What to plant this spring? Here are some MUST haves for the budding Herbalist.

 

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An old herb garden looking alive and potent.

 

When I first started learning about herbal medicine, I had NO idea about how much medicine we have at our fingertips. I also had no idea how medicinal our food could be if we ate things that weren’t necessarily found on our grocers shelves. Trying to incorporate a little bit of herbalism into your every day, or even better – into your kitchen, helps your body to stay healed and grow stronger as you age. Eventually, your body will be chock full of vitamins, minerals and virus fighting medicines without much effort at all.

Of course, not all plant types are going to be found or thrive in every environment SO take some time to get to know these easy growing fellows below. If you find them to be easy to care for, spread your wings and try growing your own at home.

It’s only February BUT looking forward to spring and looking into my seed stores gets me excited to start planting and reaping the benefits of home-grown medicine. I look forward to adding nettles to my ferments, drying herbs in my dehydrator and making skin salves to pass out to my friends and family. I certainly miss all of the classes and students I had in Vancouver, I might have time to squeeze some teaching in again this spring in Calgary.

As always, when using any type of medication, make sure that you consult with your GP and do your research before ingesting unconsciously. Your body deserves a little curious research before undertaking a new regime.

 

Aloe Vera

You can purchase this plant at nearly every home garden supply store. Even Home Depot. Because you aren’t going to be ingesting this plant I feel that you are ok to be a little less questioning of it’s origin.

Why do you want to keep Aloe Vera around? Simply, there are so many topical benefits that there isn’t a reason NOT to. Snap a sample of a well-grown leaf off and you are on your way to healing cuts, wounds, burns, eczema and inflammation.

Marsh Mallow

You can find seeds or starters for this plant at select growers. I order my seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom seeds or Vesey’s. These are pretty hardy plants – but watch out for wet feet!

There are a number of great uses for marshmallow both inside and out. You can take the root internally to help treat inflammation and UT irritations, gastritis or peptic ulcers. Topically, you can use a poultice, salve or cream to treat bruises, sprains, muscle aches, insect bites, slivers or skin inflammation.

Fun food fact: The leaves of the marshmallow plant are edible! Add to salads, boil or fry.

Pot Marigold

These hardy ladies will grown in almost any soil condition. Use a tea consisting of marigold petals to increase circulation and ease varicose viens. A poultice of marigold stems will aid in removing corns and warts.

Camomile

You probably know this as a great fruity tea! Camomile works well in aiding digestive issues and also has a soothing effect in its aroma. This helps reduce stress and induce sleep.

Echinacea

 If you’re living without it, you probably shouldn’t be. This beautiful flower has amazing antibiotic properties that relieve allergies and help prevent viral and bacterial infections. The roots, beneficial in treating sores, wounds and burns when applied as a poultice, salve or cream. She grows well in well-drained soil with a lot of sunlight.

Lemon Balm

By far, the easiest herb I have ever unintentionally grown. The leaves give off a lovely lemony mint scent that cannot be mistaken. Crushed leaves used as a poultice help relieve pain from herpes, sores, gout and bug bites. The leaves infused with hot water can treat colds, fevers, indigestion, depression, headaches and insomnia.

I grew this herb for years in the wet wet wetness that is Vancouver BC!

Peppermint

Nearly another weed, as easy to grown and impossible to kill as Lemon Balm. peppermint is high in manganese, vitamin A and vitamin C. Leaves ground into a salve or cream help to sooth and relax muscles.

Sage

Another herb that is nearly impossible to kill is Sage. When consumed it can help to ease indigestion, flatulence, anxiety and excessive sweating.

 

Here’s to spring, and happy plantings. Stay tuned for my inevitable posts containing the trials and tribulations of trying to sustain plant life in the Rocky Mountains.

 

Sasha

 

 

 

Pot pie – hold the pie.

 
 
I’ve been finding that the less prepared I have been lately, the more delicious my recipes have been turning out. If that isn’t a blessing, I’m not sure what is. I remember not too long ago when my flair in the kitchen bombed more often than it soared. The days of fearing my own creativity are over – so keep on trucking in the kitchen, pay off is just around the corner.
 
Looking into the fridge and scouring Yummly.com for recipes had me thinking that I could create a quick, family friendly dish without having to run to the store. This “Pot Pie” sans Pot is a winner.
 
Vegan or Vegetarian and gluten free.
 
Ingredients:
 
1 cup chopped green beans
1 cup organic corn kernels
2 medium yellow onions
2 large portabella mushrooms
1 very large yam or 2 small
2 medium Yukon gold potatoes
1/2 large eggplant
1 large carrot
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 cups veggie broth
1/2 cup almond milk
2 tbsp. flour
1 tsp corn starch
1 tbsp. olive/grape seed/ coconut oil
Sea Salt
Cracked pepper
 
Opional: 1/4 cup grated cheese/cheese product
1 tbsp. butter / earth balance spread
 
Method:
 
Preheat oven to 350.
 
Veggie Prep:
 
Slice eggplant into rounds, salt and cover in bowl for 15-20 mins.
 
Dice up carrot, beans and corn, set aside.
 
Dice up onion and mushroom.
 
Slice thinly into coins or use mandolin (my fave) both the yam(s) and potatoes. Set aside.
 
Heat oil to a medium heat in large high-sided skilled. Add mushrooms and onions and cook for 10-15 minutes or until translucent.
 
Add all other veggies and sautee until cooked – 10 mins or less.
 
“Gravy”:
 
In separate pot bring veggie broth & milk to a boil. Add nutritional yeast, slowly add flour and cornstarch & whisk until all lumps are gone and thick consistency is reached.
 
Topping prep:
 
Par boil both yams & potatoes for 4-5 minutes. Strain, rinse with cold water, toss with tiny amount of oil, salt & pepper. Set aside.
 
In casserole dish pour in veggie gravy mixture. Top decoratively with yams & potatoes.
 
Bake in oven covered with tinfoil for 40 minutes. Remove foil & bake for 20 more.
 
At this point you can remove from the oven, make small coating of butter/spread & sprinkle with grated cheese product. Return to oven and set to broil on low until top is browned.
 
Note** My oven is not a true 350, I baked for the 60 mins at 350, then set to 400 for 15, then broiled. You may need to adjust/watch yours so there is no burning from underneath or above.
 
Feeds 4, or 2 hungry adults, 1 kid, and enough leftovers for lunch for 2 the next day…..don’t judge. ❤
 
Adapted from about 15 recipes via Yummly and what ingredients I had on-hand.