Tag: herbal remedy

Valerian – The Taste Of Stubbornness

Dear friends, we are gathered here today to discuss something important. The topic at hand is a very potent herb. This herb also happens to smell and taste how stubbornness would if it were possible to smell or taste it. I have gathered you here today to discuss my love hate relationship with the herb valerian.

All the valerian in a single place.
All the valerian in a single place.

I heard about valerian many years ago. The circumstances escape me, but I know that I liked it from the first time I heard about it. I always imagined it to be tasty, something like thyme or basil. It turns out that I didn’t know much about that herb at all because I learned that a.) you don’t use the leaves for tea, you use the roots and b.) the roots DO NOT taste like thyme or basil. Valerian is in a league all its own.

A Bit About Valerian

Valerian’s latin name is Valeriana officinalis. There are many different species in valerian’s plant family, but V. officinalis is the one that is most commonly used. As previously discussed, the root is the part of the plant that is used the most. It’s been used as a sleep aid since Ancient Greek times, where Hippocrates documented its use. It’s native to Europe and Asia, but can also be grown in the Americas. I got this information here

It’s also a jerk. 

A Lingering Taste In My Mouth

You might be wondering why I have been referring to valerian as a jerk. The short answer is because it tastes bitter. The longer answer is a rant. Brace yourselves, friends. 

I mentioned before that I thought valerian would taste like other herbs. I was in for a rude awakening. When I went to the herb store the other day, I asked to smell valerian. The owner let me smell some. I knew from that point forward that we were gonna have a good, old fashioned love-hate relationship. I took some home and brewed it up along with some very pleasant other herbs like lemongrass, jasmine, chamomile, honeysuckle, etc. to make a sleepytime tea. When I drank the tea, the result was rather odd. 

If I had to describe it visually, it’d look something like: 

jasmine+chamomile..bitterbitterbitterbitter…VALERIAN…smooth, sweet finish. I would have been fine with that had the bitter taste of valerian not LINGERED in my MOUTH. To make matters worse, the valerian taste built up on my tongue. I was displeased. 

All this being said, valerian did its job. I was out cold for the whole night. I had some weird dreams, but they weren’t bad and the night was uneventful otherwise. 

The Taste Of Stubbornness

I love valerian for what it can do. I’m working on incorporating it into blends. Last night’s blend was a party in a cup and valerian was invited. It also knocked me the heck out again, which was super nice. 

I call it the taste of stubbornness because valerian will have its way in a blend. I’m scared to try it on its own because of what happened the other night with the flavor sticking out like a sore thumb. That being said, I used cinnamon last night to balance it out. It worked! I added the valerian first and added everything else to match its intensity. 

This same tactic also works with other bitter herbs like vervain and agrimony. Add them first, I’ve found,then blend the other ingredients to match. 

Tea blending is fun, friends! Are there are any blends you want me to try? I have more rooibos than I know what to do with..

Thank you for reading!

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Herbs I Know Nothing About, Pt. 2: Agrimony

Herbs I Know Nothing About, Pt. 2: Agrimony

Hello, friends!! Welcome back! Today we’re going to talk about another fascinating herb: agrimony. I was again going through my favorite herb website and found it! Continuing with the tradition of my post on vervain, I’ll present some research about it, including that which is backed by science. Unfortunately, unlike vervain, there isn’t a ton of research done with it. I also I want to talk about how I would personally use it. It turns out that it’s something I’d use a ton of.

Before we continue….

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you make a purchase using one of these links, I make a commission from the sale at no extra cost to you.

Now, the first question we should answer is what does agrimony look and taste like?

Botanical.com has the answer:

From the long, black and somewhat woody perennial root, the erect cylindrical and slightly rough stem rises 1 or 2 feet, sometimes more, mostly unbranched, or very slightly branched in large specimens. The leaves are numerous and very rich in outline, those near the ground are often 7 or 8 inches long, while the upper ones are generally only about 3 inches in length. They are pinnate in form, i.e. divided up to the mid-rib into pairs of leaflets….

The flowers, though small, are numerous, arranged closely on slender, terminal spikes, which lengthen much when the blossoms have withered and the seed-vessels are maturing. At the base of each flower, which is placed stalkless on the long spike, is a small bract, cleft into three acute segments. The flowers, about 3/8 inch across, have five conspicuous and spreading petals, which are egg-shaped in form and somewhat narrow in proportion to their length, slightly notched at the end and of a bright yellow colour. The stamens are five to twelve in number. The flowers face boldly outwards and upwards towards the light, but after they have withered, the calyx points downwards.

Spiceography.com has information about the flavor: 

Agrimony’s fragrance is often likened to apricots or citrus fruit but its flavor is bitter and astringent. Because of this, you may want to sweeten it for making tea.

I want to find a suitable sweetener for it now.

Now that we have an idea of what it looks and tastes like, onto the next question: how is agrimony used medicinally?

Medicinal Uses Of Agrimony

Author’s Note: Using a lot of agrimony will make your skin more sensitive to light due to the chemicals it contains. Also, please bear in mind that I am not a medical professional. Any information I give about this herb is not intended to replace the advice or care of your doctors, nurse practitioners, etc.. Please talk to your docs about using agrimony if you have any questions!

I was doing some digging this morning and learned that agrimony has been used for centuries primarily as a diuretic (a substance that, for lack of a better description, makes you want to urinate more), a digestive aid, and as an astringent (something that makes body tissues contract) for wounds. Historically, the Anglo-Saxons used it much like it is used in modern times – typically as an astringent, to help with stomachaches, and to ease sore throats. Gargling boiling water with agrimony steeped in it was excellent for easing sore throats. 

On another note, medieval soldiers used it to treat gunshot wounds and people generally used it to back ailments, and hemorrhages. 

As stated in the introduction, there isn’t much cold, hard science backing it, though there is a 2013 study that confirmed a few of these properties. It’s also used for treating sore throats and as an anti-inflammatory. People also say that it’s effective for treating irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). I’ll be sure to keep that in mind as I add it to my herb stash. 

Now, here’s why I personally like it.

A Bit About Me: Why I Like Agrimony

To begin this story, we must first go back to the year 1998. I was a little baby who had just gone through a medical hell. My heart failed, and in order to fix that, the doctors hooked me up to a machine that would oxygenate my blood for me. After I was disconnected from that, they had to tie off my carotid artery on my right side. (The internal carotid arteries carry oxygenated blood to the brain.) I was at a high risk for having a stroke…and have a stroke I did. 

I suppose my tiny self forgot what life was for a second, pulled my breathing tube out of my throat, and promptly had a stroke. Being the angry individual I am, my anger was evident even after I had my stroke. Things were still bad after this ordeal. I couldn’t keep any food in my stomach, so I was given an operation called a Nissen fundoplication. This operation tied the top of my stomach around the bottom of my esophagus and made it so that food could go down, but couldn’t come up. This caused a lot of stomach pain while I was growing up because gas would get trapped in my digestive tract and took a long time to escape. 

Later on, I was also diagnosed with IBS myself. I would love to try agrimony because I think it could help with my stomachaches. There are days I want nothing more than for the pain and nausea to go away. The nausea and pain get really bad around the time of my period and it sucks. I want to make a different sort of anti-inflammatory tea for that. I think agrimony and peppermint would definitely help with this in general. 

Fantastic Herbs and Where To Find Them

I want to try agrimony in a blend with anise and peppermint! Try it along with me! Pick up your herbs at the links below. 

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Frankenstein’s Sleepytime Tea: A Blend of Blends

Hello, friends! In today’s post we’re returning to the kitchen to talk about a very important tea blend I have crafted. I call it Frankenstein’s Sleepytime Tea. I gave it that name because it’s a tea blend made up of other blends. Side note: Victor Frankenstein and his monster might have encountered the herbs in the tea! I’ll post links to get the herbs in the blend at the end. Without further ado, here’s the story.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you make a purchase using one of these links, I make a commission from the sale at no extra cost to you.

The Beginning: A Crazy Idea

Like almost all good stories, our tea story begins with someone having a crazy idea. In this story’s case, the person who had the idea was me. My husband wanted me to drink chamomile tea to try and get my body to calm down during an allergic reaction. Being the crazy one that I am, I added more things to the chamomile that sounded good based off of the research I did for my chamomile post. Suffice it so say that my husband was displeased with this venture, but it did help me feel better. Here’s how it happened.

The Process: Making The Sleepytime Tea

I had a handful of tea blends in bags sitting around, plus a bag of lavender. I knew that lavender blended well with chamomile, so I popped some lavender in a jar, ripped open several K-cups and tea bags filled with chamomile, then added an echinacea blend. Echinacea is an immune booster. It could help, I thought. The blend also contained lemongrass and spearmint. Lemongrass and spearmint also popped up in another blend, so that blend went into the jar. It also contained marshmallow root, which helps with sore throats. Again, I figured it would help, so it went in. I added a bag of peppermint tea, which made it smell heavenly. Then I brewed up a batch.

Sleepytime Tea brewing.
The brewing tea.

It was absolutely delicious. I did end up feeling better and the tea was very calming. I want to recreate this blend on a larger scale, so I asked my husband what he would do if he found a small barrel filled with several pounds of the tea inside on the countertop. His response was not the most positive thing ever.

I’ve picked out the herbs from Starwest Botanicals. They come in one pound bags. I recommend getting the bulk bags because you have more to experiment with later.
Chamomile
Lemongrass
Spearmint
Peppermint
Lavender
Marshmallow root
Echinacea purpurea
Echinacea angustifolia
Cinnamon

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