Lavender, Rosemary & Thyme | A Must for Every Garden

I am going to take you on a little garden tour and show you how to grow 3 of my most favorite plants: lavender, rosemary & thyme. These plants are a MUST for every garden.

In this post I am going to show you what these plants looks like, how to easily grown them and what you can do with them. So let’s get to it!

You can watch the Lavender, Rosemary & Thyme garden tour video at the end of the post.

Lavendar

There are a few names for English lavender including common lavender and its scientific name, Lavandula angustifolia. The classic English lavender is the toughest of the clan, and stays compact and tidy, with foliage to about 18 inches and flower stalks another 12 inches or more. This is the variety I prefer because it has long stems for crafting and drying.

Did you know that there are actually 47 species of lavender? English lavender is just one of them, and there are different varieties of English lavender. Don’t get overwhelmed, most nurseries will carry just the basic lavender plants, and English lavender will be one of them. Get one that has long stems!

How to grow lavender

Lavender plants will tolerate many growing conditions, but they thrive in warm, well-draining soil, and full sun. It’s possible to grow lavender from seed, but it will take a year or two of growing before they’re ready to plant in the garden. It’s so much easier just to purchase a plant already established in a pot.

Planting

  • Space the lavender varieties a foot apart to create a hedge, and three feet apart for an airier planting.
  • If you’re planting dwarf types, you can place them a little closer together since they’re naturally smaller plants.
  • Place them in a hole at the same level they were in their pot but make the hole twice as wide. Compact the soil and water them in well.
  • Keep the soil moist until they’re established, but after that, they don’t need a lot of water.

Pruning Lavender

Begin pruning the plants in their second year. After flowering, cut the spent flower stalks down and shape the plants. You will also want to prune the plants in the spring just after they begin showing the first flush of new leaves. Cut just above the new foliage. Also, take off any stems or branches that look brown and woody off.

Harvesting Lavender

The best time to harvest English lavender is when the buds have formed on the plant but the flowers have not yet opened and are still tight. If you wait until they fully bloom they won’t retain as much fragrance and the color will tend to fade. (There have been years when time gets away from me and I don’t cut them until they are bloomed. It’s not the end of the world, still cut and use the flowers).

Be sure to leave behind at least two sets of leaves on the green part of the stem. If you cut all the way back to the woody part of the stem, that stem will not regrow.

What can you do with Lavender?

Crafts

  • Enjoy the beauty of them in your garden.
  • The lovely purple color and contrast green stem is a compliment to any garden.
  • Dry the flowers for crafts, floral arrangement, wreaths, gift wrapping, and aromatherapy.
  • Eye pillows, lavender wands, and lavender sachets are my favorite things to make with lavender. Stay tuned for these upcoming tutorials.

Recipes

ROSEMARY

Oh how I love rosemary. Rosemary was probably one of the first herbs I was introduced to while visiting a lovely herb garden way back when I was a young mother. This garden had a quaint little gift shop nestled in among the plants. This is where my love for herbs started.

Rosemary is a perennial evergreen shrub with little blue flowers. It is an aromatic and distinctive herb with a sweet, resinous flavor. 

Planting

Rosemary can be grown from seed, but again the germination rates are generally quite low and seedlings are slow to grow. Therefore, I strongly recommended to start new rosemary plant from cuttings taken from established plants or just purchasing a more mature plant.

Cuttings grow quickly in good conditions and should be ready for outdoor planting in about 8 weeks.

  • Plant in full sun.
  • The planting site should have well-draining soil. Rosemary doesn’t like wet feet either.
  • Be sure to give your rosemary plants enough room to grow. Once established, rosemary can eventually grow to about 4 feet tall and spread about 4 feet as well. It does really well in warm climates.
  • Water rosemary plants evenly throughout the growing season, but be careful not to overwater.

Pruning & Caring for rosemary

Prune regularly so that plants won’t get lanky. In the spring, cut off any dead stems or struggling stems.

If you live in a colder climate, you may need to bring it inside for the winter. I always transplant one of my rosemary plants into a pot and bring it in during the winter. I love having the greenery and smell in my house. It’s like having a little Christmas tree in my house for months.

Although I have found a place in my garden that is protected and sheltered, most rosemary plants will freeze during the winter. My plants always died when they were located in other areas of the garden, but their current location is on the south side of the house and in a little nook where they get the heat off the house in the winter. They are thriving there.

Harvesting

Snip off stems to use fresh, or hang them in the kitchen for dried rosemary. I usually have a little spring hanging on my fridge for decoration.

It is so nice to be able to just walk outside and snip a little stalk when I need it for a recipe.

Rosemary can be dried and stored in an airtight container.

How to use rosemary

  • Chopped and used in cooking.
  • Crafts, gift wrapping
  • Made into a tea
  • Added to floral arrangements.
  • Aromatherapy

Recipes

Thyme

Thyme is one of those herbs that I grow in my garden mostly for medicinal reasons. Although it does have the cutest stems with tight leaves, and I do use it my cooking, I feel reassured I have it available for remedies.

Once again, there are many varieties of the plant. Thyme is a wonderful herb that has a pleasant aroma and a pungent flavor. It is used both ornamental in the garden and as a savory addition to many recipes. (Soups, grilled meats, and roasted vegetables).

How to grow thyme

Thyme is very easy to grow. It’s a low-growing hardy perennial, which has small, fragrant leaves and thin, woody stems. Thyme comes in over fifty varieties with different fragrances and flavors. Fresh or English thyme are used most often in cooking. I bought a yummy-smelling lemon thyme plant this year to add to my garden.

It is drought-friendly and very forgiving! (This is a plus in any garden). It is also pollinator-friendly, the bees love it!

Planting

  • Thyme thrives in full sun and loves heat. If you are growing in a pot indoors, plant near a sunny window.
  • Plant the thyme in well-drained soil. It doesn’t like to have wet feet!
  • It’s hard to grow thyme from seeds because of slow, uneven germination. It’s easier to buy the plants from a garden center or take some cuttings from a friend.

Pruning & Caring For thyme

  • Prune the plants back in the spring and summer to contain the growth.
  • If you have cold winters, remember to lightly mulch around the plants after the ground freezes.
  • Three to four-year-old plants need to be divided or replaced because older plants are woody and the leaves less flavorful.
  • You can propagate from your own cuttings, which is very easy to do. Just cut off a few stems, sit them in water until they form roots. Then you’re good to plant or give to a friend.

Harvesting Thyme

Harvest the plant just before the plant flowers by cutting off the top five to six inches of growth. Leave the tough, woody parts.

It’s best to harvest thyme in the morning after the dew has dried.

What to do with Thyme

  • Cooking

I have several recipes and salad dressing that I add fresh thyme to. I love being able to go out in the garden and clip a few sprigs of thyme when I need it. Just so you know fresh herbs at the grocery store are quite pricey. So you are saving a lot of money by having them accessible in your garden.

Fresh thyme should be stored refrigerated and wrapped lightly in plastic, and it should last one to two weeks.

You can also freeze thyme in an ice cube tray with water.

To dry thyme, hang the sprigs in a dark, well-ventilated, warm area. You can also just dry the leaves by placing them on a tray. Once dried, store them in an airtight container. Crush just before using. Under good conditions herbs, will retain maximum flavor for two years. 

  • Make Tea
  • Use as an herbal remedy in salves, teas, tinctures, and bath soaks.

One of my favorite uses for thyme is to use in a healing thyme bath. Works well for respiratory conditions and sore throats. You can get all the details HERE.

Recipes

Now is the time of year to add some of these new plants to your garden. You are going to LOVE them, trust me!

Lavender, Rosemary & Thyme Tour

Play Video

Get your garden gloves on and enjoy your time in the garden.

Cheers,

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Yarrow Tea: Cold & Flu Buster

With all the crud going around this time of year, I am going to share with you one of our families favorite go tos when it comes to cold & flu remedies. We love the herb yarrow and use it all the time!

Herbs are awesome!  You may have it in your mindset that herbs are a little weird and that only STRANGE people use herbs.  I will admit I had a few judgments myself.  I remember my first experience going into an herb store, and just the weird smell turned me off, (you know what I am talking about, right)?  Just because you use herbs doesn’t mean your house is going to have the aroma of a health food store. My kids friends have said on more than one occasion that my house smells organic.  I used to take take offense thinking they meant it smelt like a health food store or something, but I have been reassured that they like the smell. It’s probably a combination of essential oils and other natural products that we use in our home. Who knows?

Over the years, I have intensively explored the alternative field and I have found many things that work through trial and error.  I would like to share with you some home remedies we have tried and what HAS WORKED for us. I say  “we” because I have used these remedies on myself and my family. At first they thought I was a little strange when I had them drink some odd tasting herbal concoction, or when I crushed up a plant growing in the yard to put on a bee sting.  However, now they come to me and ask what they can use when they have a headache, or are experiencing an ailment of some kind. They ask because they know these things really do work.

Yarrow is classified as a “bitter herb” because of the volatile oil it contains.  It is not the best tasting, but you do acquire a taste for it.  I don’t mind the taste anymore and believe me, I have taken worse tasting things.  When you realize the benefits, who cares what it tastes like anyway.

What is Yarrow good for?

    • ANTISEPTIC and VIRAL INHIBITOR
    • BLOOD PURIFIER
    • CIRCULATION
    • COLDS AND FLU
    • DIGESTION
    • FEVER
    • INFLAMMATION

TONIC

This is a list of just a FEW of the many things yarrow is good for.  I recommend reading 10 essential herbs, by Lalitha Thomas.  Read my post about the book here.
This paragraph from Lalitha’s book is what sold me on Yarrow.

“Its volatile oil collects and absorbs many impurities (I think of it as gathering the toxins into little packets) and then, somewhat like a detergent, breaks down these “corralled” toxins into forms much easier for the body to eliminate without the usual illness symptoms.”

This winter my family has fared very well considering all the junk that is going around.  No really, people at work, school, friends, the family are all so sick and stay sick for some time.  We have had a few colds, but they don’t last long or we just haven’t gotten sick at all.  We do additional things like up the vitamin C, and a few other things to stay well, but I give the credit to the yarrow.

So if the crud is going around the neighborhood, don’t just sit there waiting for the symptoms to start, drink 1 to 2 cups of yarrow tea a day as a preventive tonic. If you already have symptoms, start flushing it out with 4 to 8 cups of Yarrow tea each day.

Yarrow is very easy to grow and dry yourself, which I do, but I like to stay stocked up on it and have plenty to share so I buy the dried herb in bulk on Amazon or you can get it at Starwest Botanicals.

Making a cup of herbal tea is a snap using either of these two nifty devices.

1- The mesh tea ball with a handle shown above is nice and inexpensive.

.

2 -One of my latest favorites for making tea in is the Grosche Perfect Tea Maker.

Everyone in our family has one. You simply put one teaspoon of dried herb in it and pour boiling water over it. After steeping for 10-15 minutes, you just place it on top of your mug and it strains and drains it. BAM !

To make a simple cup of tea:

  1. Boil water.
  2. Measure 1 teaspoon of the dried herb per cup of water.
  3. Steep for 10-15 minutes.

*I like to add a little dried peppermint to my tea. It tastes good and helps clear congestion in the body.

If you have not developed a taste for Yarrow and feel you need to sweeten it a bit, use raw honey or agave nectar.

You will soon learn to love and enjoy the taste.  Sip and enjoy the soothing comfort of Yarrow tea!

Stay well and be happy!

If you have questions or have had any great experiences using Yarrow, please post and share!

 

jan3

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How To Make Healing Salve

healing salve youmakeitsimple.com

You don’t have to be a serious herbalist or witch doctor to make your own healing salve.  It is really very easy to whip up and you won’t ever go back to Neosporin or whatever else you are using for

  • cuts
  • scrapes
  • bug bites
  • diaper rash
  • lip balm
  • dry skin

My family uses this a ton!

healing salve youmakeitsimple.com

We recently ran out of our stock of salve, and its not like you can just run to the store and grab some, so I got out my supplies and whipped up a batch.  I thought I would take a few photos while in the process and share how to make it with you.

SUPPLIES that you will need:

  • oven proof pan for infusing oil
healing salve youmakeitsimple.com
  • cheese cloth
  • double boiler or two sauce pans for melting wax
  • sterile containers (glass baby food jars, empty recycled hair product or face lotion jars work great)
  • labels
  • wooden skewers or spoon

INGREDIENTS:

*Note:  you can alter the types of herbs and essential oils that you put in your salve depending on what your needs are. If you don’t already have these supplies, it may seem like a big investment to make healing salve. However, the oils and vit E will last a very long time, and you’ll be able to use them for other things.

I like this blend because of the amazing properties of these herbs and oils, making it a great GO TO salve for just about anything.

I am one who likes to know the WHY about what ingredients are in the products I am using.  So here is the scoop.

CALENDULA:

Calendula has a long history of use as a wound-healing and skin-soothing botanical.

PLANTAIN:

Plantain is a low growing herb (weed). It is most often used for stings and bites. 

COMFREY:

It is well known to assist healing in any part of the body that is torn or broken..

*If you grow these herbs, dry them and store them in an air tight zip bag so you can make salve anytime.  You can also just buy the herbs at your local health food store or online.  I like Starwest Botanicals

 
TEA TREE Essential OIL:

  • Renowned for its cleansing and rejuvenating
    effect on the skin.
  • Skin irritations

LAVENDER essential OIL:

  • Widely used for its calming and relaxing qualities.
  • Soothes occasional skin irritations.
    You want to make sure you use good quality, pure essential oils when making salves and tinctures.  When making cleaning supplies, it is not as important. If you would like to know where I buy most of my oils, send me note.

 

Let’s get started!

healing salve youmakeitsimple.com

1- Preheat your oven to the lowest setting (150 – 170 degrees)

Measure the dry herbs and put them in an oven proof pan

healing salve youmakeitsimple.com olive oil

2- Cover with 4 cups olive oil and stir.

Place oil and herbs in oven and heat for 4-5 hours. Heating the oil infuses the properties of the herbs into the oil.

3- Place a few layers of cheesecloth over a bowl or pan.

healing salve youmakeitsimple.com straining herbs

When the oil has cooled a bit, pour the herb mixture over the cheesecloth to strain. Squeeze out all the oil.

4- Then I like to strain it again through a piece of 100 % cotton fabric.

healing salve youmakeitsimple.com melting wax

5-  Melt the bees wax.

I have an old pan that I use only for melting my wax in and I keep it wrapped in a plastic bag when not in use. Place that pan in another wider pan with water in it. 

It is VERY important that you don’t get ANY water in the wax, or this will promote spoiling of your salve.

Melt the wax, stirring frequently.  (This smells so yummy)

healing salve youmakeitsimple.com jars

6-  Prepare jars

Make sure jars are clean! You can sterilize them by placing them in a pot of boiling water for a few minutes. I usually just make sure they have been cleaned with hot soapy water and dried thoroughly. 

7-  Add the melted wax to the oil, and mix well.

*By using a wooden skewer to stir with, you will save wasting a bunch of salve that will stick to the spoon.
 
To test the consistency of the salve, take a spoon and dip into the mixture. Take it out and let it cool a few seconds. Test the consistency. This is the time to add more wax if it is too runny.
 

8-  Add the essential oils and vitamin E now and mix well.

MOVE QUICKLY.
healing salve youmakeitsimple.com

9-  Pour the salve into the jars.

You will need to stir in between pourings to keep things mixed up.
 
You may even need to heat it up a bit if it starts to set up. (Just don’t heat very long at all and use a very low setting, so you don’t loose all the properties of the essential oils.)

Don’t you just love the beautiful green color, and it smells FABULOUS!

healing salve youmakeitsimple.com

I love these little travel size tins! 

I always double the batch because there is always someone who wants a jar, and they make great gifts or party favors.

The jars that you are not currently using, store in the refrigerator so they will last longer and not go rancid.

There you have it, a salve that is chuck full off healing goodness.
 
You may also be interested in my natural deodorant recipe and tutorial.
 
Enjoy!

How To Make Healing Salve

healing salve youmakeitsimple.com

An amazing salve for cuts, scrapes, dry skin, and more! 

  • Prep Time5 min
  • Total Time5 min
  • Yield4 Batches
  • Meta LabelLabel Value
    [MEDIAVINE EXAMPLE AD SPACE 1]

    Ingredients

    Supplies List:

      • Oven proof pan for infusing oil
      • cheese cloth
      • Double boiler or two sauce pans for melting wax
      • Sterile containers (glass baby food jars, empty recycled hair product or face lotion jars work great)
      • Labels
      • Wooden skewers or spoon

    Ingredients:

    [MEDIAVINE EXAMPLE AD SPACE 2]

    INSTUCTIONS

    1

    Preheat your oven to the lowest setting (150 – 170 degrees)

    Measure the dry herbs and put them in an oven proof pan

     
    2

    Cover with 4 cups olive oil and stir.

    Place oil and herbs in oven and heat for 4-5 hours. Heating the oil infuses the properties of the herbs into the oil.

    3

    Place a few layers of cheesecloth over a bowl or pan.

    When the oil has cooled a bit, pour the herb mixture over the cheesecloth to strain. Squeeze out all the oil.

    4

    Then I like to strain it again through a piece of 100 % cotton fabric.

    5

    Melt the bees wax.

    I have an old pan that I use only for melting my wax in and I keep it wrapped in a plastic bag when not in use. Place that pan in another wider pan with water in it. 

    It is VERY important that you don’t get ANY water in the wax, or this will promote spoiling of your salve.

    Melt the wax, stirring frequently.  (This smells so yummy)

    6

    Prepare jars

    Make sure jars are clean! You can sterilize them by placing them in a pot of boiling water for a few minutes. I usually just make sure they have been cleaned with hot soapy water and dried thoroughly. 

    7

    Add the melted wax to the oil, and mix well.

    *By using a wooden skewer to stir with, you will save wasting a bunch of salve that will stick to the spoon.

     
    To test the consistency of the salve, take a spoon and dip into the mixture. Take it out and let it cool a few seconds. Test the consistency. This is the time to add more wax if it is too runny.
    8

    Add the essential oils and vitamin E now and mix well.

    MOVE QUICKLY.

    9

    Pour the salve into the jars.

    You will need to stir in between pourings to keep things mixed up.

     

    You may even need to heat it up a bit if it starts to set up. (Just don’t heat very long at all and use a very low setting, so you don’t loose all the properties of the essential oils.)

    Don’t you just love the beautiful green color, and it smells FABULOUS!

    [MEDIAVINE EXAMPLE AD SPACE 3]

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    Plantain – Healing Herb Growing Right Under Your Feet

    plantain
    plantain long leaf

    It has been a while since I’ve posted anything on herbs. So at the close of the summer season I thought it would be appropriate to chat about a common weed (herb) that is often unrecognized, but oh so powerful. It’s called plantain.

    Plantain leaf is considered a common and noxious weed by some and a miracle plant by others. I personally consider it a miracle plant. You can find plantain growing in lawns, driveways, parks, playgrounds, and even in the cracks of sidewalks.

    What is plantain and how do you identify it?

    Plantain leaf has a long history of being used as food plants and healing herbs in many diverse cultures around the world. The Native Americans used it to heal wounds, cure fever, and to draw out toxins from stings and bites, including snakebites.

    plantain

    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.

    plantain

    Externally

    • 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, 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.

    Internally

    • 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 a tea.

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

    How to use plantain externally

    Poultice

    You can make a poultice by bruising the plant, chopping finely or heating 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 leafs, crush it or chew it well and put it 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.

    fomentation

    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 with cellophane.

    how to use plantain internally

    tea

    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.

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

    tincture

    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 basic on 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 that is chuck 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.

    Let me know if you have any questions.

    plantain pin

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

    Thyme bath

    Have you been under the weather with the 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 onto 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 22 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

    • If you have thyme growing in your garden, go out and cut a couple 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 herb, 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 water into the bath 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 help 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 families favorite herbs. Yarrow tea is more of a preventative measure, and helps fight many ill.  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!

    jan3

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    Cilantro: The Benefits, Uses and How To Keep It Fresh

    Cilantro is a beautiful bright green leafy herb that is commonly used in guacamole, salsa, curries, noodle dishes, and chimichurri sauces. Cilantro has a very distinct citrus flavor. Either you like it or you don’t. I personally love its fresh pungent flavor. Its seeds are called coriander and are often used as a cooking spice. Not only does this flavorful, bright herb taste fabulous, it also has many health benefits and healing properties.

    Here are just a few of reasons you should add it to your diet

    • It is a great source of vitamins and minerals
    • A small amount delivers the full daily value of vitamin A and K and is rich in vitamin C, potassium, and manganese.
    • Cleanses the body of toxic metals.

    Cilantro supports the body’s natural detoxification processes. Compounds in the leaf bind to toxic metals and loosen them from affected tissue. This process allows metals to be released from the body naturally. If you don’t care for the taste, there are supplements that contain cilantro extract.

    • Relieves nausea
    • Prevents gas and bloating
    • Relieves indigestion and heartburn
    • Ease stomach cramps
    • Aids in efficient digestion

    Cilantro produces digestive enzymes that aid in the breakdown of foods. In many cuisines, fresh cilantro accompanies hot and spicy dishes because of its cooling effects. So when you see that little sprig of cilantro on your dish, it’s not just for aesthetics! EAT IT!

    • Known to calm the nerves, and can improve sleep quality through its natural sedative effects.

    How to use it?

    salads, entrees, and soups

    While coriander seeds can be added throughout the cooking process, fresh cilantro actually loses its strength, and health benefits when introduced to heat. It is best to add fresh chopped cilantro leaves just prior to serving in hot dishes. It can be added at any time for raw foods like salsas, guacamole, and smoothies.

     

    Smoothies & Juicing

    Throw a handful into your smoothies.

    When I juice vegetables, I like to add a small handful of cilantro. It gives it such a fresh clean taste. However, I recommend not sending it through the juicer, it will just shred it. After you have put all the other veggies or fruits through the juicer, pour the juice into a blender and then add the cilantro. Blend until smooth. This way you will actually get some cilantro (the juice and the fiber).

    Here is a recipe for a really yummy cilantro lime dressing.

    How to keep cilantro FRESH?

    It’s not very fun reaching in the vegetable crisper and pulling out a slimy wad of cilantro when you had counted on it for a particular recipe. I have tried several methods for keeping it fresh longer and some didn’t work so well. This particular method works like a charm. This is what you do.

    1- First of all, I do recommend buying organic when you can.

    2- Thoroughly wash.

     

    3- Trim the bottom ends of the stems.

    4- Place the cilantro in a small mason jar or glass. ( I like to use a narrow mouth jar). Fill the jar at least half way full with cool water. Just like a little bouquet of flowers, you can enjoy a beautiful bunch of green goodness right inside your refrigerator.

    5- Make an HERB TENT. Take the bag from the produce department and place it over the herb. Puff it up so there is some air in it and gather the bag around the bottom and tuck it underneath the jar.

     

    6- Place in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks. (If you don’t eat it all sooner). Check it occasionally to make sure it still has enough water in it.

    Since you have already washed it, you can now easily just clip off what you need. This works really well with parsley as well.

    Enjoy a little green goodness, start eating cilantro now!

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    HOLISTIC LIVING: Healthy Travel Tips

    holistic living

    I went on a little vacation this week, and as I was gathering all my goods, I thought it would be a fun idea to show you some things I do and some things I take along with me. Here are some healthy tips and tricks that I do to maintain SOME holistic living while traveling.

    holistic living

    Notice that I said “some”.  When you are out of your routine and in a different place it can be challenging to do all the things you normally like to do to maintain a healthy lifestyle.  I suggest you back off a little and do the BEST YOU CAN and enjoy yourself.  Don’t freak out because maybe you had to resort to eating a little “fast food” or that you didn’t get your daily run in.

    Know and trust that your body is very resilient and it will bounce back quickly once you get back to your normal routine. I say this like I don’t worry about this stuff, well I still do somewhat but have learned to not let it ruin my vacation.

    I bring with me and implement the things I can, and then enjoy myself.  Yes, you will have to adapt a little, but that is good for you!

    Here are a few tips & tricks:

    Medications, Supplements and Tinctures

    holistic living

    Make sure you have all your needed medications and supplements! I learned this the hard way. The last trip I went on I ended up getting food poisoning. Without going into too much detail, because of a particular condition I experience, I am supposed to up my dose of hydrocortisone significantly if I experience any kind of illness or food poisoning. My doctor had given me some shots with cortisone in them in case this ever happens. (I ended up in the emergency room when I had food poisoning before, pretty much because I couldn’t keep the cortisone pill down).

    Anyway, I forgot to pack the shots this trip. DANG, I was sooooooo sick. I would rather go through child birth than this. Not fun being that sick in a hotel room.

    Healthy Travel Tips holistic living

    If you have a “daily” supplement container, it is a good idea to tape it closed like I have done here in the photo. I have had it open up and spill all over my purse way too many times before I learned to just tape it closed. I use painters tape.

    Don’t forget any NEEDED medications, supplements or tinctures. To save room I get the small snack zip bags, label them and put the capsules in there. If I think I may need the whole jar, I will just take the whole thing. Put them all in a BIG zip bag.

    Healthy Snacks

    holistic living

    Throw a few snacks in a little zip lock bag for those times at the airport or in the car when you sugar level is dropping and you need something to eat. If you have something handy, you will be less tempted to buy junk food, and save some money.

    Healthy Travel Tips holistic living

    If your hotel room has a fridge in it, go to a grocery store and buy a few healthy snacks to have on hand. I like to get some string cheese, rice crackers, apples, nut & seed mix, carrot & celery pre-cut mix, bottled water and grapefruit.  Yep, that is sauerkraut in there. I got that for a little extra probiotic action for my gut this week. It was a small bag so even though I didn’t finish it, the little I had served me well.

    Even if the place you are staying has breakfast available, it is nice to have some of your own alternatives. (The snacks you bought at the store are probably better for you than the instant pancakes, powdered eggs or sweet rolls they have available). Now, it there is no other option, do the best you can. They will usually have oatmeal packets or yogurt and perhaps some fruit if you are lucky.

    If you are really feeling vigilant, I know some who take their blenders with them. I really don’t want to be hauling my Blendtec on the plane. Although I did consider taking my son’s Magic Bullet. Oh how a nice a green smoothie would taste on vacation!

    Grapefruit

    Healthy Travel Tips holistic living

    What about grapefruit? When traveling, most likely you will be eating out more frequently than normal, and perhaps eating foods that are a little more heavy, rich and fatty. Grapefruit is a good source of fiber, and it contains both soluble and insoluble fiber both of which can help improve digestion and constipation. Who wants to be constipated while traveling?

    After eating a heavy dinner, I like to come back to the hotel and have some grapefruit. I peel it just like an orange. You are going to love the aroma as you peel it. Now some of you may never have eaten a grapefruit like this, but trust me, it grows on you and is quite a yummy snack. There are VERY good properties in the pith (white stuff around the grapefruit) so don’t pull it all off, eat it. When I eat a grapefruit, I don’t get the bloating, indigestion and I feel much lighter.

    Water

    Healthy Travel Tips holistic living

    It is so important to stay hydrated and so easy to forget to drink water while you are traveling. I bring along my own water bottle and pack it empty, so when I get to the hotel I can fill it up and have handy. It helps me to remember to drink water if I have my water bottle there.

    If you don’t want to pack your own, make sure you at least by some bottles of water to have handy. I buy a few gallons of water and bring them back to the hotel. Most likely you don’t want to be drinking the water from the bathroom tap!

    Movement

    Healthy Travel Tips holistic living

    Although you may not be able to attend your favorite yoga class or go for a bike ride, there are some ways you can still move your body while traveling or while on vacation.

    • Skip the elevator and take the stairs
    • If the hotel you are staying at has a gym, use it
    • Go for a walk and do a little exploring
    • Take an online yoga class in your hotel room

    It can be so easy to go several days without exercising while on vacation. It doesn’t have to be a serious workout, just move your body in some way. You will regret it if you don’t.

    Herbal Teas

    Healthy Travel Tips holistic living

    This is another thing I bring with me. I always take some Yarrow tea with me. This is one of my “go tos” when it comes to any kind of illness. Also good to help detox.

    When I travel I take a little zip package of a blend of herbal teas that I like, usually Yarrow, Peppermint and Raspberry leaf. I know it looks like I am smuggling some drugs or doing crazy stuff, nope just herbs.

    Healthy Travel Tips holistic living

    Sometimes, the hotel will have some herbal teas, but not always. What I do is go down to the lobby and get some hot water where they have it for coffee, and fill up a cup. I take it back to my room, put in about a teaspoon of dried herbs and let it steep for a few minutes. Then I get out my trusty stainless steel straw that filters out the herbs and viola, a nice cup of tea.

    Essential Oils

    Healthy Travel Tips holistic living

    I saved the best for very last. As some of you may already know, I LOVE ESSENTIAL OILS and I don’t travel without them. I have a little mini case that I have in my purse at all times, but that is not enough. I like to take as many as I can, AND my diffuser.

    There is nothing like being cramped up in a hotel room that is stuffy. Why not diffuse your favorite oils to make it feel and smell a little more like home. I have a small travel diffuser  that I pack.

    When packing my oils, I have a difficult time deciding which ones to bring. I take the most essential ones and pray I won’t need any of the others. Trust me; these oils have come in handy. On this trip I was so glad I brought the big bottle of lavender because I got a little too much sun on my back and was able to have my husband apply some on my back. Works wonders.  You never know when there will be a need for them physically or emotionally. LOVE EM!

    Hopefully this will be helpful for those of you who want to maintain some kind of healthy balance when on vacation.

    What is a tip you have learned and do to stay healthy on vacation? I would love to hear about it!

    Cheers,

    jan

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    PEPPERMINT: How To Grow, Use and Enjoy

    Peppermint is one of my favorite herbs to have growing in the garden. Here are a few tips on how to grow, use and enjoy this simple herb.

    How To Grow

    Peppermint is very easy to grow.  In fact, it grows so aggressively that most garden books advise you to enclose the roots of peppermint in a pot to prevent it from taking over your garden bed. I have mine planted in an old fashioned tin bath tub.

    Peppermint is part of the mint family, in which there are many varieties. It will hybridize easily. So if you grow several mint plants side by side, over time their flavors will mingle and they will lose their distinctive tastes. Chocolate mint, pear mint, spearmint, and even apple mint varieties are available.

    Peppermint is easy to find in most plant nurseries and even in common variety stores where plants are sold. Herbs seem to sell out quickly in the spring, so don’t hesitate in purchasing early. It is easier to grow from a start or cutting than to grow by seed. If you know someone with a peppermint plant, you can take a cutting or divide the plant to start you own patch.

    Peppermint likes water, so plant it where you will remember to water it. It will begin to droop if it becomes thirsty. To keep the plant growing all summer, keep it trimmed. This will inhibit the plant from forming blossoms. Once it forms flowers, the plant will slow down. You may have to do this once a week or so.

    Divide already established plants in spring or fall, or take cuttings during the growing season and root them in water.

    Peppermint roots easily from cuttings. Take a 4 inch cutting and strip the last inch of its leaves. Soak it overnight in water and then just place it in a growing medium. It will root in two weeks and start sending up new growth.

    How To Harvest

    • Cut: If you are going to use the peppermint for teas or other uses, you will want to cut down before it flowers. Cut the stems down to 4-5 inches from the ground. Don’t worry, it will grow back very quickly.
    • Wash: Run the stems under running water to remove any dust or dirt.
    • Dry: Take the stems and either place them in a dehydrator, tie with twine and hang to dry, or if you live in a hot, dry climate like I do, you can simply lay them on the counter top or table for a few days.
    • Strip leaves: To remove the dried leaves from the center stem, pull your fingers from the top of the stem down. Do this over a big bowl. Your house is going to smell fabulous! By storing the leaves whole and crushing them right before use, you retain the volatile oils in the leaves, until you need them.
    • Store: Store the dried herb in glass mason jars with a tight fitting lid. It will stay strong and fragrant for at least a year if protected from heat, light, air, and moisture.

    How To Use

    What do you do with it? Peppermint has many benefits, whether you use it fresh, dried or as an essential oil.

    • Analgesic
    • Anti-parasitic
    • Antiseptic
    • Digestive
    • Expectorant
    • Insecticidal
    • Sedative
    • Stimulant
    • Stomachic
    • Vasoconstrictor

    Peppermint is most famed for its use in relieving stomach problems. Peppermint can help disorders of the digestive system including gas, bloating, nausea, indigestion and cramps.

    peppermint

    One of my favorite ways to use dried peppermint is to make an infusion, a TEA. It can be very soothing to the stomach, give you a little energy boost, (without the caffeine) and add flavor to other teas that are not so tasty. I usually throw a little peppermint in with my yarrow tea to make it more palatable.

    To make a tea:

    1. Add 1-2 teaspoons of dried herb to your mug. You can use a tea bag, a tea straw, or I LOVE my Teavana perfectea maker!!!! This makes steeping a mug of tea a SNAP! Everyone in my family has their own.
    2. Pour boiling water over the tea, cover and infuse for 1- 3 minutes. Covering the tea while steeping will keep the delicate oils from evaporating.
    3.  Enjoy!

    Another way to get the benefits of peppermint is to use the essential oil.

    • Use a drop of Peppermint with Lemon in water for a healthy, refreshing mouth rinse.
    • Take one to two drops in a Veggie Capsule to alleviate occasional stomach upset.
    • Add two to three drops to your favorite smoothie recipe for a refreshing twist.
    • Place one drop in palm of your hand and inhale for a mid-day pick-me-up.

    Add a sprig of peppermint to desserts, smoothies, or drinks as a garnish.

    If you don’t have a patch or bucket of peppermint growing in your garden yet, I hope you will. Not only is it useful, smells, divine, it is a beautiful addition to any garden.

    What is your favorite way to use peppermint?

    jan3

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