Invibe Herbal

Dear friends,

Many of you know that I have been working the last two years to form a new company dedicated to bringing herbal medicine to all at an affordable price.  The name of the company is Invibe Herbal and it is the first company to be able to formulate an herbal tea based on your needs.  By answering a simple questionnaire, we can formulate a blend that is right for you.  Helping individuals through medicine based on herbs has been around for millennia, but only now can you get it custom made over the web, using only organic or wild-crafted herbs.  I hope you will visit our website: www.invibeherbal.com and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email me.

Many blessings and good health,

Jayne Tamburello, MS, CNS, RH(AHG)

 

 

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Summer Teas

This is an article I wrote for YogaLiving Magazine last summer…..

When I think about summer, I think about iced tea—not your traditional Lipton’s tea made cold, but cool teas made from all the yummy ingredients from my garden.  The first thing to remember when making your own summer blends is not to be afraid to experiment. There is no right or wrong way so just go out there and do it!  Make small batches to begin with and be sure to write down how much of each ingredient you use in case you really like it and want to make it again.  Then, if you do make a large batch, just store is an airtight container (you can find many nice ones on line).

Fruit—I think fruit always enhances the flavor of a tea—especially in the summer when we just naturally gravitate towards the sweetness of fruit.  Bits of fresh or dried fruit can be added to any tea.  Fruits that I like in my teas are: oranges, tangerines, coconut and all sorts of berries.  I also like to put vanilla in my teas because I think it makes teas taste smooth and delicious!  Just a note—if you buy a store bought tea, make sure they don’t spray the leaves with “natural” flavorings—we really don’t know if they are natural or not so it’s best to use real food in your teas.

Try to find a store that will sell you teas in bulk and if they don’t have what you’re looking for, ask if they can order it for you.  You can buy online as well (e.g. Mountain Rose Herbs) but you will pay for shipping—so best to double up with friends.

Here are some wonderful herbs that you might want to combine:

Bitter melon, Chrysanthemum flowers, elder berries or flower, hawthorn berries or flowers, helichyrum, gotu kola and licorice root, Oolong tea, white tea, hibiscus, peppermint, , rose petals or rosehips spearmint, chamomile, holy basil, lavender, orange or lemon peel, anise or fennel seed, roasted chicory root.

Now for some of my favorite recipes:

  • hibiscus, orange peel, holy basil, vanilla, blueberries
  • Spearmint, peppermint and chamomile, coconut and licorice root
  • Lavender, vanilla, chrysanthemum flowers, and rose petals
  • Oolong tea, Gotu kola, licorice, fennel or anise seeds and mango
  • Roasted chicory, bitter melon, licorice root and orange peel

Make sure you start with boiling water as this will bring out the taste of the fruit better than starting with cold.  Add your herbs and fruits to the pot of boiling water and cover for 15 minutes.  When sufficiently cooled, transfer the tea to a tea pot or other jar that can withstand hot water and let it sit on the counter until it cools down sufficiently to put in the refrigerator,  You can also test it at this time to make sure you like it.

If you like your teas sweet, add stevia LEAF to the tea blend, don’t add the powdery stuff that has been processed.  I would skip the honey with cold teas as it doesn’t coagulate very well.

Below, I’ve broken down the herbs by ‘action’ although some herbs have more than one:

Digestion: chamomile, fennel, anise seed, bitter melon, orange peel, peppermint, chrysanthemum flowers

Sense of well being: holy basil, licorice root, lavender, rose petals and hips, hawthorn leaf and berries

Skin and or immune system: gotu kola, elder flowers and berries, all green teas, rooibos

So welcome summer with one of your own special blends and enjoy your refreshing iced herbal teas!

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Relocating out of the area

Dear clients,

I wanted to let you all know that we have moved to Rehoboth Beach, DE from Media, PA.  If you need to call me, my new number is 302-200-1497.  If you need products from Standard Process, I will have them shipped directly to your house.    Tinctures and teas will be handled by me until I move and then I will be using Invibe Herbal (my new company) for the teas and Natura for the tinctures.  Please, if you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to contact me.

Blessings and love, Jayne Tamburello

 

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The Journey Inward: Using Herbs to Enhance Your Meditation Practice

In many ancient traditions, winter is the season where we look inward.  It is a time of quietness and solitude, a time of potency and power, of wisdom and fear, and of darkness and water.  A good meditation practice will help your journey through the season, and the use of herbs to augment your practice has been an age old tradition as well.  Here are two you should know: holy basil (tulsi) and gotu kola (brahmi).

Holy basil, also known as ‘tulsi’ (Hindu) or ‘tulasi’ (Sanskrit) is probably the most venerated plant in Hinduism and has been used in spiritual practices for hundreds of years.  One legend has it that Lord Vishnu had three wives: Sarasvati, Lakshmi and Ganga. In a heated argument, Lakshmi and Sarasvati put a curse on each other and Sarasvati’s curse turned Lakshmi into a tulsi plant.  Another version says that Vishnu freed Lakshmi from the curse of living as a plant, and that she left some of her hair behind to grow on earth which, in turn, became tulsi. But regardless of the story, the sacredness of the plant is seen in its use in ceremonial worship to Vishnu.  It is planted in courtyards or outside homes where it is used in a daily ceremony known as Pradakshina.

There are three species of holy basil:  Ocimum sanctum (Krishna) known for its red-purple leaves, O. tenuiflorum (Rama) with green leaves and O. gratissimum (Vana).  Holy basil is related to our sweet basil and all basils are in the mint (Lamiaceae) family.  And like sweet basil, tulsi needs a warm sun to flourish.  Still, if you can grow one inside, with the help of a grow light, just having this plant near you can bring calmness to the spirit and mind.  For a meditation focal point, surround the plant with your favorite crystals or stones.

Of course holy basil can be made into a delicious tea.  Some flavors that go well with it are peppermint, ginger, rose or lemon.  When ingested, holy basil is said to have adaptogenic properties, meaning that it helps the body to handle stress.  David Winston considers it an immune amphoteric, which is an action that down regulates a histamine (immune) response: think of allergies, asthma, and hay fever.  Finally, it is used, often in conjunction with gotu kola, Gingko, Bacopa and/or rosemary, to improve ones concentration and mental clarity.

Gotu kola (a/k/a Indian pennywort) (Centella asiatica) is a plant little known outside the herbal world, but has long been used in Ayuvedic practices as a tonic for the nervous system and for mental clarity.  Also called, Brahmi, it is often confused with Bacopa monnieri (known by the same name) so always check the label if you are buying a product called “brahmi”.  Both herbs are used the practice of rasayana or rejuvenation therapy.   Centella is more cooling (and so more for the pitta constitution) while Bacopa is warming and thus more suited for the vata/kapha constitutions.  Bacopa has traditionally been used for only supporting brain and nervous system functions whereas gotu kola is used for that and for the skin—both internally and externally.

Traditionally, gotu kola is taken as a tea or made into oil.  If using it to support your mediation practice try also incorporating a daily tea ritual.  A nice blend to clear the mind and open the heart and spirit are: gotu kola, holy basil, hawthorn, and rose.  About a tablespoon per day would be a “therapeutic” dose of spiritual capital.  Just steep the tea for about 10-15 minutes.

An oil made from gotu kola has many uses.  It is used as both a skin and hair conditioner, for stretch marks, eczema and cellulitis to name a few.  The easiest way to make an infused oil is to get a small dark jar with a wide mouth, add half well- crushed herb to it, then fill the jar with a carrier oil (say olive or sesame oil).  Put a piece of wax paper over the top and then put the lid on.  The oil should be warmed to about 100 degrees for at least a week, preferably two.  When done, press or strain out the herb (called the ‘mark’) and add your favorite essential oils to make your own skin rejuvenation oil.  Just put the oil in a glass jar away from light.

Whether you use gotu kola as a tea, as an oil, or you simply want to have the plant near you, all will help to raise your spiritual capital as you journey inward in these winter months.

Sources: Herbal Therapy & Supplements by Winston and Kuhn, Ayurveda & Panchakarma by S. Joshi, Clinical Guide to Blending Liquid Herbs by Kerry Bone, and the American Botanical Council.

 

 

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The Amazing & Adaptable Stinging Nettle Plant

 

This is an article I wrote for Yoga Living Magazine last spring….

Spring is here and all that energy stored in the ground is finally bursting forth. Besides the beautiful spring ephemerals, ramps will soon be in season and roots that were too difficult to pull in the winter can now be harvested.  And as spring progresses, one of my favorite plants, stinging nettles, is coming back to life.  Although not showy plant, it is one that you will definitely want to get acquainted with because it is one of the most nutritious and highly medicinal plants in the forest.  It also a vigorous grower and can be harvested without fear of over use.

Identifying stinging nettles is important not only for its use, but to be able to avoid brushing up against it.   The plant has tiny hairs on the stems that if touched can cause a stinging rash. If you plan on experimenting with nettles, I encourage you to research images of it online and become better visually acquainted with it.

A perennial herb reaching between two to four feet high, stinging nettle leaves are either egg shaped or heart shaped. Both leaf variants are sharply toothed around the edges.  The flowers are small and green. Nettles generally prefer to grow in conditions that are wet and shady, but this hardy plant and can be find in a variety of locations.  They are often found in large patches along wooded paths.  If you have a yard, you can fence a portion of it off and plant your own nettles to ensure a good supply.

Nettle Nutrition

Nettles have a high nutritional content.  An ounce of nettle leaf has almost 1 gram of calcium, 285 mg of magnesium, 583 mg of potassium, 1.4 mg of iron and 130 mcg of chromium[1], thus making it a great food!  A polish study showed that one gram of nettles yielded 5 mg of silicon[2], which is the building blocks for skin, hair and joints.

Nettle Medicine

Nettle leaf has many traditional uses including inflammatory issues such as asthma, allergies, arthritis (osteo, rheumatoid and gout) chronic diarrhea and dysentery, and kidney inflammation and stones.[3]  The seeds (or fruit) and roots have been used to reduce the inflammation in the prostate[4] and Herbalists and Alchemists is the only company I know that sells a nettle seed tincture.

Many Native American tribes used it for purposes like keeping blood flowing and easing stomach ailments. In some instances, extensive use of self-flagellation with the fresh nettles followed by a sweat bath was prescribed for joint pain.[5]

An infusion of nettles, vinegar, and rosemary can also be used as a rinse to strengthen weak or brittle hair.[6]

Harvesting Nettles

For harvesting nettles you will need a bag to put it in, a pair of pruning sheers or a knife, and long gloves to avoid touching the tiny hairs.  Once you’ve gathered it, be sure to rinse it thoroughly with water.  After rinsing, it can be dried for future use.

Drying Nettles and Making Fresh Tinctures

You can also make a fresh tincture by chopping it up really well, stuffing it into a glass jar about 3/4ths full and then adding Everclear to the jar so it is completely filled.  Cover and shake daily for about 3 weeks.  Strain well, label and bottle.

If you are drying your nettles and saving them for a later time, make sure you rinse them well then put them on a drying rack (I use a mesh one made for sweaters, but even old window screens will do as long as they are clean).  Once thoroughly dried, put your gloves on and in large bowl, take each stem and strip it of the leaves.  Once I have a big bowl of nettles, I grind them in my Vitamix or food processor.  This way they take up less space, although this isn’t necessary.  The early spring roots are highly nutritious as well, so feel free to harvest some, just don’t take them all.

Eating & Drinking Nettles

Once cleaned and rinsed thoroughly with water, nettles can be eaten as a fresh vegetable. Think of them as spinach with a more distinctive and peppery zing.  Steaming them will wilt the tiny stinging hairs, and then they can be sautéed as eaten as a side dish or mixed into with other vegetables, soups or omelets. Another popular use is to mix them with potatoes for a lively, satisfying soup. They can also be mixed with other herbs to make a refreshing summer tea. Recipes for both are included here.

Spring Nettle Soup

8 cups of nettle leaves, firmly packed

1 medium size onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely minced or put through the garlic press
2 tbsps grass fed butter
8 cups stock (vegetable or chicken broth both work well)
6 medium sized potatoes, peeled and cubed

Salt and Pepper (to taste)

Lemon Juice (optional, to taste)

Crème Fraiche or Sour Cream (optional, to drizzle into the soup before serving)

In a soup pot, melt the butter and sauté the onion until it becomes soft and translucent. Add the garlic at the end and sauté until lightly golden. Add your choice of stock and bring to a simmer. Add chopped potatoes and simmer until soft (15-20 minutes). Add salt and pepper as desired.

While the potatoes are cooking, rinse the nettle leaves in water (wear gloves while handling the nettles to prevent stinging) and steam them lightly for 2-3 minutes until wilted. Add the steamed nettles to the stock mix then mash, puree or blend to the desired consistency. Some folks like it chunkier and other smoother.

Finish the soup with a spritz of lemon juice, salt and pepper and a drizzle of sour cream or crème fraiche as desired to add additional creaminess or tang to the soup.

Nettle Tea

Rinse the nettles, and then place them into a boiling pot of water.  Turn off the heat, cover and let them steep for 10 minutes.  Strain thoroughly and drink or put it in the refrigerator, mixed with other herbs for an herbal tea blend (one of my summer favorites is equal part nettle leaves, peppermint leaves, holy basil and licorice root) or frozen in ice cubes to a used to cool and flavor water or other liquid concoctions.

So, now that spring is here, why not hike over to your local woods and start looking for some stinging nettle—you’ll be glad to have found it.


References:

[1] Paul Bergner, 2001, The Mineral Content of Herbs

[2] Piekos, R, Paslawska S: Planta Med 28(2): 145-150, 1975.

[3] Bone, K., “A Clinical Guide to Blending Herbs”

[4] Mills and Bone: “Principles and Practices of Phototherapy: Modern Herbal Medicine”

[5] Daniel Moreman “Native American Ethnobotany”

[6] Eric Yarnell “Urtica spp (Nettles)”

 

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Time to start making your fire cider!

As some of you know, there is a company out there that grabbed the copyright on the term “fire cider” even though the phrase was coined by Rosemary Gladstar decades ago and so has been in the herbalists’ vernacular since then.  Nevertheless, I am going to talk about ‘fire cider’ and publish the article I had written on it for Yoga Living last fall.  

Fire Cider

Now that autumn is upon us, it’s time to start getting ready for the upcoming “cold and flu season” by preparing a traditional medicine known as “fire cider”.  The fire cider is made in September so it’s ready by November.  A doctor once told me the cold and flu seasons starts November 1st  because kids eat so much candy on Halloween (October 31st), that they compromise their immune systems. Now, there are many ways to make it but the traditional method is as follows.  This is based on a quart mason jar but as always in the folk tradition, you can modify it any way you wish.

Ingredients:

  • Ten cloves of garlic – peeled, mashed and finely cut
  • ½ cup of freshly grated horseradish*
  • ½ cup of grated organic ginger root
  • Spicy peppers: Jalapeño, Serrano, Habanero, and Cayenne — the amount will depend on which one you use you and your spice tolerance.   One can substitute ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • Enough organic apple cider vinegar to fill the jar
  • Raw honey to taste

Optional ingredients:

  • Juice of one lemon and zest
  • ½ teaspoon of paprika powder
  • One teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • One medium onion finely chopped

Other things you will need:

  • Quart mason jar
  • Wax paper
  • Cheese cloth or cotton sack
  • Bowl

* If you have never grated horseradish, please be careful!  It is very pungent and should be done in a well-ventilated area.

Directions:

Place all the vegetables in the mason jar and cover them with organic apple cider vinegar. Cover the jar with the wax paper and the put the lid on tightly.  Be sure to label it with the date and the ingredients,  or note it elsewhere.  This is important for refining your recipe the following year.  Traditionally, the cider is then buried in the ground where it is cool and dark –just remember to note where you buried it!  Of course the more modern storage is simply a cool, dark place in your home or apartment.

Let the cider sit for at least four weeks.  When you are ready, pour the contents into a bowl or another jar through a cheese cloth or cotton sack.  It is important to squeeze all the juice out of the vegetables so press firmly.  One this is done, you can compost your “mark” or the vegetables that made your fire cider.  Then, take the strained cider and put it back in the mason jar and add the honey –slowly– to taste.  Be sure to shake the jar well each time you add the honey.

How to use fire cider.  Fire cider can be taken straight–just shake the bottle well and pour out a teaspoon full–you can take it several times a day.  Of course it can be mixed with water or juice to temper the taste although some even use it as a condiment.

This warming formula was often used when there was too much mucous in the nasal or respiratory passages.  But it was also used when bouts of rheumatism and arthritis flared up or when someone just wanted to warm themselves up in the cold winter months.  Let’s look at the ingredients individually.

Garlic.  By now most people know the healing properties of garlic.  Garlic (Allium sativum), which is in the onion family, is both warming and drying and thus used in many formulas to help with the afflictions of the respiratory system.  Juliette de Bairacli Levy, a famed French herbalist, once said that garlic was one of the most powerful antiseptic herbs ever.  Indeed, research has shown the constituent, allicin, to have high levels of antimicrobial activity.  Garlic is also an effective an anti-inflammatory, a circulatory enhancer, a liver protector, a worm eradicator and has even been shown to reduce hypertension! (Braun & Cohen).

Horseradish root.  Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana), is one of the oldest known herbs and is originally one of the five bitter herbs of the Bible.  Known for its pungency, the mustard oil within horseradish gives it is drying and heating properties and thus, its use in many respiratory and sinus formulas.  Horseradish is also a circulatory stimulant and the peroxidase enzymes have been shown to assist in wound healing.  According to Sauer’s Herbal, the Pennsylvania Dutch used this common condiment to expel kidney stones (Weaver).  Finally, Horseradish has been shown to lower cholesterol and has helped with various inflammatory disorders (Braun & Cohen).

Ginger root (Zingiber officinale).  Pulling out my very first herbal book ever (purchased 1978), Jethro Kloss, in Back to Eden says this about ginger. “…prevents griping, good for diarrhea, colds, la grippe, chronic bronchitis, dyspepsia, gas and fermentation, cholera, gout and nausea….” (Kloss).  Scientific research not only corroborated much of what Kloss wrote in 1939 but went on to find that ginger has anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antimicrobial, antiparasitic, antioxidant, immunomodulation, hepatoprotective, anti-fibrotic properties as well (Braun  & Cohen).

Cayenne pepper.  The use of cayenne pepper dates back over 7000 years where we believe it was first discovered in Mexico.  However, we know that cayenne was a popular herb in the Ayurvedic tradition as well.  Along with its heating properties, cayenne is also both stimulating and drying which is why it was used in many instances of respiratory illness, and as a peripheral circulation stimulant.  It contains vitamin A, C, B complex, E and, pantothenic acid.  Due to the oleorisein content, cayenne acts as a catalyst for other herbs and the capsaicin helps to increase the body’s metabolism. (Standard Process).  Jethro Kloss waxes on about cayenne calling it “one of the most wonderful herb medicines we have” and said it was used as much externally (for wound healing) as it was for its internal properties (Kloss).

Apple cider vinegar.  We know that vinegar has been around since at least 5000 BC where Babylonians used date vinegar to preserve food, and as a medicine.  Apple cider vinegar has been used in this country for hundreds of years as a preservative, a natural medicine, a condiment, and even as a cleaning/disinfecting agent.   Apple cider vinegar contains vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, as well as dietary fiber, and because of these nutritive values along with its preserving qualities, apple cider vinegar makes a great liquid to hold the juices from the fire cider’s vegetables.

Honey.  Before you write off honey as just another form of sugar, consider this.  In 2012, the International Journal of Biological Science published a study on honey (Honey-a novel antidiabetic agent), the findings of which demonstrated its beneficial effects.  These advantageous effects included such areas as the gastrointestinal tract, the gut microbiota, the liver, and the pancreas.  It also concluded that honey is able to help reduce blood glucose levels and that it might be useful in the treatment of diabetes mellitus.   But early makers of fire cider probably only knew that it was a great preservative and that it tasted good!

So, now that you know how good everything that goes into fire cider is, why not trying making some?  Every year, you can continue to perfect it until you make your own signature fire cider.

References:

  • Herbs & Natural Supplements: An Evidenced Based Guide, Braun & Cohen
  • Int J Biol Sci. 2012;8(6):913-34. doi: 10.7150/ijbs.3697. Epub 2012 Jul 7.
  • Honey–a novel antidiabetic agent.
  • Back to Eden, Jethro Kloss
  • Standard Process literature
  • Sauer’s Herbal Cures, William Woys Weaver
  • Common Herbs for Natural Health, Juliette de Bairacli Levy
  • Apple-cider-vinegar-benefits.com

 

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Lemon balm–an incredibly versatile herb!

On my last blog, I wrote about how to tincture lemon balm.  Today, I want to talk about how fantastic an herb lemon balm really is.  Lemon balm, or Melissa officinalis, is in the mint, or the Lamiaceae family.  The parts used are the leaves and flowering tops.  Lemon balm is very “weedy” meaning that it grows almost anywhere and it spreads quickly. I personally think this is a good thing!!  And you know you’ve got lemon balm by just crushing the leaves and smelling that wonderful lemony smell.  You can also look at the stem–all plants in the mint family have a square stem.

If you look up Melissa officinalis in old herbals (often written by physicians), they will list the “actions” of the plant.  Here are some of the actions ascribed to lemon balm:

•          nervine
•          anxiolytic
•          anti-viral
•          astringent
•          cognition enhancer
•          carminative
•          diaphoretic

Let’s take a look at what these categories mean.

Nervines are plants that help calm the nerves, they can also be called anxiolytics because they help reduce anxiety.  Lemon balm is fantastic for this.  Like many plants, especially those in the mint family, lemon balm has some anti-viral properties so it is often reached for in times of the flu.  It has been used to help tone both internal and external tissues which is why it is listed as an astringent, so it can be applied in poultice form to help wounds heal or taken as a tea.   Lemon balm has been given to kids for hundreds of years to help calm them down and to help reduce a fever because of its diaphoretic action.  Many people take lemon balm tea (along with fennel) to help reduce flatulence—this is known as a carminative.  Finally, lemon balm has shown to have cognition enhancing properties so drink up!

If you want to know what is in lemon balm, the following are constituents that have been found to be in the plant.  Many of these properties are found in other herbs as well and they give lemon balm its wonderful healing properties.

  • hydroxycinnamic acid derivatives
  • caffeic acid
  • rosmarinic acid
  • cholorgenic acid
  • tannins
  • polyphenols (anti-viral)
  • flavonoids

So, enjoy a cup of lemon balm tea.  You can make a cold infusion by putting the leaves in water and letting the pitcher sit out in the sun.  Or you can make a hot infusion by pouring boiling water over the leaves, covering it and letting it steep for 5 minutes.  You can collect lots of lemon balm and let it dry out so you can keep it for much longer.  And finally, you can tincture it for a later date.

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Making your own fresh lemon balm tincture.

Feeling a tad stressed? Relax with a lemon balm aperitif.

As many of you know, I have been busy with a new startup company (Invibe Herbal) and so I have been woefully neglectful of you (sorry!!) and at times, a bit stressed out.  So today in my kitchen, I made lemon balm brandy and lemon balm glycerin.

Of course I love fresh lemon balm tea, which I make all the time in the summer and drink chilled.  However, I thought that come wintertime, when I had no fresh lemon balm on hand, that a drink made with lemon balm would be very relaxing.  As you know, lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) acts to help calm the central nervous system and on my next post, I will talk about all the benefits of lemon balm!

Recipe

Ingredients:

  • A clean ball or mason jar (size depends on how much you want to make)
  • Brandy, or vegetable glycerin if you want to make a non-alcoholic tincture
  • Food processor or kitchen chopping knife and cutting board
  • Salad spinner
  • Waxed paper
  • Label with date and ingredients

Depending on how you want to use your lemon balm tincture—as an aperitif or as a tincture, will determine how much lemon balm you put into your jar.  The tighter it’s packed, the more tincture-like it will be.

Start with fresh lemon balm—it grows all over my yard (when I had the lawn mulched they wanted to pull weeds but I told them “don’t pull my lemon balm!”).  Note:  Because it will chop down to a fraction of its original size get more than you think you will need.
Tip: before I start, I like to put a book (or for me a lecture) on the speaker so I can listen and work as I go-I feel so much more productive, which takes some stress away right there!

I like to strip the leaves (and flowers) before rinsing—it’s just easier this way.  To strip a plant, simply grab a stalk and start at the top and pull the leaves down—they come off easily this way.  If this is unclear, just go onto youtube.com, as there is a video for everything!

Once the leaves have been stripped, put them in a salad spinner and rinse well and spin.  You’ll have to spin several times to get the excess water out.

Now the leaves are ready to either be put in the food processor, or chopped up.  I love taking out my knife and chopping food—I find it therapeutic.  If you choose the latter, just keeping chopping the lemon balm finely, like you would parsley—until it’s really small.

I like to fill my ball jar tightly but not too tightly so my drink is part aperitif, part tincture.  This is where you can choose the strength you desire.  Once the jar is filled to your satisfaction with lemon balm, pour the brandy or glycerin over the lemon balm until the jar is full.  I like to take a chop stick and stir it around to make sure all the plant is well covered.

Next, cut a small piece of wax appear and cover the top of the jar so the metal lid does not touch the tincture.  Place a label on the jar :

Date: July 20, 2015

Ingredients: Lemon balm leaves (Melissa officinalis) and brandy

I like to shake my tinctures  every day for a couple of weeks.  With that said, I have tinctures still macerating from a year ago which are still perfectly good.  Two weeks is enough, however.

I have a semi-professional press; however, you can just pour the tincture through a muslin bag into another ball jar.  Just make sure you squeeze the liquid out well because brandy is not cheap!  You can compost the lemon balm and the liquid is now ready to drink.  Again, make sure you label it so you know when you’ve pressed it and what’s in it.  Of course the same thing applies to the vegetable glycerin.  This is great for kids when they are feeling a bit anxious.  They can drink it straight or you can put a teaspoon in a cup of hot water and let them sip it.  Glycerin is sweet, so no need to add honey.  Your lemon brandy would goes nicely in a cup of hot tea, too.

So there you have—go harvest some lemon balm today so you’ll have a nice drink when you need it.

Blessing, Jayne

ps–If you haven’t come in for a tune up in a while, why not make an appointment-I’d love to see you!

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New Year’s Resolution #1 Better Meal Planning

If you are like most of us, you’ve made a New Year’s resolution or two.  I made ten.  On the top of my list was making better dinners for my family.  After all, if a nutritionist can’t do it, who can?  But let’s face it, we all are pressed for time and often resort to what’s the easiest—which may or may not be the healthiest.

PLANNING IS THE KEY TO HEALTHIER MEALS (besides good ingredients!)  Here is what I’ve found to be helpful.

  1. I went through the many recipes torn out of magazines or copied over the years, throwing away the ones that were too complicated, and thus would never be made.  Unfortunately, there were a lot of these–what was I thinking!
  2. I then separated out all the dessert recipes and put them in their own folder.
  3. Next, I created a pile of 30 or so of my favorite recipes –whether they be sides or main dishes-from my very large pile of recipes. These then went in their own special folder.
  4. From these 30, I would look at each and decide if it was a keeper or not for this week.  If it was a keeper, I placed the recipe in another pile and wrote the name of it down on a piece of paper.
  5. On another sheet of paper I listed every night for the next 7 nights.  Underneath each day, I put down one or more of the recipes I had written on the other paper, until I had my 7 dinner-days filled.

Now that I knew in advance what I was going to make, I quickly made my shopping list.  The added benefit to doing it this way is that I can make one trip to the grocery store and I can make in advance the meals for the nights I work late. I hope this helps!!

Happy New Year!  Jayne Tamburello

 

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Class: Herbs for the Cough & Cold Season January 9th, 2014

Happy New Year everyone!

I am teaching a class over at Tyler Arboretum on January 9th and the subject is herbs for coughs and colds.   This is a great chance to learn of some wonderful herbs and be able to make your own herbal tea on the spot!  The class is $20 for nonmembers and $15 for members.  You must call Tyler to reserve a place.  Their number is 610-566-9134.

Look forward to seeing you there! Jayne Tamburello

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