I’ve always imagined someday keeping a huge garden. I picture myself spending hours in that garden and hanging herbs and flowers to dry all around my little cottage. I was talking about this to a friend–it was Blind Wife emeritus, Lindsay, in fact. We’ve both been sick lately, and I was telling her about how I have always wanted to learn to grow and use herbs for health and wellness. I told her that some day I was going to take on that task and begin my learning process. After we said goodbye, I thought, “You know, today is someday. Why not start now.” Every journey starts with a single step, right?
Some friends recommended the website Herb Mentor. They don’t offer a certificate or anything, but it is a study course, and instead of ordering books, or having a start and finish date, you pay a small monthly fee of $10 and go at your own pace. I canceled my Hulu Plus subscription and signed up. Sorry Hulu, but a girl’s got to have priorities.
This all just happened, and I haven’t officially started any of the lesson plans yet. I’ll update you all when I do. So far, I’ve only looked into a couple of specific herbs that can help my family now as we all have this nasty cold/cough that we can’t seem to kick. I had some dried goldenrod that I had bought at the farmer’s market and completely forgot about. It’s supposed to be good for all kinds of things. I gave that to the kids for their fevers. They drank it a few times a day for a couple of days, and it did seem to help. According to every source I could find it’s not safe for nursing mothers, so I had to pass. I did taste it, though, and it’s quite delicious.
Then, after reading about different herbs and remedies, I decided to order some elderberries to make elderberry syrup. It arrived yesterday and I got right to work. You can read about how to make elderberry syrup here. It is really easy. All you need is fresh or dried elderberries, water, and honey.
My kids weren’t crazy about it by itself, taken like medicine, so I decided to add it to hot tea. That was delicious. I got to thinking about other ways to make it, and it hit me: Arnold Palmer with elderberry lemonade. I am an Arnold Palmer fiend. It’s my favorite drink. My husband and I used to joke when I was pregnant with Leon that the baby was half Arnold Palmer. The drink, not the golfer. Though I wouldn’t mind the child support checks from the latter. Last year, also while I was pregnant, Max, my 11 yr old, took The Mom Quiz about me and was asked where was my favorite place to go. He said, “She likes to go to anywhere she can get an Arnold Palmer.” He was so right.
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup elderberry syrup (the kind with honey– get recipe here–I ordered my elderberries online, though in the future I hope to pick my own)
4 cups filtered water
4 cups of brewed green tea (I steeped 6 tea bags in 4 cups of steaming hot water)
Combine all ingredients. Serve over ice.
I decided that it was too good not to share, so I plan to give some to my chiropractor, and some to a new friend who just had a baby.
I’ll keep you posted on my Herb Mentor progress. If you have any tips for an aspiring herbalist, I’d love to hear about them in the comments. I’m living in south central Pennsylvania now, so any area specific tips like good places for foraging would be much appreciated! I do plan to attend the Pennsylvania Herb Festival in April. Maybe I’ll see some of you there.
In good health,