What's with the name: Herbal Gifts from the Father? Some Christians are concerned about using alternative medicine because of the pagan/new age beliefs that are often prevalent among natural healers. I had similar frustrations. I chose the name, Herbal Gifts from the Father, as a reminder, to myself first, that our heavenly Father has given us these gifts. They are not the gifts of a pagan mother (Earth, Nature, Gaia, etc). I chose this name to help Christians feel more comfortable using herbs without the baggage that may be keeping them from exploring the wonderful healing gifts the Father has given us in plants. Please don’t misunderstand me; I have great respect for my mentors, many of whom are not Christians and have pagan/new age beliefs. In fact, you will see many posts that come from or are inspired by my mentors. My purpose is not to slander or abuse them. I love each of them and owe them immensely. I look forward to continuing my herbal learning at the feet of my beloved teachers.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

What's brewing? (or A Few Ways to Prepare for Cold and Flu Season)

Cold and flu season is approaching, so the preparations have begun.

 I have echinacea extract brewing.  One batch usually lasts me about 2 years but it is time to make a new batch.  At the first sign of something coming on, we turn to echinacea.  It is also a main supply in my herbal first aid kit.  It is great for washing cuts and scrapes (it will sting, though).

 I also have my a second batch of elderberry extract brewing.  When you add half the volume of honey to make elderberry cordial, it goes down so well, that it doesn't last long.  We take about a teaspoon three times a day for prevention and sip it more frequently if something sets in.  Her is my recipe:

Make an extract of dried elderberries by filling a jar 1/3 with dried berries and fill the rest of the way with 40-50% alcohol (vodka, scotch, etc.)  Heather Nic An Fhleisdeir says to use scotch, the cheaper the better. Let the jar sit for 4-6 weeks, shaking periodically.  After 4-6 weeks, strain, add ½ the volume of honey.  

If you are in a hurry (or concerned with the alcohol) here is a quick recipe for elderberry syrup:

Bring 1/2 cup of dried berries to boil in 3 cups water and simmer for 30 minutes.  Mash the berries and strain.  Add 1 cup of honey.  Bottle, label and store in the refrigerator.

We also prepare for cold and flu season by adjusting what we eat and drink.  This time of year, I cut back on dairy for my little ones.  We still occasionally have fermented dairy such as kefir and yogurt but if there is any congestion, we stay away from it all.  I really try to limit added sugar as well (I know holiday season makes this tough).  One major change we made in the last year is to get rid of fruit juices or drink them very sparingly.  We drink herbal teas instead.  I did this gradually by cutting fruit juice with herbal tea and over time, I added more tea, less juice.   Lately, with the busyness of life, I've been using herbal/fruit tea blends from the grocery store, but I plan to get out my recipe for Hi-C (vitamin C) Tea and start the kiddos on that again.

 If you have any questions or topic suggestions, please leave me a comment.

A Fresh Start

It has been over a year since I set up my blog, but I never got past the introduction.  I think I became overwhelmed by the thought of blogging - how to come up with meaningful posts, what do people want to read, etc.  So, today is a new start.  This blog will be very casual but, hopefully, informative.

Let's get started.