Sunday, August 30, 2020

Common name: Linden, lime flowers, lime tree, basswood, beetree, tilia, tilleul, tilo, tiglio
Botanical name: Tilia europaea, T. cordata, T. platyphyllos, T. americana
Family name: Tilaceae

Overview:  A large deciduous tree that grows up to 100 feet tall. Blooms abundantly from late spring to early summer and is well known for it's lovely honey-lime scent.

Best harvested on a dry day in early to midsummer, immediately after flowering, and dried in the shade. Parts used are the flowers and bracts, charcoal (from the wood), leaf, twigs inner bark.

History and Folklore: The linden tree is said to be the national symbol of Slovenia and considered very sacred. Many Germans grew linden trees in their town squares for protection and shade. Villagers often assembled to hold their judicial meetings under the trees because they believed they would help bring truth, restoration of justice and peace to any issue at hand.

Primary therapeutic constituents: Flavonoids, (quercetin, hesperidin, kaempferol, rutin), mucilage, volatile/essential oils, phenolic acids, phytosterols, tannins. 

Medicinal actions: Anodyne, anti-fungal, antinociceptive, antispasmodic, antitussive, astringent, demulcent, diaphoretic, diuretic, emollient, expectorant, hepatoprotective, hypotensive, diaphoretic, nervine. 

Common uses: Nervous conditions, epilepsies, hyperactivity, excess heat conditions, hypertension, colds, congested kidneys, dark urine, edema, insomnia, migraine, dizziness, neuralgia, heart palpitations, pelvic inflammatory disease, digestion. 

Technique: Infusion, soak (tub), infused honey, syrup, poultice, food, tincture. 

Adult dose: Best as an infusion of 1 teaspoon dried flowers and bracts in one cup boiled water for 10 minutes, taken 3 times a day. 

Cautions and contraindications: Some concerns that in high doses could be cardiotoxic. In rare cases, hypersensitive folks may shows signs of dermatitis or allergic rhinitis. 

Taste: Sweet, moist. 

Energy: Cooling, drying, relaxing, aromatic 

Educational video: I found an interesting video by a naturopathic doctor demonstrating how to harvest and process linden. She also prepares a linden honey and an amazing looking linden-lemon tea that I must try soon. I'll keep my eye out for a unique glass container and make a batch for Thanksgiving! Watch this engrossing lesson by Dr. Mindy A. Curry. 

Personal experience: Lovely tasting tea with a calming effect. I've also used linden in tea blends such as this one here


Herbal Academy, (n.d.) Linden monograph. Retrieved from

The Earthwise Herbal Vol I by Matthew Wood. p. 487-489

The Modern Herbal Dispensatory by Easley and Horne p. 262

Margarita Kombucha - Buzz Free!

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

I've been brewing up my own Kombucha for many years now and have never grown tired of it. The combination of flavors one can create is almost endless. I have to admit though that my all time favorite is this buzz free (no alcohol) Margarita Kombucha. 

With Thanksgiving in my sights I thought I would get an early start at putting up some bottles so we can have plenty to go around for this favorite family holiday! 

I'm not going to go into all the details about how to brew it and why because I already have a handy little guide you can pick up for free here.

So on to the recipe...

  • 2 Quarts of freshly brewed and strained plain kombucha tea (more or less)
  • 8 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 4 Tablespoons raw honey (local if available)
  • 4 Teaspoons salt (I use gray or himalayan)

Combine all the ingredients very well in a half gallon mason jar or a large pitcher. Fill your bottles, leaving 2-3 inches head room and clamp shut. I use swing top bottles but you don't have to. You just want to make sure you are able to easily open and close for burping purposes! And use glass bottles, no plastic or metal.

Now set your filled bottles out of direct sunlight on the kitchen counter or in another room for 1-4 weeks. I put mine in a cardboard box in a back room and burp them once daily for 4 weeks. Afterwards they go into the fridge to chill. They'll keep cold there for a quite a long time. I can't imagine anyone letting all that yummy goodness sit long enough to go bad - no way! 

When ready to serve use nice glasses and rub the rim with lime juice and dip in coarse salt like the picture up top. 


P.S. My free guide: Kombucha - How Do You Do is also in the side bar of this site → → →


Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Common name: Marjoram, garden marjoram, knotted marjoram, pot marjoram, sweet marjoram, sweet knotted marjoram.
Botanical name: Origanum majorana L. syn. Majorana hortensis
Family name: Lamiaceae

Overview: Marjoram is a perennial and considered native in the Mediterranean region where it is widely cultivated. In cooler climates it won’t usually over-winter. I have had success bringing my marjoram inside over the winter and it did well in the subsequent spring and summer outdoors, but it wasn’t as hearty as in its first year.

Marjoram has the typical rectangular stalk of the mint family and the leaves are opposite and oval in shape. Its flowers may be pale pink, purplish or white and appear in clusters in knotted appearing bracts. Fresh sweet marjoram is one of my top favorite scents in the herbal kingdom – pungent and slightly spicy. Crushing a bit of marjoram into my palm to release its perfume is almost addictive!  

Harvest the aerial parts as they begin to flower and dry on a rack indoors or in a shaded location outside.

History and Folklore: In 1597 the herbalist John Gerard made this assessment: “Sweet marjoram is a remedy against cold diseases of the braine and head, being taken anyway to your best liking; put up into the nostrils it provokes sneesing, and draweth forth much baggage flegme; it easeth the toothache being chewed in the mouth.”

Primary therapeutic constituents: Essential oil, monoterpenes, flavonoids, phenolic glycosides, tannins, rosemarinic acid and triterpenoids.  

Medicinal actions: Antispasmodic, antimicrobial, antibacterial, anti-atherosclerosis, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, antimetastatic, antioxidant, antiplatlet, antitumor, antiulcerogenic, aromatic, cardioprotective, carminative, diaphoretic, digestive, diuretic, expectorant, gastroprotective, hepatoprotective, sedative, stomachic. 

Common uses: Well known as a culinary herb in salads, sauces, cheese, liqueurs and as part of the Herbs De Provence blend.

Also used medicinally for flatulence, colic, respiratory problems (irritable cough or upper respiratory disorders accompanied by much sneezing) and the nervous system. It’s a good general tonic, helping to relieve anxiety, headaches and insomnia.

Marjoram is suited to high-strung persons who push themselves, are exhausted, but cannot relax; due to obsessive thinking, particularly about romantic matters; and to irritative conditions of the respiratory tract and digestion (Boericke). It improves the downward movement of the digestive tract and prevents putrefaction (Elliot and de Paoli). Used for digestive spasms, belching, stomach cramps and colitis.

Technique: Extract, infusion, essential oil, sitz bath, pessary, liniment, infused oil, gargle, mouth wash and snuff.

Adult dose: Infusion of the bruised fresh or dried leaves, a pinch to a cup, steep.*

Cautions and contraindications: Do not take during pregnancy. Do not ingest the oil.

Taste: Spicy, sweet, warm

Energy: Warming

Educational video: I found a short little narrated list of Marjoram’s nutritional and health promoting abilities. It’s a great review of what I’ve covered here, plus a bit extra. Watch 5 Amazing Health Benefits of Marjoram. 

Personal experience: Other than being in love with the scent of marjoram in the palm of my hand I also infuse the oil for the same reason. 

Originally I purchased a marjoram plant because I had trouble finding it in the seasoning section of every grocery store I checked. I wanted to make my own Herbs DeProvence for my kefir cheese.

I am so grateful to discover that this lovely herb has even more to offer than I imagined! I tried the infusion as soon as I learned of its affinity for the digestive system. Mine is always challenging me in one way or another. At the time of the trial I had a slight headache, dry mouth and a grumbling tummy. I used half the amount recommended for my first try. Low and slow is the motto when trying new things! The infusion had a mild aroma and taste so it was easy to sip. The small dose informed me that I was safe to proceed as I had no adverse reactions to prevent me from experiencing this herb more regularly. I have to say that even though this small infusion didn’t remedy my dry mouth or headache, my stomach felt a little calmer. I don’t believe that one little taste test is going to do medicinal cartwheels for anyone though. More infusions taken regularly is the route to discovering just how this herb might become a favored ally. I look forward to finding out!


Matthew Wood. The Earthwise Herbal. Volume I – A Complete Guide to Old World Medicinal Plants. p. 367-368 *

Andrew Chevallier, FNIMH. Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine. p. 242

Lesley Bremness. Eyewitness Handbooks. HERBS – The visual guide to more than 700 herb species from around the world. p. 196

Herbal Academy, (n.d.) Marjoram monograph. Retrieved from