sore throat tea




One of my challenges as an herbalist (and mama!) is often getting the herbs into the body that needs them. Some herbs are very lovely tasting and others, well, as my kids would bluntly say: taste terrible.

They are pretty good about taking tinctures – even the "terrible ones". Teas, on the other hand, must be tasty if I want them to be drinking cup after cup – which is exactly the case when they are fighting off some sort of virus.

This is our current throat soothing tea. Rosehips & orange peel offer vitamin C to boost your immunity, cherry bark and marshmallow soothe coughs and inflamed tissue, and we love the earthy spiciness of the ginger + cinnamon + fennel combo! My youngest is prone to respiratory illnesses, so we tend to be super proactive at the first sign of a sniffle in hopes of catching it before it settles into his chest. I've used both slippery elm and marshmallow root in this recipe with wonderful results – I have read that Slippery Elm is endangered, so while I will use up what is in my apothecary, I do not plan to buy more. Marshmallow is a wonderful substitute and easily cultivated. (We grow our own!)




Warm & Spicy Throat Soothe Tea

(adapted from a recipe in Healing Herbal Teas)


4 parts rosehips

3 parts cinnamon chips

2 parts wild cherry bark

2 parts marshmallow root

2 parts orange peel

1 part ginger root

1 part fennel

1 part licorice root


Use 1 TBSP of the tea blend per 1.5 cups of hot water.

This tea is best as a decoction – where all the herbs are simmered for 15 minutes. We also make it in our little teapot (see above) and let it steep in freshly boiled water for 15-20 minutes. I usually put two batches of hot water through the teapot with the same herbs, as I feel like root based tea blends keep on giving up their flavor.

Also, We mix up a jar at a time so it's ready and waiting when we need it. It's no fun trying to mix up sore throat tea when you're under the weather.






diy apothecary……

I had fully intended to get rid of this cabinet. We moved it into the corner of the apartment to get it out of the way when we moved in, and that is where it sat for the next nine months. I tried to find a before picture of this project. The first picture is as close as I got. If you look close, you can see that the bottom left cabinet has a big hole cut into it. Someone had long ago installed a record player in the left side and a fabric covered speaker behind the door. I guess they cut some of the door off so they could hear it better? I'm not sure. 

When we moved things for the studio swap I knew I would be loading it into the van for a trip to Salvation Army. Somehow quite luckily a light-bulb went off in my head and told me "hello, this is the apothecary you've been looking for." Actually that sounds more like Jedi mind trick. Anyhow, I had my heart set on finding a shelved glass cabinet of some sort. I hadn't even thought of using this cabinet. Even though I swooned over the latches on the lower cupboards. As it turns out, a quart mason jar fits perfectly on the lower shelves and essential oils on the shallow top shelf. A good scrub and a few MINER minor modifications turned it into just the thing I was looking for. My Jedi light-bulb was right. All for free too, as it was left behind by the previous owners….. 

apothecary (before studio project, cabinet in the left corner) (also summer *gasp*, oh how i miss her.)

apothecary (after studio project)

apothecary(in progress : hemming curtains for studio shelf, covering cardboard for cabinet doors + Joe's tools say hello)

apothecary(cabinet gets a new home in the kitchen)








Joe cut the rest of the center door pieces off and I scrubbed the whole thing nice and clean. I used some home dec weight fabric from my stash to cover cardboard and then slid them into the groove of the door. I couldn't find this print on etsy, but I did find this one (another favorite flea market print of mine!) It ended up being such an easy project. All my herbs and essential oils have a happy new home. We reused something unloved and gave it purpose. Perhaps best of all, I found a good thing about my very dark kitchen, no need to worry about direct sunshine on the herbs as it gets very little light in there. However, I am still not in love with the cantaloupe hued walls. See all those cream colored swatches above the cabinet? Yes, the kitchen is going to be WHITE. Kind of crazy for a girl so fond of color, right? But I need all the brightness I can get in there. And yes there is a difference between each of those colors. I keep asking Joe which one looks best in morning light, or afternoon light. He thinks I'm a little nutty. I know there are some of you out there that get this need to pick just the right shade. Ahem.

On another herb related note, I am bottling my first tinctures & tonics today! They've been brewing for the last TWO months. I'm so excited to see what they taste like and how they make us feel. I did a little improv herb wise based on our needs, but the recipes are from Rosemary Gladstar's book of Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health (I made the Men's Elixir & Brain Tonic) and Holly Bellebuono's Essential Herbal for Natural Health (I made the Women's Ultimate Tonic Elixir). Have you ever visited either of these womens home on the internet? Rosemary is here and Holly is here. They are both sort of local-ish to me here in New England and they both offer online herbal classes which look amazing. I also found out there is an affordable women's herb conference in New England every summer, this year is their 27th year! It looks incredible. Especially because you can take your daughters with you for the weekend. I'm trying to figure out if this is something we can work into our summer. Just maybe……

So how many of you dabble in herbs? What are your favorite references? Do you have an online resource or class that you love? Do share…..



our elderberry syrup

our elderberry syrup

our elderberry syrup

our elderberry syrup

our elderberry syrup

I've been reading. A lot. Truth be told, I have a new obsession.

Herbs. Medicine making.

We've been trying to drink more herbal teas and we certainly notice a difference after just a few days. I also made some very delicious elderberry syrup. This is something I have been curious about for ages. After listening to an informal workshop this fall at the Taproot Gathering, I was even more intrigued. Elder berries nourish the cell wall, making it more difficult for viruses to penetrate, aka immune boosting powers. Amazing stuff right? 

This recipe is a combination of two syrup recipes from my favorite herb book. Elder berries are especially effective when combined with echinacea, another immune boosting herb. Ginger is warming and nourishes your respiratory system. All good things for this time of year! We all love this syrup. It really seems to nip a cold if you take it at first onset and it has certainly shortened the life and intensity of the virus bugs that have made their way into our home this fall. If one person gets sick, we all take it and we have not had as much sharing of colds between us, which is wonderful. Best of all, it uses all dried herbs! So you can make it any time of year…. though I do hope to find elder berries next fall to make a fresh + local batch. (my favorite source for dried herbs)

Our Elderberry Syrup

1/2 cup dried elder berries

1 TBSP dried ginger root

1 TBSP dried echinacea root

3 cups water

3/4 cup raw honey

*if using fresh elder berries or roots, double the amount*

*echinacea & ginger should be rough pieces, not powder/ground*

Place elder berries, ginger root & echinacea root into a heavy bottomed pot. Add water & simmer for 30-45 minutes. Be sure to simmer gently & not boil, or you will lose too much of your liquid. Drain the liquid from the herbs using a mesh strainer. Be sure to mash and squish the berries so you get as much goodness from them as you can. You should have about 2 cups of liquid. Let cool until barely warm to the touch. Add your honey, stir well & refrigerate. Your syrup will last 2-3 months. Take 1 tablespoon daily for wellness (immunity), and 1 teaspoon every 2-3 hours if sick. (dosage from here.) It can be drizzled over ice cream, yogurt, or even pancakes! Children under 12 months of age should not have honey, but you can add it to very hot water or chamomile tea for them. (this will kill off any microbes in the honey) For adults & older children, let your tea cool to drinkable temperature before adding so you keep some of the benefits of raw honey intact.

Wishing you good health!