Dandelion Removal: Use this tool-NOT chemicals

I have sort of a love, hate relationship with dandelions. How about you? The thing is when they get out of control and are taking over your lawn; it’s time to do something about it. We have found a dandelion removal tool that doesn’t involve potions or chemicals, and doesn’t break your back.

Let’s go back to my love, hate relationship for just a moment. I am an herbalist and know of the many great benefits of using dandelions as a remedy internally, nutritionally, and externally. I use dandelion root tea for medicinal purposes and eat their leaves in my salad and smoothies.

However, when dandelions go to seed and start spreading their fluffy seeds around the yard, they can literally take over your lawn. There is a time when you have to take removal action.

Most of you know that I try to avoid chemicals in my home and in my garden whenever possible. Weed killer is NOT an option for me. (Sometimes my husband thinks otherwise), but I usually win. I used to crawl around my lawn with a little digging tool trying to pull out the dandelions, but not anymore!!!

Whys should you avoid chemical weed killers?

This is a topic of its own and needs its own post, but here are a few links for you to check out until then.

Dandelion Removal at its best!

We have found the most awesome tool ever! This little gadget is one of the best purchases for the garden I have ever made. The day we got it, I went out to the lawn and started popping away. It was addicting. I couldn’t stop until the whole one side of our yard was dandelion free. (We have a ½ acre, so a lot of lawn).

The thing is, once you pull it with this tool, they don’t grow back like they do when you use that little digging tool. It pulls out the WHOLE root.

We are so excited about this tool, that I filmed my husband demoing it for you.


Play Video

I recommend keeping a few lovely dandelions in your garden that you can eat and remedy up, but get those pesky ones OUT of your lawn. My suggestion is to check out this gadget, you will LOVE it!

It is called the Fiskers  4-Claw Weeder. It has a lifetime warrantee and well worth your money.  They seriously only cost around $38.

So for all you lucky gardeners who DIY, this tool is a must to add to your garden shed!

Happy weed popping!




Picture of Jan Howell

Jan Howell

Whether it’s a new recipe, a fun craft, or some handy tips for your garden and home, I hope to empower and inspire you with skills that you can use to create joy, improved health, and to do it in a simple way.

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Plantain – Healing Herb Growing Right Under Your Feet

plantain long leaf

Although plantain may be considered a weed by some, it really is quite a valuable herb and may be growing right under your feet. 

There are two types of plantain. The plant with broad, oval leaves are called Plantago major and the narrow-leaved type P. lanceolata. You can identify this plant by the 5-9 parallel veins running the length of each leaf. (Most leaves have a central vein with smaller ones branching out from it.)

You can use either one for healing purposes, depending on what’s available, but most herbalists seem to prefer the broad-leaf plantain with larger, but softer, edible leaves. I have both growing in my yard.

I have included a picture of this plant so you will know what to look for.

If you don’t already have it growing in your yard somewhere, go out along the road or in the mountains and find some and replant them in your garden.


What are the benefits and uses of Plantain?

I use this herb all the time. During the summer while it is growing in my yard, I pick it, crush it and apply it to stings, and mosquito bites. I also dry it so I will have access to it during the winter months. It is one of the key ingredients in my healing salve, (which is very easy to make). You can find the tutorial here.



  • Antiseptic properties
  • Anti-inflammatory: Reduces pain caused by poison ivy and bite stings.
  • Extracts of the plant have antibacterial activity
  • Effective treatment to stop bleeding
  • Encourages the repair of damaged tissue, and promotes healing without scars

Because of its drawing properties, it will pull small foreign objects like stingers or slivers out of the skin. It is quite incredible.



  • diuretic
  • expectorant, and decongestant
  • gastritis
  • peptic ulcers
  • diarrhea
  • dysentery
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • respiratory congestion
  • loss of voice and urinary tract bleeding

You can purchase plantain for internal use in fluid extract, tincture, decoction, infusion, and dried powder form and the fresh and dried leaves can be consumed as tea.

*Although plantain leaf is generally considered safe, it is always best to consult with your healthcare practitioner before starting any new herbal product.


How to use plantain externally


You can make a poultice by bruising the plant, chopping finely, or heating it to make a thick paste.

You can make a poultice and apply it to wounds, skin inflammations, cuts, stings, and swellings. It is the juice from the leaf that speeds up the healing process.

Pick a few leaves, crush them, or chew them well and put them on the bite or wound. “Like magic” the pain, heat, and swelling — even allergic reactions — disappear, fast!

You can dry plantain leaves and carry them in your first aid kit. Chew like you would fresh leaves and apply it.


I was with a youth group up in the mountains hiking when one of the boys went down into a ravine and came upon a bunch of bees, he was stung multiple times. Luckily, I knew what plantain looked like and had been taught what to do with it. Well, I looked down and there growing alongside the trail was PLANTAIN, all over the place.

My husband and I grabbed some plantain and we started mashing it between two rocks to make a poultice.

The boy took his shirt off and we dabbed it all over him. He did not swell and did great.

This was a teaching moment for the youth there. The plants that God created do have a purpose.

I don’t think it was a coincidence that day for us to be right there where plantain was growing, and for someone there to know what to do with it.


A fomentation is similar to a poultice, however, you use a concentrated tea of the herb instead of the plant itself. To apply a fomentation you soak a clean cotton cloth in the concentrated tea and apply it to the wound and wrap it with cellophane.


How to use plantain internally as a 


You can make an herbal tea by placing one teaspoon of dried herb to one cup water. Pour boiling water over the herb, cover tightly and steep for 20 minutes and strain. I love this single serve tea maker!  We use it all the time, in fact, we each have our own.


tea maker

This is a good resource for dried plantain. This is what I use for tea and to make a salve.


Tinctures are herbal concentrate most often prepared in an alcohol, glycerin, or vinegar base. You can make them, but it is much easier just to buy them.

I absolutely love, love, love this reference book on herbs. This author explains all the basics of herbs, herbal preparations, and uses in a clear, easy-to-follow way.

If you would like more details of ALL the benefits of this plant, I will refer you to Dr. Christopher’s website which is chock full of herbal information.


Are there any potential Side Effects of Plantain?

Plantain is considered a very safe herb to use, therefore you can use it both externally and internally.

***Women who are breastfeeding or pregnant should avoid using plantain until research confirms that the herb is not harmful in any way.

So there you have it, an herbal remedy that is probably growing right under your feet. Go take a look around your yard or at the park and see if you can find any.

Alternative Remedy Handbook

For a quick, go-to reference of other tried and tested herbal remedies, I have compiled a booklet with lots of great resources and information. It’s kinda nice to know that you can alleviate everyday complaints without always turning to your medicine chest, or to your doctor. I have it for sale here on my site.

An Ebook of the booklet will soon be available!!!! So stay tuned. 


Let me know if you have any questions.

plantain pin
Picture of Jan Howell

Jan Howell

Whether it’s a new recipe, a fun craft, or some handy tips for your garden and home, I hope to empower and inspire you with skills that you can use to create joy, improved health, and to do it in a simple way.

Read More

Soothing Thyme Bath Soak – How to relieve chest congestion & cough naturally

Thyme bath

Have you been under the weather with aches, chest congestion, and a lingering cough? Well, it’s THYME to do something about it! This thyme bath is the perfect thing to get you going on to a QUICK recovery.

This past few weeks I was knocked to my knees with the flu bug that is going around EVERYWHERE! 

I usually do not get the crud when it’s going around, but since my immune system has been compromised, I got it good.

I have experienced so much stress the past month in combination with tapering off the hydrocortisone that I have been taking for years, my immune system didn’t stand a chance at fighting off this wicked bug.

It had been a few days into this illness when I realized I hadn’t even thought of the famous “thyme bath”.

What wasn’t I thinking? This natural herbal remedy has been a standby, go-to procedure when anyone in the family caught a cold.

When my kids were small, they would ask for a thyme bath whenever they weren’t feeling well.

My youngest son is now 29 and had the flu a few weeks ago. He came home for a thyme bath because the place he lives doesn’t have a bathtub, only a shower.

So see how this has been ingrained in their heads as something that WORKS!

It has been such a long time since any of us have had to deal with it, I forgot about it, but apparently, he didn’t.

So glad he reminded me about it! I was trying everything else, with not much luck.

This would have been really nice to have done when I was in the thick of the aches, better late than never.

I still had bad chest congestion and cough, so I got to it.

The thyme bath is not real labor-intensive and most likely you may have everything you need right there in your home.

If not, you can get dried thyme at your local health food store.

This is one herb that I would recommend having in your garden!

Soothing Thyme Bath Soak

Benefits of growing THYME

  • A great flavoring for many recipes
  • Beautiful landscaping plant in the garden (cute tight little green leaves)
Soothing Thyme Bath Soak
  • Accessible even during the winter months
Soothing Thyme Bath Soak
  • Preserves easily by drying
Soothing Thyme Bath Soak
  • Easy to grow inside and out
  • Has many medicinal properties

The flowers, leaves, and oil of thyme have been used to treat bedwetting, diarrhea, stomach ache, arthritis, colic, sore throat, cough, including whooping cough, bronchitis, flatulence, and as a diuretic, to increase urination. Thyme is thought to have antifungal, antibacterial, insecticidal, and possibly antifungal properties. Medical News Today

Let’s get to the thyme bath, shall we?

Here is what you will need to gather

  • A couple handfuls of fresh thyme, or ½ – 1 cup of dried herb will work as well. If you don’t have any herb, but have thyme essential oil, just use that (20 drops)
  • Epsom salt (1 cup)
  • 10 drops Thyme essential oil (optional)

What to do for a thyme bath

  • If you have thyme growing in your garden, go out and cut a couple of handfuls of the herb. I have gone out in the middle of winter and uncovered the thyme from the snow and clipped off the plant. It winters very well, even under snow cover.

  • If you don’t have fresh herbs, you can use dried herbs.
  • Remove any stray leaves from other plants and rinse off.
  • Fill a big sauce pan or soup pan with water and bring to a boil.
  • Once it is boiling, turn it down and simmer for 20-30 minutes with a lid on it on low heat.
Soothing Thyme Bath Soak
  • Add 10 drops of thyme essential oil to 1 cup Epsom salts.
Soothing Thyme Bath Soak

Why is so great about Epsom Salt?

Because of the high magnesium level, Epsom salt is a natural anti-inflammatory remedy that can be used to treat muscle aches and sore muscles.

Many people use it to soak in after a hard work out, because it is so soothing to the muscles.  

This feels so good for those aches when you have the flu.

Epsom salt is very easy to find at your local drug store or online here.

This is something good to have on hand in your homes!

Soothing Thyme Bath Soak
  • Pour the thyme bath water into the tub while straining out the herb.
  • Be careful, it is nice to have someone help you strain in it so you don’t burn yourself.  Add enough hot water, as hot as you can stand it, but that will not burn you!

Yes, it will look brown and yucky, but don’t let that keep you from stepping in and enjoying some soothing herbal aromatherapy! Yes, your house is going to smell like an herbal kitchen, but so worth it!

  • Shut the bathroom door and pull the shower curtain closed to trap in the steam.  Soak and breathe in the steam.
  • Stay there as long as the water stays hot, or add more hot water if it cools quickly. I personally do not like to take baths, but this is one exception. It really does feel great!  You will find it helps relieve the cough right away. You may need to do this a few times a day or for a few nights until the cough has subdued.

Another herbal remedy that I must remind you of is Yarrow.

This is another one of our family’s favorite herbs. Yarrow tea is more of a preventative measure and helps fight many illnesses. 

It seriously rocks at helping you stay well. I was drinking a ton of it before I finally succumbed to the flu, but like I said my immune system was greatly compromised.

The others in the family start getting it and start drinking this stuff.

You can read more about it in this post.

I hope you will keep this in mind and give it a try when you or someone you care about gets the CRUD!

For other alternative remedies that REALLY work, check out my book HERE.

Stay well, my friends!


Picture of Jan Howell

Jan Howell

Whether it’s a new recipe, a fun craft, or some handy tips for your garden and home, I hope to empower and inspire you with skills that you can use to create joy, improved health, and to do it in a simple way.

Read More

Lavender Harvesting Time

It’s lavender harvesting time. Love this plant! There truly isn’t anything better than the aroma of fresh lavender! Well, rosemary comes real close!

Lavender Harvesting Time

Benny, my border collie, was having a great time chasing the bees. (Just another one of his compulsive behaviors).

Lavender Harvesting Time

It was a nice morning to be out in the garden. The garden has been a little neglected, the past few years with our remodel project, but we are slowly getting things back in control.

There is just something about getting your hands in the dirt that rejuvenates the spirit. Gardening can be very enjoyable and uplifting if you don’t let it overwhelm you. I am learning to let some things go, put the gloves in the bucket and go inside when it becomes too much.

Lavender Harvesting Time

When is the best time to harvest lavender?

I like to cut the lavender before the buds fully blossom, then you have the tight buds that are great for filling sachets and things. If you wait too long, the flowers start to fade and even turn brown. You don’t want faded blossoms if you are planning on using them for flower arrangements or lavender crafts.

Speaking of lavender crafts. One of my most favorite summer activities is to sit out under a tree and weave lavender wands. It has been a few years since I have made any. I hope to get with a friend next week and do a little chill time, chatting and relaxing while we make some lavender sachet wands.

Learn how to make these fun lavender wands here.

Here it is the middle of June already. Get yourself out in the garden. If you don’t have a garden, find a lovely park or find somewhere out in nature to be in. Before we know it, the snow will be falling.


DIY Lavender Eye Pillow


Lavender Shortbread Cookie Recipe


Lavender, Rosemary & Thyme: A must for every garden

Picture of Jan Howell

Jan Howell

Whether it’s a new recipe, a fun craft, or some handy tips for your garden and home, I hope to empower and inspire you with skills that you can use to create joy, improved health, and to do it in a simple way.

Read More