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

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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Ribwort

Now where to start?

In my last blog, I mentioned that you may have herbs basically at your own back door and not know it. For many people this is true, no matter where you are in the world, but for some this isn’t true. So what is at least one answer to deal with a lack of useful herbs, that’s easy, you import your herbs, no I don’t mean ordering a plant or cuttings or seeds online, although this is okay, and you may have to do this, but what I am suggesting first is to literally go and find a herb in your area, that’s not illegal to take of course, or at least you should ask, and then shove it in a pot a grow it yourself.

A simple place to start

A common herb, which is found in many countries and found close to or reasonably near to civilisation and most would declare a weed is “Ribwort” or it’s botanical name is Plantago lanceolata. Yes I know, it is not a very flattering name is it? But, it is simply excellent for upper respiratory issues as it’s actions are expectorant, demulcent, astringent, anti-inflammatory, anticatarral, antiseptic, mucus membrane tonic, and wound healing. And this being a list of so many human aliments, why wouldn’t you want such a useful herb right there. Which can be used for common conditions such as coughs, rhinitis, sinusitis, nasal catarrh, laryngitis, plus topically for wounds from cuts and abrasions, boths fresh or slow healing, haemorrhoids and mouth ulcers, and that is just for starters.

The Weed File

Plantago Lanceolata does have a few look-a-likes or close brothers if you will, the common one it is confused with is typically called Plantain, which has nothing to do with the thing that looks like a banana. The easiest way to recognise ribwort from plantain is th esize of the leaf, ribwort is long and skinny, and Plantain is broad and wide. Thankfully, they both function the same and mixing them up poses no safety issues.

Some other similar species with possible mix ups are Buck’s-Horn plantain (Plantago coronopus), Sago weed (Plantago cunninghammii, P. drummondi)

Some different species that can be mixed up especially as young plants are: Wireweed (Polygonum aviculare), Corn Spurry (Spergula arvensis), Purple Calandrinia (Calandrinia menziesii)

So how do I do this?

First you need to go and get it, typically it is found where man has interfered with the environment and people traffic through such as foot paths, road sides, fields and vacant lots. Plus it is found more often in areas or groun that tends to more moisture, meaning, if water was moving on top of the ground or just underneath, that little spot tends to stay damper for longer, it is near low lying areas or creeks or slightly more shaded areas, then that is where it is likely to be.

Take with you either damp paper or clean damp cloth and a long philps screwdriver or some other pointy object, locate the plant and use that pointy object to loosen around the roots and lift it out. Roll the damp paper or cloth around the plant and take it back home.

Planting Ribwort

Ribwort is just so simple to plant and care for, Prepare container that’s about 150mm or 6″ in diameter, with some good potting mix, or good soil with compost, and slightly moisten the mix. Then poke a hole about as deep as the root system and just put it in the hole and with your fingers, press around it to stand it up, water inand keep the soil moist from then on, and there you are, it’ll just keep going and going. Always just sitting there, fresh and ready to be used. Personally, I would suggest always keeping it in pots, so as not to spread it all over the country side as this will encourage others to use herbicides, and we frankly just don’t need more poisons.

From seed

Ribwort is quite easy to grow from seed, and you can obtain this seed from the plant itself or buy then online. With any plant which some will call weeds, you may not be able to buy into your state or region.

  • Simply prepare a container with potting mix
  • Make a few holes in it
  • Drop a few seeds into the holes
  • Cover over
  • And well water in
  • In a short while up they come and your away

Maintenance

Ribwort does get pests such as aphids and some moths and other diseases, generally these are not so serious and so long as it is given basic care, that is, some water every now and again, and a spot of fertiliser, it will be fine. Of course it won’t survive snow and ice, but some seed can survive at times until spring.

Due to having a ‘tap root’ it tends to indicate, that the soil in that area has or is becoming compacted, therefore a simple help to remove it out of your lawns and fields is to open up and loosen the soil. This is why regular cultivation, that is, loosening it up reduces it population.

Here’s my very own Ribwort that I have had for several years
A closeup of the leaf for further pictures see the gallery

How do you use it?

So how would you use it for coughs or a sore throat, for example; simply cut off two of the fresh leaves about the same size as the photos above, chop them up a bit with a knife, chuck them into a cup or mug, pour in some freshly boiled water and cover, and wait a 10 minutes. You don’t have to, but you can then strain out the leaves add a suitable sweetener if required such as stevia, raw honey, monk fruit or erythritol, and drink. To help, and not too hot, you can gargle it as well.

You can make a similar tea as above out of the seeds, just use one teaspoon instead of the leaves, or use one tablespoon of dried leaves.

It can add many additional herbs to this simple recipe above if you wish, such as lemon balm or lemon grass, parsley or oregano, even sage, who knows really? An excellent herb to add is echinacea root, which is stronger than the echinacea leaf. In this case, I would make a decoction of the root by boiling it for 30-40 minutes, then add the Ribwort (or any other herbs) once you have turned off the heat, and leave it covered for about 10 minutes. Then drink slowly, but try to finish the drink before it gets cold, as hot teas seem to soothe sore throats and softens mucus.

Culinary Uses

The young leaves can be used in salads, with a slightly bitter taste, older leaves are not very good for salads, butu are fine for teas and decoctions.

The seeds, husks and flower heads are edible and are an excellent source of fibre for your diet. The famous ‘psyllium husks’ sometimes called Fleaseed, Plantago psyllium, is in the very same family as ribwort. The seeds due to their mucilage content can be placed into hot boiling water, which then turn into a jelly-like consistency, these can be added to fruit drinks and smoothies to add a thickener.

If your a rabbit or similar such as a guinea pig you also can eat ribwort.


Collection

The leaves can technically be harvested at any time, but for used in fresh salads only choose young ones, but for herbalism, teas and decoctions it is better to be collected just before or during blossoming time. Don’t remove all the leaves as you don’t want the plant to die off, and you may need some later, only harvest no more than 1/2 to 2/3rds of the plant maximum. Always make sure that the leaves are free from defects, such as insect bites, discolouration and any fungi, plus any chemicals, sprays and other poisons.

Drying

Simply place the leaves on a dry, clean kitchen towel, or paper towel in a well ventilated room, once the leaves are completely dry, place them into a sealed glass container and label. If kept dry, clean and cool and in a dark place, it should keep for up to two years. If you see or smell mouldiness then 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:

Leaf and flower and seed head

Dosage:

6.0 – 12.0 grams

Main actions:

Expectorant – global, demulcent, astringent, anti-inflammatory, anti-catarrhal, antiseptic, mucus membrane tonic, and wound healing

Indications:

All types of coughs, nasal catarrh – rhinitis, sinusitis, laryngitis, slow healing wounds – topically, haemorrhoids, and mouth ulcers

Constituents:

Anthraquinone glycosides, phenolics, and tannins

Safety concerns:

Pregnancy and lactation, in high doses, otherwise none known

Adulterants:

Adulterated with similar species of Rheum



As I continue this blog I intend to add more useful, yet easy to grow herbs, which you can keep at your back door, veranda, patio, carport or even on the landing of your apartment. So follow along as there’s so much more to discover.


Please remember, this blog cannot replace a health care professional, and is for informational and educational purposes only and is not for medical advice or treatment. If you have a known serious condition, or are pregnant, please consult your health care professional, before use.

Kind Regards,

Russell a.k.a. The Herbarius

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

Email: theherbalist@theherbarius.com.au

Sales: sales@theherbarius.com.au