Category Archives: Herbal Recipes

The Good Living Guide to Natural and Herbal Remedies

I am very excited to announce the release of my new book “The Good Living Guide to Natural and Herbal Remedies.” Inspired by the urgent need to recognize the value of mother earth and the gifts which she provides, especially plants – both serving as our foods and also our medicines and the importance of taking steps to maintain and preserve the health of the earth for our own wellbeing, the continued accessibility of our healing plants and the health of generations in the future.front cover small

This back-to-nature home remedy and herbal medicine making guide provides details on effective herbal medicines (kitchen vegetables, spices, well known herbal medicines and wild plants) for common family health issues. Inside the 310 pages of this hardcover book you will find recipes for various common health concerns: from an upset stomach, indigestion to arthritis and sore muscles, wound healing to acne, eczema, hives as well as body care recipes (body washes, insect repellents, cleansers and hair masks).

Regardless of if you are a beginner or advanced in your herbal training – this book is for you!  Providing guidance for preparing infusions, decoctions, medicinal honeys, general tincture preparation, herbal vinegars and topical applications as well as general first aid guidance using herbal medicine. There are also tasty food recipes which incorporate edible plants into ones diet.

Color photographs offer assistance with plant identification, this is a reference manual; offering tips for both beginners as well as recipes and traditional and modern applications for advanced herbal practitioners.

Kat book 2Featuring a long list of medicinal plants including detailed descriptions on the use of Turmeric, Lavender, Nettles, Heartsease, Sweet Violet, Self Heal, Juniper and Sage; common kitchen herbs and even vegetables and also some lesser known medicinal plants such as Watercress, Daisy and Sunflowers!

We all know that what we put on our skin is absorbed into out body. There is more and more research conducted on groups of commercial synthetic chemicals (largely found in cosmetic use and cleaning supplies) known as Xenoestrogens – also known as Endocrine disruptors (known to increase our bodies estrogen levels, and contribute to health conditions including infertility, polycystic ovarian syndrome, lowered sperm counts and have the ability to disrupt thyroid function, and linked to obesity, and a large list of health issues).

The cosmetic and body care recipes inside this book are environmentally friendly and Xenoestrogen free – they can play a small role in reducing our exposure to toxic chemicals typically found in common packaged cosmetics and also reduce the impact of environmentally toxic chemicals in the environment, our water and food chain and on marine life.

Packed full of herbal wisdom, traditional use and just the right amount of science, readers will gain confidence in plant identification as they dive into the art of creating ones own elixirs at home. In short, “The Good Living Guide to Natural and Herbal Remedies” is a simple, straightforward, and beautiful guide to herbal remedies that will help you take charge of your health using nature’s own medicine.

kat book 3There is some urgency in remembering and recognizing the value of mother nature and the plants which she grows.  We reach for what is familiar! That which we use daily -those very habits which we see our family repeating daily, is what we will likely repeat as adults. Our habits today create the habits of the next generation- we need our future generations to remember the importance of clean soil, clean air and accessible plants, both as our foods and as our medicines. This book is a small tool for the remembering of the value of our plants and how to apply them as medicines for common first aid.

Some reviews of the book can be viewed here.

More about me:  You can view a more in depth bio here on my website www.katolenyardley.com: Katolen Yardley, MNIMH – I have been in private practice for almost 2 decades (not to date myself) specializing in women’s health, digestive and skin issues. I have taught herbal medicine making classes for over 25 years, and offer my wisdom and experience to a variety of students in workshops and classrooms.

Autographed copies can be purchased online from my website: www.alchemyelixir.com or books are also available for purchase online: at Amazon, Indigo Chapters, Barnes and Nobel, Banyen Books, and hopefully at a bookstore near you.

Herbal Medicine in Pregnancy

Mothers to be often reach out for consultations during pregnancy for guidance on optimal health or health issues experienced during pregnancy.  While optimal nutrition is always the best option, there are many herbal remedies which can be considered during pregnancy for various ailments. As education is something which I am an enthusiastic promotor of, I often refer clients to my favorite herbal medicine reference book for pregnancy: The Natural Pregnancy Book: Herbs, Nutrition, and Other Holistic Choices by Aviva Romm.  This book is full of nutrition and herbal medicine recipes, exercises and posture modifications, lifestyle suggestions and herbal medicine guidance for common health issues experienced during pregnancy (from stretch marks to hemorrhoids and vaginal infections to ankle swelling and nausea) there is something here for every expectant mother.

 

Traditional Herb Shops of Paris

One of the things I love most about travelling is the opportunity to check out herbal medicine shops and products in other countries – especially the old herbal apothecaries of europe. During a trip to Paris, I  had the pleasure of visiting two traditional herb shops: Herboristerie de la Place Clichy and Herboristerie d’Hippocrate.

My search for Herboristerie d’Hippocrate at 42, rue Saint Andre des Arts -75006 ParisP1030077

– occurred during an unexpected torrential spring down pour – as I wandered through the narrow winding cobblestone streets of the Latin Quarter in search of the correct address. As luck would have it, I arrived during their lunch time and the shop was closed – but found a small cafe and warmed up/ dried out while I waited for their 2 pm opening.
P1030089The wait was worth it and the shop was delightful. Numerous species of dry herbs, dozens of liquid extracts of herbal medicines and traditional recipes for various ailments. Antique hand painted herb containers, dried flowers and a high ceiling decorated in a traditional french style.

P1030085

P1030082

P1030086  Herboristerie de la Place Clichy was another delight – the oldest and largest herb shop in Paris- established in 1880 (that makes it older than the Eiffel Tower). The boutique is located at 87 Rue D’Amsterdam 75008 in North Paris.

P1030055

I had the pleasure of meeting one of the owners, Nicole, a pharmacist P1030065who had  purchased the shop  in 1993 and we shared stories of herbs and compared experiences from our differing countries. She kindly gifted me a french herbal medicine reference book “La Phytotherapie” by Dr Jean Valnet – a valuable reference text full of traditional french herbal recipes, actions and indications. I am grateful that the Latin names of herbal medicines are consistent regardless of what language and what country one is visiting- thus the book has been a fantastic reference and comparative tool.P1030074

P1030087Exploring the shop I felt right at home looking at the various remedies and herbal blends for numerous ailments such as: Combat les troubles de la Prostate, Combat la Colite, Digestion Difficile, Combat l’Acne. The shop stocks over 900 species of plant medicine in various forms, dried, extracts, aromatherapy, massage oils and hydrosols.

P1030062

P1030067

P1030058

Lavender Lemonade Recipe

LAVENDER LEMONADE

A refreshing summer drink – serve with garnished of fresh lavender.

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups of water
  • 1/2 cup sugar (or experiment with adding xylitol or + /- 10 grams of dried stevia leaves for a natural sweet taste)
  • 6 lemons ​- juiced
  • half a lime​ – juiced
  • 6 long sprigs of fresh lavender​ or 1/4 cup of dried lavender flowers

Boil water in a pot on the stove – reduce heat to a low temperature. Add the sugar/ stevia and simmer for 5 minutes. (Taste to adjust flavor as needed). Stirring often to prevent burning and to ensure all sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and stir in the fresh lemon juice, lime juice, and lavender flowers. Place the lemonade in the fridge to cool down all the way. Serve with lemon wedges and ice cubes. Enjoy!

Makes about 1 quart or 1 liter

The Boreal Herbal: Wild Food and Medicine Plants

The Boreal Herbal: Wild Food and Medicine Plants of the North is an indispensable guide to identifying and using northern plants for food and medicine. Award winning author Beverley Gray is a boreal herbalist, aromatherapist, natural-health practitioner and journalist.

Whether you’re hiking in remote areas or gardening in your backyard, this easy-to-use handbook will help you recognize and use fifty-five common wild plants that have extraordinary healing properties. With The Boreal Herbal you will learn how to soothe pain with White willow, staunch bleeding with Yarrow, treat a urinary-tract infection with Uva Ursi, and create a delicate and uplifting skin cream from sweetgrass – also included guidance for using Nettle, Goldenrod, Red Clover, Dandelion, Horsetail and Plantain.

The Boreal Herbal: by Bev Gray

The Boreal Herbal: by Beverly Gray

Also included are dozens of healthy and delicious recipes, including Wild- Weed Spanakopita, Dandelion Wine, and Cranberry-Mint Muffins.

The Boreal Herbal features:

  • Profiles of dozens of herbs, berries, and trees found in the northern boreal forest in Canada, Alaska, the Yukon and NWT: including information on their habitat, harvest times, medicinal applications, as well as food uses, cosmetic uses, and spiritual uses
  • Full-colour photographs and botanical illustrations of each medicinal plant profiled in the book for easy identification
  • Instruction on how to gather, prepare and preserve medicinal plants
  • More than 200 recipes: teas, tinctures, powders, flower essences, topical treatments, beverages, jams and jellies, baked goods, soups, entrées, and much more
  • Safety tips for harvesting and using edible and medicinal wild plants, including information on calculating dosage and plant-specific cautions
  • A resource section for people interested in starting up a non-timber forest-products business
  • Botanical and medicinal glossaries, an index, and handy reference charts
  • Over 400 pages of valuable herbal medicine information
  • International Awards: Silver Benjamin Franklin Award, Living Now Book Award, 2012 CBC Cross Country Cookbook  Shelf “The North’s Favourite Cookbook”, Gold Nautilus Award, Next Generation Indie Book Awards

Regular Price $ 44.95 Currently on sale for $ 42.99 – Limited supplies only. To order click here:

 

Vancouver Islands Herbal Gathering

Calling all herbal medicine students, and those ‘herbalists at heart’ interested in learning about plant medicine. Join the Canadian Herbalists Association of BC and Innisfree Farm for the first annual Herb Gathering on Vancouver Island May 31-June 2, 2013. For more information and registration visit: www.herbgathering.org

Vancouver Islands Herb Gathering

Red Root – New Jersey Tea

written by Katolen Yardley, MNIMH Medical Herbalist

Botanical: Ceanothus americanus

Main Actions: Astringent, Lymphagogue, Expectorant.

Indications: Red Root is indicated for stagnation of lymph, thick mucus, swollen glands and poor assimilation of nutritients to the tissues.

Red root, also known as New Jersey Tea, a lymphatic herb which stimulates interstitial fluid circulation used for splenic and liver congestion, enlarged lymph nodes, sinusitis, tonsillitis, laryngitis, pharyngitis, chronic post-nasal drip and mononucleosis. It can also help increase platelet counts and is specific for reducing cysts.

Astringent: The root is an effective astringent, expectorant and antispasmodic for as asthma bronchitis and coughs It has proven useful in mouthwash to relieve sore throat, gum inflammation, to help tooth decay. The astringent qualities of Red Root that dry up damp conditions aid conditions where lymphatic congestion is a problem can also be applied to:lymphatic swellings, sore throats, mastitis, mononucleosis, tonsillitis and strep infections as well as chronic conditions such as leukemia, Hodgkin’s disease, rheumatism, AIDS as well as various types of anemias.

Expectorant:  utilized in folk medicine practices of Native Americans to alleviate whooping cough, and shortness of breath; working as a mucolytic agent to lower the viscosity of mucus and promotes the expulsion of phlegm from the respiratory tract.

Relieves Digestive Problems: traditionally used for the digestive system, liver and spleen. The spleen can be viewed as the body’s largest lymph node: addressing how well our immune system functions, how waste descends and is removed from the body, and how nutrients are sent up into the body to build blood, nourish cells and muscles. When digestive disorders are present on a disease or syndrome level, deficiency of the spleen is a contributing factor. Spleen deficiency appears in Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Irritable Bowel Disease (Chron’s and Colitis),

Antibacterial Properties: Antibacterial properties are due to the lignans, tannins and ceanathine The root was used as a decoction to help treat sexually transmitted diseases, notably syphilis and gonorrhea. Also, it appears to lessen frequency of canker sores, cold sores and prevent formation of tooth decay when used as a mouth wash and sore throats.

Red Root can be prepared as a decoction tea and is available for purchase: 

 

 

Kudzu Root (Puerario montana)

Kudzu Root

Kudzu Root

written by Katolen Yardley, MNIMH – Medical Herbalist

The Kudzu (or Kuzu) plant is a climbing, woody vine which belongs to the pea family (or the legume family). For more than 2000 years in Chinese medicine, the chopped kudzu root has been used as herbal medicine for the treatment of headaches, diarrhea, dysentery, intestinal obstruction, stomach flu, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases; it is used as a digestive aid, fever reducer, and is thought to inhibit alcohol cravings and lower blood sugar.

In traditional Chinese medicine, where it is known as gat-gun, ge gan, kudzu root is considered one of the 50 fundamental herbs. TCM uses kudzu in treating the symptoms of high blood pressure such as headache and dizziness (although kudzu has little or no effect on blood pressure itself). It has been used traditionally for tinnitus, vertigo and Wei syndrome (superficial heat close to the surface). It has shown value for helping migraines and cluster headaches and can increase circulation, an action that tends to reduce muscle pain and stiffness, and increases blood flow through the coronary arteries.

Studies have shown that Kudzu can reduce alcohol cravings. For problem drinking: In clinical studies, Kudzu has shown some promising results in reducing the desire for alcohol and decrease the amount of alcohol consumed. A person who takes Kudzu, will still drink alcohol, but will consume less than if they had not taken Kudzu. The mechanism for this is not yet established, but it may have to do with both alcohol metabolism and the reward circuits in the brain. The Harvard Medical School is studying Kudzu as a possible way to treat alcoholic cravings. While Kudzu Root seems to lessen the desire for alcohol, it also stimulates regeneration of liver tissue while protecting against liver toxins.

Kudzu is also taken internally on a regular basis to prevent recurrences of colds sores, shingles, and herpes. The root is prepared as a decoction/ boiled tea for reducing an elevated fever, muscle aches, and symptoms of a cold or flu and can sooth inflamed mucous membranes of the throat and bronchial passages.

Animal and cellular studies have provided support for the traditional uses of kudzu root on cardiovascular, cerebrovascular and endocrine systems, including angina pectoris, blood sugar balancing effects for diabetes and their long term complications.

Medicinal Food The nutritive starchy root of kudzu is high in complex carbohydrates, helps balance the acidic nature of many foods, and is soothing and cooling the digestive tract. Powdered kudzu root is very “starchy” -similar to arrowroot powder, and is used to thicken sauces, especially in Asian cooking. Simply mix the powder of kudzu in a little cold liquid to dissolve and use as a substitute for cornstarch or arrowroot.

Traditional therapeutic actions: Antispasmodic, anti-pyretic, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anti-cancer, antiviral, diaphoretic, muscle relaxant, cold and flu treatment, vasodilator, antihypertensive, antioxidant, liver protective, circulatory support, raynauds. Used to counteract abuse of drug and alcohol; helping to reduce alcohol cravings.

Nutrients: Calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, vitamin B2.

Kudzu root is a very safe herb, with no known drug interactions and is most effective when used in its natural state, as prepared as a decocted tea. The recommended dose of Kudzu root tea ranges from 9 to 15 g daily. To order chopped Kudzu Root click here:

NourishingMealsCover

Nourishing Meals Cookbook

And by popular demand, we now have in stock the new cookbook by Tom Malterre and Alissa Sergersten:

“Nourishing Meals: Nutrition for the Whole Family”,packed with 300 gluten free, dairy and soy free recipes for the whole family; with a special emphasis on raising healthy children from preconception on wards (focusing on autism, allergies and obesity)  and  learn why removing processed foods from ones diet and going gluten free may help clear up mysterious health ailments and contribute to optimal health.

Here is what you’ll find in the Nourishing Meals Cookbook:

  • How to raise a healthy eater
  • Key nutrients for pregnancy and childhood and contributors of deficiencies
  • How to pack a healthy school lunch
  • Creating balanced family meals
  • Vegan, vegetarian, seafood, and meat main dishes
  • Nutritional benefits of soups and stocks
  • Tips for encouraging your children to eat more vegetables
  • Tips for a quick, nutritious breakfast
  • Charts for soaking and cooking whole grains
  • Wholesome gluten-free breads and muffins, including sourdough recipes
  • Healthy snack ideas
  • Alternatives to refined sugar
  • Nourishing grain-free dessert recipes
  • Ways to preserve the harvest, including recipes for lacto-fermented vegetables
  • Some delicious recipes include hot and sour soup, apple cider baked beans, spicy lentils and rice in cabbage leaves, grain free chicken nuggets, apricot glazed chicken, zucchini lasagna with pine nut ricotta, raw breakfast tacos, baby green smoothie, kale and egg scramble, coconut brown rice, chicken and chard chili

To purchase this cookbook for $ 24.95, click here:

Chaga Mushroom or Fungus also known as “King of the Herbs”

written by Katolen Yardley, Medical Herbalist

  • Latin Name: Inonotus obliquus however it may be found under the Latin names: Polyporus obliquus and Poria obliqua
  • Family: Hymenochaetaceae
  • Phylum: Basidiomycota (known as a true mushroom).

Habitat

Chaga is a slow growing fungus which grows on birch trees (and is also on alder and beech trees). Geographically, Chaga is restricted to cold habitats, found growing in Russia, Korea, Eastern and Northern Europe, northern areas of the United States, and in Canada.

Why are mushrooms considered to be a fungus?

Mushrooms are considered a fungus, or a member of the fungi kingdom, as they do not contain chlorophyll, yet they have a strong symbiotic relationship with other plants and organisms – growing on decomposing leaves, logs, trees and soil in a forest setting; fungi are essential to our food chain. Fungus have the ability to break down organic matter in a decaying forest and actually draw its food and nutrients directly from decaying trees, rather than from the soil itself. Fungi digest their food outside their bodies by releasing enzymes into the surrounding environment, breaking down organic matter into a form the fungus can use.

Mushrooms are the fruiting bodies produced by some fungi and the term “mushroom” applies to those fungi that have a stem, a cap, and gills or pores on the underside of the cap.All fungus begins with a spore which germinates, when the spore grows strands, this is called the mycelium. The fruiting body or the visible top of the mushroom, and the mycelium (the feeding body) make up the mushroom which can appear to grow overnight, in the cases of some species, or take longer time for development in other species.

In the case of Chaga, its sterile conk – a perennial woody growth, which is the mycelium of the mushroom – has the appearance of a black, irregular, cracked mass resembling burnt charcoal that grows on tree trunks. Due to the large amounts of melanin present in the chaga mushroom, the fruiting body rarely is seen. Unlike most mushrooms, chaga is a polypore, a fungus with pores instead of gills. Rather than growing in soil, Chaga prefers birch trees, once a tree is dead, the “sterile conk trunk rot of birch”, referring to chagas fruiting bodies grows under the outer layers of wood surrounding the sterile conk, spreading its mushroom spores for regrowth.

Common Names

Chaga is also known as siberian chaga, clinker polypore, cinder conk, black mass, birch canker polypore, sterile conk trunk rot of birch and birch mushroom. In the arctic, the first nation’s people used chaga as a form medicine and called it Tiaga or Tsa Ahga. In France, it is called the carie blanche spongieuse de bouleau (spongy white birch tree rot), the Dutch name is berkenweerschijnzwam (birch mushroom glow) and in Germany it is known as Schiefer Schillerporling (slate inonotus). However in the Orient, Chaga is known as “King of the Herbs” a name which most alludes to its respected and powerful healing properties.

History of this Medicinal Plant

A healing plant of renowned value throughout the world, Chaga is thought to be one of the strongest immune stimulating medicinal mushrooms and is used today as the base natural product in over forty oncology pharmaceutical medications and compounds. Since the early 16 th century, Chaga has been documented for its medicinal actions. Traditionally Chaga was used as a common remedy for cancer, gastritis, ulcers and other toxic diseases; especially for tumors of the stomach, esophagus, lungs, genital organs and/ or breast.

Chemical Constituents

  • Beta-D-glucans, a type of polysaccharide which has strong anti-inflammatory and immune balancing properties, reputed to assist in stimulating the body to produce natural killer (NK) cells to battle infections, tumor growth and stimulate apoptosis (programmed cell death). The 3-beta-D-glucans found in medicinal mushrooms have been subject of research since the 1960s.
  • Phenolic compounds, melanins
  • Lanostane-type triterpenoids, including betulin and betulinic acid. (The anti-cancer properties of betulin or betulinic acid are currently being studied for use as chemotherapeutic agents and are already used as anti-HIV agents in mainstream medicine). Important note: betulinic acid appears to be absent in cultivated chaga, with nature herself producing higher medicinal quality chaga.
  • Bitter triterpene compounds that support the thymus and spleen,
  • Germanium: one of the highest sources found in nature.

Reputed Health Benefits

Studies support the use of Chaga for immune enhancement, possible cholesterol lowering, anti-obesity properties and improved insulin resistance, digestive tonic, anti ulcer, general tonic, psoriasis, diabetes, hypertension, anticancer potential, an anti viral, anti tumor, immune response modifier, (may assist in the modulation of T-Cells, macrophages, neutrophils, and white blood cells), anti-inflammatory properties, hypoglycemic activities and antioxidant properties offering protection against oxidative damage to cellular DNA.

Medicinal Actions

Much research has been conducted in Russia on this remarkable adaptogen fungus and more recently, health advocate David Wolfe can be found on”You Tube” educating his listeners on Chaga mushroom as a super food used daily for overall health enhancement. Chaga may help to:

  • Support and enhance immune function and help improve resistance to dis-ease. Chaga also contains the full spectrum of immune-stimulating phytochemicals found in other medicinal mushrooms.
  • Adaptogen properties: help the body to respond and resist internal and external stressors
  • Reduce fatigue, improve vitality, endurance and stamina
  • Regulate digestion: a useful anti-inflammatory agent of benefit for gastritis, ulcers and general pain.
  • Improve mental clarity
  • Improve physical performance
  • Antioxidant and anti-aging effect
  • Regulate the function of muscles and nerves
  • Improve resistance to disease
  • Enhance sleep quality
  • Improve metabolism
  • Regulate the activity of cardiovascular and respiratory systems
  • Reduce pain
  • Promote healthy skin and hair
  • Contains antioxidant properties
  • A restorative tonic and blood cleansing agent
  • Contains anti viral, anti fungal and anti tumor properties.

Interesting Tidbit: Siberian Chaga is neither a plant nor animal yet its DNA make up is thirty percent closer to humans than plants.

Nature vs. nurture

Chaga is best used medicinally when harvested through wild crafting, as the mushroom holds the highest medicinal value and chemical constituents when wild crafted; the cultivated species are lower (or absent) in both medicinal properties and betulinic acid. Chaga can be purchased here in dried form and prepared as a tea. To purchase Chaga Mushroom:

Other Medicinal Mushrooms

One important clarification, medicinal mushrooms do NOT include the common white, brown mushroom or button mushroom – those common edible mushrooms found in supermarkets. White or button mushrooms have little flavor and no medicinal value compared to wild species. In fact, they may even be unhealthy -heavily sprayed with malathion and other pesticides and provide no nutritional value. The medicinal mushrooms include: Reishi, shitake, chaga, turkey tail, maitake, agaricus, oyster mushrooms, coriolus, cordyceps, poria which contain immune enhancing benefits.

Information given here is for consumer education only. It is not meant to

replace the advice of a qualified health care professional.