Hawthorn and Rosehip Sauce

Chop up fresh hawthorn berries or whiz dried berries in a coffee grinder used only for herbs and spices. A good solid mortar and pestle may also work well, as the berries are rather hard.

Add an equal proportion (more or less is OK too) of dried rosehips. Simmer this mixture in water, add a bit of lemon juice, along with a little honey or maple syrup to taste–just enough so that it cooks to a thick sauce.

This takes about 30 minutes on low heat.

Put the sauce through a food mill or strainer to remove the seeds and make it smooth. Store in the refrigerator or process jars in a water bath canner for 15 minutes.

The dose is 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon, taken as needed for grief or sadness, or daily as an excellent cardiovascular tonic.

It’s delicious with yogurt or anything else!

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Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies

Healing doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy a sweet treat when you need one! The Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies I am sharing with you today are delicious and have none of the harmful ingredients often found in some store-bought kinds. The bright pop of raspberry jam nestled in a rich, nutty dough makes these gorgeous cookies a wonderful treat for yourself, to share with friends or family, or pack into your children’s school lunchboxes.

Raspberries are a great full-body detoxifying food, rich in antioxidants that specifically help remove byproduct and toxic debris created by the invader that causes thyroid problems. Raspberries also tend to bind onto and remove impurities delivered to the intestinal tract by a liver burdened by this invader.

Sesame seeds and tahini strengthen the central nervous system while providing amino acids such as tyrosine and lysine in highly bioavailable trace forms that easily enter and uptake into the thyroid to improve the gland’s function and suppress the invader.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons almond flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ cup tahini
  • ½ cup coconut sugar or maple sugar
  • ½ teaspoon alcohol-free vanilla extract
  • ½ cup white sesame seeds
  • ½ cup raspberry jam (see Tips, below)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Whisk together the almond flour, baking soda, and sea salt in a mixing bowl and set aside.

Process together the tahini, coconut sugar, and vanilla extract in a food processor until smoothly combined. Add the almond flour mixture to the food processor and pulse until well combined. If the mixture is still crumbly, add water by the tablespoon as needed until smooth dough forms.

Form the dough into 1-inch balls and roll them in the sesame seeds before placing them onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Leave at least 2 inches between the cookies. Press a thumbprint into the center of each cookie and place the cookies into the oven. Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes.

Remove the cookies from the oven and fill each one with 1 teaspoon of raspberry jam. Place the cookies on a wire rack to cool.

Tips:

  • If using store-bought jam for filling, make sure to look for a clean one with no added harmful ingredients or preservatives.
  • To make a homemade raspberry filling, mash fresh, ripe raspberries (or frozen raspberries that have been thawed) with raw honey or maple syrup until desired consistency is reached.

Down To The Roots: Burdock And Chicory

For centuries, burdock and chicory have been considered important remedies to help the liver. They have also been used to help rid the body of uric acid, to treat rheumatism and to eliminate skin conditions. By helping the liver, they also improve hormonal imbalances. The Chinese eat burdock to relieve constipation. Chicory is an effective digestive tonic, and can be used as a coffee substitute – chicory coffee does not contain caffeine, but it does taste somewhat like coffee. Chicory increases bile production, moderates a rapid heart rate, lowers cholesterol and destroys bacteria.

Burdock and chicory roots are versatile. Burdock can be used much like a carrot – it can be grated, sliced or blended. My favorite introductory-level burdock dish is a gravy. Thanksgiving, I made the dressing and gravy from burdock. You should have seen the looks on the faces of the guests when I told them that it was made from burdock. Of course, I waited until after they had told me how delicious it was! Even after I told them it was burdock, no one refused seconds.

effortless-gravy

Burdock Gravy

1 cup chopped burdock root {1 medium-size root}

1/2 cup yogurt, sour cream or soy milk

1 tablespoon butter or vegetable oil

3 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon honey

Blend ingredients until smooth. Heat mixture over low heat, stirring until it thickens, about 4 minutes.

Fresh burdock and chicory roots are not hard to find. Many natural food stores carry them, at least in the fall and into the spring. Japanese groceries sell burdock as gobo. Even some regular grocery stores sell these roots, especially in Hawaii. You can also grow your own – look for them in the vegetable seed section of a nursery or seed catalog.

In the North American colonies, in the early days of colonization, coffee was cut with chicory so that supplies of the expensive bean would last longer. Later, chicory coffee became a Louisiana speciality. Roasting gives chicory a bitter-sweet flavor. To roast chicory, chop fresh roots, place a single layer on a cookie sheet and roast in a 325 F degree oven for about 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Roasted chicory roots can easily be made into a tea – just grind them in a coffee grinder and steep.

Millet Loaf

This dish can be cooked as a millet pilaf or a millet loaf of “bread” that is nutty tasting and satisfying for a holiday main meal.

Overnight Preparation Time

You may want to start soaking the millet the night before you want to make this dish (soak for 8 – 12 hours). The recipe itself takes about 10 minutes to prepare and 15 – 20 minutes to simmer on the stovetop.

Servings: 4 – 6

Ingredients

  • 2 cups presoaked millet
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons dried burdock root or fresh burdock root, diced
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons thyme
  • 2 teaspoons basil
  • 2 teaspoons astragalus powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

Directions

  • In a saucepan, bring water to a boil.
  • Once water is boiling, add soaked millet and reduce heat to simmer.
  • Add spices, sea salt, astragalus root powder and burdock root.
  • Simmer until millet is completely cooked and the grains are translucent and fluffy.
  • Add coconut oil and stir thoroughly. If you are eating this as a millet pilaf, it is now ready to serve with your favorite vegetable side dish.
  • If you are making millet loaf, let the cooked millet pilaf sit for 15 minutes to cool. Once cooked, transfer into a greased bread loaf pan and cook in a pre-heated oven at 300°F for 15 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and cool.
  • Slice of bread, spread with some coconut oil, raw butter or ghee if you like and serve with salad and cultured vegetables or with a vegetable soup

Soothing Burdock Soup

Burdock Root is indispensable for soothing hot, itchy, or inflamed skin. It is an excellent remedy to use when the skin feels fiery, such as during episodes of eczema, psoriasis, or rashes and is, therefore, a herbal ally for stress-reactive and environment-reactive skin personalities.
1 cup chopped Onion
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 cup chopped fresh Burdock Root
1 cup peeled and sliced Carrots
1 pound Potatoes (russet or wax)
½ cup fresh Dandelion Leaves (optional)
6 cups Vegetable Stock or water
3 tablespoons dry White Wine or Sherry
3 tablespoons chopped Parsley
Salt
Combine vegetables and stock in a pot and bring to a boil. Add salt to taste, reduce heat, and cover, simmering for 1 hour. Remove 2 cups of soup, puree in a blender, and return to pot. Stir in Sherry and Parsley and simmer for 20 more minutes.

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme

If you’re old enough to count among the Baby Boomer generation, you certainly remember the sensation caused by the release of Simon and Garfunkel’s hit song, “Scarborough Fair,” with its haunting refrain, “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme.” Most people who bought the album (yes, it was an album, not an MP3 back then) didn’t really think about the properties of the herbal list as they sang along, and it’s doubtful that Simon and Garfunkel had anything prescriptive in mind, but in fact, they adapted the song from an old English ballad that some say is about the Great Plague in the Middle Ages. The fact is that parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme were commonly used medicinally in earlier times and may have been used in an attempt to heal victims of the Plague. On the other hand, the four herbs were chief components in a love potion that witches concocted in Medieval times, and they also were used for embalming, so others claim the song is about winning love or dying from a broken heart after losing it.

In any event, parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme each was revered for their healing and magical powers, and those healing powers are as present and valuable today as they were during the reign of King Charles II. Here’s an abbreviated description of what each has to offer.

Parsley

Parsley is something of a wonder herb in that it’s pretty enough to be used as an all-purpose garnish, tastes good enough to be an important ingredient in a huge array of recipes, is positively packed with vitamins and minerals, and has a surprising array of healing properties. An important diuretic, parsley root also helps clear uric acid from the urinary tract and helps dissolve and expel gallstones and gravel – and prevent their future formation.  It also inhibits the secretion of histamine and is therefore useful in treating hives and relieving other allergy symptoms. A decoction of parsley root can help eliminate bloating and reduce weight by eliminating excess water gain.

Note that the emphasis in the above was on parsley root, not on the green leaves, but the entire parsley plant has medicinal value. In fact, parsley has been used for healing for over 2000 years, since Ancient Greece.” It was used medicinally long before anyone figured out that it tasted pretty good and might have value as a flavoring.

Because it effectively clears uric acid from the body and has other anti-inflammatory properties, parsley can be useful in treating rheumatoid arthritis.  But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The herb was used in ancient Turkey to heal diabetes, and in fact, clinical research in recent years bears out the fact that parsley leaf extract can lower blood sugar levels. More research indicates that an extract found in parsley oil called apigenin aids in reducing the recurrence of cancerous tumors. It also contains a flavonoid called myricetin that has been shown to be effective in preventing skin cancer. Finally, because it contains exceptionally high levels of calcium and folic acid, evidence indicates it’s useful in preventing osteoporosis.

While eating the few sprigs of parsley decorating your restaurant meal might not do much to pump you up, you’ll certainly benefit if you make parsley a staple in your diet or take it in supplement form.

Sage

Unlike delicate, curly parsley, sage has a flat-leaved, flat, and fuzzy profile. And yet, it shares with parsley an ability to lower inflammation via the array of flavonoids and phenolic acids it possesses. In fact, chewing on sage leaves is one way to get a burst of anti-inflammatory aid fast. If the taste is too strong for you in the raw, you can also brew sage leaves into a tea. The anti-inflammatory effects of sage have been shown to help with gastrointestinal issues, respiratory problems, arthritis, and even cardiac problems. It’s also anti-spasmodic, which makes it particularly useful in the case of gastrointestinal issues like diarrhea or colitis. Also, like parsley, sage is effective as an aid in controlling diabetes.

The word “sage” comes from the Latin root, “salvere,” which means “to be saved.” In other words, the ancients thought it was amazing as a healing aid. One extraordinary benefit of sage is that it’s effective in increasing mental acuity. That’s right: sage can make you smarter, at least in the short run. Clinical studies show that even a small dose of the herb or a sniff of the essential oil extracted from it enhances memory and concentration. Plus, there’s clinical evidence that sage may inhibit Alzheimer’s and other cognitive disorders.

Plus, sage has antimicrobial properties that make it great for enhancing immune function. You can press it into a salve and apply it topically to help heal skin infections, psoriasis, eczema, and acne. And finally, sage is a blessing for menopausal women: clinical studies show it has an extraordinary ability to stop hot flashes and night sweats.

Is it any wonder that sage (specifically white sage) is considered a sacred herb by Native American people, used for purification and protection purposes? Many people follow the ancient Native American tradition of burning sage in a house, which is believed to clear away negative energies.

One word of warning: if you’re allergic to mint, forget sage, which is a close relative. Another close relative is rosemary, which looks pretty different with its spiky leaves, but contains rosmarinic acid, also found in rosemary, one of the chief components that helps reduce inflammation.

Rosemary

The benefits of rosemary are similar to those of sage—improved digestion, enhanced concentration and memory as shown by clinical studies. As Shakespeare said (Hamlet Act 4, Scene v), “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance…” Rosemary also contains carnosic acid, which seems to inhibit damage by free radicals in the brain, making it useful in limiting brain damage suffered after a stroke and even in promoting repair and recovery. Carnosic acid also appears to benefit eye health and might be useful in preventing macular degeneration.

Rosemary is particularly useful as an anti-carcinogen. Studies show that it can slow the spread of leukemia and inhibit breast tumor growth. Also, adding rosemary to meat before cooking seems to disrupt the formation of cancer-causing compounds that might be formed during the cooking process.

Beware, though. You can overdose on rosemary and end up with severe gastrointestinal problems, miscarriage, or even coma. Plus, rosemary can interfere with certain pharmaceutical medications, so be sure to check before plunging into a rosemary orgy.

Thyme

Thymol, an oil extracted from thyme, has a long history as an anti-microbial agent. Before antibiotics, it was used to medicate bandages and is still an active ingredient in products like Vic’s VapoRub. In fact, research indicates it can boost the efficacy of antibiotics when used in conjunction with them. It works extremely well blended into an antifungal cream or used on skin conditions like eczema.

Several studies have shown that thyme can reduce blood pressure and “bad” cholesterol levels. It also works against pathogens that cause food poisoning, making it a great addition to any meal, and in a similar fashion, it can prolong the life of cooking oils. Plus, thymol seems to reduce symptoms of sore throats and bronchial coughs, while the carvacrol in it enhances feelings of well-being by stimulating dopamine and serotonin in the brain. And like the other herbs described above, thyme fights colon and breast cancers via the carvacrol in it.

The bottom line is that all these herbs offer formidable healing properties, plus they taste wonderful and are easy to grow. Instead of dousing your dinners with salt and soy, try regularly using fresh herbs like these, and reap the benefits.