The Power of 3 Kitchen Spices

Believe it or not, in ancient times, spices were often more precious than gold. There were wars over them, kingdoms lost over them, and new frontiers discovered because of spices.

You can harness the healing power of spices by strategically adding them to your meals. Spices can be medicines. Writings in ancient medical texts dating back 3000 years showed how spices like turmeric, cinnamon, coriander, cloves, ginger, pepper were used for therapeutic value.

CINNAMON

This sweet-spicy flavored spice is derived from the bark of a tropical evergreen tree. Here is a brief overview of its medicinal qualities.

cinnamon sticks

Cinnamon

 

  • Lowers blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes
  • Reduces triglycerides levels
  • Mildly reduces LDL (bad) cholesterol
  • Supports digestion by reducing gas, bloating, etc
  • Tones and constricts tissues. Good for varicose veins
  • Relieves congestion
  • Helps with menstrual discomforts
  • Contains anti-inflammatory proprieties that help arthritis
  • Contains blood thinning compounds that stimulate circulation & promote heart health
  • Prevents urinary tract infections
  • Prevents tooth decay and gum disease (why do you think it is in so many toothpastes?)
  • Promotes fresh breath
  • Helps control Metabolic syndrome (AKA insulin resistance syndrome and syndrome X)
  • Induces sweating with colds/flus

NUTMEG

This spice was first imported to the state of Connecticut in the 18th Century, where only the wealthy could afford it. If you haven’t done it yet, buy a whole nutmeg and grate a little fresh on foods for a delightful flavor and added nutrition. The Lamb Shoppe has this delicious spice available in the Bulk Herb Section of the store. NOTE: TAKE IN LOWER AMOUNTS ONLY (less than 2 ounces), it may cause narcotic reactions if taken in large amounts.

Grated nutmeg and whole seed

  • Insomnia – eating enough of this herb may produce drowsiness, so eat it in the evening for a good night’s sleep
  • Anxiety remedy
  • Calms muscle spasms and pain
  • Helps nausea and vomiting
  • Good for indigestion by reducing gas and bloating
  • Alleviates diarrhea
  • Relieves joint pain and gout
  • Helps lower blood pressure
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Improves memory and concentration
  • Improves male infertility and impotence
  • May be good for fibromyalgia pain

 

STAR ANISE

Star anise

This spice comes from an evergreen tree in China and is greatly admired for its beauty. It has a 6 or 8-pointed star of slender pods, each cradling a seed. It not only looks beautiful, it tastes of a lovely licorice flavor with a hint of cinnamon and clove. This spice is 13 times sweeter than sugar, but is often used in savory recipes, particularly with meats. In China, which has used it for centuries, star anise is a key ingredient in five-spice powder (with cloves, cinnamon, fennel and Sichuan peppercorns). One whole star is enough to aromatize a vegetable stir fry dish.  When simmered with onions and soy sauce or tamari, it add a nice flare to beef, chicken and lamb.

  • Relieves gas, cramping, bloating and indigestion
  • Used in traditional Chinese medicine for clearing mucus from the respiratory tract
  • Fights influenza
  • Wards off viral, bacterial and fungal infections including Hepatitis B., Herpes simplex 1, HIV, Stept bacteria, Epstein-Barr virus and more.

Here are a few ideas in case this spice is new to you:

  1. Put a star anise in the pan when roasting a chicken.
  2. Add star anise to stewed apples or plums.
  3. Use it in soups, stews, and casseroles that require long cooking times.
  4. Use it to flavor teas.
  5. Grind it and add to a marinade.

Hint: I like to add one dried star anise pod and one slice of a fresh orange to a glass of water, and let sit for about 30 minutes before drinking it.  The water becomes infused with the spice and citrus flavor for a refreshing change of pace in beverages. Make a pitcher of this, for serving when entertaining, your guests will be delighted. The Lamb Shoppe has this spice and many more in the bulk herb section.

Note: This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice from your professional healthcare provider. Please consult your qualified healthcare provider for treatment of medical problems.

Herbs for Winter Health

This winter it seems colds, flus, respiratory issues are hitting many people hard. So here are a seven tips for prevention and also helpful tools if you do get sick so the illness will move through much faster. Be sure to try the easy tea recipes too.

 

1. Eat Warming & Nourishing Foods

As a preventative measure, we first need to look to “winter” types of foods that will nourish our body so it can take care of itself.  These are “warming and nurturing” things to eat to help keep you healthy everyday.

Look for foods rich in vitamin A, C including:
  • root vegetables (carrots, parsnips, beets, etc.)
  • squash & pumpkins
  • brassicas (turnips, cabbage, kale, etc.)
  • greens
  • citrus fruits and rosehips, lemons

 

Eat food from the allium family.

These are vegetables are that are high in sulfur:

  • leeks
  • onion
  • garlic

 

Add warming spices:
  • Ginger
  • Curry
  • Cayenne
  • Turmeric
  • Cinnamon
  • Cardamom

 

2. Use Astragalus.

It is a sweet and mild Chinese root used as an herbal tonic that can be used to build up your resistance. You can find this as a tincture or as a dried herb in the bulk section at the Lamb Shoppe.

We suggest adding the dried root to a pot of soup or when making bone broth. Astragalus nourishes both the spleen and the lungs

 

3. Calendula Flowers.

Thus is another great item to throw in soups and stews. This herb is traditionally used as an anti-depressant and for people with SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). It is also an excellent herbal for the lymphatic system. Calendula makes a great ointment and salve and is an effective remedy for chapped skins and lips. The Lamb Shoppe has dried Calendula blossoms in the bulk herb section of the store.

 

4. Use Sprigs of Pine, Juniper, Cedar & Sage to Simmer on Stove.

Just having these simple plants simmer on the stove top will freshen and clear the air of germs. Steam inhalations of these plants can be beneficial for relieving congestion in coughs and colds. You can also add a few drops of the essential oil to hot water, place your face over the bowl, cover with a towel, and inhale the steam.

 

5. Build immunity through nutrition and balancing the body.

  • Always work toward avoiding sugar and commercially processed foods.
  • Consume bone broth. You can make your own or purchase frozen beef or chicken broth at the Lamb Shoppe.
  • Take a vitamin D supplement regularly and bump up the dosage if you are sick.

 

 

6. Remember, getting sick sometimes is good for “house cleaning” the body.

A healthy person actually does get sick from time to time. It is the body’s way of getting rid of toxins and wastes that the body needs to remove. So, if you do get sick once in a while, use this time to cleanse and build.

 

7. Take Elderberry.

Whether it is a tincture, syrup, or tea, Elderberries are an incredible multi-purpose herb that is known for its effectiveness when used at the first stages of cold, flu, and upper respiratory congestion. In a number of studies, Elderberries have shown to significantly reduce the time of being sick from colds and flu.

 

 

Easy Therapeutic Tea Recipes

 

Best Remedy from the Orient: Basic Ginger Tea

In both Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese medicine, ginger is considered the best home remedy for colds. Drink a cup of ginger tea several times (at least 3 times) a day.

To make a tea:

  1. Add 1 heaping teaspoon of grated fresh gingerroot to 1 cup of boiled water.
  2. Allow to steep for 10 minutes.
  3. If you use dried ginger powder use 1/3 to 1/2 teaspoon of powdered ginger per cup.

 

Extra-Kick Ginger Tea

  1. Grate a one-inch piece of peeled ginger root.
  2. Place in a pot with 2 cups of water and cover, bring to nearly a boil, lower heat and let simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Add ½ t. of cayenne pepper and simmer for one more minute.
  4. Remove from heat.
  5. Add 2T. fresh lemon juice, one or two cloves of mashed garlic and honey to take.
  6. Let cool slightly, and strain if you wish.

Chinese Tea (To induce a sweat)

Simmer the following herbs together with water for 15 minutes:

  • Ginger Root
  • Cinnamon Stick
  • Coriander Seeds
  • Clove

 

 

 

Become a Home Herbalist

A 9-Month Educational Program

 Learn how to create your own herbal products for yourself and your family. Herbalist & Holistic Health Educator, Connie Karstens, MS will instruct a nine-month intensive program that will empower you to become your own herbalist. This series of classes takes you through the seasons so you can prepare an entire apothecary of safe, gentle and effective herbal products.

This program will include a solid foundation for plant identification, wild food foraging, numerous preparation techniques, and knowledge on proper usage. By the end of the class, not only will you have stocked your own botanical pharmacy, but you will know and understand how and why to use the herbal preparations that you have created.

This is a rare opportunity for hands-on learning and gathering plants with a local herbal practitioner. Sign up today to become a part of this amazing program! Certificate of Completion awarded at last class.

 

2018 Class Dates

All 12 classes are currently scheduled for Saturdays 9 am – 1 pm.

Most months have 1 class per month except May, June and July where there are 2 classes because of the abundance of plants to gather and make into preparations.

  • March 24
  • April 21
  • May 5 & 19
  • June 9 & 23
  • July 14 & 28
  • August 4
  • September 29
  • October 27
  • November 10
Details on the Course:

This course is essential for those wanting to take charge of their own health and who have a desire to become informed, educated and more independent.

The class will explore the historical roots of herbal medicine and will help you learn how to use botanical medicines for basic natural healthcare. The student will gain an understanding of simple herbal aids for many common ailments and first aid uses. This course will teach the basics of preparing herbal medicines in your own home. You will also learn about planning, planting and using your very own medicine garden.

You will learn about the following over the 9 -month course:

  • Fresh & Dried Tinctures
  • Bark Tinctures
  • Root Tinctures
  • Glycerite Tinctures
  • Medicinal Herbal Wines
  • Medicinal Herbal Syrups
  • Medicinal Herbal Teas
  • Herbal Pastilles
  • Herbal Lozenges
  • Medicinal Vinegars
  • Herbal Infused Honeys
  • Herbal Oxymels
  • Drying Herbs & Storing Herbs
  • Freezing Herbs
  • Make a “Green Jar”
  • Poultices
  • Compresses
  • Liniments
  • Oil Infusions
  • Salves & Ointments and Formulas
  • Herbal Hydrotherapy & Formulas
  • How to Use Specific Herbs for Organ Systems
  • Herbal Actions & Corresponding Herbs
  • Learning Basic Tongue Indications
  • Facial Analysis Foundations
  • Organ System Emotional Relationships
  • We will touch on Pulse Testing
  • How to Put It All Together to Select Herb for Common Aliments
  • Using Herbs Safely

This course will require some independent work and research. Along with quizzes, presentations and group collaboration, there will be a great deal of hands-on learning.

By the end of the class, your will have well over 50 herbal preparations for your own personal herbal pharmacy. Plus, the knowledge on how to safely and effectively use every preparation that you made.

As a bonus, you will become well-informed on how to wild forage with common plants in the local area. We will do much hands-on collecting of plants for medicine and food.

If this class sounds like a match for you, do not delay. Sign up today and reserve your spot! The first 20 students will fill the class quickly.

 

Program Instruction Cost:
  • Deposit of $50 to hold your spot due 1/1/18
  • Total of $975 (check or cash only), due 3/1/18
  • Add $25 for credit card payments

 

 THIS CLASS IS CURRENTLY FULL

If there is enough interest, we will offer it again next year. Thank you for the support.

 

Registration Form - Become a Home Herbalist

 

Garlic Mustard: A Wild Food Gem

Why You Should Forage

and Eat Garlic Mustard…

Alliaria petiolata

 

Garlic mustard is a biennial member of the mustard family and is considered an invasive weed, but a tasty one. As its name indicates, it has a garlicky flavor. It has low growing, kidney-shaped leaves that appear in early spring. But, by mid-spring, a taller flower stalk shoots up and bears white flowers.

This history of this plant is interesting as it is a native to Europe and Africa. It was brought to the New World in 1868 and was planted in New York. Since that time it has spread across America and is considered very invasive. This plant will overtake an area if not controlled so harvesting it helps. As with all wild foods, start out eating it slowly and do not overdo it if you are not used eating this way.

Garlic mustard is high in vitamins A,C, and E. It is rich in many trace minerals including potassium, calcium, magnesium, selenium, copper, iron and  manganese.

 

Parts Used: Young tender leaves, stalks and roots.

Leaves: Pick the tender young leaves in early spring and use mixed in salads, made into pesto, added to soups, sautéed, simmered or in sauces.

Flowering Shoot:  Pick the shoots when the flower bud is still unopened and still in a cluster.  The stalk is mild, juicy and thicker at this stage and can be eaten raw or cooked.  Added to other foods, Garlic mustard makes an excellent seasoning.

Flowers: These may be picked and added to salads or used as a garnish.

Roots: In the fall, roots may be dug, cleaned and used like Horseradish.

TIPS: Blanch and freeze for off-season use. The leaves may also be dried for winter use in soups and stews.

 

Garlic Mustard Pesto Recipe

Garlic Mustard Pesto (Makes about 1 cup)

  • 4 cups garlic mustard greens
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Pulse the garlic mustard greens in a food processor with the walnuts, cheese, lemon juice, and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Then, with the motor running, slowly pour the oil through the spout.

Serve on meat, fish, pasta, or bread. Add to a sandwich for a little extra kick. Anything!

 

 

 

Hydration 101

Drinking enough pure water is an important foundation to basic good health. It is one of the easiest, least expensive and most ignored ways to stay healthy.

It’s especially important to add minerals to Reverse Osmosis (RO), distilled, and even some purified bottled waters, because they are often stripped of minerals are needed for out body. This is what most people do not realize. We want our water to be alkaline and full of minerals in order gain the most from it.

 

4 Easy Ways to Re-Mineralize Water

1. Add mineral rich sea salt.

Use an unrefined sea salt like Celtic or Himalayan. Both of these healthy salts contain over 80 important trace minerals we need. You can add just a pinch to a glass of water (it shouldn’t taste salty) or about 1/4 tsp. to a gallon of water. This method is by far the easiest and most economical.

 

2. Add trace mineral drops to your water.

You can purchase various brands of liquid trace minerals and just add it to your water. These types of supplements are an easy way to charge up your water.

 

This energetix product called SpectraMin is an excellent choice. It is available at The Lamb Shoppe.

 

 

 

3. Add various fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices.


Depending on what you add, you can get a nice range of vitamins and minerals this way.

It also makes drinking the water fun. Some examples are lemons, limes, cucumbers, lemon balm, mint, raspberries, ginger root, pomegranates, cinnamon sticks, star anise pods, and so on. Be creative and have fun adding flavors together. I love adding fresh sprigs of lemon balm during the growing season. For the winter months, dried warming herbs are great.

 

 

 

 

4. Add greens powder blends to your water.

 

The green powders are typically made from veggies, herbs, grasses, algae, and grains that are not only full of trace minerals and macro minerals, but other goodies like chlorophyll and vitamins, too. In addition, many blends boast that they provide fiber, prebiotic, probiotic, enzyme, and antioxidants benefits as well. PaleoGreens are my personal favorite.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EVEN BETTER WATER

Connie’s Secret Ingredient #1: REHYDRATION (homeopathic formula by Energetix)

 

 

When the body is not getting sufficient water, after a while it “forgets” how to utilize water properly. Simply drinking more water may not be enough to rehydrate the tissues and cells. Energetix’ ReHydration is specifically designed to remind the body how to use water effectively and efficiently, assisting to reset the mechanisms which regulate fluid balance. Adding ReHydration to water and drinking throughout the day is an excellent way to begin the process of rehydrating the body and getting vital water back into the cells. I highly recommend the product Rehydration. In clinical situations, it really can be effective for the body. That is why I add it to my water daily.

 

Connie’s Secret Ingredient #2: FIELD OF FLOWERS (homeopathic formula by Energetix)

Fields of Flowers, a homeopathic formula, is a unique combination of the 38 traditional flower essences each one long associated with a key element of emotional concern. It restores a sense of calm for people and many people find Field of Flowers beneficial. Stop by The Lamb Shoppe to get a bottle of this today.

 

 

 

Personal Hydration Tips

  • Drink 1–2 glasses of water as soon as you wake up to flush out toxins and hydrate body.
  • Carry clean water with you everywhere and drink anytime you feel like it.
  • Glass containers are best. Plastics leach chemicals.
  • Keep water nearby whenever you are sitting down at a desk and drink while working.
  • Drink purified or filtered water.
  • Drink more if the weather is hot.
  • Add fresh lemon juice to water to alkalize and detox the body.
  • Eat water rich foods. Ex. watermelon is 92% water, tomato 95% water.
  • Drink herbal teas.
  • Instead of snacking in between meals, drink a healthful beverage.
  • Don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink.
  • Try some refreshing probiotic beverages to hydrate your body.

 

Common Symptoms of Dehydration:

  • Headaches
  • Indigestion
  • Constipation
  • Dry or Itchy Skin
  • Grogginess or Tiredness
  • Concentration Lapses
  • Stiff or Sore Muscles or Joints
  • Dark or Cloudy Colored Urine
  • Lower Back Pain

 

Lamb’s Quarters…A Delicious, Nutritious Wild Edible

IMG_2921

Latin Name: Chenopodium album

About the Plant: This annual belongs to the spinach and beet family.  A very common wild edible found in backyards, vacant lots, overgrown fields, and along roadsides. It is easy to identify, nutritious and delicious. Lamb ’s Quarters is dusted with a white powdery substance which is perfectly safe to eat.

Parts Used: Tender young shoots, leaves and tips, and seeds.

Leaves:  One of the best tasting and most nutritious wild foods available. Use fresh in salads and sandwiches.  Young leaves and stems are excellent steamed, sautéed and cooked.  Leaves are often eaten in place of spinach in dishes like omelets, quiche, and lasagna.  Eat alone or throw in soups and stews, add to casseroles. Chop leaves for stir-fry or add to pizzas and lasagna. Blanch and freeze leaves for winter use. Leaves may also be dried. This plant is extremely versatile.  Make cookies, brownies, pancakes or pita cakes from Lamb’s Quarters.

Seeds:  Collect in late summer, autumn and early winter by stripping the seed-fruit clusters by hand into a container. Dry carefully to prevent mold or spoilage.  Rub the seed clusters between the palm of your hands to reveal the small, round black and dark brown seeds. Remove chaff.  Grain may be boiled to make as a breakfast cereal or ground into flour to mix with other flours.

TIPS: Do not pick plants with red stems as they may contain nitrates. You can dry the whole plant and grind it into a vitamin packed flour. Use the leaves to make green drinks and add to smoothies in the blender.

Nutrient Profile: Rich in Vitamin A, C, K. Calcium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Magnesium, and Manganese

Why I Love Creeping Charlie…

Creeping Charlie 

IMG_2565

Many people hate the sight of Creeping Charlie (Glechoma hederacea) will do anything to try to eradicate it. It is often considered an invasive weed that runs amok. But when I see this low growing plant with kidney-shaped leaves and beautiful, funnel-shaped, bluish-violet flowers in the spring, it makes me think of all the amazing medicinal uses it has.

European settlers intentionally brought Creeping Charlie to America for its culinary and medicinal uses. A member of the mint family, the herb forms long trailing stems that create a dense mat over the ground. Another common name for this plant is Ground Ivy.

Historically, it has a rich background and was even used in beer making as a clarifying agent to improve flavor before hops were used. It was also used by painters as a remedy for lead colic. Mostly, it was used as a tonic. Since Creeping Charlie is extremely rich in vitamin C, it was often made into a tea and used to prevent scurvy.

Parts used: Flowers, stems, leaves.

Medicinal Uses: Both Internal and external.

  • Soothes inflamed mucous membranes
  • Sinusitis
  • used for inner and middle ear remedy
  • tinnitus (ringing in the ears
  • kidney and lung disorder
  • head colds, especially with congestion in ear tubes
  • bronchitis and viral pneumonia
  • cough remedy
  • bladder infections
  • indigestion
  • may be useful for heavy metal detoxification (lead, mercury, aluminum)
  • traditional cancer remedy
  • Externally used as a wash or poultice for sores, cuts, bruises and ear or nasal infections

Systems Supported: Kidney, bladder, respiratory, lymphatic, and digestive.

Plant Preparations: Infusion (tea), tincture, poultice.

Minerals/Vitamins: Iron, copper, iodine, phosphorus, potassium. Rich in Vitamin C.

Herbal Actions: Anti-catarrhal – Anti-inflammatory – Antiviral – Astringent – Diaphoretic – Diuretic – Expectorant 

 

RECIPE: Creeping Charlie Tea

IMG_2561Because this plant runs so rampant, one way to embrace and use Creeping Charlie is to make an herbal infusion. It has a pleasantly subtle mint-like flavor.

Infusions are a great way to build health. Just think of them as a gentle tonic for the body. Tonic herbs are beneficial to the body and they can either increase or decrease the activity of a system, as needed. Some tonic herbs have an overall affect on several bodily systems, while others address a narrow range of processes. Herbal teas are easy to prepare and nurturing to sip.

How To Make It…
  1. Pick enough plant material to loosely fill a quart jar.
  2. Thoroughly wash the Creeping Charlie.
  3. Place the plant material in a quart jar.
  4. Fill to top with boiling water.
  5. Cover jar and steep for one hour.
  6. Remove plant material and drink either hot or cold.
  7. Optional: Add lemon or lime slices with a sprig of fresh mint.

Lovage Soup Recipe

 

Cook with lovage for more quercetin.

Lovage is one of those garden herbs that are bold and strong growing. It looks like a huge Italian parsley plant and has flavors that also mimic parsley or celery. It survives the cold Minnesota winters and comes back each year with force.

This garden herb is one of the richest sources of quercetin.

Quercetin is a natural occurring substance that is found in plant pigments called flavonoids that give many fruits, flowers, and vegetables their colors. It is known to inhibit the release of histamine which is said to be responsible for the symptoms of allergies in addition to having antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.

 

Fresh Lovage

Fresh Lovage

Here is a fabulous lovage soup recipe.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped or wild leeks
  • 1 medium red or yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 quarts chicken stock
  • 5 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup lovage leaves, chopped
  • heavy cream (to serve)

Instructions

  1. Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed stock pot over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and stir in onions. Fry until translucent, about five minutes.
  2. Pour in chicken stock and stir in chopped potatoes. Simmer, covered, until potatoes are tender, about 20 to 30 minutes.
  3. Stir in lovage and simmer, covered, a further five or six minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and blend with an immersion blender until smooth.
  5. Season with unrefined sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
  6. Stir in a spoonful of heavy cream and serve.

Have You Heard the Buzz on Bitters?

bittersOur modern diets are unquestionably very different from that of our ancestors. One of the traditional old world remedies for a myriad of health conditions was that of consuming bitter herbs just before or with meals. Today, however, people in America reach for Priolosec, Nexium or Prevacid for comparative digestive complaints. If you are looking for natural approach to digestive wellness consider using bitter tonics like those found at The Lamb Shoppe.

Top reasons you should be using bitters:

  • Bitters support healthy liver and gall bladder function
  • Bitters balance appetite and sugar cravings
  • Bitters may offer relief from heartburn and acid reflux by encouraging HCL production
  • Bitters may soothe and upset stomach from gas and bloating
  • Bitters help balance blood sugar levels
  • Bitters increase absorption of vitamins A, D, E & K
  • Bitters assist to normalize the bowels
  • Bitters may improve skin conditions due to better digestion
  • Bitters are considered a gentle liver detoxifier and blood tonic

Classic Leg of Lamb

Ingredients:Carving lamb

  • 1 leg of lamb, bone-in or boneless
  • 2 cloves of garlic, cut into slivers
  • Juice of one lemon (1/2 cup)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon of dry rosemary, crumbled

Instructions:

  1. Place lamb in roasting pan. With sharp knife, make slits in surface of lamb. Insert garlic in slits.
  2. Gently squeeze lemon juice over lamb, rubbing into slits and surface.
  3. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and rosemary. Rub seasonings evenly into the surface. Roast in 325 degree oven for 30 minutes per pound.
  4. Remove from oven, cover and let stand 15 minutes before slicing.