – 5cm of leaves from off the bottom
  • Fill some pots with ‘cutting’ mixture
  • Push a hole into the mixture with a dibbler, a stick will do
  • Push the cutting into the mixture, at least one to two bare nodes into the mix
  • Press down and around the cutting to firm it in
  • Water the cuttings in carefully
  • Watering lightly every day for two weeks
  • Then water about every second day for about a month
  • At this stage you should have a reasonably healthy root system
  • Repot into a larger pot or plant into your garden

Also you can propagate through root division or by air laying.

Maintenence and Prevention

Rosemary tends to have five main pests or diseases, and they are:

Spittle Bugs

Small brown sap sucking insects called Spittle bugs, these leave small foamy white excretions, normally not a serious problem, but when you see them, hose them off with a jet of water and these foamy excretions from your plant.

Aphids and White fly

Sap suckers such as aphids and also white fly can harm your plant, and although you can use some chemicals on them, it is better to hose them off with a good jet of water, especially if you intend to eat the stuff.

Root Rot

Root rot is a sad one, as generally it is now impossible to fix. So the best thing to do is give the plant a eulogy and then throw it in the bin. Root rot is usually prevented by planting in well-draining soil and don’t water it too much. Pots and raised beds work well with rosemary.

Powdery Mildew

Powdery Mildew is often due to high humid conditions, poor ventilation, and moist and shady areas. Generally the best way to treat powdery mildew is a fungicide spray, so unless you have a natural version, you may not want to eat from it after that.

Prevention

This starts at planting, rosemary prefers lighter and low acid soils, so a little lime may be useful here. Do not plant your plants too close together and allow about 1 – 1.5 metres apart (3 – 5′ apart). Don’t plant in shady areas or damp places in your garden.

This large and healthy Rosemary is in an open and sunny position with plenty of drainage, and gets watered once a week

Collecting

Most of the leaves are collected in the mid-morning once the dew or moisture has dried off as this helps to prevent mould and mildew forming during the drying process, storage and ruining the supply later on.

To pick its leaves go out into your garden or wherever you planted it, (don’t pick your neighbours unless you’ve asked) and take some garden snips and carefully cut off a branch. Place them into a suitable container or basket, but don’t squash them or damage them in any way, and don’t pick everything off, just cut off enough to do the job, that is, a few sprigs to stick into your lamb roast, for example.

As your picking them, beware of damaged, sick or diseased leaves and make sure your leaves are free from defects, such as, brown edges and yellow or dead leaves as these will ruin your pick, and won’t be as effective. Also, be aware of debris such as unknown leaf matter, dirt, dust or ash, or any other matter that should not be there, plus insects such as aphids and spiders and insect eggs that can be found on these branches.

Drying:

The leaves need to be dried quickly in a well-ventilated room and not in the sun as this may cause the loss of the volatile oils from time and heat. Spread out the leaves onto brown wrapping paper or paper towelling into a thin layer. Make sure that they are not piled on top of each other and the air can get around the leaves. The leaves once dry, should retain their colour and aroma and remain whole, looking the same as the original pick. Be aware that bugs may crawl out from the leaves, so be kind and provide a way of escape for them.

If your worried about something getting on the dried leaves, whilst drying them, then drape a light mesh over the top without touching them.

Storage:

Store your beautiful smelling rosemary leaves in a sealed bottle, it can be clear, but must be kept out of the sunlight, and in a cool place away from heat, otherwise keep in an amber coloured jar and still away from heat. Either way, make sure that the bottle is labelled with its contents and dated. They will keep for at least two years like this. If you see any mould throw it out.

Macerating:

Macerating rosemary is best to be done in a glass due to its higher oil content.


Herbalism.

The information below is for informational and education purposes only. So please do not “self-treat”. When seeking any ‘therapeutic’ advice always see a Health Care Professional first.

Parts used:

Leaves and top sprigs

Dosage:

Minimum to maximum of dried leaf is 1.5 – 3.0g per day

Main actions:

Carminative, spasmolytic, antioxidant, antimicrobial, circulatory stimulant, and hepatoprotective

Indications:

Improves memory, concentration, and mental performance, enhances phase 2 liver detoxification, a cardiovascular disease preventative, tension headache, and debility. Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s – cerebral antioxidant, ADHD, slows ageing process. Topically – myalgia, sciatica, neuralgia, wound healing, and hair loss – alopecia

Constituents:

Essential oil – cineole, alpha pinene, camphor; phenolic diterpenes – carnosol, carnosic acid; rosmarinic acid, flavonoids, and triterpenoids

Safety Concerns:

Don’t take with mineral supplements

Adulterants:

This is uncommon



Please remember, this blog cannot and should not replace a health care professional, and is for informational and educational purposes only and is not for medical advice or treatment, and no cure is implied in anyway. If you have a known serious condition, or are pregnant, please consult your health care professional, before use.

Kind Regards,

Russell a.k.a Herbal Panda

Website: http://www.theherbarius.com.au

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Email: theherbalist@theherbarius.com.au

Sales: sales@theherbarius.com.au

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The very well known and popular sister flower to Chamomile is the delightful Miss Lavender, she doesn’t come over too strong, yet she is such a pleasure to be around and have around, everybody wants her as friend, and so she should be too. She is one of the best companions to have around when there is deep sadnesses and outward griefs, suggests Mr. Nicholas Culpeper, and here she is a worthy and good friend, especially in her oil form at this time.

Lavender or Lavandula angustifolia, or its synonyms Lavandula officinalis or Lavandula vera, which has many varieties, and has been widely used around the Mediterranean maquis (French), or Macchia (Italian), where the hillsides abound with rock and much native shrubbery, rocks and plenty of sun and dry weather for thousands of years. It should be noted that lavender is also a native to the Canary Islands (Spain), France and also to India, but now it is grown in many parts of the world, showing its great desirability.

Historically, it appears that it was used by the Ancient Egyptians, Arabs and Phoenicians, and then it was used by the Greeks and the Romans, and after that, it was brought over to England via the Romans through their conquest of that country, and then maintained by the monks within their gardens. Later on, it was grown in Surrey and Kent until the war there, but it is still grown in Norfolk, near Norwich, and probably in every other English country garden since. (And I don’t blame them!)

The word lavender comes from the medieval Latin ‘Lavandula’, across to the Anglo-Norman, ‘Lavendre’ all meaning ‘to wash’, as it was used by the Romans in their baths, probably with a floating duck. Many history buffs would have heard the term, ” Who will buy my lavender”, which was shouted amongst the many sellers of flowers.

How to use Lavender

Lavender has been used in numerous ways such as body soaps, shampoos, bath gels, shower rinses and other cleansers and detergents. Culinarily in jellies and vinegars and crystalised in confectionaries, plus the adventurously use it in biscuits and cookies. Lavender can be used with meats, such as, pheasant or venison, and I wonder if there is some chef somewhere who has used a flame thrower on them? (Remember, it is similar in appearance to Rosemary, and comes from the same family, therefore may have similar uses.)

Around the home, the flowers can be used in both washing the clothes and in the clothes drier, to instil a lovely fragrance into your clothes and bedding, or fragrance yourself by taking a bath in them or using the essential oils. The essential oils can be used around the home to repel bugs and insects off surfaces and off your family as I do, plus it can be used on its own or mixed with other oils, such as tea tree oil, to help with insect bites, such as ants, midges and mosquitos.

Due to its wonderful fragrance it is placed into cloth sachets and made into a sleep pillow and placed in or near a person’s pillow for restful sleep. It is used in many potpourris and perfumes, ‘well that was obvious’, as well as candles and furniture polish.

Medicinally, it has many uses, of which I will go into further along, but for now, I will break up some of the information mentioned above into more ‘useful’ advice.

Lavender tea:

Which can be made from both the fresh flower and the leaf tips at the top or from dried flowers. When using fresh lavender, just place a couple of small sprigs into a cup of hot water, cover and allow to steep for 5-15 minutes depending on how strong you want it, (15min is more therapeutic and stronger), and enjoy with a little honey, or stevia. When using dried flowers just use one teaspoon in a cup of boiling water, cover and allow to steep for about the same time, and sweeten if necesssary, and drink slowly.

Lavender bath:

To make a simple lavender bath, just grab appproximately 30grams of lavender flower and the tips if you have them, and place them into half a litre of water and bring to boil. Once it has reached boiling, take it off the heat, then strain out the leaf and flower matter and add to your bath water, and soak to your hearts content.

Lavender liniment:

Type 1) Bring to boil half a litre of water and half a litre of apple cider vinegar, then place two cupfuls of lavender flowers into the ‘just’ boiling water, turn off the heat and stir in, cover and allow to steep over night. Strain out the flowers and bottle with a label. Half a cup of this can be used in a lavender bath or you can rub it on as a liniment for dry skin, sore muscles and joints.

Type 2) Place 50grams of lavender flowers into a medium sized sealable jar with a lid, then pour in half a litre an alcohol solution such as vodka, and leave in a cool place out of the sunlight. Then allow the flowers to soak i.e. macerate each day, giving the bottle a good shake each day to assist the macerating process and after about 8 days, strain out the flowers and place into an amber bottle and label. Rub onto affected areas as needed.

Lavender oil:

This easy lavender oil is made from just 60grams of lavender flowers and one cup of olive oil. This same formula and process can be used for many versions of herbal type oils that can be used for massage and to help provide forms of relief, depending on what is the goal in mind.

Ingredients:

  • 60grams of Lavender flower
  • 1 cup of Olive oil, (Almond and Sunflower oils can be substituted.)

Equipment:

  • Heat source i.e. a stove/hotplate or similar
  • 2 litre glass, ceramic or stainless steel saucepan (Do not use iron or aluminium)
  • Scales suitable to measure 60 grams
  • 1 measuring cup of 250mls
  • Container to measure into
  • Bowel to squeeze into
  • A spoon for stirring
  • Temperature gauge to measure from at least 43 C to 49 C (110 F to 120 F)
  • Jar or bottle big enough to store the Lavender oil into
  • Cloths, 1 for straining and 1 for squeezing
  • Label and pen to write on the label, to label the bottle with the amount and date
  • Some form of press is beneficial, but not necessary (Just squeeze harder)

Procedure:

  • Place 60grams of Lavender into a saucepan
  • Pour in 1 cup of olive oil over the flowers
  • Slowly bring to the required temperature (see above) Never boil!
  • Maintain the temperature for 2 hours, whilst stirring regularly. You can actually heat for a whole week stirring daily, ‘the longer the stronger’
  • Heat until the flowers feel ‘crispy’, each herbal flower will be a little different
  • Strain out the plant matter into a clean cloth
  • Fold the cloth up and place into a press
  • Squeeze until you have extracted the oil
  • Pour into a suitable jar and seal and label
A simple Lavender Oil Recipe

Please remember, that this is only a quick and simple method, not the best and most preferred, but it is a good place to start learning, and you can still use the oil for massages etc. It is not an “Essential Oil” as that is made very differently and is many times stronger and should be used with more care.

Culinary

Lavender Biscuits

Ingredients:

  • 50 grams of stevia/erythritol, you can use sugar, but honestly best not to
  • 100 grams of butter (not margarine)
  • 175 grams of self raising flour
  • 1 Tablespoons of fresh lavender flowers
  • 2 Tablespoons of fresh lavender leaves

Procedure:

  • Mix the sweetener and butter until light and creamy
  • Add the leaves and the flour to the butter mixture
  • Knead until it forms a dough
  • Roll out onto a floured board
  • Sprinkle the flowers onto the dough and roll in gently
  • Cut into a shape you like
  • Place them onto a greased baking sheet
  • Bake in an oven for 10 to 15 minutes at 230 C /450 F until firm and golden
  • Remove and cool on a wire
  • Enjoy,
  • ‘Disclosure’, well honestly, not everybody enjoys them

Potpourri

A Purple Potpourri:

Mix together an even and balanced mixture of

  • Lavender
  • PinCushion flower
  • Larkspur
  • Blue Salvia
  • Bachelor’s Buttons
  • Globe Thistle

Collecting

Most flowers are collected once they have bloomed and are in the early stage of maturity and in the mid-morning once the dew or moisture has dried off and this is to prevent mould and mildew forming during the drying process and ruining the supply later on.

To pick its flowers go out into your garden or wherever you can find wild growing lavender to collect the flowers, (don’t pick your neighbours unless you’ve asked) and take a small sharp knife or some garden snips and carefully cut off the flowers or you can pick the flowers by hand, picking them directly behind the the bud or taking some of the sprig depending on what you are to do. Place them into a suitable container or basket, but don’t squash them or damage them in any way.

As your picking them, beware of damaged flowers and make sure your flowers are free from defects, such as, brown edges and dead petals as these will ruin your pick. Also, be aware of debris such as unknown leaf matter, dirt, dust or ash, or any other matter that should not be there, plus insects such as spiders and caterpillars and insect eggs that can be found on these flowers.

Drying:

The flowers need to be dried in a well-ventilated room and not in the sun as this may cause the loss of the volatile oils. Spread out the flowers onto brown wrapping paper or paper towelling into a thin layer. Make sure that they are not sitting on top of each other and the air can get around the flowers. The flowers once dry, should retain their colour and aroma and remain whole, looking the same as the original pick. Be aware that bugs may crawl out from the flowers, so be kind and provide a way of escape for them.

If your worried about something getting on the dried flowers, whilst drying them, then drape a light mesh over the top without touching them.

Storage:

Store your beautiful smelling lavender flowers in a sealed bottle, it can be clear, but must be kept out of the sunlight, and in a cool place away from heat, otherwise keep in an amber coloured jar and still away from heat. Either way, make sure that the bottle is labelled with its contents and dated. They will keep for at least two years like this and if you see any mould throw it out.


Herbalism

The information below is for informational and education purposes only. So please do not “self-treat”. When seeking any ‘therapeutic’ advice always see a Qualified Health Care Professional first.

Parts used:

Flower

Dosage:

2.0 – 4.0grams

Main Actions:

Carminative, spasmolytic, antidepressant, and anxiolytic

Indications:

Anxiety, insomnia, excitability, nervous dyspepsia, mild depression, flatulent colic, intestinal colic, plus, Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and tension headache

Constituents:

Essential oil – lineally and linalool

Safety Concerns:

If allergic to Lavender

Adulterants:

Sometimes it is adulterated with similar species



Please remember, this blog cannot and should not replace a health care professional, and is for informational and educational purposes only and is not for medical advice or treatment, and no cure is implied in anyway. If you have a known serious condition, or are pregnant, please consult your health care professional, before use.

Kind Regards,

Russell a.k.a Herbal Panda

Website: http://www.theherbarius.com.au

Email: theherbalist@theherbarius.com.au

Sales: sales@theherbarius.com.au

The beautifully fragrant Chamomile, she could be considered the darling of the herbal flowers, so well known by so many people, and she would be next to her other well known darling flower, Miss Lavender. The fragrance is right there in the bud, or from the moment you open the container the fragrance flows up into your nose screaming out beauty and gentleness, and chamomile is just so wonderfully gentle.

Chamomile grows wild in North America and in Europe, but it also grows in many other countries as well, and has several varieties, and they are German Chamomile, (Matricaria recutita) otherwise called camomile, or wild chamomile, then there are two varieties of Roman chamomile, (Chamaemelum nobile), which is also known as garden chamomile, low chamomile, whig plant, mayweed or ground apple, due to smelling like ‘apples’. Plus, (Chamaemelum nobile ‘Flore Pleno’), which is a ‘doubled flower’ and is more ‘compact’ than the standard Roman chamomile.

Also there are two lesser known chamomiles, which are the Chamomile treneague, which does not flower, and can be used as a no-mow lawn, and the Dyers chamomile, which is used for its dying ability.

The two chamomile’s principally used in herbalism are German chamomile and Roman chamomile. German chamomile is generally considered stronger and better for mucosal surfaces, and Roman chamomile is a little more bitter, soothes the lungs better, and can be used to speed up menstrual flow if needed, but may have more of a possible allergic reaction, such as dermatitis.

Chamomile’s most useful known action is that it is a ‘mild sedative’ therefore it is a relaxant, so much so it can be given to small children who are fretting. It relaxes the nerves, yet without much influence on sedation or side-effects.

How to use Chamomile?

Herbal Teas:

The most popular use of Chamomile is a herbal tea or Tisane, it is great also for the elderly and those convalescing, and this is how you make it:

A Chamomile tea is beautiful in every way
  • Take one heaped teaspoon of chamomile flowers, fresh or dried
  • Put it in a loose tea infuser
  • Place it in a warmed cup and pour in 250mls of just on boiling water
  • Cover and allow to stand for 3-5 minutes
  • If desired you can add a little raw honey or stevia, a slice of lemon, a slice or two of ginger or even fennel seeds

Culinary:

The flowers can be place in different types of salads, to add the colour of white and yellow, also they can be frozen in ice blocks to place into drinks.

Babies and Breastfeeding:

If you want to calm your baby from colic, teething or to encourage sleepiness, one can make a similar brew as mentioned above, but, it will need to be at “1/2 a teaspoon” not a whole teaspoon, to a ‘teapot’ not a cup, and this can be drunk in small quantities over the period of the day. Or, given via a bottle. Please note: always check for any possible allergic reaction, just to be safe.

Gardening uses:

Most only collect the flowers to make with a herbal tea, but it should be noted that some collect the leaves as well, these leaves can be used with the flowers in an infusion, which can be used as an accelerator to assist in decomposition and as a spray to help prevent dampening off. This infusion was made by bringing to boil 600ml of water and adding a handful of the flowers and leaves, then covered to help keep the volatile oils in and allowed to stand for half a day. Then strain and place into a suitable spray bottle for dispensing.

Potpourri:

An example of a Bath Potpourri you may like to try:

  • Rose Petals
  • Lavender
  • Chamomile
  • Peppermint
  • Comfrey
  • Lemon verbena
  • and Bee Balm

And Other uses:

Apart from its obvious and delicious use a tea beverage, it is used primarily as a herbal medicine, but it is also used in medicinal and pharmaceutical preparations, cosmetics, and its essential oil is used in perfumes.


How to grow Chamomile

Both German and Roman chamomiles are easy to grow, depending on where you live, that is, hotter or colder as most seed planting times will differ, if you are in more hotter and drier climates, then you should plant around autumn and winter, but if you are in cooler climates then plant from spring to early summer.

German chamomile grows as an annual that grows to approximately 30-50 cm high and Roman chamomile is a perennial low growing herb that matts.

From Seed:

  • Fill a tray or container with good seed raising mix, which is usually mostly sand
  • Sow your seed onto seed trays and cover with about 5mm (1/4″) of some of the seed raising mix
  • Lightly water the mix and keep it slightly moist (you can keep a hessian bag laid over the mix to keep the moisture in.)
  • They should start emerging approximately 2-3 weeks later
  • Transplant the seedlings into either pots or into the garden when you have four good leaves and water in well and protect from heat if necessary until established
  • The seed can be directly planted into the garden and thinned out to at least 20cm apart
This seed packet contains Roman Chamomile from a local hardware store

From Cuttings:

The double flowered chamomile and chamomile treneague must be propagated by cuttings or division and collect the cutting either during spring and autumn, and the cuttings are generally easier because they have ‘aerial’ roots. Simply make a hole into the potting mix with a dibbler and then carefully place the cuttings into the holes without damaging the roots and water in.

Maintenance:

Chamomile loves a sunny position and slightly acidic well-drained soil, and since being relatively hardy and easy to grow, they can grow in less than desirable places. Chamomile does benefit from some liquid fertiliser at the beginning of its growing season and make sure that the ground does not dry out therefore mulch well.

Diseases and Pests:

Due to being highly aromatic by nature, Chamomile is relatively free from pests and disease


Collecting

Most flowers are collected once they have bloomed and are in the early stage of maturity and in the mid-morning once the dew or moisture has dried off and this is to prevent mould and mildew forming during the drying process and ruining the supply later on. But Chamomile and another flower called ‘Everlasting flower’ are a little different, and so with these, you need to collect the flowers ‘as’ they are starting to blossom, not after they have fully bloomed as with all the rest.

To pick its flowers go out into your garden or wherever you can find wild growing chamomile to collect the flowers, (don’t pick your neighbours unless you’ve asked) and take a small sharp knife or some garden snips and carefully cut off the flowers or you can pick the flowers by hand, picking them directly behind the the bud. Place them into a suitable container or basket, but don’t squash them or damage them in any way.

As your picking them, beware of damaged flowers and make sure your flowers are free from defects, such as, brown edges and dead petals as these will ruin your pick. Also, be aware of debris such as unknown leaf matter, dirt, dust or ash, or any other matter that should not be there, plus insects such as spiders and caterpillars and insect eggs that can be found on these flowers.

Drying:

The flowers need to be dried in a well-ventilated room and not in the sun as this may cause the loss of the volatile oils; spread out the flowers onto brown wrapping paper or paper towelling into a thin layer. Make sure that they are not sitting on top of each other and the air can get around the flowers. The flowers once dry, should retain their colour and aroma and remain whole, looking the same as the original pick. Be aware that bugs may crawl out from the flowers, so be kind and provide a way of escape for them.

If your worried about something getting on the dried flowers, whilst drying them, then drape a light mesh over the top without touching them.

Storage:

Store your beautiful smelling chamomile flowers in a sealed bottle, it can be clear, but must be kept out of the sunlight, and in a cool place away from heat, otherwise keep in an amber coloured jar and still away from heat. Either way, make sure that the bottle is labelled with its contents and dated. They will keep for at least two years like this. If you see any mould throw it out.

Macerating:

Chamomile’s macerating time is relatively short, literally only a few days if you are making a tincture from the flowers. Chamomile makes an excellent glycerin extraction, which is good for those wishing to avoid alcohol.


Herbalism.

The information below is for informational and education purposes only. So please do not “self-treat”. When seeking any ‘therapeutic’ advice always see a Health Care Professional first.

Parts used:

Flowers, which have not fully blossomed

Dosage:

Minimum to maximum of dried flower is 0.9 – 1.8g per day

Main actions:

Anti-Inflammatory, spasmolytic, carminative, mild sedative, antiulcer, vulnerary, and diaphoretic

Indications:

Travel sickness, restlessness, anxiety, insomnia, nervous dyspepsia, plus, Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), food sensitivities, flatulent colic, flatulence, gastrointestinal tract colic and inflammation, diarrhoea, teething and infantile colic, gastritis, peptic ulcers, GORD, topically for dermatitis, mouth ulcers, and wounds

Constituents:

Essential oils with dicycloethers, bisabolol, matricine, flavonoids, coumarins. best to use when rich in bisabolol

Safety Concerns:

Allergic to Chamomile (Think Ragweed)

Adulterants:

Presently ‘None Known’



Please remember, this blog cannot and should not replace a health care professional, and is for informational and educational purposes only and is not for medical advice or treatment. And no cure is implied in anyway. If you have a known serious condition, or are pregnant, please consult your health care professional, before use.

Kind Regards,

Russell a.k.a Herbal Panda

Website: http://www.theherbarius.com.au

Name Logo

Email: theherbalist@theherbarius.com.au

Sales: sales@theherbarius.com.au

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German Chamomile 40 g / 1.41oz

Certified Organic German Chamomile. Includes Postage and Handling in Australia of $3.65

A$9.65