Thursday, September 19, 2019

Saving Money using Herbs


SAVING MONEY USING HERBS



            It is possible to make money from the herbs that you grow, or to even save money by making items rather than having to purchase them.
I have written 30 ideas of ways that you can save or make money from your herbs. There will be many more ideas, though this gives you an idea and a good basis to start with.

  1. Growing herbs and veggies. You will save money by growing your own plants. The average household could save between $15 and $20 a week by eating their own produce. One huge added bonus is that you know where the food has come from and you can be assured of its quality and growing means.
  2. Share cropping your herbs and veggies. This system works well, especially if certain gardens are more suited to certain vegetables. It means one household grows one or two types of veggies and the next household something different. Once the herbs and veggies are ready to harvest then they can be shared between those growing them. This is beneficial in having certain veggies will not all be harvested at the same time. Once again money is saved from your grocery bills.
  3. Sell your surplus fruit, vegetables and herbs. Whether to friends or family, or on the roadside.
  4. Make oils, vinegars and jams with excess produce. These could either be sold or they can be used as gifts to save money spent buying gifts.
  5. Sell or swap excess seed as long as it is viable seed.
  6. Sell or swap any excess plants, either in pots or hanging baskets.
  7. Learn how to bonsai and then sell the bonsai plants.
  8. Create herb foods. Lavender biscuits, rose jelly and caraway scones are some of my favourites.
  9. Dry and press plants and flowers to make pictures that can be sold, or just sell bunches of dried herbs and flowers.
  10. Make chilli sauce.
  11. Make some topiary pots to use as gifts or sell.
  12. Make some terrariums for gifts or to sell.
  13. Make some pot pourri.
  14. Sew some wheat and lavender bags for gifts or to sell.
  15. Create some herb candles.
  16. Make some herb sachets such as lavender pillows to place under your pillow to aid sleep.
  17. Try making some of your own perfume.
  18. Create some pest deterrent sprays to apply on the garden or use as gifts.
  19. Create some herb soaps.
  20. Try making some herb creams using infusions of the herbs in a water based cream base.
  21.  Make herb teas, great for your body and health.
  22. Create herb wreaths for Christmas.
  23. Create some herb bath bags.
  24. Use herbs to create magic.
  25. Make some herb wine. Elderberry is particularly good.
  26. Make some herb hair rinses.
  27. Sew some scented herb coat hangers.
  28. Create some herb wall hangings.
  29. Create some herb stationary.
  30. Create any herb crafts that you can think of, to sell or use and gift ideas.
Our online dried herbs can be found here 

Seeing you always in love, health and happiness
Louise Plant

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Companion Planting


Companion Planting is not something new; in fact it is a practise that has been occurring for many thousands of years. Long before the introduction of pesticides and chemicals, farmers and gardeners knew that growing plants in certain combinations was beneficial to all the plants. A lot of the information that is available about companion planting comes from garden traditions and folk lore and it is for that reason that man is currently starting to research these agricultural practises.

   When thinking of companion planting do not forget that dead plants are also beneficial in the garden in the form of compost and green manures, as they help to add organic matter an structure the soil, as well as adding essential nutrients. There are also several different relationships that can be looked at in regards to planting. Plants that contrast and compliment can all influence productivity.
   It is known that mono-cropping is more prone to pests and disease more than mixed planting. Intermixing the crops reduces the chance of one disease destroying the entire harvest.

   Growing herbs and vegetables together is a wonderful combination. Many herbs are fragrant and aromatic and these flowering plants help to repel certain pests. Their combination also provides colour, as well as a place to attract insects that prey on plant pests such as lacewings and hoverflies. Flowers can either be planted as a row amongst other, or they can be inter-planted throughout the garden. This makes for a very pleasant working environment. Plants like cabbages and dahlias grow very well together.

   It is possible to plant your herbs so they work to protect other herbs from environmental factors such as sun and winds. Hedges and trees make good barriers and windbreaks and they do not need to be made of just 1 type of plant. It is possible to make a hedge with a mixture of all kinds of shrubs. Holly, hawthorn, oak, honeysuckles, berries, crampbark and box all make good hedging. You could use ground cover herbs like ladies bedstraw or self-heal to act as mulch. This protects that herbs from water loss and stabilizes temperatures.

   Plants can also be used as edgings or barriers. If there is ‘wasted space’ around the edge of your garden, you could plant things like parsley, onions, radishes, garlic and even carrots. They all make attractive edging. Plants like onion and garlic are also very good repellent plants.  Barriers such as many of the Artesmia family are beneficial. Wormwoods, tansy, southern wood and rue plants all help to deter pest and even some animals. They are also good worming material for livestock.

   Where space can be quite limited, it can be worthwhile to take advantage of climbing plants and vegetables. Honeysuckle, hops, grapes, rosehips, passionflowers, beans, cucumbers and zucchini can all be considered.  These need to be trained and supported. You might like to consider growing one plant up another.

   Companion planting can also involve plant rotation. Creating different plots where plants are rotated, usually over a 12 month period.  A three year rotation plan is commonly used. This enables the plants to benefit from the previous crop and helps to keep pest and disease populations under control. A forth plot in the layout is for plants that do not like to be moved. A four year rotation plan allows the individual plots to have a greater rest period before the next crop is planted. It allows for a greater recovery time for the soil.


   Here is a list of some good and bad herb and vegetable plant companions. 
My shorthand key includes:
> = better than, is improved by
< = worse than, deters growth of

Apple Chives             < apple scab
Apple               Wormwood & Garlic     <codling moth
Apple trees      Tobacco         < aphids and thrips
Asparagus       Parsley             >asparagus growth
Bean                Marigolds                    < beetles
Bean                Petunia                                    <beetles
Beetroot          Onions, radish             >beet growth
Blackcurrants  Wormwood                 <rust
Broccoli           Dill or mint        >broccoli growth
Cabbage          Rosemary/sage <cabbage butterfly
Caraway          Peas, beans or carrot   >germination     
Carrots             Sage or onions             <carrot fly
Carrots              Parsley             < cabbage butterfly
Celery              Bush beans      > both growth
Chamomile      Cabbage and onions    < fleas, grow with peppermint to increase oils
Chives             Carrots                                    < apple scab
Coriander        Anise/spinach    >coriander growth
Corn                Bean or pea     > nitrogen to corn
Corn                Sunflower                   < armyworm
Eggplant          Amaranths                   < insects
Eggplant          Beans                          < beetles
Fruit Trees       Garlic, nasturtiums      < borers when planted in circle
Tansy                                       < pests of cucurbits
Grape              Clover             > soil fertility for grapes
Grape              Hyssop                  > vine crop
Kohl Rabi        Borage                         < pests
Leek                Celery or onions          > leek growth
Lettuce            Chervil                   <aphids, snails/mildew
Onion              Chamomile                  > flavour
Peach               Garlic              < chance of leaf curl
Peppermint      Cabbage          < cabbage white
Potatoes          Horseradish                 > potatoes
Potatoes          French lavender   < nematodes and white fly
Potatoes          Beans              < beetle damage
Pumpkins        Datura             > vigour and growth
Raspberries      Rue                  < Japanese beetle
Radish             Climbing beans    > grows better
Radish             Lettuce, beets  > succulent radishes
Rose                Chives or garlic  < blackspot/aphids
Rose                Parsley                         < rose beetle
Strawberries    Borage             > soil nutrition
Shrubs             Rue      < protects shrubs from many insects
Tomatoes         Marigolds  > tomatoes grow better
Tomatoes         Basil                > flavour and growth
Tomatoes         Borage             < tomato worm
Valerian           All veggies      > vigour to veggies
Yarrow     Medicinal herbs     > vigour to herbs.

Check out our website for dried herbs www.driedherbsonline.com.au 

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Natural Pest Control


NATURAL PEST CONTROL


As a person who worries about the future of our children today, I have to say there is a lot to be said for pesticides used today. It seems that everyone has become too lazy and they want to take the easy way out by using harsh chemicals to kill unwanted pests. Not only do these chemicals kill unwanted pests, they also kill our environment, which in turn is affecting our wildlife and affecting us. The saddest part about it is that it is harming our children, as children uptake more chemicals and toxins than we do as adults. 
Have you ever stopped to think why there are more children taking up residence in our hospitals with concerns like leukaemia and unexplained new diseases? I do.

   I would like to let you know there are things that we can do in our gardens to reduce the risks and help keep our soils rich and fertile. It has been proved that plants that receive the right nutrients through their growing season are healthy and send out signals to insects letting them know that they are a healthy plant that is less likely to be attacked. 

Plants grown with chemical fertilizers in depleted soils are not healthy plants and the pests seem to zone in on these plants, like viruses attack people whose immune systems are depleted. Pesticides also wipe out our beneficial predator insects which in turn allow the harmful ones to flourish.

   Here are some natural ways to control pest numbers.
v  Yearly apply cow manure and till it into the ground. You can make compost out of it, though it is just as easy to till into the garden two or three months before planting. This in turn gives higher production with fewer pests.
v  Keep soil covered with mulch (organically preferably). This protects it from exposure to all kinds of weather. The soil needs it as the rain washes all the goodness from the soil and the sun dried and bakes it. If this happens it dries out the moisture in the ground and the earthworms will move out. Mulch is also good for controlling weeds which means less work for us all.
v  Plant the right variety of plants at the right time with the correct spacing.
v  Have a well balanced soil with the right balance of nutrients.
v  Keep up garden beds with rich organic matter and organic fertilizers; also the rotation of garden beds is a good plan to stick too, as certain plants bring certain nutrients to the soil surface.
v  When it is not raining irrigate the soil to top up the water in the roots, though try not to over water.

Here is a list of some common pests that we seem to suffer with and some natural means of getting rid of them.
v  Aphids – are small soft bodied sucking insects, they attach themselves to the young buds of plants and suck out their goodness. Try spraying the aphids with a solution of soapy water. Use 1 tsp of bio-degradable soap in a pump spray bottle.
v  Cabbage Moth – these are white moths that lay green caterpillars that eat the foliage. These can be controlled with naturally occurring bacteria called Bacillus thuringiensis. It is available as a powder that is mixed and sprayed onto the plants. 
v  Mildew – this is a common disease that causes the leaves of the plants to turn white or powdery. Try putting sulphur dust on or spraying with wettable sulphur.
v  Snails and slugs – you know when you have these as they leave slimy silvery trails around and they eat your leafy foliage. The best defence is chickens or ducks if you are in an area where you can have them. The other is to use beer, any cheap beer will do using enough beer to lay a short necked bottle on its side so there is about 5cm of liquid in the bottle. Bury the bottle on its side with the lip of the bottle up so the snails can crawl in.  
v  Nematodes – these are the worst as they are microscopic worms that can get into the roots of your plants and tie knots in them, resulting in the death of the plants. The best way to avoid them is to try to not buy already established plants as they could be in the soil around the plant. It has been researched that marigolds can control the number of nematodes. The French marigold called Tagetes patula has been seen to do this.

   To finish up gardeners wishing not to use highly toxic chemical sprays will have to be prepared to be patient and tolerate a certain degree of damage to their gardens until pest start to increase in numbers and then it will encourage predatory insects to come and the influence of other strategies that will help to return things back to their natural balance. Meanwhile there are quite a few low toxin options available at your local nurseries and products that you can even make yourself to keep pests at bay.
   To all readers who may take time to look at this article I hope you may glean something of importance to you and that it may help.


References
Super Nutrition Gardening by Dr William S Peavy & Warren Peary.
Organic Vegetable Gardening by Annette McFarlane

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Passion Flower


Just the word passion flower conjures up desire and good feelings and yet this herb is one of the best herbs for boosting our happy hormones. 
We could all benefit with a great dose of passion. 

You can buy passionflower here https://driedherbsonline.com/product/passion-flower-passiflora-incarnata/, give a small bag a go. 
Read more about Passion Flower below

PASSION FLOWER – Passiflora incarnata

Family - Passifloraceae


Other Names: Passion Vine, Maypops, Granadilla

History
The Passion flowers are so named because they resemble the fine cut corona in the centre of the blossoms of the Crown of Thorns.
Native Americans used the fruit pulp to treat swelling and sore eyes and the root they used as a general tonic.

Parts Used
The dried herb is collected after some of the berries have matured.

Cultivation
There are 500 species of passion flower known to man and the medicinal properties can be suggested for many of the species.
A perennial root native to US, Central and South America produces herbaceous shoots with three lobed, finely serrated leaves and flesh coloured or yellowish sweet smelling flowers, tinged with purple. It produces a small many seeded berry the size of a small apple.
The leaves are collected after flowering and dried in the shade.
It is propagated from seed and likes plenty of sun.

Constituents
Alkaloids harmine (indole alkaloid), Harman, harmol and  passiflorine. Passiflorine has similar properties to morphine.
Flavone glycosides (apigenin) and sterols. Maltol, cyanogenic glycosides


Actions
  • Sedative
  • Hypnotic
  • Anti-spasmodic
  • Anodyne
  • Relaxant
  • Hypotensive
  • Tranqulizing

Indications:
Passiflora is great for sleepless nights, anxiety and insomnia. It is for this reason that it is commonly used.  It aids the transition into sleep.
How it does this is by increasing the GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) in your brain which then lessens brain activity and helps us to relax. A study showed those who drank it daily for 7 days noticed an improvement in their sleep.
It can be used for any condition where there is cramping and spasms, being effective in cases such as asthma. Epilepsy and irritable bowel conditions will benefit from passion flower.
Occasionally it has been prescribed for convulsions, as well as other issues such as boils, wounds, earaches and liver problems.
It is indicated for nervous conditions and for where there are viral infections of the nerves such as in shingles.
The leaves are non-addictive, non-depressant, sedative especially in cases of anxiety.
It has valuable painkilling properties and can be used for headaches, period pain and toothaches.
Passion Flower will prevent tachycardia and help to reduce high blood pressure.
It is indicated for diarrhoea, dysentery, neuralgia, sleeplessness and dysmenorrhoea.
A compress will help to soothe burns and skin irritations.

Dosage:
0 to 20 minims of fluid extract
Tincture 1 to 4 ml three times a day. Larger doses can be taken in the evening to help sleeping.
1 teaspoon in an infusion can also be drunk at night to help sleep.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Maca, Rooibos and Nettle Recipes


Want to find ways to use herbs that are out of the box?
Try these 3 herb recipes



Maca Choc Balls
            280g cake crumbs (about 3 cups)
            3 tbsp apricot jam
            3 dtsp maca
            1 tsp Cocoa
            1 tbsp rum
            2 tbsp water
            Extra jam and chocolate sprinkles
Mix together the cake crumbs, maca powder, cocoa, warmed jam and rum until a stiff paste is formed. If extra water is needed to make a paste then add just enough to make a thick paste. Roll the paste in round balls, this mixture will yield about 24 balls. Warm an extra 2 tbsp of sieved jam with water and dip the rolled balls into the mixture and then coat with chocolate sprinkles. Place balls in paper party cases and leave to firm. 


Nettle Soup
I love this soup, it is one of the best soups I have ever eaten, a great Scottish recipe.
  • Wild nettles tops (about half a carrier bag full)
  • 1 onion
  • 1 litre of vegetable stock
  • ½ litre of boiling water
  • 100g long grain rice
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • A little olive oil
  • Sour cream (optional)

Method
Put a saucepan on a low heat, and add a dash of olive oil. Finely chop the onions and add to the pan, and cook until soft. Pour in the rice and vegetable stock and bring to a simmer. Cook until the rice is tender.
Add the nettles. You don’t want to add them too soon, otherwise some of the nutrients will be lost in the cooking process. At this point you might have trouble getting the lid back on your saucepan, but the nettle leaves soon wilt down. When they are more manageable, stir them through the rice. Add the other half litre of boiling water and simmer for another minute or so.
Remove from the heat and blend, either using a hand blender or a food processor, until you get a smooth consistency. Taste your soup and add salt and pepper. Blend again to mix it in. Keep tasting and blending until you have the seasoning just right for your palate.
This nettle soup can be enjoyed with a swirl of sour cream and chopped chives, or a drizzle of good olive oil on top.

Rooibos Popsicle

Place rooibos tea in a pot and add boiling water, allow to steep for 10 to 15 minutes. Add 1 pinch of stevia or 10 to 20 drops of stevia liquid. 
Freeze the teas in popsicle mould or ice cube tray and add to drinks.


Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Herbal First Aid


HERBAL FIRST AID

By Louise Plant

There are a wide range of herbs that you can look to be growing in your garden that can become an essential component of your medicine cabinet. This article looks at some of these herbs that can be used as first aid measures.
This list is a few suggestions of the more common herbs that could be kept on hand in the need of first aid.

ALOE VERA
Aloe Vera is an essential part to any Australian household. It is the best thing for minor burns. I tend to keep some in the fridge during the summer months as it is so effective for any sunburn and when applied cold it just takes all the heat away. It can be applied a few times a day; the more applications used the more heat that is taken away from the burn. It is a very easy plant to grow and it is great for a wide range of skin conditions.

GARLIC
 Garlic is a great antibacterial and antiseptic. In our household it is commonly used for the sniffles and runny noses. It is mixed with honey for the children, as well as incorporated into our diet during meals.   The cloves can be cut and then applied to corns to help draw them out, or they can be applied topically to cuts and acne for its antiseptic action.

COMFREY
Comfrey is another great healing herb, though it is restricted for internal use within Australia. The bruised leaves can be easily applied to any bruising or sprains. I make an ointment that has proven to very effective for sore chapped lips, broken ribs, nappy rash and other minor starches and bruises. It can be easily applied to broken skin unlike arnica, which is another herb that is fantastic for bruises and sprains.

CHICKWEED
Chickweed is a common weed that is found throughout every country in the world. You would probably find one in your own backyard and could be unaware of its great healing, cleaning and anti-itching properties. It is great for eczema and itchy dermatitis. Its healing properties also make it good for burns and scalds. The ointments has great drawing properties and can be used to help remove toxins from boils and abscesses as well as draw out insect stings and stubborn splinters.

CALENDULA
Calendula is another great healing herb that works very effectively on small capillaries. The cream is great for dry, sore skin irritations and as it also has antiseptic properties it is very useful on cuts and grazes. Calendula is a herb that is also effective on fungal conditions and it can be drunk in a tea and/or the cream applied externally.

Distilled WITCH HAZEL
Witch hazel like aloe is good for minor burns and sunburn, though it also has many other functions. It is a great astringent and it can be applied to cuts and scratches to stop bleeding. A cotton swab soaked in the distilled witch hazel will soon stop a bleeding wound. It is also effective on varicose veins, for bruises and sprains and it can even help soothe itchy insect bites.

If you are interested in more articles about herb subjects along this line, please let us know.
Check out our dried herbs at www.driedherbsonline.com

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Alfalfa - Medicago sativa


Medicago sativa – Alfalfa
Botanical Name – Medicago sativa
Other names – Lucerne, purple medic
Family - Fabaceae

Parts used  - Ariel parts
Alfalfa in Arabic means ‘father’ and is it possibly due to its action in debility and as a restorative tonic in both chronic and acute weaknesses.
Alfalfa is commonly grown for feed for and can be called silage or pasturage.

History - Chinese used Alfalfa to treat digestive problems and stimulate appetite. Ayurvedic Indians used Alfalfa to treat ulcers, arthritic pains and fluid retention. American Pioneers used Alfalfa to treat arthritis, boils, scurvy, urinary and bowel disorders.

Cultivation – Alfalfa is a perennial that is drought, heat and cold tolerant and what is remarkable about alfalfa is that its root growth is very deep and can give an indication as to how rich the nutrient dense the soil is, the deeper the roots, the poorer the soil.

It is commonly grown as a cover crop or is used as a green manure, which means it is ploughed back into the ground.

 Description – It grows to 30–90 cm, arises from a much-branched crown that is partially embedded in the surface layer of soil. As it plant develops, numerous stems bearing trifoliate leaves arise from the crown buds. Racemes of small flowers arise from the upper axillary buds of the stems. Flowers produce corkscrew-coiled legumes containing two to eight or more seeds. Similar to many other members of Fabaceae, alfalfa plants house symbiotic soil bacteria (rhizobia) in their root nodules to 'fix' nitrogen from the air into the soil, thus making it accessible to other plants. 

Active Constituents - It the herb that is extremely high in a range of vitamins, minerals and nutrients. It is deemed one of the most nutritive herbs that contains one of the best sources of protein.

Nutrients it contains include Pro-vitamin A, Beta-carotene, Vit E, B1, B2, B5, B6, B9, Vit C, Vit D and K, Biotin, Amino Acids, Ca, P, K, Mg, Fe, Zn, Cu, Chlorophyll, Protein, Fat, Steroidal saponins and Isoflavonoid Phytolexins.

Actions 

  • Anti-arthritic
  • Alterative
  • Antipyretic
  • Diuretic
  • Hemostatic
  • Hypocholesterolemic

Indications – Alfalfa is used for kidney conditions, bladder and prostate conditions, and to increase urine flow. It is also used for high cholesterol, asthma, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, upset stomach, and a bleeding disorder called thrombocytopenic purpura. People also take alfalfa as a source of vitamins A, C, E, and K4; and minerals calcium, potassium, phosphorous, and iron.
It is a herb that has shown in research to lower cholesterol by binding the bile salts necessary for cholesterol absorption.
It is also deemed to contain a form of protein that has an anti-tumour action. It will neutralize complex cellular carcinogenic agents in the colon, liver and small intestine especially before they have chance to do damage.
The steroidal saponins (soyasapogenols, hederagenin, medicagenic acid) are believed to have cholesterol lowering and haemolytic activity. In a study with prairie dogs, the lowest incidence of cholesterol gallstones was obtained with the diet of the higher fiber content (85% alfalfa). 
Other indications are in helping to prevent strokes and heart disease.

Dosage - 2 capsules can be taken with every meal

5-10g of dried herb can be taken daily as an infusion
5-10ml daily of a 1:1 Fluid Extract in 25% alcohol

Cautions - Alfalfa is contra-indicated in Lupus. It is oestrogenic. Taking alfalfa along with birth control pills might decrease the effectiveness of birth control pills
Alfalfa might cause the immune system to become more active, and this could increase the symptoms of auto-immune diseases. There are two case reports of SLE patients experiencing disease flare after taking alfalfa seed products long-term.
Contra-indicated with warfarin medication as alfalfa contains high amount so Vitamin K. 

Alfalfa dried herb is only $5.80 per 100g, you can purchase it here 

Until the next herb, seeing you all in happiness and health 

Louise Plant