Sow Basil seeds indoors 2-4 weeks before your last frost day OR sow seeds outside when soil is warm and temperatures do not drop below 65 F during the day. Seeds should be sown less than 1/4 inch deep in moist, well-drained soil.
Basil seeds usually germinate in as few as 5-7 days. Make successive sowings of basil seeds for continuous summer harvests.
From seed to harvest, Basil is ready in as few as 45 days. Basil can grow in full sun as as little as 6 hours of sun. Space Basil plants about 12 inches apart or interplant basil between larger plants such as Tomatoes and Peppers.
Water basil when soil is dry to the touch and try to water soil and not leaves. In warmer months, Basil will need more water.
Basil is pretty pest tolerant but you might see the occasional flea beetle marks or leaf miners. Aphids can usually be sprayed of with a water hose.
One healthy, well pruned Basil plant can produce around 1/2 cup of leaves every week. If you're limited on space, there are even dwarf varieties such as Dwarf Greek Basil.
Once mature, harvest basil leaves regularly to promote healthy growth. It is usually recommended to harvest from the top of the plant, using scissors or fingernails. Try to cut as close to the stem as possible.
Pinching off flowers is recommended to keep a continuous harvest all summer long. Flowering is also called "bolting" and the plant will put forth more energy for flower production. If you wish to save the seeds, allow your plants to bolt.
We make quite a few organic herbal remedies here including tinctures, salves and herbal syrups. Today we made more Organic Elderberry Syrup using organic dry elderberry. *One of the benefits of making syrup is that it's ready to consume in a few minutes to an hour compared to making tincture which can take 3 to 8 weeks to "brew."
"Health benefits of the elder plant include naturally improving colds, the flu, sinus issues, nerve pain, inflammation, chronic fatigue, allergies, constipation and even cancer. (2) When used within the first 48 hours of onset of symptoms, the extract has actually been found to reduce the duration of the flu with symptoms being relieved on an average of four days earlier. (3) During the 1995 Panama flu epidemic, the government actually employed the use of the elderberry to fight the flu.
It gets better. When it comes antioxidant power, elderberry is higher in flavonoids than blueberries, cranberries, goji berries and blackberries. (4) I’m sure you’re getting the picture that this medicinal berry is a real powerhouse for good health. Let’s examine exactly why."
Dr. Axe lists the many benefits of Elderberry including
1. Major Cold and Flu relief
2. Sinus Infection Aid
3. Lower Blood Sugar
5. Natural Laxative
6. Encourage Healthy Skin
7. Ease Allergies
8. May Prevent Cancer
Elderberry syrup can be used to flavor other homemade concoctions, as an herbal tonic or even drizzled over toast or yogurt.
Make Your Own Organic Elderberry Syrup for Flu Prevention
Pour water into medium saucepan and add elderberries, ginger, cinnamon and cloves (do not add honey!)
Bring to a boil and then cover and reduce to a simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour. At that point, remove from heat and let cool enough to be handled. Mash the berries carefully using a spoon or other flat utensil. Pour through a strainer into a glass jar or bowl.
Discard the elderberries (or compost them!) and let the liquid cool to lukewarm. When it is no longer hot, add 1 cup of honey and stir well.
When honey is well mixed into the elderberry mixture, pour the syrup into a pint sized mason jar or 16 ounce glass bottle of some kind.
That's it! You just made homemade elderberry syrup! Store in the fridge and take daily for its immune boosting properties.
Standard dose is ½ tsp to 1 tsp for kids and ½ Tbsp to 1 Tbsp for adults. If the flu does strike, take the normal dose every 2-3 hours instead of once a day until symptoms disappear.
I hope you have enjoyed another educational article from Mary's Heirloom Seeds!
Another one of my favorite heirloom varieties is the Thai Roselle, also called Jamaican Sorrel, Florida Cranberry or Red Thai Hibiscus. This is another unique variety that would make a great addition to your garden! From Mary's Heirloom Seeds, "A valuable plant for making cranberry-flavored bright red beverages, jelly, pie and tea. Much grown in Asia and the mid-east as the flavor is wonderful. A tasty sauce can be made by boiling and sweetening the fleshy calyxes; the leaves are also used to make a drink. The entire plant of this Hibiscus is red and very beautiful. Start early, unless you live in the far-south. Citrus-flavored flowers are delicious on frozen deserts. Also called Jamaican Sorrel, Florida Cranberry and Hibiscus"
Roselle was called “Florida cranberry” in the 1890s. The flowers and young leaves are edible and have a citrus tang.
Hibiscus, of which Roselle is a variety of, is a tropical plant, but if started indoors it can be grown successfully in more northern climates. You want to start your Thai Red Roselle around the same time you would plants like peppers, tomatoes and eggplants. Since this is a heat-loving plant, you want to give it as much of a head start as you can.
Thai Red Roselle is susceptible to aphids, so either use an organic spray or companion plant to control insects. Roselle branches should be pruned when they are 12-18 inches tall to help control height. These plants can reach up so 6 feet in height.
From esgreen, "Botanically speaking, it's Hibiscus sabdariffa L. (family Malvaceae) and it’s the bushy H. sabdariffa var. sabdariffa that produces the edible products.The edible parts used to make “juice” or tea (actually, an infusion) look like reddish dried-up buds. In fact, they’re not flowers but calyces. It’s the calyx, the red, fleshy covering enclosing the flower’s seed pod, which is used for flavoring, cooking and food coloring. The flower of this variety of sabdariffa is yellow, white or light pink.
Roselle(Hibiscus) has been used in folk medicine as a diuretic and mild laxative, as well as in treating cancer and cardiac and nerve diseases. Although information is limited, the potential for hibiscus use in treating hypertension and cancer, as well as for its lipid-lowering and renal effects, are being investigated.
Although roselle is being studied, it hasn’t yet been proven to have the healing powers of bael fruit. It is high in calcium, niacin, riboflavin, vitamin C and iron, as seen on this Purdue University page. And the beverages have no caffeine. In East Africa, "Sudan tea" is consumed as medicine to cure coughs. In Guatamala, roselle is believed to cure hangovers. In Senegal, a roselle extract is said to lower blood pressure. In India, Africa and Central America, infusions made from roselle calyces or seeds are prescribed as a diuretic, to stimulate bile production and to treat fever."
After sharing our DIY Calendula-Infused Oil we received so mach positive feedback and questions about Calendula. Mainly "What is it used for?" I use our homemade Calendula Oil for any sore spots, scratches and bruises, cracked heals and definitely for my "homesteader hands" after a long day in the garden.
I have another batch I've made and added Lavender essential oil to the mix *after* I have removed from heat and before I pour into glass jars. It's amazing!!! ABOUT CALENDULAFrom Herb Wisdom, "Calendula has been considered beneficial in reducing inflammation and promoting wound healing. It has been used to treat a variety of skin diseases and has been seen effective in treatment of skin ulcerations, eczema, juvenile acne and dry phthiriasis. Improvement has been seen in as little as 3-4 days of treatment according to the Universitatea de Medicina si Farmacie.""Calendula cream is good for acne and nappy rash. An infusion is good for digestion and relieves colitis and symptoms of menopause. As an anti-fungal agent, it can be used to treat athlete's foot, ringworm, and candida. The tincture applied neat to cold sores encourages healing.
Calendula contains chemicals, which have been shown in animal studies to speed up wound-healing by several actions that include increasing blood flow to the affected area and promoting the production of collagen proteins. Calendula also possesses anti-septic and anti-inflammatory effects due to its flavonoid content. In mouthwashes and gargles, calendula soothes sore throat or mouth tissue; in solutions, it has been uses to treat hemorrhoids.
Compresses of calendula blossoms are helpful for varicose veins. Results from recent animal and laboratory studies show that calendula may also have some anti-infective properties, particularly against fungal infections and against viruses."
It's AMAZING the natural healing properties available in some of the plants we grow. Calendula is a beautiful flower I grow in my garden every year. The bees love it and now we know it is beneficial for healing!
Last year I started making my own Calendula Infused Oil. At first i was a bit frustrated because I didn't see many specific instructions. You know, with real measurements. So I've created my own recipe that works for me. It's really easy to "tweak" this for your personal liking.
I use Organic candelila wax (or carnauba wax) in my recipe. This is a vegan wax. That being said, the wax is completely optional. Without the wax, the oil is not very firm but it's still amazing on your skin.
**The wax is completely optional** If you want a firm salve, use bees wax or canauba wax. I use Candelila wax or carnauba on occasion. If you are just trying to make a smooth oil, feel free to omit the wax.
1 ounce of dried organic Calendula flowers is approximately 1 1/3 cups.
If you want to GROW your own Calendula, we offer Calendula seeds. If you want to make this recipe NOW and not wait for harvest, we offer organic, dry Calendula flowers We also just added organic carnauba wax to help you get started! TOOLS: slow cooker large glass jar (quart-size ball jar) fine mesh strainer or coffee filter **strainer is much easier**
Directions Add organic calendula, coconut oil and olive oil to your slow cooker. Cover and set on low for 6-8 hours. *If you do not have a slow cooker, you can add the ingredients into a large glass jar. Place the jar in the oven on a very low setting for 6-8 hours*
Waiting and stirring while the oil is infused
After 6-8 hours, strain out the oil from the flowers. Add the oil back to the slow cooker and stir in the candelila or carnauba wax. Stir occasionally and let mix for approx 20 minutes or until completely dissolved. Pour infused oil into a clean, glass container. I used several half-pint jars for future use. Label each jar with ingredients and date.
Store in a cool, dry place and out of direct sunlight. Use on sore muscles. Great for "homesteader hands" after working out in the garden! DIY and SAVE with Mary's Heirloom Seeds
First let me start by saying that there is no quick fix or perfect concoction that works for everyone to boost Metabolism. There is no magical "cure." What I have learned along my journey is that incorporating different herbs, herbal remedies and making simple changes can have a positive effect on your health.
For people with underlying health issues, it is best to ask your doctor or health practitioner before starting any new herbal supplementation.
1. HAWTHORN In a study about Hawthorn, researcher found "There was a significant change on the weight loss, BMI change, blood
pressure decrease, glucose, cholesterol, trigliseride, LDL, HDL and
cholesterol/HDL after consumption of Hawthorn vinegar"
The antioxidants in hawthorn are thought to boost heart health by
strengthening blood vessels and stimulating blood flow. Keep in mind
that scientific support for the potential benefits of hawthorn is
Hawthorn is also used for digestive complaints. It is also used to reduce anxiety, as a mild sedative and for menstrual problems.
2. GINGER Ginger is well recognized for its thermogenic qualities, meaning that it
tends to slightly increase body temperature as it's being digested.
From progressive health "Ginger can improve digestion by increasing the pH of the stomach and
stimulating the digestive enzymes. Because ginger also has a high fiber
content, it increases gastrointestinal motility. The combination of these two effects means that essential nutrients
are absorbed quickly while the non-essential foods that cause bloating
and constipation are excreted quickly."
From our previous article Boost Your Health with Organic Herbs, "Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
has scientific backing as an anti-nausea agent. It may offer other
benefits to those stricken with infections diarrhea. Alcohol extracts of
ginger are active against bacteria that infect the intestinal tract (Salmonella typhimurium, Escherichia coli, Vibrio cholerae Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Helicobacter pylori), skin and other soft tissues (Staphylococcus aureus), and respiratory tract (Streptococcus pyogenes, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae).
Ginger has antifungal activity against the yeast Candida albicans. It
also discourages intestinal worms. Because studies have shown that heat
deactivates the antibacterial effect, it may be best to consume ginger
raw, or in tincture or capsule form."
3. CINNAMON A 2012 review of several recent studies concluded that the use of
cinnamon had a potentially beneficial effect on glycemic control. One
study published in 2009 found that a 500 mg capsule of cinnamon taken
twice a day for 90 days improved hemoglobin A1C levels — a reflection of
average blood sugar level for the past two to three months — in people
with poorly controlled type 2 diabetes (hemoglobin A1C levels greater
than 7 percent).
For those of you looking to boost your metabolism to lose weight, cinnamon might help!
Bonus, Cinnamon contains large amounts of highly potent polyphenol antioxidants. Cinnamon has been shown to lead to various improvements for Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease in animal studies. Cinnamaldehyde, the main active component of cinnamon, may help fight various kinds of infection. Cinnamon oil has been shown to effectively treat respiratory tract infections caused by fungi.
It can also inhibit the growth of certain bacteria, including Listeria and Salmonella.
***Not all cinnamon is created equal.*** The Cassia variety contains significant amounts of a compound called coumarin, which is believed to be harmful in large doses. Ceylon (“true” cinnamon) is much better in this regard, and studies show that it is much lower in coumarin than the Cassia variety. 4.CAYENNE Capsaicin is the compound in cayenne peppers that gives it heat and
boosts your metabolism. Capsaicin is found in the membranes of the
cayenne inside the pepper. Capsaicin can also help aid in digestion,
stimulate kidney function and help ease pain.
When you eat spicy foods such as cayenne pepper, your body's heat
production rises, which can cause a slight increase in your metabolic
rate, notes the University of Maryland Medical Center
From our previous article Boost Your Health with Organic Herbs, "Cayenne pepper's bright
red color signals its high content of beta-carotene or pro-vitamin A.
Just two teaspoons of cayenne pepper provide 47% of the daily value for
vitamin A. Often called the anti-infection vitamin, vitamin A is
essential for healthy epithelial tissues including the mucous membranes
that line the nasal passages, lungs, intestinal tract and urinary tract
and serve as the body's first line of defense against invading
5. TURMERIC Turmeric has been reported to increase metabolism by increasing bile production within the body, as well as lowering blood sugar levels. More than 13 other peer-reviewed studies have also reached similar
conclusions, finding that turmeric intake is directly associated with
increased healthy fat loss and decreased insulin issues. Turmeric has been used in both Chinese and Indian medicine for thousands
of years. Western researchers are finding that turmeric may be useful
in lowering inflammation, fighting infections and specific cancers,
treating liver disease, healing skin wounds and beneficial in treating
digestive issues. Disclaimer: Information on this website is based on research from the internet,
books, articles and studies.
Statements in this website
should not be considered as medical advice. These products are not
intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. For
diagnosis or treatment consult your physician. These statements have not been evaluated by the food and drug
Have you ever considered the "medicine" available to you, grown in your own backyard (or farm). From Basil to Coneflower and even Thyme, there are so many reported health benefits of many common (and not so common) herbs and flowers. We're starting with Basil as it is probably the most common herb and arguably the easiest to grow.
Sow seeds outdoors when soil is warm and temperature does not drop below 65°F. Can also be started indoors 4-6 weeks before planting out. Make successive sowings for continuous summer supplies. Pinch back flower stalks as they appear to keep plants from bolting. Prefers rich well-drained soil. Basil has few pests, but occasionally pests such as aphids, flea beetles, and Japanese beetles will feast upon it. I use a spray bottle of water or water with neem oil to detach aphids. Grow in full sun (6 hours or more). Germination: 5-7 days
"One of the primary medicinal uses for basil is for its anti-inflammatory properties. This effect stems from eugenol, a volatile oil in basil that blocks enzymes in the body that cause swelling, making basil an ideal treatment for people with arthritis.
Basil, especially as an extract or oil, is known to have exceptionally powerful antioxidant properties that can protect the body from premature aging, common skin issues, age-related problems and even some types of cancer. The herb also contains the flavonoids orientin and vicenin, which are plant pigments that shield your cell structures from oxygen and radiation damage.
Both fresh basil and basil oil have strong antibacterial capabilities. In fact, basil has been shown to stop the growth of many bacteria, even some that had grown resistant to other antibiotics. Basil can be applied to wounds to help prevent bacterial infections. Also, by adding basil oil to your salad dressings, you can help ensure your vegetables are safe to eat.
Basil oil can be used to treat constipation, stomach cramps and indigestion as well as the cold, flu, asthma, whooping cough, bronchitis and sinus infections. It is also a great source of magnesium, an essential mineral that helps the body’s blood vessels relax, which can improve blood flow."
In Ayurvedic medicine, Holy Basil is used as a tea or a tincture. Among its many medicinal uses are lowering cholesterol, as an immune booster, and lowering blood glucose levels NOTE: These claims have not been substantiated by the FDA and are not intended as medical advice
Before I get into any more tincture recipes I thought I'd share another one of my favorite herbs. Feverfew is actually a flowering plant. It can be grown for it's medicinal properties or as an ornamental.
The word "feverfew" derives from the Latin word febrifugia, meaning "fever reducer." Feverfew is used most often today to treat migraine headaches. [UMM]
Feverfew has also be used for Asthma, Arthritis, Psoriasis, digestion and Menstrual cramps.
From Mary's Heirloom Seeds: Chrysanthemum Parthenium Feverfew is easily grown from herb seeds, and it is a hardy perennial with deeply cut leaves and lovely daisy-like blooms that measure 3/4 inch across. It is native to Southern Europe, but today it can be found in many areas of the world. A synonymous botanical name is Tanacetum Parthenium.
Feverfew is a medicinal herb with a long history of use. The leaves are dried and used as an herbal remedy for migraine headaches. The Feverfew herb contains parthenolide which can relieve mild spasms and is an anti-inflammatory. Some people take it to relieve the pain of rheumatoid arthritis.
To grow Feverfew: Germination: 7-14 days Start seeds indoors in colder climates.
Transplant once first true leaves are developed. Give each plant around 8-12" of space once started and thin as needed. Feverfew will readily self-sow after going to seed.
Soil should be well-drained and moderate. From Seed to Harvest is approximately 85 days.
I'm currently working on a "herbal reading list" for just about anyone interested in growing, eating and using herbs. Stay tuned!
Making your own herbal home remedies is easy. Herbal tea is a great start but Tinctures can be a much stronger alternative. The cost to purchase 2 ounces in the store is almost 4 times what it would cost to make your own. Some are even 7 times more expensive! Source
You might enjoy reading Boost Your Health with Organic Herbs & Food What is a Tincture? An herbal tincture is simply an herbal extract. Herbal remedies have been used throughout history to treat illnesses and ailments without "modern medicine" and pharmaceuticals. Tinctures are easy to make, home remedies. If properly prepared and stored, your tincture will last indefinitely. Source
What are the benefits of Chamomile? Chamomile is an herb that comes from a flowering plant from the daisy family. Both the fresh and dried flowers of chamomile have been used to create teas for centuries to cure a number of health problems. The active ingredient in chamomile essential oil is known as bisabolol, which has a number of anti-irritant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-microbial properties. Click for MORE Benefits
To get startedyou'll need: A clean jar with a lid, vodka or everclear, herb(s), measuring cups and/or scale and labels. If you purchase a DIY Tincture Kit from Mary's Heirloom Seeds, the herbs, jar with a lid. labels and dropper bottle are all included. All you need to do is measure out your menstruum and combine!
We now offer more Organic Herbs at Mary's Herbal Organix for your herbal pleasure! Let's get started making our Tincture!
DIY Organic Chamomile Tincture Ingredients and tools: 1 clean jar with a lid (quart size) 5-6 cups of vodka or everclear 1 ounce of organic Chamomile Directions: 1. Start with a cleaned and sterilized glass jar. Place organic Chamomile in your jar. 2. Measure out 3-4 cups of vodka or other menstruum and place inside your jar. *If you choose to use ACV or Vegetable Glycerin, be aware that your Tincture will have a limited shelf life of approx 6 months* 3. Place the lid back on your jar and mix thoroughly. 4. Label your homemade Tincture with the Date and Ingredients. 4. Store in a cool dry place such as a kitchen cabinet *Shake your brewing tincture regularly. I prefer to shake my tinctures 2-3 times per week.*
Start straining and consuming Chamomile Tincture after 4-6 weeks. I take approx 1 teaspoon before bed or as needed.
Disclaimer: All information is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. We cannot and do not give you medical advice. You should seek prompt medical care for any specific health issues and consult your physician before consuming any product(s).
I love tea! My sisters and I grew up drinking English tea with our Gran so every time I brew a cup I think of Granny. With the start of a new business I have found that it's important to take a few minutes to relax and clear my mind so my "tea time" has become very important.
Chamomile is an herb that comes from a flowering plant from the daisy family. Both the fresh and dried flowers of chamomile have been used to create teas for centuries to cure a number of health problems. The active ingredient in chamomile essential oil is known as bisabolol, which has a number of anti-irritant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-microbial properties.
What are the Benefits of Chamomile?
Chamomile can be used topically or orally to treat a number of everyday ailments, such as:
Insomnia and other sleep disorders
Anxiety and Panic Attacks
Wounds, burns, and scrapes
Skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, chickenpox, and diaper rash
Stomach problems such as menstrual cramps, stomach flu, and ulcers
Uses of Chamomile
Chamomile has been found to contain fairly strong antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory constituents. Therefore, it has been found to be effective in treating stomach and intestinal cramps. Simply prepare a cup of Chamomile tea following the directions on the package and drink it twice a day until while symptoms are present (one cup first thing in the morning, and one in the evening).
Chamomile is wonderful remedy for sleep disorders such as insomnia. Simply make a chamomile tea 30 to 45 minutes before going to bed to treat sleeplessness.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Chamomile reduces cramping and pain in the bowels and also helps to relieve excessive gas and bloating in the intestines. Therefore, a simple remedy is to drink a cup of chamomile tea to help relieve irritable bowel syndrome, nausea, and gastroenteritis or stomach flu.
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) and Menstrual Cramps
Drinking chamomile tea has been found to be beneficial in treating PMS and Menstrual Cramps.
Treat Burns and Scrapes
Chamomile oil is very useful in treating bad burns. Simple rub a small amount of oil gently across the burned area once a day. For scrapes and burns you can also brew a strong concoction by adding 3 tea bags to one cup of boiling water. When the water cools, dip a cloth into it and use it as a compress on the wounded area.
Lightening Skin Using Chamomile
Chamomile has been found to be advantageous for lightening your skin tone. Simply bring two quarts of water to a boil with 2 chamomile tea bags in it. Then place your face above the steaming pot of chamomile tea. A bath in water mixed with chamomile tea works too.
Reducing Dark Circles Around Eyes
Chamomile tea has been found to help relieve eye fatigue and dark circles. A simple remedy is to dip 2 chamomile tea bags in warm water. After 5 minutes, remove the tea bags from the water and let them cool to room temperature. Then place them on your eyes at night as a compress.
What are the Side Effects of Chamomile?
As with all herbal products, moderation is the key to avoiding adverse reactions. Some of the potential side effects of chamomile include drowsiness, so use it with caution if you are driving or operating machinery. High doses of chamomile can also cause vomiting and/or skin reactions in some individuals. If you are allergic to ragweed pollen or have hayfever, you may have difficulty using chamomile.
Using chamomile during pregnancy is not recommended, since it is considered to be an abortifacient (a substance that induces abortion). Chamomile is also not recommended if you are currently taking blood thinners, since chamomile contains a substance called coumarin (which is also a blood thinner).
I choose to bag my own tea (or use a diffuser) for several reasons.
1. It's cheaper
2. It's fresher
3. A big machine probably bags commercial teas so there might be some sort of contaminants like machine oil. 4. When I'm done, the bag and leaf go into the compost bin.