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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Herbal Myths and Legends

Since Halloween is tomorrow, The Feisty Organics thought it would be neat to share a few herbal myths and legends. Don't worry these stories won't leave you clinging to your favorite teddy bear at night but, hopefully they will make you appreciate the important part that plants and herbs play in history and  folklore.

Fennel Plant- Greek legends believed that Prometheus hid the heat of the sun in the hollow stems of the fennel to bring it from heaven to our lovely earth. Fennel also was thought to offer protection against witchcraft.

Lavender- According to legend, When Jesus was an infant, Mary laid his clothing upon a bush to dry and the scent got on his clothes. Afterwards, the plant became known as a herb to avert evil. During the time of the black plague , Lavender was worn on the wrist as protection from the bubonic plague.

Dill-In medieval times, dill was used by witches for many of their spells and charms. It also was used as protection from spells, drinking dill water, was a means to remove a spell. Bathing in dill was also considered a way to seduce a love interest. In ancient Roman and Greek cultures, dill was a sign of wealth and power.

Basil- Need protection from a dragon anytime soon? Ancient Romans called basil, "Basiliscus,"after the fiery dragon Basilisk.Legend has it, Basilisk could kill people just by his gaze. It was believed that consuming basil would offer protection from this dragon. Hindus believed basil was their passport to heaven. Building a house on a spot where basil was grown was thought to bring good fortune. However, digging up that basil plant.... I'm sorry , bad luck for you!

Other Herb myths and legends
 There are many more myths and legends related to herbs that could've been addressed here but, we would've ran out of space! However, if you are interested in reading more than a good book to read is " The Meaning of Herbs: Myth, Language and Love," by Ann Fields and Gretchen Scoble.

Tell us..Do you know any good myths or legends?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fresh Basil: 3 Unique Uses

We all know that the herb basil is a ingredient frequently used in a plethora of Italian cuisines.It is also best known for its scent and distinctive taste. There are over 150 varieties of basil.However, sweet basil is the kind typical found in stores and kitchens. Aside from being a culinary herb, there are many other unique uses and fresh basil health benefits.

Tea-Basil leaves can be used to make herbal tea. Basil tea is a great natural remedy for tension headaches. Basil tea that has been cooled can also be used as a rinse for mouth infections. 

Bug bites-Basil can be used to relieve itchy mosquito bites. Just mash or chew a few fresh basil leaves until soft. Place the poultice directly on the insect bite. For me, this home remedy has come to my aide after many afternoons spent at the park hiking.

Vinegar- The holy basil variety can be used to make a medicinal vinegar. To make the vinegar just combine unpasteurized apple cider vinegar with holy basil leaves in a jar. Place the jar in a warm sunny spot for 3-4 weeks. Then, strain and re-bottle. Holy basil is used for improving vitality and restoring energy.To use just pour a couple of tablespoons of basil vinegar over a salad. Also, you can blend it with veggie juice or drink 1/4 cup straight.

Word of caution

Remember  to always speak with your physician before taking any herbal products , if you have a pre-existing  illness or if you are pregnant or nursing.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Saturday Evening DIY Projects

I am super excited so I just had to share some projects going on this Saturday evening .

Beeswax anyone? How about some leather wallet making? The ultimate DIY nerd.

Are there anymore DIY nerds out there? What do you love to craft?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Tincture Making 101

Way back when butter was churned and clothes were sewn by hand conveniences like Wal-greens ,medical clinics and an abundance of medicine choices were non-existent. People relied on nature to provide them with various plants,herbs,barks,flowers, and seeds that could be used by herbalist or regular people to create medicines to treat different ailments. One such way they would make medicines, was to make herbal tinctures. Herbal tinctures are a mixture of different herbs and an alcohol such as, vodka or gin. You also can mix your herbs with vinegar if alcohol doesn't suit your fancy.

Are herbal tinctures safe?

Herbs usually can be found in a number of teas that are sold at your local grocery store ,but with any plant you must know what it is before you try and consume it. Another factor to consider with herbal tinctures is that herbs increase potency with time so a few drops when you need it goes a long way instead of downing the whole bottle.

Where can I buy herbal tinctures?

If you are not ready to venture out in the herbal world and make your own bottles of tinctures then your in luck.  Herbal tinctures are still being manufactured and sold in a number of different alternative health food stores around the country. However,  the ones sold in stores do not contain any alcohol and aren't as strong.

Herbal Tinctures
This is a couple of tincture recipe that we tried a couple of weeks ago.

ginseng root
This is our hops (fyi Hops is used to make beer so your already drinking an herb!) and ginseng root .

Tincture Recipes

Deep Sleep Tincture  ( this is one of the ones we made)
A natural remedy for you insomniacs with love

  • 1 part valerian root
  • 1/2 part hops
  • 1/4 part lavender 
  • 80 proof alcohol (vodka or gin will do)
To make the tincture

1. chop the herbs really well ,Place the finely chopped herbs in a clean glass jar.
2. Pour enough alcohol over  the herbs to cover them by 2-3 inches, and then seal the jar with a secure lid. If the alcohol amount decreases over the course of 2 days, you may add more alcohol to the jar and then reseal.
3.Place the jar in a warm, sunny spot and let the herbs soak for 4-6 weeks.
4. Strain the herbs from the liquid. Pour the liquid into a clean dark colored jar and store. Alcohol based herbs will keep for many years.

To use

-Take 1 teaspoon an hour or so before bed and another right at bedtime. You may dilute the solution with juice or water.

Now you tell us. What are some herbal remedies that you use at home?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Herbalism: A Brief History of Herbal Medicine

Before there was Tylenol, Wal-mart pharmacy, or big phramacutical companies people relied on mother earth to provide their medicines. Herbal medicine or botanical medicine is the earliest known form of medical care. Ancient people used the bark,berries,roots,flowers and seeds to meet their medical needs.

What is the history of herbal medicine?

Throughout history ancient civilizations have documented various herbs that were beneficial to their society.

In 1500 B.C., the Egyptians wrote what is known as the Ebers papyrus , which has over 850 plant medicines documented ,including ones that are still utilized today such as, garlic,aloe vera, and castor bean.

1900 B.C.  In India, turmeric was used in Ayurveda medicine. Today there are 71 clinical trials underway or completed studying the medicinal uses to turmeric.

Middle Ages- Monastery scholars in Europe transcribed ancient Greek and Roman  text so they could preserve information on medicines. Medical schools or Birmaristans began to appear in the 9th century in Persia.

1900 A.D.- Post World War I brings the discovery of penicillin and expansion of the international pharmaceutical industry. Herbal medicine starts to decrease in popularity as many societies turn their focus to medicines that are made chemically.

Today- According to the World Health Organization ( the WHO) , 80% of some countries in Africa and Asia use herbal medicine. Twenty-five percent of modern drugs are also produced from plant components.The interest in herbal medicine has begun to grow again  due to the accessibility, affordability and because herbal medicine is now considered a healing art for the people.

What are the benefits of herbal medicine?

  • Herbal medicine helps us to live a more natural lifestyle that is more self reliant.
  • Herbs produce less side effects than conventional medicine.
  • Herbs can be used to improve your overall health.

How can herbs be used?

Herbs can be taken as a daily supplement, herbal tea, and in medicinal infusion. You also can make salves,oils,pills,compresses,
poultices,ointments,tinctures,syrups, and creams using different herbs. Also, herbs may be used together to effectively treat illness.

What is herbal medicine good for?

Herbal medicine is used to treat a variety of medical conditions , such as; irritable bowels, chronic fatigue, insomnia, migraines,rashes,allergies,PMS, eczema, and many other conditions that weren't mentioned.

Knowing that medicinal herbs are very effective, The Feisty Organics have decided to do a blog series dedicated to herbal remedies. We are very excited about writing on this topic and hope you enjoy reading the various articles we will be posting!

Tell us your thoughts.What are your opinions on herbal medicine?


Tapsell LC, Hemphill I, Cobiac L, et al. (August 2006). "Health benefits of herbs and spices: the past, the present, the future". Med. J. Aust.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Cutesy Kiwi Packs Powerful Punch.

Kiwi Health Benefits

picture of kiwiDon't be fooled by it's fuzzy wuzzy exterior and oh-so-cute green and black polkadotty flesh. This adorable little guy is anything but demure. Such a small fruit (about the size and shape of an egg) contains 120% of daily recommended intake of vitamin C. Potassium speaking, it gives the banana a run for it's money. And don't be put off by the fuzz of the skin. The skin is also edible and contains loads of antioxidants (be sure to get organic to avoid pesticide residue). Eating 2-3 kiwis a day is said to have the same blood thinning effect as an aspirin regimen and without any of the harmful side effects! Puree a kiwi into a marinade, and it acts as a natural meat tenderizer. Also, kiwi may be used to help control asthma. Multiple studies have found that "regular inclusion of kiwi fruit in the diet exerts beneficial effects on children with respiratory symptoms associated with asthma."

With all the nutritional value and health benefits of kiwi, it should be a household staple, but surprisingly, it is not frequently on the average American menu. As an informal experiment, 40 school aged children were shown pictures of kiwis both cut open and whole. None were able to identify the berry, with most saying it was a potato.

Kiwis have a very tangy, sweet flavor and contain crunchy little seeds not unlike the seeds of a fig. It makes a wonderful addition to cereal, fruit salad, fruit smoothie, or just eaten whole. However you decide to eat it, this versatile and tasty berry deserves a place at your dinner table. 

Additional Reading

Kiwi and it's Many Health Benefits

Best Foods for Preventing and Alleviating Asthma Symptoms

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Negative Impact of Fast Food ( Sorry Burger Places)

After a busy day spent with eighteen sugar crazed five year olds ,endless amounts of paperwork, and never ending lesson planning, the last thing I want to do is worry about what to for dinner. Some-days, it is tempting to ease my steering wheel ever so slightly to the right and make that swift turn into McDonald's and gorge myself on french fries and that eloquent mystery beef patty. However, before I take that wide turn I always stop and think about the negative impact fast food has on my health. If you struggle with fast food temptation sometimes like me then, read on about the  long term effects of fast from  Kymberly Synder below, to help you remember why you should resist the temptation of the arches or crown next time your hungry.

The Long-Term Effects of That Fast Food Meal
[Via: The Long-Term Effects of That Fast Food Meal]

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Recipe for Pumpkin Pancakes

    1 1/4 cups flour
    2 tablespoons brown sugar
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    pinch clove 
    cup almond milk
    6 Tablespoons pumpkin puree
    2 tablespoons melted butter
Mix together dry ingredients, fold in blended wet ingredients.
Cook 1/4 of a cup of batter in a skillet with olive oil.  Make sure oil is hot before adding batter. 
Cook until bubbles form on the sides of the pancakes, then flip.
Top with maple syrup and walnuts. 
Pumpkin Pancakes Recipe


A True Halloween Horror

A true life slasher film.

A massacre of the worst kind.

Blatant inhumane brutality.

 Every year, millions of pumpkins are sliced open, gutted, and left for dead on neighborhood doorsteps, maybe even by people you know. Even children are trained at an early age to participate in the brutal slaying of these innocent squashes. After suffering through this anguish, most are not even given a respectable burial (laid to rest in a compost pile), but are kicked to the curb like rubbish to be picked up by the local garbage man. Do they not deserve better?

All of the following scenes are real. They contain graphic images of the carnage left behind after Halloween. We apologize if the images are offensive to our viewers. We felt that the use of such explicit photographs were needed to demonstrate the reality of the national crisis effecting our orange friends.
carved pumpkinsPumpkins

Halloween pumpkins
Is there a way to end this bloodbath? The Feisty Organics have a way! Pumpkins are food. Rich in lutein and beta-carotene, they are meant to be used for nourishment and comfort, and there are a variety of ways you can add these nutritious squashes to your meals. Click for recipes!

 Will you stand idly by as our food supply is left to rot in the streets? Join The Feisty Organics in this crusade. You can offer to dispose of your neighbors’ pumpkin corpses for a proper burial (compost bin), you can create seed bombs from carcasses found in gullies, but most of all, you can do your part by keeping pumpkins FOOD!

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Roasted pumpkin seeds

Remove seeds from the pumpkin.
Toss with a few tablespoons of olive oil, brown sugar and cinnamon.
Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. 
Bake on 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
Stirring halfway through.

Simple and easy! 

nutrient dense

Creamy Pumpkin Soup

Creamy Pumpkin soup

small pumpkin
vegetable stock
whipping cream
salt, pepper
sour cream

  • Slice the pumpkin into 2 inch thick slices. Drizzle with olive oil and place on a baking sheet. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees until very soft.
  • Remove hard skin and blend the flesh in a food processor until pureed. (About 2 cups of pumpkin puree should be good.)
  • Put into a soup pot with 1 cup of vegetable stock.
  • Puree ½ of an onion and add to the soup.
  • Add ½ cup of whipping cream (not to be confused with whipped cream!) to give it a creamy texture.
  • Simmer for at least 45 minutes.
  • Add salt, fresh ground peppercorn, and scallions to taste.
  • Should be served piping hot.
  • A dollop of sour cream adds a little extra.

If you like thinner soup, add more vegetable stock
If you like thicker soup, add more pumpkin puree.
If it is not creamy enough add more whipping cream.   

Pumpkin Soup
Picture borrowed from

Yummy Stuffed Marrow Recipe

With the crisp fall air being felt in my bones , the leaves from the ornamental pear trees beginning to turn beautiful shades of red, yellow, and orange there is only one thing on my mind..Hearty FOOD! If you know how to make squash then this marrow recipe will make a wonderful addition to your families dinner menu.

Stuffed Marrow Recipe   

Marrow with lentils and spinach
For people that are fans of veggie recipes...add the marrow vegetable to the list because it taste amazing stuffed! -You can use  lentils as a filling and spinach. I use the small brown lentils ,but green ones would work too. Serves 4 so eat up

What you will need

-a medium-sized marrow
 -chilli sauce
-2 large shallots 
-2 handfuls of green leaves such as spinach or chard
-4 tbsp olive oil
-6 medium-sized tomatoes or 20 cherry tomatoes

-8 oz bag small brown (green ones if you want to use those)
Bring a pan of water to the boil in which to cook the lentils. Add them to the water and leave to simmer
Meanwhile, peel and slice the shallots and soften them in a saucepan with the olive oil. Chop the tomatoes into a desirable size. Let them cook a while, till they are soft and mushy, then stir in your chilli paste. I like to add some chilli paste to give my food a little bit of a kick . You may add water to your chilli paste if you want a thinner sauce.
Drain the cooked lentils, then stir them into the onion(shallots) and chilli sauce. Tear the leaves of the spinach or Swiss chard up into small pieces and stir them in to the lentils. Bring to the boil, then cover and leave to simmer over a lower heat till the greens |are soft.
Cut the marrow in half lengthwise, but don't peel it ... the rind will give it support once you add the lentils and chard. Scoop out the core and slide the two halves into a large pan of boiling, salted water. Leave until they are tender and then lift out with a draining spoon and lay them in a dish. 
Spoon the lentil mixture into the hollows in the marrow, cover with foil then bake for 20 minutes on 350. More time may be needed if you want to taste more of the sauce flavor. Take out of the oven  let cool for a few minutes then enjoy!

If your looking for more vegetarian recipes or interested in further reading on the wonderful marrow head on over to here

Monday, October 1, 2012

Garden of Life product review

Perfect Food Raw
Garden of Life perfect food raw is a supplement that contains barley grass juice,alfalfa grass juice, oat grass juice, wheat grass juice and kamut grass juice. It comes in two forms, powder and capsule. The powder comes in individual 8 gram packets if you want to try it out first or you can go ahead and plunge feet first into the natural living pool and buy the 240 gram bottle. The 8 gram packets were $1.49 each at Whole Foods and the jar was around $38.       
The product is easy to use you just add a packet to water or juice.

I chose to mix one of the packets with some organic cherry juice and I will admit , the smell of the green powder mixing with the juice made me a tad queasy and semi dreading the taste...ah the taste...was hard to get through. I am not sure if it was the old broccoli smell  that the powder had but, I only made it through half of the glass before giving up. The taste was very overpowering and left an aftertaste. I hate to give up on this product because the supplement does have a significant amount of minerals,nutrients and enzymes that are beneficial to any diet . So, I am going to try blending the powder in a smoothie and seeing if that masks the taste better. Garden of life also has capsules for anyone that didn't like the taste of the powder or find the pills more convenient than mixing the powder.

The powder made the juice thicker 

  • Healthy Detoxifier
  • Raw Energy
  • Organic
  • Vegan
  • Non GMO
  • Full of Nutrients, Antioxidants, Enzymes and Probiotics

  • Taste
  • Is a bit pricey in stores but ,cheaper online.
  • Smells a bit pungent  
Who should buy?

This product is for anybody interested in adopting the green way of life, anyone interested in adding a new supplement to their diet, anyone who doesn't eat enough fruits or veggies or anyone wanting to improve their health.


You can buy this product online at Amazon : Garden of Life Perfect Food Raw 

Tell us ..Do you take any supplements? If so which ones?  

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