I have a friend who recently had a beautiful baby that was born with health problems that resulted in a prolonged stay at the hospital. Because of this she hasn't been able to nurse, but has been pumping. As many of us know when you pump verses actually nursing you don't get quite the milk flow that a suckling baby can produce. She reached out to me for some herbs that could help increase her milk flow and this is what I came up with. Women that desire to nurse can come into other problems beyond my friend's experience with milk flow issues, this formula can help with anyone who feels they need to increase or enrich their milk production.
These herbs can be blended together and made into a tea, tincture or powdered for capsules. I made my friend capsules and just as a warning the red raspberry leaf doesn't really powder, it just fluffs up like cotton. I powdered the others herbs and did my best with the raspberry leaf and then used a fork to kind of mash and stir to combine. If I were making this for myself I would just make a tea. Dosage will be different for each person, I started out with 2 capsules or a cup of tea with each meal, you can increase or decrease as you see how your body responds. These are all nutritive herbs so no worries about 'overdosing'.
All of these herbs are galactagogue, which means they promote and enrich the production of milk in nursing mothers. Nettle and Dandelion are highly nutritive and so they support and feed all other systems in the body like a tonic. This also means that baby will be getting those nutrients via mother's milk. Red Raspberry leaf is a female and uterine tonic, it feeds many systems in the body and one of my favorite herbs to put in almost every remedy.
I have heard of so many people getting pneumonia this year and with the rise of antibiotic resistant drugs, I felt a blog post was in order for how you can treat this condition at home
Pneumonia is an infection of the lung caused by bacteria, fungus, or viruses that enter the lungs, leading to inflammation of the lung tissue. It is a general term used to describe any infection that is deep in the lungs. Those at higher risk of developing pneumonia are the elderly, those with weakened or compromised immune systems, those that are hospitalized, alcoholics, those that smoke and those suffering with other heath conditions.
Symptoms: Rapid, shallow breathing, shortness of breath, chest pain, sore throat and headache, cough with mucus and possibly blood, fever, sweat, shivering attacks, fatigue and exhaustion.
First thing to do when treating any illness is to make sure only nutrient rich food goes into your body. Avoid meat, dairy, sweets and any processed or fast food. Feed your body nourishing foods such as homemade soups with bone broth, easily digestible foods, vegetables, fruits and lots of herbal tea and juices. Many times your body will send you craving signals for exactly what your body may need. Incorporate lots of fluids and get plenty of rest. Frequent warm baths may also be very healing. Keep in mind that coughing is a good thing when dealing with a respiratory infection, so do not take cough suppressants. It may be a nuisance but this is the body's way of expelling the built up mucus (and bacteria) out of the body.
Annie's Pneumonia Blend
This blend contains a combination of herbs that will fight infection, tend to be more drying for the wet condition in the lungs, aids the elimination of mucus, reduces inflammation and relives pain and swelling. Take in small frequent doses throughout the day.
Combine the following herbs:
Healing Plants of the Rocky Mountains Immune System Formula by Darcy Williamson
This is a powerful herbal antibiotic formula. She suggests taking in small frequent doses several times throughout the day. All of these herbs are found all over the Rocky Mountain area as foraging plants.
Expectorant Cough Syrup - The Herbal Drugstore
Combine the following in a pot over medium heat:
These are our most important allies in the modern day battle with antibiotic resistant bacteria. Because of how complex herbs are the bacteria cannot figure out the formula for breaking their resistance to these powerful bacteria fighters. Herbs are not really antibiotic because that word means "anti-life" and herbs are not anti-life, they are anti harmful bacteria. They know the difference between the beneficial bacteria in your body and the ones causing harm and those are the guys they target with the help of the immune system and beneficial bacteria. Take these frequently, as often as the body desires, alone or part of a formula.
Expectorant herbs: These will help the body to expel mucus from the lungs, most likely in the form of coughing it up. As I mentioned above, this a good thing.
These can be massaged into the chest, back and the bottoms of the feet. I also like to apply an immune boosting blend to the spine - my favorite is Thieves (clove, lemon, cinnamon bark, eucalyptus and rosemary). You could also put these in hot water and use as a compress on the chest and diffuse them as an inhalation.
The only time I have ever experienced heartburn was during my pregnancies and so I was in shock this last month when I ended up with quite a severe case of it. It was not only a burning in the esophagus but it felt like I had a boiling volcano in my stomach that would not go away. I had gotten down to only eating toast so as not to aggravate it further. Although I had no idea what stemmed it, I took action by getting rid of it with a few herbs. I mixed together this blend and sipped on a quart of tea throughout the day. After doing this for a day, the heartburn was gone and hasn't returned. I decided it was just one of those experiences so I would come up with a formula to share with others. So here you go!
Equal parts of the following herbs:
Blend all the herbs together and use to make a soothing herbal tea. 1 teaspoon per cup of water or 3 Tbsp. per quart of water. Let steep for 10 minutes or so and then drink as is or add some raw honey to sweeten. Optionally you can also add a couple of stevia leaves to sweeten.
Even though I call this Heartburn Blend, the herbs in it is suited for any type of indigestion. It works best when taken as a tea so that it can run down the digestive tract, coating and soothing as it goes. Marshmallow is very soothing to all mucus membranes. Chamomile is a great digestive aid and pain reliever. The mint family is cooling, Catnip particularly helps with cramping and spasms. Fennel seed is one of the best digestive aids, acting as an antacid. Calendula is very healing and will work to fix any damage caused by stomach acid gone wild.
Where to get these herbs?
All of these herbs are quite easy to grow in your own garden or in pots. If you aren't able to grow your own make sure to purchase from a high quality herb store, I prefer Mountain Rose Herbs.
Back when I was diapering babies, baby powder was one of those necessary items, especially for cloth diapers. In my quest to only use natural products I came across this wonderful baby powder that I tweaked from the book Making Babies by Shoshanna Easling. I used this powder with much success with my cloth diapered babies and have shared it with every expectant mother I've known since. I have also used this successfully on a youth pioneer trek to prevent chaffing while walking for several miles a day, pushing handcarts along hot, dry, dusty paths. This makes a great overall body powder for both adult and baby alike!
1 cup arrowroot powder (or you can use cornstarch)
1/8 cup Redmond clay (or bentonite clay)
1/4 cup lavender blossom powder
Mix all ingredients together and put in a spice jar to easily sprinkle over body.
Family: Betulaceae (Birch)
Parts Used: sap, leaves, inner bark and buds
There are several species of medicinal birch which is why I only listed the Genus of Betula. The most common species are B. pendula, B. pubescens, B. lenta. Birch is most know to be wildcrafted but can be easily cultivated as part of a home landscape.
Methods of Use:
There are several medicinal species of birch. Found in moist, rich soils in forests, by streams and lake edges as well as mountain slopes. Bark can range from white to brown and peels in some species. Leaves are oval and serrated.
Methods of Use:
In the Garden
The plant can be grown from seed, sown directly in the spring or started indoors and transplanted. It can also be started from cuttings or root divisions in the autumn. Space about 2 feet apart. Loves loamy, moist soil (hence the name “marsh”).
Amaranth is becoming more popular as a gluten free grain, but did you know the entire plant can be used for both food and medicine?
Properties and Nutrition:
Methods of Use:
In the Kitchen:
In the Garden/Harvesting:
There are 60 different species of Amaranth growing in North and South America. Many are cultivated as ornamental landscape plants, but you can find them growing in wild disturbed, sunny places as well. The seeds can range in color from buff to dark purple, deep red, green, orange, pink and white. Amaranth can be found in the wild and is also know as pigweed.
Family: Leguminosae, other members include beans and peas
Parts used: leaves and flowers, sprouts can also be eaten but the healing properties lie in the leaves
Alfalfa means - father of all foods. This is very fitting since it has the largest array of vitamins and minerals which feed every body system and in turn brings balance to the body. This is one herb that cannot be given a list of what it does (although I have tried to do that here) because it does so many things. I find myself putting this into many blends as I feel directed by the spirit, even though it may not "fit" into a certain category. So keep that in mind when learning about and using this "King of Herbs".
Alfalfa aids in almost all health conditions due to the rich supply of vitamins and minerals, whatever the body is lacking, alfalfa seems to have that which brings the body back in to balance thus clearing up health conditions (when used in addition to a whole foods diets - no processed foods or refined sugars).
Methods of Use
In the Garden
You can easily grow alfalfa in your herbal garden...and chances are it could very well be growing in your yard already. This is a perennial herb that will come back year after year.
Where to Get Alfalfa
I highly recommend growing it in your yard if you can. You can also purchase the dried leaf and sprouting seeds from Mountain Rose Herbs.
This is one of my favorite herbal teas to enjoy in any season but the flavors are reminiscent of fall. Not only is it very tasty, it is also quite medicinal. The spices in this tea promote good digestion and will even kill off the harmful bacteria that may be residing in our gut, while strengthening the good bacteria that work with our body to maintain a healthy balance. This is also a great one for colds and flu due to its antiviral, antibacterial properties.
4 parts red rooibos herbal tea
3 parts cinnamon chips
2 parts orange peel
1 part dried ginger root
1 part whole cloves
Mix all ingredients together. Fill a pan with a quart of water, add 3-4 tablespoons of the tea blend, depending on how strong you like it - I make mine strong with about 1/4 cup of tea blend. Place the pan over medium heat, stirring herbs into the water. When the water starts to bubble turn down and let it simmer about 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat, strain the herbs out and add some raw honey to taste and little bit of raw cream. Mmmm, it is so good!
Where to purchase herbs
This recipe combines two of my favorite things mixed together; pumpkin and granola. I have two pumpkins left from our garden harvest so we cooked up some pumpkin fun this week before we head into the spring season.
3 cups oats
1 1/4 cup chopped nuts of choice
3 Tbsp. sucanat
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Real salt
1/4 c. coconut oil
1/3 c. maple syrup
1/3 c. pumpkin puree
Optional: 1/4 c. ground flax seed
1/4 c. chia seeds
Preheat oven to 350. Mix all dry ingredients except for flax and chia seeds. Melt coconut oil over low heat, remove from heat and add maple and pumpkin puree, stirring until smooth. Pour over oat mixture and stir until evenly coated. Bake for 35 minutes in a large baking dish, stirring about 1/2 way through cooking time. When you remove from the oven, add the flax and chia seed, then stir until well combined. Let cool completely before storing in an airtight container.
This recipe is very versatile. I had a child request no nuts in this batch so I replaced the chopped nuts amount with more oats, some coconut and almond flour (ha, he still got nuts although he didn't know it). Be as creative as you want with this.
I’m Annie, a Mother of Influence and Master Herbalist. Welcome to my place where I share what I have learned of natural and frugal living, healthy eating and living, gardening, homeschooling,herbal crafting, preparing temporally and spiritually, and love for God and Country.
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