Hibiscus-Clove Cooler

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In the summer months, the new life that emerged in spring is in full swing. The sun is high in the sky casting warmth–or in Florida’s case–excruciating heat upon the land.

During the summer we are active and engaged in the world. Food is plentiful. We can eat as many fresh fruits and vegetables as possible to help keep us cool.

Following is a recipe to help keep you cool this summer.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 to one whole lime, or to taste
  • 4 – 6 hibiscus ice cubes
  • Cold water
  • Tiniest pinch of clove
  • Dash of sweetener or 1-2 fruit ice cubes (optional)

Directions

  • Add lime slices or squeeze desired amount of juice into a tall glass
  • Add sweetener/fruit cubes if desired
  • Pour cold water over contents
  • Stir in tiny pinch of clove

What ways do you keep cool during the hot months?

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Spring Tonic

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Spring symbolizes growth and renewal. Spring is fast approaching and it’s time to share this basic Spring Tonic. During the winter months animals hibernate and plants go dormant. Everyone begins to wake up. Humans are included in this.

The first plants to emerge are called spring tonics. Some of these herbs are dandelion, chickweed, young poke shoots, and nettles. These spring tonics can help with digestion and stimulate liver function.

Wake up from winter with a Spring Tonic.

Ingredients

Directions

  • Place the nettles, dandelion leaf, and red clover blossoms into a heat safe container.
  • Decoct roots in a quart of water. Simmer for twenty minutes.
  • Pour hot water decoction over the leafy greens
  • Steep for twenty minutes then strain.

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Basic Digestive Bitters Recipe

The Craft of Herbal Fermentation Course by Herbal Academy

This recipe is adapted from Rosemary Gladstar. It’s used when you’re experiencing constipation and you’re obviously looking for relief.

If you want to order herbs, I always recommend Mountain Rose Herbs. If that’s not possible, I also recommend using the links below.

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Ingredients

Directions

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  • Mix all of the ingredients together to create a herb blend.
  • Decoct 1 tablespoon of blend per cup of hot water for 30 minutes.
  • Strain and drink 3 cups per day as needed.

Out of everything in this recipe, yellow dock is probably the most potent. If you find the actions of this recipe working too well, consider using less yellow dock.

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Herbal Infusions and Decoctions

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Tea.

There is a difference between a medicinal tea and a beverage tea. When making a beverage tea, I’m looking at flavor. When making a medicinal tea I’m looking at how I can harness the healing powers of the plant I’m using to my benefit.

When I’m trying to make a medicinal tea for cold and flu season as a preventative or if someone suddenly gets a stomach bug I have a different process and sometimes different equipment I use to get the full benefits of the medicinal plant or food that I am using.

A medicinal tea can be flavorful at times, but taste is obviously not the driving factor. And sometimes what is created, even with added flavors, is downright awful.

When making a tea for medicinal purposes, I recommend making at least a quart at a time (unless more than one person in the household needs it). Making a cup at a time is a waste as this is not the fastest process. Most teas can be kept at room temperature for a day or two, but I do recommend refrigeration. Our house personally loves cold tea anyways (even some of the herbal blends), but it does last longer in the fridge. If the taste is off or you see bubbles forming at the top, toss it and make new tea if needed.

Medicinal teas actually have different terminology for the methods of making it. The method you use is dependent upon the parts of the plant you use. Let’s explore the art of infusions and decoctions. Both are simple, but more time-consuming than heating water and steeping herbs for five minutes.

When making an infusion, you are using the leaves and/or flowers of a plant. This is a gentler process than a decoction, which is important in not destroying the enzymes, vitamins, and essential oils of the plant.  Steeping a plant in boiling water (or heated but NOT boiling in some cases), is an infusion. Making a tea, or infusion, for beverage purposes is fairly quick, as most blends call for a five-minute steeping time. Making an infusion  for medicinal purposes is quite a bit longer. To make an infusion:

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Photographed by Amanda Harman

Put 4-6 tablespoons of dried herb (6-8 tablespoons of chopped fresh herb) into a quart jar.

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Photographed by Amanda Harman

Pour boiling water over the herbs, filling the jar. Steep for 30-45 minutes, covered.

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Photographed by Amanda Harman

Strain.

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Photographed by Amanda Harman

And drink.

Decoctions are what you make if you’re using the bark or root of a plant. For decoctions, you want to simmer roots or bark in already boiling water. Bark and roots take a little extra elbow grease to get the full benefits. To make a decoction:

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Photographed by Amanda Harman

Put 4-6 tablespoons of dried root/bark (6-8 tablespoons of chopped fresh root/bark) in a small saucepan with 1 quart of cold water. Bring mixture to a simmer on low heat. Cover and let simmer for 25-45 minutes. For a stronger decoction, simmer for 20-30 minutes then put into a quart jar to infuse overnight.

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Photographed by Amanda Harman

Strain.

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Photographed by Amanda Harman

And drink.

The process really is simple, but it does take time. Time is the biggest struggle because we’re all very busy. I try to take a proactive step because of this at certain times of the year, especially flu season.

Do you have any favorite blends you enjoy using?

Following the herbalist path? Look here to see where I turn to continue my education.

Follow our blog to keep updated. You can also follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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