Mining the Herbal Medicine Chest in Your Kitchen

Fresh wild edible spring herbs on wooden spoons

Did you know there’s a powerful herbal medicine chest in your kitchen?

Imagine being prepared for that next cold, scrape, headache, digestive issue, stressful day, or sleepless night with simple ingredients from your cupboard. Instead of pills, reach for: Cinnamon Tea to soothe your throat . . . Garlic Hummus to support your immune system . . . Ginger Lemon Tea for cold and flu symptoms . . . Cayenne Salve to relieve sore muscles . . . Cardamom Chocolate Mousse Cake for heart health . . . A glass of Spiced Cold Brew Coffee as a powerful antioxidant . . .

9781401950064500hAlchemy of Herbs by herbalist Rosalee de la Forêt, will show you how to transform common ingredients into foods and remedies that heal. What were once every day flavorings will become your personal kitchen apothecary. While using herbs can often seem complicated or costly, this book offers a way to learn that’s as simple and inexpensive as cooking dinner.

You’ll understand how to match the properties of each plant to your own unique needs, for a truly personalized approach to health for you and your family. In addition to offering dozens of inspiring recipes, Rosalee examines the history and modern-day use of 29 popular herbs, supporting their healing properties with both scientific studies and in-depth research into herbal energetics.

One common roadblock on the path to health is that many people assume a “healthy” life is a boring life, devoid of their favorite pleasures. But that is far from the truth, especially when it comes to herbs and spices. Eating pleasurable food that is filled with nutrients and antioxidants that keep you feeling great is what transforming your health should look like. And this book is filled with recipes to do just that.

Some recipes you can make:

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Cardamom Chocolate Mousse Cake

Chocolate lovers can celebrate this exceptionally dark chocolate mousse cake. Each bite slowly melts in your mouth while the cardamom spice enlivens the senses. This is Rosalee’s family’s go-to dessert recipe for potlucks. If you don’t have a double boiler, fill a pot with 1 to 2 inches of water and place a tight-fitting bowl over the top.

Yield: 1 9-inch cake, approximately 16 small servings (or 8 large servings)

Ingredients:

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1/3 cup coconut oil
½ cup honey
½ cup cocoa powder (plus extra, for garnish)
1 (13.5 oz) can coconut milk
2 eggs
1 Tbs. cardamom powder
2 Tbs. vanilla extract
Sliced almonds, for garnish (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Put 1 to 2 inches of water int eh bottom pan of a double boiler. Melt the bittersweet chocolate and coconut oil in the top.
  3. When they are melted, remove from the heat. Add the honey and cocoa powder and mix well.
  4. Add the coconut milk and mix well.
  5. Whisk the eggs in a small bowl. Add the whisked eggs, cardamom, and vanilla extract to the chocolate mixture and combine well.
  6. Pour the mixture into a slightly oiled 9-inch pan.
  7. Bake in oven for 30 minutes.
  8. When the cake is done, the top should be cracked but the middle should still be soft and wiggly.
  9. Cool overnight to allow it to set. Sprinkle with sliced almonds, if desired.
  10. Sprinkle some cocoa powder on top before serving.

 

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Smoky Garlic Hummus

This is Rosalee’s go-to recipe for a quick snack that she can bring to the lake on a hot summer’s day or a last-minute appetizer for a potluck. It’s easy to whip up and full of flavor. She likes to serve it with veggies like carrots, cucumbers, snap peas, and celery sticks. It also goes well with bread and crackers.

Yield: 2 ½ cups

Ingredients:

1 (15 oz) can chickpeas
½ cup tahini
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
4 garlic cloves, mashed and minced
2 tsp. cumin powder
2 tsp. fresh lemon zest
3 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. smoked (or regular) paprika powder, plus extra for sprinkling
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions:

  1. Drain the chickpeas and reserve the liquid. Place all ingredients except the reserved chickpea liquid into a food processor. With the food processor running, slowly add the reserved chickpea liquid until the mixture is smooth.
  2. Serve with olive oil drizzled on top and a sprinkling of paprika powder. Store in the fridge and eat within several days.

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Green Tea and Rose Facial Cream

One of Rosalee’s favorite recipes from herbalist Rosemary Gladstar is her recipe for the “Perfect Cream.”

This may be the most complicated recipe in the book, but if you love decadent and nourishing facial creams, learning how to make them yourself will open a whole new world of luxury. Most facial creams you can buy at the store—even the “all natural” ones—have all sorts of weird ingredients. This cream is filled with the best and most nourishing ingredients for your skin.

Many of the ingredients in this recipe are oddly shaped, so you will need a scale to measure by weight.

Because this cream doesn’t have any harsh preservatives, make sure you use clean utensils, bowls, blenders, etc. Also, make sure all instruments are dry; you don’t want to put any water in the mixture since this can increase the likelihood it will spoil. In many years of making this recipe, I’ve had only one batch ever go bad on me. You can tell a batch has spoiled if you see mold growing on the cream.

Jojoba oil is very luxurious. It is shelf stable, and it readily soaks into your skin. It’s also expensive. Almond oil, grapeseed oil, and apricot kernel oil will all also work.

Here’s a tip for an easy cleanup; Wipe down all oily surfaces with a paper towel before using hot, soapy water to wash them.

Yields: 1 ½ cups

Ingredients:

1 cup jojoba oil
30 grams green tea leaves
10 grams dried rose petals
1 gram alkanet root (optional; turns the oil red to make a pink cream)
20 grams beeswax
25 grams coconut oil
20 grams shea butter
1/3 cup rose hydrosol
1/3 cup aloe vera gel
1 tsp. rosemary antioxidant extract
15 drops geranium essential oil (optional)
10 drops grapefruit essential oil (optional)
8 drops clary sage essential oil (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Your first step is to infuse the herbs into the oil. Put 1 to 2 inches of water in the bottom of a double boiler. Place the oil into the top. Add the green tea, rose petals, and alkanet root (if using), and stir well. Turn on the heat and heat the oil until it is fairly warm to the touch, about 100 degrees F. Remove from the heat. Heat the oil 3 to 5 times per day for 1 to 2 days. You can also put this in a modified slow cooker or yogurt incubator as long as the temperature of the oil doesn’t exceed 110 degrees F.
  2. Once the herbs and oil have infused, strain off the herbs, reserving the oil. When straining the oil I recommend using cheesecloth so you can squeeze all the oil out of the herbs. After you strain the herbs you should have ¾ cup jojoba oil. If you fall short of that, add enough pure jojoba oil to reach that amount.
  3. In a double boiler, heat the beeswax, coconut oil, and shea butter until melted. Add the oil and stir until everything is liquid and combined. (I like to use a small wooden stick for stirring to avoid a messy cleanup.)
  4. Pour the warm oil mixture into a food processor or blender. Let cool just until solid.
  5. Mix together the rose hydrosol, aloe vera, rosemary antioxidant, and essential oils, if using. The next step is to emulsify these waters with the oils. For best results, the two mixtures should be roughly the same temperature.
  6. Turn on the food processor or blender with the oils in it, and slowly drizzle in the water mixture. Continue to blend until the ingredients have combined to form a thick cream. Do not over-blend. If necessary, use a spatula to scrape down the sides and around the blade as you blend.
  7. Spoon the cream into containers. Store in a cool, dark place or the fridge.
  8. To use: Massage a tiny amount of cream into your face and neck just after washing your face with warm water. It may feel oil for a few minutes but will soon soak in, leaving your skin feeling silky and smooth. Use with 3 months.

 

About FoodTrients

Combining her passion for food and a lifelong commitment to promoting a healthy lifestyle, Grace O has created FoodTrients®, a unique program for optimizing wellness. Grace O is a fusion chef with a mission: to cook up recipes for sustaining a long and joyful life that are built on a foundation of anti-aging science and her work in the health care industry. Mixing foods and unique flavors culled from a lifetime of travels from Asia to Europe and America, Grace O encourages young and old to celebrate a full life that embraces diversity. Lifestyle tips, age-defying recipes, and secrets of the healing properties of food are the centerpiece of FoodTrients™–all available through cookbooks, e-newsletters, and FoodTrients.com. foodtrients.com
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