Tag: herbs

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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Herbs I Know Nothing About, Part One: Vervain

A Pinterest-style graphic that reads "Herbs I Know Nothing About: Vervain
A Research Project, Part 1."

Hey, all! I was scrolling through my favorite herb website to see what all they had to offer. I was looking for something I could write about that I’d had before, not something I was unfamiliar with like vervain or motherwort. It turns out that their selection was more extensive than I had previously thought, and there were many herbs I had indeed never even heard of before. A few caught my eye and I thought what on Earth are these? Why have I never heard of them before? I was very curious about them, so when I got up this morning, I decided to research these herbs I know nothing about and then write about them here. I will also add some suggested herbs to blend with the herb of the day.

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.

Today’s herb is….drumroll, please: vervain!

You might be asking what the heck is a vervain? right about now. Believe me, that was my reaction, as well. After researching, I learned more about it and it’s pretty cool! Here’s a little bit about this spectacular plant!

A Bit About Vervain

This is an herb of many names. Its proper name is Verbena officinalis. It’s sometimes called the Herb of Grace, Herb of the Cross, Simpler’s Joy, and Juno’s Tears, to name a few names it goes by. However, it is more commonly known as verbena. Vervain is not to be confused with lemon verbena. They are two different species of plants, though they both have medicinal properties. There are around 250 species of verbena in the world, fun fact! I even got vervain and lemon verbena confused at first! Let’s talk a bit more about the medicinal properties of vervain. I got this information here and here.

Vervain’s Medicinal Properties

Before we continue: If you’re interested in trying vervain, don’t take it if you’re pregnant. It can induce labor. Also, while I am citing my sources, I am not a doctor. Please use vervain with caution and ask your doctor any questions you may have about it.

I learned in my research that people have been using vervain for centuries to treat many things from anxiety and depression to cramps and pain relief to insomnia and beyond. It’s been used as an anti-spasmodic (relaxant), a treatment for upper respiratory infections, and as a sedative.

Studies About Vervain

A 2006 study in Spain showed that it was effective as an anti-inflammatory in rats. A 2016 study on mice given vervain extract provided evidence for vervain’s ability to act as an anti-convulsant. The mice that were given the vervain also slept more and were less anxious than the control group given a placebo. I thought that this was super cool. I also wondered about how vervain functions in traditional witchcraft.

Vervain in Witchcraft/Spellwork

While searching for information on this topic, I found a website that said it better than I can.

“It is used as protective herb, to open up the third eye, to help the user to be more intuitive and to bring blessings into your life. You can steep the herbs in water or oil for later use. It’s great for cleansing and purifying spaces and magical tools, and for taking before going to bed if you are doing dream work.”

Chris-Anne.com

It’s most commonly consumed in tea and has a bitter flavor. According to the website HealthyHildegard.com, the medieval abbess and saint Hildegard Von Bingen thought this of the flavor:

The traditional application of medicinal vervain is in tea. The flavor of vervain tea takes some getting used to. Our modern palettes are less accustomed to bitter flavors and vervain is particularly bitter.  

Hildegard extoled the virtues of bitter flavors and encouraged working to improve our tolerance for bitter herbs. Notwithstanding the taste, vervain has played an important role in healing and herbal magic since ancient times. So, you should try to include it in your natural holistic healing regimen. Making your own vervain tea is a great way to start.

Healthyhildegard.com

This brings us to the big question of this post – after learning what we have about vervain, how do we use it for ourselves?

Let’s Make Our Own Tea!

Healthy Hildegard has a recipe!

Mix ten dry grams (approx 1/3 ounce) each of vervain, thyme, elderflower, cowslip primrose, and peppermint. 
Add 2 heaping teaspoons of the herbal mixture per one cup of hot water. Allow to steep for ten minutes. 
Drink two to three cups daily, but for no longer than a week (and not during pregnancy). You can drink vervain tea to treat any of the conditions listed previously, but it works particularly well for stomach ailments of all kinds. It will also strengthen your liver and kidneys. 
We often talk about the value of bitter substances, particularly as digestive agents. Vervain has a bitter flavor profile so it is also a natural way to add bitter flavors into your diet.

Healthyhildegard.com

Curious about where to get these herbs? I got you…on everything but the cowslip primrose. I couldn’t find it.

Thank you for reading!! Check out these related posts!
How To Use Chamomile
Frankenstein’s Sleepytime Tea

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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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An Anti-Inflammatory Potion

This post was originally published on 1 October 2019.

Hello, friends!

I’ve been fighting the universe a lot lately. I’ve had a near-constant coating of hives all over my body for almost 4 months now (since about June 10th) and no matter how many antihistamines are in me, they won’t go away.

It’s all good most days, just itchy. Hives itch. Badly. But then there are times that I get a pain in my throat and chest that I call the Stick, named so because it feels like someone is trying to ram a stick down my throat. I can’t take any painkillers except Tylenol, and I’d have to overdose on Tylenol in order to get that to go away. It goes away on its own eventually, but Tylenol doesn’t help a bit. It helps a lot at times to think “this is how it is, this is how it must be”, but then there are times when you want something to make it go away. Here’s where today’s recipe comes in. As my spiritual journey has progressed over the years, I’ve felt inspired by herbs. This is where a good deal of my power will be, I believe. I want to heal with herbs.

I drink an anti-inflammatory tea of my own making that helps keep the Stick at bay, but it must be consumed regularly and it likely won’t avert a crisis if the crisis is already there. The ingredients in the tea are turmeric, ginger, and red pepper, so if you don’t enjoy things with a kick, you might not enjoy it. It’s helpful to throw a pot on if you feel pain coming on but it’s not quite there yet. Gingerol in ginger, curcumin in turmeric, and capsaicin in red pepper all have anti-inflammatory properties. Another fun fact: capsaicin makes peppers spicy!

Here’s the recipe, done in ratios, or parts:

Anti-Inflammatory Spicy Tea

2 parts ginger, cut and dried
1 part turmeric, cut and dried
1/2 part red pepper flakes

Combine all in your favorite loose leaf tea infuser and let
brew in boiling water as long as desired. It will become
spicier the longer it sits. Pour into cups and drink up!

Enjoy your day! Stay cool!

Eris

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