Let’s Soothe Thy Skin

As the weather gets colder, my skin gets drier. I can’t simply wash dishes barehanded anymore and must use rubber gloves to protect them. I need to apply moisturizer several times a day or cracks start to develop around my nails and fingertips. Healing moisturizing cream becomes necessary to maintain healthy skin. Over the years, I have developed a lovely cream ~ Soothe Thy Skin ~ which moisturizes, nourishes and heals my dry and cracked hands. It is so gentle that I also use it on my face and anywhere else I may need some healing and moisture.Making cream tends to be a bit more challenging than making other herbal remedies like salves or tinctures. The recipe needs to be made precisely, remember you are mixing water and oil together, which normally does not mix well. The basic recipe I use was developed by Dina Falconi, which I have put my little spin on.

Basically, you need a liquid carrier oil, solid oil, beeswax and water. For the carrier oil, I infuse Calendula and Comfrey into first cold pressed organic olive oil. For the solid oil, I use organic coconut oil. Lastly, for the water, I use distilled water because it reduces the risk of bacteria developing and the cream going bad. And after all the hard work that goes into the cream, you want it to last a long time. Some people put essential oils into their creams, sometimes I do too. But most of the time I like the cream as it is without a an added scent.

For soothing and repairing the skin, Calendula (Calendula offficnalis) and Comfrey (Symphytum officnale), are winners. Calendula is a powerful wound healer and promotes cell repair while its antiseptic properties keep infections from occurring. It helps heal wounds faster by increasing oxygen flow to the damaged area, which in turn helps the body grow new tissue. It also stimulates collagen production to help heal the body’s tissues and is high in flavonoids (plant-based anti-oxidants) that protect cells from being damaged by free radicals. Comfrey fosters the growth of new cells and is anti-inflammatory as well as mucilaginous, which soothes inflamed tissues.

Equipment Needed:

  • (2) Pyrex measuring cups
  • Saucepan
  • Food processor with dough attachment
  • Small jars with covers (preferably glass)
  • Rubber spatula
  • Chopstick
  • Candy thermometer

The Basic Face and Hand Cream Recipe:

Basic ingredients

Basic ingredients

6 oz liquid oil (ie: olive, jojoba, almond, grapeseed, apricot…)

3 oz solid oil (ie: coconut, shea butter, lanolin…)

1 oz beeswax

9 oz water (ie: distilled, spring, tap…)

 

 

Soothe Thy Skin Recipe

(will make 19 ounces of luscious cream)

Remember: it is very important to be precise with this recipe. From start to cleanup, you will need 3 uninterrupted hours.

  1.  In one of the measuring cups, pour in 4oz. of Calendula infused olive oil and 2oz. of Comfrey infused olive oil. You will now have 6oz of liquid oil.

Liquid oil = 6oz.Liquid oil = 6oz.

2. Then add 3oz of coconut oil and finally 1oz of beeswax. Your ingredients will total 10oz.

Liquid and Solid oil = 9oz.

Liquid and Solid oil = 9oz.

3. Put measuring cup full of oil/wax mixture in a saucepan with about 2 inches of water, like a double boiler.

Melting Liquid oil, Solid oil and Beeswax = 10oz.

Melting Liquid oil, Solid oil and Beeswax = 10oz.

4. Stir oil/wax mixture as it is melting.

5. Once it has melted remove from heat and let cool to about 100° F

6.  In other measuring cup, heat distilled water until it reaches 100° F and remove from heat.

It is very important that both the oil and water are about 100° F in order for them to mix well. While oil/wax mixture and water are cooling down to 100° F, wipe down all parts of the food processor with rubbing alcohol before using them to help ensure it is clean. We do not want anything other than our ingredients in our cream. 

7.  Pour all the water into the food processor using the dough attachment.

8.  Turn on food processor and slowly pour oil in. Keep mixing until the cream begins to emulsify. Occasionally, scrap sides and mix some more until you have fully emulsified cream.

Luscious Cream!

Luscious Cream!

9.  Pour into clean/dry glass jars.jarred

10.  Let sit undisturbed overnight.

11.  Enjoy silky moisturized skin!

Cleanup hint: Vinegar and Dawn dish detergent are great for cutting through the greasy film on the food processor.

All information is shared for educational purposes only and has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Traveling Herbal Kit

I love traveling; there is no doubt about it. Traveling healthy is always best but things happen, so being prepared can make a world of difference in your trip. Over the years, I have assembled an herbal travel kit from my favorite products. The size and contents change depending on the type of travel and length. I have several different variations of the herbal travel kits but they all start with the basic core ingredients. Then I build upon them based on the location, type of travel (car, plane, backpacking) and length of trip.

The Basic Core Herbal Travel Kit:

  • Allergy Begone! Tincture – Made from Goldenrod, and tackles countless aliments along with drippy allergies, asthma, while supporting the immune system, stimulating digestion and reducing gas. It is an excellent wound healer. It can be used as a styptic (stops bleeding). It is antiseptic, a disinfectant, anti-microbial, and anti-fungal. It’s anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties soothe and heal urinary infections. I never leave the house without it.
  • Ginger Root (crystallized, tea or fresh) – Nothing beats ginger for alleviating nausea and motion sickness, it is also antibacterial, antiviral, a circulatory stimulate, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, anti-fungal, anti-clotting, it helps dispel gas and prevent bloating, is anti-arthritic, analgesic, and promotes sweating. It’s antibacterial and antiviral properties help with respiratory infections and coughs. It is also an expectorant, and helps to thin mucous so you can move it up and out.
  • Valerian Tincture – It is so important to unwind and get a good night’s sleep when traveling. Valerian encourages relaxation and sleep, as well as extinguish muscle spasms such as menstrual cramps, back spasms, and even restless legs.
  • Elderberry (lozenges or syrup) – Elderberry strengthens your immune system so it can fight off cold and flu viruses when you are exposed to them, as well as lessen symptoms and duration of the illness. I start taking some a week before travel and while traveling to help me fight any germs I may be exposed to.
  • Pain Begone! – Accidents and sore muscles happen. Pain Begone! salve harnesses the medicinal powers of St. John’s Wort, Arnica and Goldenrod to reduce the pain of muscle and tendon injuries, aches, arthritis while reducing swelling. St. John’s wort is a nerve pain reliever, anti-inflammatory, and helps cells regenerate. Arnica stimulates the flow of white blood cells that process congested blood by dispersing trapped fluid from joints, muscles and bruised tissue. Goldenrod’s anti-inflammatory effect relieves muscle pains and aches including arthritis.
  • Soothe Thy Lips  This balm nourishes, soothes and heals dry chapped lips along with all other skin irritations. Calendula is a powerful wound healer that promotes cell repair while its antiseptic properties keep infections from occurring. It helps heal wounds faster by increasing oxygen flow to the damaged area, which in turn helps the body grow new tissue. It also stimulates collagen production to help heal the body’s tissues. It is high in flavonoids (plant-based anti-oxidants) that protect cells from being damaged by free radicals. Comfrey fosters the growth of new cells and is anti-inflammatory as well as mucilaginous, which soothes inflamed tissues. This compact lip balm is handy to carry as it can be used on any skin irritation.
  • Tea Bags – Traditional Medicinals and Yogi have a great tea line packed with organic and thoughtfully harvested healing herbs. When you’re under the weather, a nice hot cup of tea can be very soothing. Tea bags take up very little space; it’s so easy to throw together a bunch of tea bags. My favorites are Ginger, Chamomile (good for digestion and makes a nice compress for pink eye or skin irritation), Breathe Easy, Herba Tussin (great for coughs), Throat Coat. When making tea, steep longer than the box says – at least an hour or so to extract as much as the tea’s medicinal properties.

For longer trips, I add a couple more items to cover almost any illness (see below). On one of our winter trips, I was happy to have these herbs on hand when Mathew came down with the flu. He had all the classic symptoms: sudden high fever, aches, sore throat, cough and very tired. He felt so awful that he took everything I gave him with no complaints. As a bonus, we were staying at a hotel that turned out to be the perfect place for getting a lot of rest. And that is exactly what he needed most of all. Luckily, we attacked his flu quickly with lots of rest and herbs. The fever broke after 2 days and he was back to his old self by the third day.

In addition to the above, I packed:

  • Boneset Tincture – Nothing fights the flu better than boneset, especially if taken at the early onset of illness (we knew flu was a possibility since we received a message of reported cases in Mathew’s class right before we left for winter break). Boneset gets it name from the terrible pain one feels in their bones and the muscles from the fever of influenza, nicknamed “break bone fever”; the type of fever that makes you feel like your bones are breaking. It brings the chill to a head and flushes it out of the system. I also find it excellent for lingering coughs. It is very helpful for getting the toxins out of the system from rattlesnake and spider bites. It is always good to be prepared for anything when you travel.
  • Elecampane Tincture – Elecampane is one of the best herbs to treat all chronic and acute upper respiratory infections, whether viral, bacterial or fungal (even TB). It’s also a tonic for the respiratory tract.
  • Yellow Dock Tincture – Travel tends make a person “irregular” leading to feeling uncomfortable and bloated. Yellow Dock is a gentle laxative. It encourages both bowel movement and good digestion by stimulating the release of gastric juices. It clears toxins, moves stagnation, reduces inflammation, inhibits coli and staph growth, frees stored iron from the liver, aids digestion of fatty food, helps with acne, boils, and dermatitis. It is also relieves painful sore throat when the tincture is diluted into cold water and gargled.
  • Epsom Salts – They are excellent for drawing out toxins. So if you have an infection, mosquito bites, bee stings, simply soak it in a warm Epsom salt bath (or soaking a cotton washcloth in a warm water Epsom salt solution for the affected area) and voilá, infection and pain are gone. Table salt will work too but not as well. It can also be used for splinter removal, itchy skin, mild sunburn and poison ivy. Epsom salts are anti-inflammatory and great to use for reducing swelling and alleviating the soreness from sprains and bruises.

Some of my favorite things

Of course, there are numerous other herbs that would be helpful while traveling; the above are my favorite essential herbs that have come to our aid countless times. I travel with all the tinctures, each labeled in 1 oz. amber bottles (except Elderberry, which is stored in a 2 oz. bottle if using a carry-on or 4 oz. if not). I have never had any issues going through airport security (domestic or international) with them. The only time I was questioned was at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC. When I explained what they were, they let me pass.

May your travels be free of illness and problems. However, it is better to be safe than sorry – bring some healing herbs just in case.

All information is shared for educational purposes only and has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

It’s Marshmallow Root Time!

Over the years, I’ve noticed that as the weather gets colder, my digestive tract gets irritated. Yes, my allergies change but I also get acid reflux. I have no idea why this happens, but the first year it was very painful. In fact, it woke me up in the middle of the night it was so uncomfortable. Since I prefer to try to heal myself before I go to the doctor, I did a lot of research.Of course, my first line of attack was to remove the cause. I looked at my lifestyle and tried to identify any changes. Why was my esophagus getting irritated? Why was my stomach acid backing up into my esophagus? Truthfully, I couldn’t come up with a solid answer. However, after several years, the only conclusion I could come to was, that it had to do with the changing of the season, because it starts to happen every autumn and rarely any other time of the year.

Then, I looked at remedies. Most of the allopathic (conventional) remedies reduce the acid in the stomach so it does not irritate the digestive tract anymore. Most people need to take it for the rest of their lives. I understand the logic but I need (as we all do) the acids in my digestive system, I need them to do their job ~ digest my food, allowing my body to absorb nutrients from it. I need those nutrients to maintain a healthy body.

Dried Marshmallow Root

There are lots of remedies and theories out there, for example, when and what to eat. But what I really needed to do was heal the irritation in my digestive system so it could work properly and I could be comfortable again. Luckily, I knew about Marshmallow Root (Althaea officinalis).  It is very soothing and mucilaginous. It coats, protects and heals all inflammatory digestive disorders and enhances the immune system.  All I need to do is simply drink a cup of cold infusion after each meal and feel the discomfort melt away. Depending on the severity of the heartburn, relief happens instantly or may take a couple of days.  You can find Marshmallow Root in the bulk section of most health food stores. One thing I really love about Marshmallow Root is that after my system has been healed, I can stop using it. I have found that the infusion tastes better if I keep it in the refrigerator.  One important thing to know about Marshmallow Root infusions ~ they can be very thick and mucilaginous, in turn coating the digestive tract, which can inhibit the absorption of some medication. So, if you are taking any medication, be sure to take it at least an hour or more before or after you drink the Marshmallow Root infusion.  Here’s to relief from heartburn!

All information is shared for educational purposes only and has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

If you are having a difficult time finding Marshmallow Root locally, Healing Spirit Herb Farm is a wonderful company to order from.

Vitex ~ when your pituitary needs rebooting

A few years ago, I learned the hard way how well my herbal remedies worked ~ I ran out during a trip. I was taking some remedies to support my body and others to help ameliorate symptoms. Ever so often, I like to titrate down the dosage in order to if I actually need as much as I am taking; less is always best in my book. However, I don’t normally stop any of the tried and true ones. When packing for a trip to Florida, I didn’t refill my tincture bottles; I thought I had enough for the ten day trip. I did have enough but when the trip ended up being extended for almost a month, I ran out. When I noticed my supplies getting low, I started to take half doses or even less. Unfortunately, I noticed some symptoms coming back and it became obvious that my body really needed more to ameliorate the symptoms. From a “scientific” point of view, this was great news. The tinctures were working very well. Although, it did make me rather uncomfortable until I returned home.

The most obvious absence was noticed from Chaste Berry (Vitex agnus-castus). I had been impressed with it for over a year, but forgot how uncomfortable I was before it became part of my daily routine. It’s one of those herbs that are known both by its Latin and colloquial names ~ Vitex or Chaste berry. It has a long history of use and was even mentioned in Homer’s the “Iliad” as a symbol of chastity, capable of warding off evil. The name “chaste” was referred to by the monks in the Middle Ages who used Chaste Berry to decrease sexual desire. Not sure it actually works that way on men, but it is known to increase the female libido.

Vitex is a reproductive herb. It acts on the brain’s pituitary gland, which controls and regulates all the other glands in the body along with regulating and normalizing hormone production by releasing follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). This, in turn, signals the ovaries to produce more of the hormone progesterone. Vitex stimulates the pituitary gland and helps restores balance. Think of it as “rebooting the pituitary gland” and bringing balance and harmony back to the body. As a result, Vitex normalizes hormonal imbalances, such as those that can occur during menopause, premenstrual syndrome, or menstruation; it also helps dissolve fibroids and cysts.

I was experiencing a boatload of menopausal symptoms and found that combining Vitex, Motherwort, and Lady’s Mantle ameliorated almost all of them. I use Vitex primarily for adenomyosis, which is uterine thickening that occurs when endometrial tissue that normally lines the uterus moves into the outer muscular walls of the uterus. It is similar to endometriosis, but the tissues develop beyond the uterus. Before I found Vitex, this disease was very painful and woke me up most morning with a heavy pressure on my lower abdomen; it felt like someone was standing on me. It also caused flooding and severe cramps during menses. The gynecologist gave me three options ~ take painkillers or insert a hormone releasing vaginal ring or hysterectomy. She also mentioned that most symptoms dissipated after menopause. I decided to investigate what herbs were out there that could support my body during this time. I had heard and read about Vitex but there was no mention of ademomysis except it’s abilities to “reboot the pituitary” which relieved the pain of endometriosis along with dissolving fibroids and cysts; it just made sense to try it. Vitex tends to be slow acting; it usually takes three cycles to start working.  Lucky me, I started to feel relief within 3 weeks. All of sudden there was a sense of calm within me during the day and the painful morning started to become a memory (until I ran out).

Vitex has become a key player in my daily herbal routine. Every year I still experiment and titrate down the dosage but am quickly reminded how well it works keeping my discomfort at bay and how very grateful I am to have found it.

All information is shared for educational purposes only and has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Feeling a little burnt out?

There are just those periods when life is merely overwhelming. Sometimes it’s because there are simply too many tasks to complete and not nearly enough time. Moreover, those times are days when you really need a good night’s sleep and it seems impossible to get more than four hours straight. Your body and mind are so fatigued, and everyday you feel worse. With no salvation in the near distance you just spiral downward, perhaps your body will give out and you will simply get very sick, ahhh now perhaps you will get those restful hours of sleep your body has needed for such a long time. Does this sound familiar? I think everyone must go through this from time to time; unfortunately, some experience this more often than not.

At those particular times, it is paramount to take care of ourselves; nonetheless, it is so difficult to do so. There are wonderful herbs known as adaptogens that can really make it easier to move through the day and not collapse. As the word implies, adaptogens increases your body’s ability to adapt and resist stress. It knows what your body needs and helps it adapt so you don’t reach the point of total burnout. When you are exhausted, they give you energy and when your nerves are frazzled, it soothes and calms them. Sounds wonderful, right? You bet it is.

There are a variety of adaptogens herbs out there. Today, I will be focusing on Ashwagandha Root (Withania somnifera). Ashwagandha (known as Indian Ginseng) has been used as an Ayurvedic herb for over 3000 years. Ayurveda classifies Ashwagandha as a rasayana, which is an herb that deeply rejuvenates and promotes longevity. And that’ something we all need.

There are two interpretations for the name Ashwagandha: the smell of a horse, perhaps because some people think the fresh root smells like horse’s urine and has a strong unpleasant taste but I prefer the other interpretation, the strength of a horse, since it is a wonderful energy builder. It increases the body’s ability to adapt and deal with tension and anxiety. It helps increase memory, facilitates learning, and promotes general well-being as it enhances stamina. Ashwagandha is excellent for both mental and physical fatigue. It can significantly reduce cortisol (which is released when stressed) concentrations and the immunosuppressive effect of stress.  Because it can both strengthen and calm the nervous system, it can help increase energy levels gently, meaning it won’t give you that crash and burn effect that sugar and caffeine often does. Taken over time, Ashwagandha can build up emaciated tissues, decrease the negative affects of stress and increase energy levels.

Since Ashwagandha is not overtly stimulating, one of its benefits is that it is a gentle sedative and supports healthy sleep cycles. Its Latin species name is somnifera, refers to its ability to support sleep. Instead of thinking of it as an herb for acute insomnia, it is something that when taken over time it can restore nervous system health and healthy sleep cycles.

Not only is Ashwagandha excellent in assisting the body adapt to stress it is used for a variety of degenerative, wasting and chronic diseases, including arthritis, TB, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. Because it helps builds tissue and supports overall health it can help people regain their strength while strengthens and supporting the immune system.

Ashwagandha seems to help and strengthen the whole body. Research has found that it protects and supports the immune system, helps combat the effects of stress, improves learning, memory, and reaction time, reduces anxiety and depression without causing drowsiness, helps reduce brain-cell degeneration, stabilizes blood sugar, helps lower cholesterol, offers anti-inflammatory benefits, and actually enhances sexual potency for both men and women. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center notes the benefits of Ashwagandha on their website as it was “found to reduce growth of breast, central nervous system, colon, and lung cancer cells without affecting normal cells. It was shown to prevent chemotherapy-induced neutropenia in mice. In a small study of breast cancer patients, Ashwagandha alleviated chemo-induced fatigue and improved the quality of life.”

What’s not to love about this wonderful herb? Well, the taste tends to be a bit strong and unpleasant. That is why when I first started working with it; I made a wonderful herbal honey with it. I blend Ashwagandha powdered root with Buckwheat honey, which has an equally bold but yummy taste. It has a nice balanced flavor. The honey is perfect for sweeten tea, coffee, oatmeal but I enjoy it best on a peanut butter sandwich.  I also make a tincture with the roots for when I need a stronger and more consistent dose. The traditional Ayurvedic preparation of Ashwagandha is to simmer the root in milk, with a bit of honey added at the end.

Ashwagandha root may be found at your local health food store or at Mountain Rose Herbs.

All information is shared for educational purposes only and has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

So what’s a tincture?

Throughout my blogs, I occasionally, mention making tinctures.  I have come to realize that many people do not know what a tincture is, how to make one or simply where to buy it – well, I’ve decided to remedy the situation.

First, tinctures are concentrated liquid extracts of herbs. Most tinctures are made using alcohol; however, you can also use glycerin or apple cider as the menstruum (solvent that extracts the medicinal qualities from the herb). You can buy tinctures at most health food stores or online. If you would like to make a tincture yourself, it is very easy and it can save you quite a bit of money, especially if you wild harvest the herb instead of buying it.

I prefer to make tinctures from fresh herbs but dry herbs work too. I have many books on medicine making, but found “Making Plant Medicine” by Richo Cech to be my go-to-book.

Here’s how to make a fresh plant tincture:

  • Harvest leaves and flowers during the early flowering stage and remove stem. It is important to remember when harvesting any plant it is essential to harness the herb’s most productive energy during the harvest process. Roots are best harvested while all the vital energy is most concentrated within them. This is before the plant’s stems and flowers are developed, so harvest early spring or late fall. I like to collect the aerial parts while the vital energy is rising; so they are actively growing but before they go to seed.
  • Chop up plant/root to break down the cell wall; this will help expose more of the plant to the menstruum, allowing it to extract more medicinal qualities.
  • Place herbs in a clean, dry glass jar. Fill ¾ of the jar loosely, but do not pack herbs too tightly.
  • Fill jar with 100 proof vodka; make sure all herbs are completely submersed.
  • Cover with tight fitting lid.
  • Shake; the more the better.
  • Label the jar with the name of the plant, menstruum, harvest location, and date.
  • Mark your calendar, noting that the tincture will be ready in 6 weeks.
  • Put in a dry place that gets full sun. I put all my tinctures on a windowsill that gets southern exposure on the 2nd floor of my house.
  • Shake every day with ♥love and intention.
  • After 6 weeks, strain out herbs through stainless steel strainer lined with cheesecloth or muslin.
  • Rebottle and label.
  • Your tincture is now ready!
  • It should last for about 7 years if stored out of sunlight and in a cool location. Amber bottles work well to protect the quality of the tincture from sunlight.

There are many ways to make tinctures. This is just one way. I have tried many methods, learned from many herbalists, and read a great deal and this method resonates with me and gives wonderful results. Some herbalists let their tinctures sit in the dark, or control the heat, sit for 2 weeks, a lunar phase…there are so many options. This is just one way, my way; and it just simply makes sense to me. Feel free to experiment.

When you collect any herbs, please keep in mind:

  • Be sure you have made a definite identification, so use a field guide.
  • Harvest it in a respectful way: leave some. Please do not over harvest. Make sure there will be a healthy crop for the future.
  • Harvest away from traffic and areas where chemicals have not been sprayed or animals relieve themselves.
  • If you are unsure, it is best to move on and not harvest in that area.

All information is shared for educational purposes only and has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

These herbs are fresh

We became members of the GreenStar Co-op after we moved to the Ithaca area. Co-ops are rather unique because its members are also its owners. Not only do they get the products and services they need, but also have a say in the Co-op’s business decision. As Co-ops go, GreenStar is pretty awesome with three locations in the small college town of Ithaca. I love their progressive focus on building a sustainable future, using profits in the local community, purveying many products from local farmers, supporting local schools and nonprofits, and harnessing the sun for its energy use. They even offer classes on cooking, nutrition, and environmental topics. They are undoubtedly a positive force in the community and we are so happy to be a part of it.

Whenever I walk into the Co-op, I am always amazed how happy everyone seems to be, whether they are working or shopping. Talk about good vibrations! It always seems like a wonderful place to work or volunteer, so every time I passed the employment/volunteer board I would look, hoping to find an opening in the Wellness department with hours that would fit my chaotic schedule. Last fall, I was overjoyed to see the perfect day and time available, and found out it was in the bulk herbs section.  It was perfect! I have a passion for buying in bulk. I even bring my jars to refill and the thought of being around herbs for a morning every week seems like a match made in heaven ~ and it is!

Not only do I get to be surrounded by all the lovely aromas of over 170 herbs and teas, I am learning a lot. I always knew the bulk herbs I was buying were much fresher than the any bottle of herbs but I had no idea how fresh. At GreenStar, they have someone refilling the bulk herbs daily. They order an average of 40-50 pounds of herbs each week. It takes me two hours to make sure all the jars are filled. If an herb is not being purchased on a regular basis, they don’t keep it around because there is no need to waste the shelf space; there are so many herbs vying for space. These herbs are fresh.

Just think about it ~ when you are buying prepackaged bottled herbs, you really have no idea how long they have been sitting on the shelf. In addition, you are committed to that specific amount. It’s not a big deal when you use the herb on a regular basis but from time to time, we all cook something that needs only a tablespoon of a specific herb that we will probably not use again for another year or more. And the cherry on top, over 80% of the herbs are organic while costing less than pre-packaged herbs. Who wants to buy a full bottle? Not me, so it’s a no brainer ~ buy the amount you need from the bulk herb section. It’s fresher and you can buy what you need, not what they want to sell you.

If you’ve never thought about shopping at a Co-op, I suggest you check out your local store. Here’s a directory to help you locate your neighborhood Co-op. You’ll be happy you did.