An Herbal tea is just so easy to make and refreshing

Certainly the history of teas, that is, putting a herb into water, goes a long, long way back, and I believe that it probably started with the Chinese. It is said that in about 2737 B.C. an Emperor by the name of Shen Nung (神農) was waiting while a servant boiled water, had some leaves fall into the water, and being a Herbalist himself, gave the new leaf/water combination a try, and so was the birth of tea, which was Camellia sinensis, which is a herb of course.

But what happened from there you may ask, well, frankly I don’t really know, and probably nobody else really knows either. But I will give you my ‘assumption’, and please, tell me what you think?

I believe that from about the time of Shen Nung and his story, the idea of putting plant matter into hot water probably grew. As they have found containers for tea in tombs from the Han dynasty 206 BC – 220 AD, and it was around the 618-906 AD during the Tang dynasty, that tea became the drink of China. And some say that herbal tea was found in the Pharaoh’s tombs about 1000 B.C.

Ultimately, over those thousands of years, many herbs other than Camellia sinensis would have been tried as a tea, and now Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), has many herbal combinations for healing the sick. Of course, as trade via ship and the silk road continued, so did the idea of making a tea.


A herbal tea is actually called a “Tisane”, which is actually an archaic word which means “Peeled Barley”. This is probably a good thing, because it separates from making a herbal tea, a ‘Tisane’, and TEA, which is specifically one plant – Camellia sinensis.

When one comes to term “Infusion” it can apply to many different things because what it means is the ‘pouring or adding in of something’, and with herbal teas and tea, there’s a pouring or adding in of the essences of the plant into the water.

I have left the title of this post, just “How to do Herbal Infusions”, simply because I believe that Camellia sinensis, a herb, (especially Matcha) has wonderful health benefits along with all the other herbs you could make an infusion from, and why not combine tea with another herb?

Also, there are infusions and decoctions, and they are similar, but there are some real differences, one difference is that infusions are never boiled.

Reasons why to have Infusions

One the best reasons for having an infusion is due to the easiness of it, you can simply throw in 1 heaped teaspoon of your favourite herb, pour in some boiling hot water, wait 5 to 10 minutes and there you are, now enjoy.

One of my most favourite ways to take herbs both for enjoyment and therapeutically is via an infusion. Except for those yucky ones of course, then I take capsules, and the reason I normally don’t take tinctures is that they are expensive keep in store just in case. But there is a place for them at times.

Although there are rare issues with infusions, on the whole they are very safe, especially with common and well known herbs. Ask yourself, when was the last time you heard of someone dying from drinking tea?

Herbal teas are generally naturally free from caffeine, unless they have been mixed with something else, so those who want to be caffeine free have many choices of beverages, and are generally less in tannins.

You can take constant infusions of a herb your entire life, if you feel it benefits you, an example of this could be if you tend to indigestion and insomnia, you could take a ginger and peppermint infusion shortly after your dinner, and then later on that night 1/2 an hour before bed have an infusion of chamomile, lemon balm and a small squeeze of lemon juice to help with your liver.

It is only a consideration, if you are taking it ‘therapeutically’, on how much and how long you are taking it for.

Finally, I personally believe that the idea of just sitting down and relaxing over a fragrant, and delicious cuppa, has so many therapeutic benefits, to resist this stressed out world, don’t you think?

How to do Infusions

Even though infusions are an excellent way to obtain the herbs benefits, there are a few suggestions that are worth following for better results.

Never use plastic or aluminium containers to prepare an infusion in, but you can use an enamel, china, porcelain or glass containers. You can even go as far as only using one teapot for tea, and one for tisanes, as they will flavour each other.

I would suggest is that once you have poured your hot water in immediately cover the cup or mug with a plate, saucer or similar to keep the volatile oils in, these are actually those essential oils that are found in herbs. And when you lift up the plate, try to make sure that the liquid condensed underneath the plate drains into your cup.

Or you can place 1 heaped teaspoon (5ml) of your chosen herb into a suitable glass jar, pour in boiling hot water and screw down the lid and wait until it has infused, which in most cases is 5 to 10 minutes. When cool enough to drink, enjoy.

An extra point for fresh herbs, now I love both fresh and dried herbs, but when using fresh herbs in your infusions, it is best to crush, grind or at least finely chop them, just before making the infusion, this is to release the less water-loving constituents out of the herb’s ‘glands’.

Some good herbs to use fresh are: Calendula, Dandelion, Clover, Lemon Balm, Mint, Gentian, Catnip, Lovage, Thyme and Self-heal.

But what about those bits and pieces floating on top? Well, there are at least three ways to deal with this: 1) just skim the liquid off the top, and dodge the pieces, 2) strain through a non-metallic filter, or 3) make or buy natural chemical free single use or reusable teabags.

Don’t worry, the amount of essential oil will not cause any harm as it is very small.

I believe that infusing the constituents out of the herb via hot water is one of the best ways to extract them, as even though you are using water, some but not all, of the less water loving components, will still come out, just not as much as say an alcohol/water extraction. And most tinctures taste yucky!

Hot or Cold Infusions

Yes, there are such as drinks as iced teas, I know, but when talking ‘herbally’ a Cold infusion doesn’t exactly mean the same thing as an Iced tea, as I will go on to explain.

Hot Infusions

Most herbal infusions are prepared using hot water, and yes, there are a few exceptions to the rule, for example Matcha, most are prepared at or ‘just before’ a rolling boil.

Most herbal infusions are mixed at a rate of 1 heaped teaspoon to 250ml of water, and you can multiply from there for larger amounts, and this is fine for most people, when just making a ‘cuppa’. But if you trying to take things more therapeutically then you’ll want to make larger amounts.

If you are using dried herbs then you want about 30g / 1 oz to 500ml / 1 pint, and when using fresh herbs 75g / 2.5 oz to 500ml / 1 pint. This is now best to place this into a thermos flask, that way it keeps hot for longer, and holds in the precious volatile oils and their benefits.

Then take this at half to 1 cup 3 times per day.

Although most people take infusions hot, some are best allowed to cool right down, these are infusions that are intended to act as blood purifiers, bitters for appetite, diuretics, to expel worms, reduce bleeding and to stimulate metabolism.

Cold Infusions

Some constituents are ruined or potency lowered when affected by heat, so at times the best preparation is leaving them in cold water, and some don’t need heat to be extracted.

In this case, all you need to do is place the herbs into a glass jar, pour in the water and leave it for at least 8 hours or overnight. Marshmallow, Wormwood, Mistletoe, Blessed thistle, Valerian and Barberry are such herbs best taken this way.

What about Milk

My first suggestion is not to use milk, I am not anti-milk, but in most cases when using infusions, just a straight herb/water mix is best. But at times, milk can add not subtract.

Milk can also be used instead of water in Cold infusions, but this doesn’t apply to those who are dairy intolerant.

It is interesting to note that milk proteins combine with the tannins in both tea, and some herbal infusions. This can make things more ‘gentler’ on some stomachs. So if you find some infusions irritating to the stomach or causing constipation, maybe try milk.

Milk is best NOT to be used when you are dealing with respiratory conditions, as it can increase mucus levels, thereby making symptoms worse, and some herbal infusions should not be combined with milk, as it can ruin other important and beneficial constituents.

Variations of Infusions

One of the beautiful things about infusions is that you can either just have one herb, or any number of combinations, and generally you only need to go up to three different herbs. The way to understand this is if you were playing a chord on a musical instrument, you want a top, middle and base note, or you could say, melody, harmony and rhythm. Or you could simply say, ‘they work synergistically’.

An example of this – for Dyspepsia:

  • Top note or melody – Peppermint
  • Middle or harmony – Dandelion
  • Base note or rhythm – Meadowsweet

Other variations can be to combine with Tea, yes, Camellia sinensis, and you can easily buy tea in four different ways: black, white, green and matcha (always buy quality matcha).

Also, you can add fruit or fruit juice such as lemon, lime and orange, peach, strawberry, raspberry, blueberry and watermelon.

For decoration, you can just simply add a few of the herb leaves or flowers on top, for example, rose petals or mint leaves, or a slice of fruit, such as a slice of lime.

Some sweeteners: can be raw honey, rapadura, agave nectar, or stevia, erythritol and monk fruit for those who are cutting out their sugar. I am not a fan of sugar.

Choice of Herbs for Infusions

This could be any of a thousand different herbs, but what I would suggest, especially if you are relatively new to infusions, is to try the more common ones first, then progress into trying new ones, and then venture out into combinations and even unusual ones.

Since every herb actually has some health benefit, even if it is quite small, I would also advise finding something that has some immediate help, an example of these could be:

  • Chamomile: anti-inflammatory, carminative, mild sedative, and vulnerary
  • Peppermint: spasmolytic, carminative, antiemetic, antitussive, emmenagogue, tonic, antimicrobial, mild sedative/stimulant, digestive and enzyme activator
  • Ginger: antibiotic, carminative, antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, carminative, analgesic, digestive, expectorant
  • Lemon balm: carminative, spasmolytic, mild sedative, stomachic, antioxidant, antibacterial, nervine, febrifuge, antiseptic
  • Elderflower: common cold, influenza, sinusitis, bronchitis, hay fever, pharyngitis, laryngitis, and sinus headache

Safety

A few small things to consider when using infusions:

  • Don’t keep them for any longer than 24 to 36 hours, as things will break down
  • If you are using them therapeutically use them for 6 weeks, then break for 1 week, then resume
  • Most common herbs are fine to use in infusions, BUT, some should only be taken in low to very low doses, otherwise they can become toxic, so unless you KNOW the herb and know it is safe, always do your research first. (These are usually hard to find)
  • If you become pregnant, some herbs you should either reduced or removed from your diet, so check with your health care professional first


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

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Herbal Panda

“Hello good neighbour, I am looking for someone, someone who can help me to the core, I have some issues and concerns that require attention, do you know somebody?” asked the tired and weary man, wiping sweat from off his brow. “Yes I do, kind fellow, and he’s just the man for the job, Mr Hawthorn is the name he comes by, have you heard of him?” said the neighbour. “Ahh yes, I man after my own heart.” said the weary man.

Hawthorn of the Crataegus species, has had a bit of an interesting and colourful past, and as with some folk, they have been unfairly accused of bad connections and therefore, don’t get the recognition they deserve. Well, hopefully I can help with bringing about a change.

Hawthorn is native to North America, areas of Europe, North Africa and Asia Minor. In very early sites and settlements archeologists have discovered seeds that were from the hawthorn fruit, strongly suggesting that they were using hawthorn berries as a source of food for a very long time.

To the ancient Greeks and Romans, it contained rich symbolism, that they connected with things like marriage, their fertility, and hope, and even the Greek brides and bridesmaids used it at their weddings, where the bridesmaids wore the flower and the bride carried a bough.

Later on, some folk decided to say that the ‘Crown of Thorns” of whom Christ was supposed to have worn, was Hawthorn, and due to this, the reputation of hawthorn went down hill. Sadly, a perfectly good herb was defamed over what was probably just an opinion, as it was more than likely the Jujube Tree – Ziziphus spina-christi, but frankly, nobody really knows.

It appears that this reputation was extended, due to the flower of some European species that had an odour of rotting meat, which was to encourage carrion-eating insects to pollinate their flowers. To add to this, as the plague went through, the dead left lying around had the same smell. I guess that variety wouldn’t be my first choice to plant in my back yard.

Thankfully, this reputation “died away“, and no longer stinketh, and by the time of Nicholas Culpeper (1616-1654) it had started to gain a good reputation as a ‘medicinal herb’. As Mr Culpeper states:

“The berries, or the seed … are a singular remedy for the stone, … effectual for the dropsy (accumulation of excess water). The distilled water of the flowers stayeth the lask (I have no idea what lask is); and the seeds, cleeted from the down, then bruised and boiled in wine, will give instant relief to the tormenting pains of the body. If cloths and sponges are wet in the distilled water, and applied to any place wherein thorns, splinters, &c. are lodge, it will certainly draw them forth.”

Sadly even after this qualified description, it was not for many years to come that the true essence and virtues of Hawthorn finally came to light until after the death of a doctor who had managed to successfully treat heart disease and congestive heart failure during the 1800’s. Dr D. Greene, of Ennis, County Clare, Eire, a well known Irish physician kept it a secret until his death and then his daughter revealed that he used a tincture made of red ripe hawthorn berries. After this it became widely used by many herbalists and some doctors for treatment of heart and cardiovascular issues.

I believe that all doctors and chemists should have the right to use and prescribe herbs within their practice.

The book ‘Left for Dead’ by Dick Quinn wrote, “Used in conjunction with a healthy diet and stress management, hawthorn is a perfect, preventative prescription for person who have a family history of heart disease.” This is because it is believed to be safe, good with long term use, non-toxic, non-addictive, and non-accumulative. Said to be a ‘normaliser,’ meaning, that it will balance the heart depending on which way it needs to go, either stimulating or depressing.

Also in David Hoffmann’s Holistic Herbal, he says, “Hawthorn, one of the best tonic remedies for the heart … It may be used safely in longterm treatment for heart weakness or failure … palpitations … angina pectoris … and high blood pressure.”

In Russia, the name means something like, “your honor, lady landowner” giving reference to a rich or inaccessible lady who is attractive but hard to get.

The Weed Files

Is hawthorn a shrub or a tree? Well frankly, due to hawthorn being part of a group of over 200 different species, hawthorn really covers a lot of ground you could say. But when speaking about Crataegus monogyna, and if ‘push comes to shove’, I would have to say that it starts as a shrub and ultimately forms a tree. See how I dodged that one?

Is the Hawthorn berry, a berry, a fruit, or a pome?

Now this could actually get rather confusing, as in, when you really tackle such questions from a botanical and scientific approach, you find your wrangling with something bigger than you.

Now the first part” is it a berry? No, it is not, it is actually a pome. Pomes are in a small group of their own, which include apples, pears, loquats, and quince, and lesser known fruits such as: Medlar, California holly, Serviceberry, Rowan, Chokeberries and finally Hawthorn.

Is it a ‘fruit’? Well, yes it is, but when classifying it as a fruit, it is actually, an ‘accessory fruit’; this means that not only did it come from the ovary of the flower, but it is part of the flower. Technically, it is the swelling of the floral tube at the base of the ovary, that engulfs the seed and ovary etc., which is the actual fruit.

The best way to see this, is to cut an apple in half before you eat it and you will see a faint line inside the apple, this is the division between the swelling and the actual fruit.

May, Mayflower or Mayblossom

So where did three of the many common names for hawthorn come from? Hawthorn in the Northern hemisphere tends to bloom from about April to June, and depending on latitudes etc., and the three names May, Mayflower and Mayblossom, comes from the fact that in England it always blooms in ‘May’.


How To Use Hawthorn

Certainly hawthorn doesn’t have the culinary notoriety as so many other fruits and berries, and is more used for its medicinal or practical values depending where you live for example. In some places, hawthorn is just so ‘common place’, that nobody really cares.

But even if you didn’t have an interest in hawthorn in the medicinal sense, it still does have uses. One of its present and oldest uses is in hedgerows, and apart from the stinking varieties, it has beautiful sprays of flowers and fruits, excellent in larger gardens and back drops.

But I hope to supply a few recipes since they are not so common, and try to suggest some other uses you may not have thought of.

Hawthorn Herbal Teas

Herbal tea is probably one of the easiest ways to consume hawthorn, and it is also helpful in the practice of getting the person to sit down and rest, whilst gaining its medicinal benefit. In some ways, this is very important for this particular herb, and why is this? Because this herb requires long term use to gain real and long term benefits, it isn’t one of those herbs that act quickly, even if it is the exact herb you need, it will still take a while.

Simple Hawthorn Teas

  • Place 1 to 2 teaspoons of either dried berries, leaves or flower into a cup
  • Pour in boiling hot water
  • Allow to steep for 15 minutes
  • Add sweetener if needed, such as, raw honey, stevia, erythritol or monk fruit
  • Sit, rest and enjoy

You can safely drink this tea three times a day, and to make it stronger, simply add more herb, and drink it before meals.

A Hawthorn Decoction

A decoction has several differences from an infusion, and one main thing is that it will be stronger, due to greater processing.

  • Place 1 tablespoon (15g) of crushed fruits into a saucepan
  • Pour in one cup of water
  • Bring to boil and gently simmer for 10 minutes
  • Turn off the heat and allow to stand for another 30 minutes
  • Drink 1/3 to 1/2 a cup three times a day, 1/2 an hour before meals
  • If needed, add some sweetener
  • This can be refrigerated in a sealed glass jar for 24 hours

Culinary Uses for Hawthorn

Though not so common, I believe that hawthorn really does have a lot to offer in the culinary world, it just hasn’t been tapped into. We need some ‘interesting’ chef to stamp their mark on the hawthorn world, like cooking hawthorn berries with liquid nitrogen and a blow torch.

Hawthorn is really up to the imagination in how it can be used, as the flowers can be eaten raw, used in green and fruit salads, placed in ice blocks for drinks, decoration on cakes and other desserts such as ice-cream and puddings, in breads, used as a garnish, flavouring for cool summer drinks, punches and other beverages. It can be used in jams and jellies, chutney, sauces for sweet and savoury dishes, marmalades and conserves, which can be spread on anything from toast to cake rolls, scones and buns.

The idea is to think, ‘berry’ or ‘fruit’ and no its not a berry, its a pome and accessory fruit, but where else could you use a berry or fruit?

Hawthorn Chutney

  • Place 2 1/2 cups of cider vinegar in a suitable saucepan
  • Add 1 kg / 2.2 lbs of berries
  • Bring to boil and then simmer for 15 minutes
  • Allow it to cool down until safe enough to put into a blender**
  • Blend into a chunky pulp
  • Pour the blended mix back into the saucepan
  • Add 1 cup of raisins
  • Add 1 1/2 cups of brown sugar
  • Add 1 teaspoon of ginger powder
  • Add 1 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cloves and allspice
  • A pinch of black pepper
  • Simmer for another 20 to 30 minutes, whilst stirring
  • When quite thick place into a jar and seal and store in the fridge

This goes marvellously with cold meats and and on toast with ricotta or cottage cheese.

** Putting very hot liquids etc., into a blender and blending it can release heat creating an explosive situation. I have burnt myself before blending hot ingredients.

Hawthorn Jelly

  • Pour 1 litre into a large blender
  • Add 1 1/2kg / 3.3 lbs of berries to the blender
  • Blend into a pulp
  • Pour the contents into a suitable saucepan
  • Bring to boil and reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes
  • Strain off and collect the juice
  • For each cup of juice, add 1 cup of sugar plus, the juice of a lemon
  • Gently boil, stirring regularly to prevent, sticking or burning to the saucepan
  • Continue until, you can get a spoonful to set like jelly on a cold saucer
  • At this stage, bottle and seal ready for use

Hawthorn berries are very high in pectin.

A Simmering Potpourri

For those users and makers of simmering potpourri, did you know that dried hawthorn berries go with allspice berries?

Health Uses of Hawthorn

Before I say anything here, any heart condition should be considered serious and can be fatal. Therefore, it should not be taken lightly, if you have or suspect a heart condition, it is advisable that you see a medical profession. Hawthorn is an excellent herb to help those with heart conditions, but please see your medical professional first before any self-treatment.

There are three types of hawthorn that are considered in medicinal use in the West, and they are Crataegus monogyna, Crataegus oxycantha syn. C. laevigata, and the Crataegus sanguinea, which I believe may be less known but does have similar properties. With Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Chinese practitioners use Japanese hawthorn – Crataegus sinaica.

The parts used for medicinal use are the berries, leaves and flower. They can be used in combination with each other, for example, berries and flowers, or using dried and fresh together will work. But for more specific ‘heart benefits’ its the leaves and flowers that are most helpful.

Collecting from well researched books and from many studies, the list of possible benefits to using hawthorn are numerous.

Hawthorn Facial lotion

This recipe is said to help improve complexion and help with acne.

  • Soak 1 cup of fresh berries in 2 cups of water for 8 hours, “OR”
  • Soak 1/2 cup of dried berries in 2 cups of water for 12 hours
  • After soaking, bring to boil and simmer for 10 minutes
  • Allow to cool and then strain
  • Either refrigerate for the short term, or freeze for much later use
  • Apply both morning and night with a gentle applicator, “OR”
  • Use as a cold compress

Gardening Uses of Hawthorn

Though not well known for it’s use in the diet, it has other values worth planting for. Since it has so many varieties, as in, over 200, this gives us a range of uses. One of its nicest uses is as an ornamental, and this comes from three areas:

1). It has quite a lovely little flower and its colour can range from white to a dark pink, that can come out on mass, it is 5 petalled, and 12mm / 1/2″ diameter, and there are a few that have a double flower.

2). After the flush of flowers, then come the gorgeous bursts of red, but sometimes you can get: pink, yellow and orange, and even a white. These “Haws” as they are also called, can be from the size of a raisin to the size of the crabapple – 25 to 37mm / 1″ to 1 1/2″. Some are quite tasty to nearly no flavour. So if you are thinking about putting a few of these into your garden, choose one that you know will work for you.

3). Hawthorn can often have long horizontal branches, which could trained, therefore as it grows, it can be shaped or trimmed, or directed in, around, along and over things to either hide something, create shade, safety from nosey neighbours or cool walls, over pergolas and create wind breaks.

Another use is one of its oldest uses, and that is for building hedgerows to control stock. Some varieties can grow so thick and thorny, that they literally become an impenetrable mass. But I probably wouldn’t put your expensive thoroughbred up against it.


How to Grow Hawthorn

Hawthorn is part of the rose family – Rosaceae, which is part of the reason their double flowers actually look some what like roses. Different species grow differently to others, so some can grow into a tree up to 10 m / 33′ high, and this length of growth can give the ‘clever’ gardener some scope to really become artistic. Many have thorns, so be aware of this, but some don’t. It normally flowers in late spring with small five-petalled white to pink flowers, and the berries arrive in late summer.

Due to hawthorn having so many different species, and some suggesting over 1000, plus the cultivars, and to add to this dilemma, they grow literally in so many environments and climates, it is difficult to nail down easy growing advice.

But at least I can provide some general advice, but it may be a good idea to visit local nurseries and to do a little of your own local observation and research too.

On the whole hawthorn can just about grow in any reasonable soil type, but if you are looking for preferences, then they prefer alkaline soils that are rich, moist and loamy. Be aware that some do prefer full sun to part shade.

From Seed

From seed it can be a little difficult and worst of all, it can take about 5 months or in some cases up to 18 months, so it is probably not for the impatient gardener.

  • Once you see the birds starting to eat the berries, than that is a good sign that you should harvest for the seed. This is usually around mid autumn to winter.
  • Start with cleaning away the flesh around the seed
  • Drop the seed into a small bowl of water, and if they sink then they are suitable for planting
  • Place a mixture of potting mix and sharp sand into 10cm / 3″ pots
  • Place the seeds on top of this mix and cover 1 to 2 cm / 3/8 to 3/4″ of the mixture
  • Gently water in
  • If you are in a region that snows or gets very cold, then leave the pot outside to chill, you may need to protect from vermin eating the seed
  • If you are not in a cold region, then you may need to put it in the coldest part of the fridge, this is to simulate its natural course of winter
  • After about 3 to 4 months and all is going well, you should see something popping up
  • Otherwise, it may take up to 18 months
  • As they begin to germinate, wait until each plant is sufficiently big and strong enough to handle the position you wish to plant in

From Cuttings

  • Cut 10cm to 15cm / 4″ to 6″ softwood stems, and when making the cut, cut just below the node.
  • Pull of the leaves from the bottom of the cutting
  • Dip about 1.5 to 2.5cm / 1/2 to 1″ into either rooting compound, raw honey, or cinnamon
  • Make a mixture of equal parts, potting mix, perlite and clean sand and fill the required containers
  • Gently moisten the mix in the containers
  • Push a hole into the mix with a stick or pencil or similar
  • So long as you don’t place the cuttings against each other, you can put several cuttings in each container
  • Place each cutting into the hole you just made and press around them to sure them up, don’t allow any leaf matter into the hole as it will rot
  • Place a clear plastic bag over the cuttings to keep them moist and warm
  • Put the plants where they can be cared for and out of direct sunlight
  • Don’t let them get hot
  • Keep the mixture ‘just moist’, wet can lead to problems
  • All going well, you should see roots at the bottom of the container in about two to three months and hopefully some growth onto top
  • When they are established, repot them into larger pots with general purpose potting mix
  • Continue to keep the soil just moist until ready to be planted out into the spot where you want them
  • When planted out, make provision for any climate extremes and animals that may harm them
  • If it is very cold, you may have to wait two seasons before planting them out in the field
  • Mulch them after they have been planted out

From Layering

I can’t find too much about layering of hawthorn, but I personally believe that you should be able to do it and succeed. This includes both layering in the ground and also air layering, although I have not tried it.

Maintenance

Hawthorn really doesn’t require much maintenance, as it is such a hardy plant once established.

Pest and Diseases

Ornamental species can often suffer from leaf spot, fire blight, and cedar hawthorn rust, which cause early defoliation and decline.

Soil and Fertiliser

If you were a little concerned, and I don’t think it would hurt one bit if you at least kept the plant sufficiently mulch and just added in ‘little’ manure or liquid fertiliser once each growing season.

Climate and Region

Generally hawthorn prefers cold to cooler climates, but I do know that it grows in temperate to subtropical regions, but it may not do so well or grow as fast.


Collecting

If you are collecting either leaves or flowers, you should collect them right after blossoming, once the dew has dried off. If you are collecting the leaves or flowers for a tea infusion in the morning, then it doesn’t matter if there is any dew on the flowers.

The berries are harvested later on in summer when they are fully ripe and collect them either in the morning or evening or dry cloudy days. When collecting berries, check them for defects, damage and unripe fruits, foreign particles, plus pieces of stems or leaves or insects and their eggs or any presence of disease or bruising, especially when gathering for medicinal use.

Drying

Simply spread the leaves or flowers evenly on dry towelling paper or a dry kitchen towel in an open and airy room. Don’t stack them on top of each other.

When drying berries, place them on dry towelling paper or a dry kitchen towel in an open and airy room. The best temperature for drying berries is in-between 25 to 32C / 75 to 90F and a low humidity.

Storage

Once the leaves or flowers are thoroughly dry, place then into an air tight jar and keep them out of sunlight, and if there is signs of mould then get rid of them.

For storage check the berries for foreign particles and any defects. Check also for any berries that are dark and mouldy or dry spots and compost them. A berry should have its natural taste, colour and smell, even if its dry. After storage for some time, if any berries become mouldy then throw them out.

Macerating

If you are macerating from the berries, make sure that you use all of the berry, this includes the seed, which contains many of the ‘cardiotonic’ properties, therefore, break up the seed before macerating, thereby improving its benefits.


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:

May flower, May blossom, May, May tree, May bush, Hedgethorn, Hawberry, Whitethorn and Haw

Parts used:

Leaves with berries or flowers

Dosage:

Daily minimum to maximum dosage: 3.0 – 4.0 grams

Main actions:

Cardio protective, mild cardio tonic, coronary vasodilator, hypotensive, peripheral vasodilator, anti-arrhythmic, antioxidant, mild astringent, collagen stabilising, sedative, diuretic, antispasmodic, digestive,  antithrombotic, adaptogen, cholesterol and mineral solvent

Indications:

Mild congestive cardiac failure, cardiac arrhythmias, angina pectoris, heart attacks – preventative, cardiomyopathy, impaired peripheral circulation, risk of infarction, paroxysmal tachycardia, hypertension, palpitations, fatty degeneration, enlargement of heart – over work, over exercise, mental tension, intermittent claudication, long term dizziness, Buerger’s disease, Alzheimer’s, Arthritis, Lupus, Leukaemia, ADD, Diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, halitosis, atherosclerosis, memory loss, mild anxiety, insomnia, and emotional stress. Plus, Menopausal symptoms –  hot flashes, gout, pleurisy, fluid retention, low energy, sore throat, assists adrenal function, arthritis, swelling of the spleen, and stimulates red blood cells

Constituents:

Oligomeric procyanidins – 1 – 3%, procyanidin B-2, flavonoids – 1 – 2%, quercetin glycosides – hyperoside and rutin, flavone-C-glycosides – vitexin, proanthocyanidins, aminopurines, amines, polyphenolic acid, coumarins,  Flavonoids highest in flowers and oligomeric procyanidins highest in leaves, volatile oil, fixed oils, resins, saponins, sugars, fatty acids – linoleic, linoeuic, lauric and palmitic

Safety concerns:

None known, but caution with digitalis based drugs, such as digoxin – yet nothing has been established, consume away from minerals, thiamine, and alkaloids

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 heart feels and the mind thinks, to walk straight you need both”

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