Tuesday, February 2, 2010

a few herbal receipts for you!

Ahh, thoughts of the warm and green months...
Tulips with motherwort in the backgroung.

Sun tea made with violets.

I love daffodils, they are so cheery and smell heavenly!

I love tea!
I drink tea all day long.
And not just black or green tea,
usually it is some sort of herbal tea,
many ingredients of which came from my garden.
During these long, dark and cold months
I am usually drinking tea and thinking about spring and summer.

And although I do love and need a winter hibernation,
I still long for the sunny, warm and green of spring and summer...

This is my one part of my garden, although it has some different plants from year to year.
This year it had cucumber (which we had too many of), watermelon (which didn't do much except vine out, hyssop (one of my favorites), calendula, poppies, chamomile, sage, thyme, oregano, basil, tomato, kale, broccoli, sweet peas and green beans, violets and pansies... and the list goes on!

I just made a lovely pot of chaga, maitake chai,
and I thought that I would share the receipt (as Tasha Tudor would have called it) with you!
I also am going to share my receipt for elderberry syrup which is a definite this time of year!
I am not very good at paying attention to directions
or measuring for that matter,
so please bear with me
and ask questions if does not end up to your liking!

...CHAI TEA...
(with or without chaga and maitake mushrooms,
which are great for immunity and the nervous system)
2 qts. water
1 cinnamon stick
3 or so pods of cardamon
5-7 black peppercorns
5-7 whole cloves
1 star anise
1/2 tsp. fennel seeds
1/2 to 1 inch fresh ginger roughly chopped
1-2 tbsp chaga chunks
1-2 tbsp maitake mushrooms (dried)
Add all ingredients into the water in a stainless steel or enamel pot.
Bring to a boil and then turn down and simmer for about 15 minutes.
When you are finished simmering,
strain as you pour into your most lovely of loveliest teawear.
(the spices can be reused and simmered again... and again...)
Add honey or maple syrup (I like maple syrup) to taste.
Add milk, cream, coconut milk, soymilk, or whatever you like that is creamy, to taste.
You can also add a little vanilla extract if you like!
Enjoy and feel your body be happy!!!

...Elderberry syrup...
This is a receipt from one of my herbal teachers, Rosemary Gladstar.
*a quick note:
Elderberries are a very weedy plant and grow most places in the united states and europe!
It might be a fun adventure if you can find someone who can help you identify them and harvest them yourself when they are in season!
But make sure it is the blue/black elderberries and not the red ones!
Also, don't eat the elderberries before they have been cooked.
And local, raw honey is the best for this medicinal syrup.
Since you don't boil the honey, only warm it enough to melt it,
you can still have all the healthful properties added by the honey!
So keep an eye out for a source for local and preferably raw honey!
3 cups water
1 cup fresh or 1/2 cup dried elderberries
1 cup honey

Although they look red, these actually are the blue berries, they start to change color as they cook.
In a stainless steel or enamel pot, add water and elderberries.
Turn up heat and bring to a boil.
When boiling, turn down and simmer over low heat for 30 to 45 minutes.
Then smash up the berries and strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer or cheese cloth.
Add 1 cup honey (or to taste).
Bottle the syrup and make sure to keep it refridgerated!
This syrup will last 2 to 3 months.
Makes a wonderful gift!
***Optional herbs to add to the syrup:
Echinacea (1-2 tbsp dried)
maitake (1-2 tbsp dried)
Ginger (1-2 inches fresh and chopped up)

I hope you enjoy these receipts!
Have a great evening.


  1. I also love tea. I will try you chai recipe.

  2. Wonderful! I love both Tasha T. and Rosemary G. Your garden looks fantastic. During these rainy winter months I have been hatching a plan for a new medicinal garden. Since we built our raised beds it seems there is less room for my tea and tincture herbs and the veggies win out. I have a black elderberry bush in my yard but, it doesn't produce many berries at all. I harvested most of my echinacea last year and need to start some new this spring.
    Thank you for the receipts!

    My word verification is "crop" how perfect!