This Herb May Help a Cough, Congestion

Mullein is a common weed prominent all over the United States, often found along stretches of the highway, on the edges of forests and on the gravely sides of railroad tracks. But this plant is much more than a bit of roadside greenery, as it may assist in the recovery of several common conditions within it its fuzzy, pale green leaves and yellow rosettes. Originally used by the natives in several parts of the United States, this plant is still used because of its, beneficial effects on the respiratory system. Assisting with common ailments such as coughing, lung weakness, respiratory constriction and chest colds, the mullein plant is truly a lung healing herb.

Known as Verbascum thapsus, its Latin name, mullein is considered beneficial for the lungs because it is an expectorant. This means that the herb may help the body remove excess mucus from lungs and soothes the mucus membranes with its emollient properties. It is therefore excellent for helping with the relief of bronchitis, heavy coughing, chest colds and even asthma. Both the leaves and the flowers of the plant contain saponins, natural detergents which make a cough more productive in releasing and expelling phlegm from the walls of the lungs, and mucilage, a gelatinous substance which soothes any irritated membrane.

The herb is also a diuretic and thus can relieve urinary tract inflammation when taken through a tea. It can also be used to decrease inflammation in the bowels, helping to reduce colitis and other issues.

A Mullein Tea Recipe
Ingredients
1 ½ cups boiling water
1-2 teaspoons dried mullein leaves and/or flowers (flowers make a sweeter tea)
1 teaspoon dried spearmint (optional for flavor)
1-2 teaspoons honey (optional)

Method
Steep the mullein leaves in hot water inside a tea ball or strainer for 15 minutes. Add honey if you like a sweeter tea.

Other Ways to Use this Herb:
Mullein extract infused with olive oil has been used to reduce the inflammation of earaches, sore joints, insect bites and hemorrhoids because of its soothing properties.

Simple poultices made out of fresh, mashed mullein and flowers mixed with water can also be used to relieve, burns, boils and sores.

Notes to Know:
Native Americans and the Amish smoked the dried leaves to relax the lungs when respiratory coughing was uncontrollable, or breathing became too difficult. Often just making a smudge of the leaves would suffice.

If you decide to make your own concoctions from mullein, which is easy to do, make sure that you strain all your product through a very fine sieve to remove the hairs from the leaves. These hairs are what most people find irritating if they have allergies.

Mullein must always be heated thoroughly before being ingested due to the saponins which are rather toxic. After being heated, mullein is fine for humans.

This is for information only.  Though this herb has been used for centuries.

A study: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/308991417_Assessing_the_Effectiveness_of_Mullein_on_Respiratory_Conditions_Such_as_Asthma

https://www.organicauthority.com/health/mullein-herbal-tea

Thyme to Boost your Immune System

Thyme is one of those herbs most of us have in our pantry.  It is a well loved herb most associated with Italian dishes.  I love the flavor of Thyme in my dishes but it also has properties that may help boost your immune system.  I know I have had my grandson use it as a gargle for red sore throat.

Getting all the vitamins your body needs every day can be challenging. Luckily, thyme is packed with vitamin C and is also a good source of vitamin A. If you feel a cold coming on, thyme can help get you back in good health. Another health benefit of thyme: It’s a good source of copper, fiber, iron, and manganese.

More benefits of Thyme: 1) fungicidal properties, 2) make homemade bug repellant, 3) its antiseptic and antifungal properties, 4) often used for aromatic and therapeutic purposes because of its active substance carvacrol.

To use this for it’s benefits other than yummy in food you can make a tincture.  Watch our facebook page at:

https://www.facebook.com/CJFarmsTexas/?ref=bookmarks to see when that will be available.

Watch this video to learn how to use your culinary herbs at home to enjoy in other ways and that may be beneficial to our bodies.

Hoping these things might help us stay well.  Always let your medical professional know you are incorporating herbs and seek advise.

 

 

https://www.healthline.com/health/health-benefits-of-thyme#3

 

Lavender Honey Cake

This Lavender Honey Cake is so delicious and simple.  Make this and make any day feel special.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup whole milk
2 tbsp. C & J Farms Lavender Honey
1 tbsp. plus 1/2 tsp. C & J Farms dried lavender blossoms
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 8 ounce container sour cream (1 cup)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 large eggs
2 tbsp powdered sugar

Bring milk to simmer in small saucepan; add honey and 1 tbsp lavender blossoms. Stir until honey dissolves. Remove from heat; cover and let steep 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour decorative 10-cup fluted pan or Bundt pan.  Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl.

Strain milk mixture into another medium bowl; discard solids in strainer.  Whisk sour cream into milk mixture to blend. Using electric mixer, beat 1 cup sugar and butter in large bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Add flour mixture alternately with milk mixture in 3 additions each, beating just until smooth.  Transfer batter to prepared pan. Get your Lavender flowers and Honey here.

Bake cake until tester inserted near center comes out clean, about 45 minutes.  Cool bread in pan on rack 10 minutes. Turn out onto rack and cool completely.

Combine powdered sugar and remaining 1/2 tsp lavender blossoms in strainer set over small bowl. Press sugar mixture through strainer, discarding large bits.  Sift strained powdered sugar mixture over bread.

or make a glaze with the powdered sugar, water infused with lavender for 20 min., let drizzle over the top of the cake

(this recipe is found on Bon Appetit, Feb 2006 and on https://www.epicurious.com.)

 

Do you know your matters? Brown and Green?

If you are considering your gardens, and want to go more sustainable, lets make sure you know what makes up brown and green matter. If you are making raised beds, in ground beds, lasagna gardening, Hugelkultur, or Keyhole gardens the matters, matter.

Let me start by saying, I am not a science major and the process is definitely science, but I will share some of the things I have learned and been successful with.

Green matter provides nitrogen and Brown matter provides carbon.  The ratio of each is the important factor.  I have learned that in a keyhole garden that is 6 feet in diameter and 4 feet tall the ratio of browns to green is 3:1 (see http://www.debtolman.com) .  So a keyhole garden is what I will discuss here but a C:N ratio can be used in all of the gardening methods above.

I want to let you know what brown and green matter is.  Typically, we all have the products in our life, our home or in our community in excess.  Using these excess Matters, put in the right mixture, will create beautiful nutrition rich soil.

At the farm this year we are changing a lot of our in-ground gardens to keyhole gardens.  This will set our growing season back a bit this springtime, but I know once the keyhole gardens are finished our yield will be excellent, there will be no weeding and the heavy rains will not drown us out.

Want to attend our Keyhole garden class? Go here to sign up.
https://www.facebook.com/CJFarmsTexas/

So begin collecting items for your own keyhole garden. Here is a list of what those things are:

Brown matter:
*Dry yellow, brown leaves or dead grass
*Dead woody stalks or plants
*Any paper and wood products, newspaper, programs, twigs, paper trash
*Dryer lint, vacuum cleaner waste
*Wood ash from fireplaces (not a lot)
*100% cotton, wool or silk
*Pine needles
*Sawdust
*Cardboard (lots and lots of cardboard)

Green matter:
*Freshly cut green leaves and grass clippings
*livestock Manure (rabbit is my favorite)
*Kitchen scraps like vegetables, melon rinds, fruit, fruit pits, corncobs, cut flowers, nut shells, shells from shellfish
*Egg shells, coffee grounds
*Hair/fur
*Pet bedding
*Weeds freshly pulled but foliage only – no roots
**No proteins or fats

Fall Container Gardens – Hard to Find Medicinal Herbs, Let’s Plant

It is August and is now typically Texas HOT and I’m talking about gardening.  We have just put out a limited amount of beautiful medicinal herb plants to use as container gardening for this fall and winter.  I want to tell you about them.  They are beautiful for container planting, some of them are so fragrant and all of them are helpful.

First let me tell you about the few plants we have in one gallon pots.  They are already of a nice size so put into a lovely pot these are ready to make a statement now.

GYNURA SPINACH – aka longevity spinach. Research shows that it is an efficient regulator of blood sugar.  Leaves eaten in salads or cooked in dishes, may lower blood pressure and cholesterol.

This is a fast growing plant. Is vining in nature but can be cut to bush.  It is a good candidate for growing indoors as it is a tropical. It is easy to grow, just give them lots of light. You can enjoy these leaves raw or cooked. They are very high in protein.  Good for vegetarians to know.
Med - gynura spinach - Copy

WHITE CHRYSANTHEMUM TEA – I am so excited about this plant!! White Chrysanthemum Tea – Chinese Gong Ju Hua Cha, is made form the dried flowers of this plant.  Did you know all Chrysanthemum flowers are edible?  They are!

An evergreen and hardy to 0 degrees. Flowering occurs in the fall in zone 7.  The plant prefers full sun, well drained soils and frequent watering.

The flowers are steeped in hot water and a herbal tea is made.  This is highly medicinal and thought to help reduce inflammation in the body, help with eye problems like – blurred vision, spotty vision, watery eyes and maybe even help with cataracts. May help with high cholesterol, blood pressure and alleviate cold symptoms.
Med - White Chry Tea

CURRY TREE – this smells delightful!!! This is another great container tree.  In a container it will grow about 3’ in height.  It likes to be fed and pruned for a strong bushy plant  Unless you live in zone 9 or higher the container is the way to go.  It can be outside here all summer and then moved indoors for the winter.

The leaves are thick so normally always fried in oil alone before adding any other spices to the dish.  Make a pesto or use on your BBQ.  Experiment with this one.  A beautiful fragrant plant.  A conversation piece for sure.
Med - Curry Tree - Copy

TEA TREE – we are all familiar with Tea Tree Oil, well this is the tree it comes from.

The tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) is a small evergreen that likes warm climates. It is attractive and fragrant, with an exotic look. The oil from the foliage of this tree is widely used.  Melaleuca tea trees attract attention in your garden, with the trunk being one of the most attractive features is the trunk, with its gorgeous, papery bark.  Living here in Texas where it is mostly warm it can be planted in the gardens.  This can also be grown in containers and is a good way to control the rapid growth of this tree. This also ensures its survival. It must have a lot of sunlight.  This is a fast-growing tree.  It takes a few years before you will see the flowers.

It is recommended you don’t plant this tree outside unless you live in a zone 8 or above. The trees need sun, sun, sun.  They will not do well in the shade. Make sure the soil drains easily. These trees like water.  You need to keep that soil a bit moist at all times.

It is an evergreen and can grow 8 to 15 feet and does like the Texas heat.  It is cold hardy to at least 16 degrees.  It is used in products like soap, toothpaste, oils, etc. Anti-fungal/bacterial.
Med - Tea Tree

The following plants I have in 4″ pots.
HIBISCUS “ROSELLE”
Hibiscus Roselle This bushy shrub can grow 4 to 7’ tall in t he ground but is also a good candidate for container growing. Water the soil when it becomes dry to the touch. To reiterate, water only enough to make the soil moist, not wet. It is critical to use the right type of fertilizer. The fertilizer needs to be one with low phosphorus, moderate nitrogen, and high potassium. Fertilize every two to three weeks.

The calyx is harvested and steeped to make a tea.  Hibiscus Roselle tea is reported to lower blood pressure and lower your LDL cholesterol. This may be worth trying. The beautiful tea is red in color and tastes delicious.  Hibiscus tea does not contain caffeine and is reported to help you relax, making it a good drink for those that are sensitive to caffeine.

ZA’ATAR – this is a wild oregano in Israel. It is in the oregano/thyme family.  This is also called the bible hyssop. This herb can be put into a delicious olive oil to enjoy dipping a fresh crusty bread in. It can be used as an herb in many culinary dishes.  Commonly used in Mediterranean dishes with yogurt, meats and veggies.

TOOTHACHE PLANT – Acmella Oleracea – It has daisy like flowers in the summertime.  It has been used medicinally for a long time. It has been used been used for generations to manage the pain of toothaches. Both the leaves and the attractive golden flowers can be used as a natural anesthetic. Simply chew the leaves or flowers for a few seconds then you’ll experience a tingling and numbing sensation in your mouth. An infusion or tincture made from the Toothache Plant is said to promote gum and throat health due to its strong antibacterial properties. Also called Spilanthes oleracea.

This herb is a good candidate for container growing.  It gets to about 18” tall, fast grower and takes well to pruning.  It needs a lot of light but don’t overwater.  Wait until the soil is dry to the touch then water. Provides pretty yellow flowers. Enjoy this one.
Med - toothache plant - Copy

ST. JOHNS WORT – This plant is widely known as an herbal treatment for depression. Research indicates St. John’s wort is most often used as a dietary supplement for depression. People also use it as a dietary supplement for other conditions, including menopausal symptoms, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and obsessive-disorder. It is used topically for wound healing.  The flowering tops of St. John’s wort are used to prepare teas, tablets, capsules, and liquid extracts. Topical preparations are also available.  This plant likes a lot of water. Is a small shruby plant.

Easy to grow it is not too particular.  Gets to about 3’ tall and provides yellow flowers in the  summer time.
Med - St Johns - Copy

HOLY BASIL, RAMA TULSI – We have two types of Holy Basil – Rama Tulsi – True Holy Basel, held sacred by the Hindus.  Enjoy in tea, cooking, and salads. Both of the Holy Basil (Tulsi) have a delightful fragrance.  I enjoy them very much for that one benefit alone.  They have been very easy for me to grow and will be a delight to have in your indoor herb garden.

It has been used in Ayurveda medicine for generations. This variety has been found to be one of the highest in medicinal compounds; adaptogenic, antifungal, antibacterial and immune enhancing. Enjoy a tea, tincture, extract or syrup.
Med - Holy basil rama.jpg

HOLY BASIL, KRISHNA TULSI – It acts like an annual, and is even known to self-seed in temperate climates, which is quite unusual for basil.  Eat one fresh leaf daily, or pick the leaves and flowers and dry them and make the tea. Most excellent. Adaptogenic, immune enhancing, antifungal and antibacterial.

This is easiest of all Tulsi types to grow in temperate gardens and is highly aromatic. Enjoy this too in your kitchen herb garden.  Enjoy this in your kitchen garden in the winter and set out on your porch the rest of the year.  Keep the flowers cut for a bushier plant with a lot more foliage.

Come out and get these hard to find plants and have them for this fall and winter.

 

 

 

Red Steak Seasoning – not just for steak

We have been collecting recipes and photos for our very popular Red Steak Seasoning to share with you.  This seasoning is a good “everything” seasoning.  The best thing about this deliciousness is that it has Turmeric in it.  We have all heard about the great health benefits of Turmeric.

Here are some of our favorite places to add Red Steak Seasoning.
red steak green beans 4
Saute mushrooms and onion in a lightly oiled skillet adding your Red Steak Seasoning and let cook till soft, then add your green beans and canned diced tomatoes.  Taste and add more Red Steak if needed.

Red Steak Cauliflower
Prepare your fresh cauliflower (broccoli too if you like) sprinkle with a good olive oil and then sprinkle with Red Steak Seasoning before putting in the oven to roast at 425 degrees. That’s all you need.  So delicious!!

red steak fries
For those of you who follow me, you know I like things quick and easy in the kitchen so frozen french fries is how I do it.  Sprinkle the french fries (home made or frozen) with Red Steak Seasoning and bake in the oven or fry (use your favorite cooking method) and enjoy.

red steak roast 2
Of coarse beef!! Add to your pot roast, steak or hamburger patties.  One seasoning and your done.  Enjoy.

Let us know your favorite way to use Red Steak Seasoning.

Root Veggies, So Good!

 

sweet potatos and beets with sweet orange

Ingredients:

3 Sweet Potatoes
2 Raw Beets
1 1/2 tablespoons Olive Oil (light)
C & J Farms Salt & Pepper to taste
1 1/2 tablespoons C & J Farms Sweet Orange & Herb

Peel and cut Sweet Potatoes and Beets into 1″ pieces.  Mix in a bowl with the Olive Oil, Salt and Pepper and the Sweet Orange & Herb.  Roast in the oven at 450 degrees about 30 minutes or until fork tender.

This is a simple but delicious way to serve and eat vegetables.  You can use any root vegetables you like but we especially enjoy the sweet potatoes, beets, carrots, and cauliflower with the Sweet Orange & Herb seasoning.  It has a sweet orange flavor that brightens up the veggies.

Enjoy!

Sweet Orange & Herb Squaresalt and pepper 2

 

Herbal Teas – Tasty and Beneficial

The more I garden and learn about herbs, the more I want to know.  I enjoy learning about herbs, spices and plants of all kinds.  Once this box got opened for me, there is no closing it.  It continually spills over and over again with more and more information. A beautiful spilling of floral, culinary, medicinal informational delight. Today I want to share a little information on Making Herbal Teas or more correctly; making an infusion.  An herbal tea is called a ( tinsanes =  /tɪ-zahn).  In reality, it is not a tea without one of the tea plants Camelia Sinensis leaves in it.  Instead they are infusions made from leaves, bark, roots, berries, seeds, and spices. I will continue to refer to them here as Herbal Teas or Teas.

Here is where the difference between herbs and spices kind of get thrown together.  As many spices are added to herbal teas too.  Some of those spices are cinnamon, ginger, turmeric which have been found as extremely beneficial for our health. The difference between and herb and a spice: Herbs come from the leafy and green part of the plant. Spices are parts of the plant other than the leafy bit such as the root, stem, bulb, bark or seeds. Examples of herbs include basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, parsley and mint. Examples of spices include coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and turmeric.

Herbal teas can be as simple or complex as you want them to be.  Sometimes there is nothing better than a simple hot cup of steeped lemon grass.  This herb is a mild sweet citrus flavor that I find soft, pleasant and calming.

Most herbal teas are much more complex combining herbs and spices for flavor and health benefits.  Teas for fighting colds and flu, which by the way, really do make a difference!  Teas for cardiovascular health, blood pressure improvement, general immune system building.  Whatever flavor combinations you have or make to enjoy each and every component will have positive health properties.

Grow some Stevia plant’s to use as a natural sweetener.  This plant’s leaves are seriously sweet right off of the plant. Use your culinary Thyme, Sage, Rosemary, Lavender and so many more for brewing your favorite herbal delight.  Steep the leaves, roots, bark or flowers in hot water (not boiling) for 15 minutes to ensure all of the flavor and nutritional oils have been brought out.  Then enjoy it hot or cold, either way is great.

One more thing to make mention for you to consider – most all true Herbal Teas are caffeine free. The plant, Camelia Sinensis, has caffeine.

You can blend your own as easy as harvesting the plants you have or using dried herbs from your pantry.  Grab your tea ball or tea bags and get started.  Whatever your reason, to have an herb garden, to enjoy herbal teas for flavor or for health and wellness; there is much to enjoy.  If you have never tried an herbal tea, consider starting today.

We keep organic blended teas made and ready to go at the farm store here at C & J Farms.   Some of the herbal teas we carry are – Happy Tummy Tea, Cold and Flu Tea (this is so effective!!), Lemon Tea, Red Rooibos Tea, Earl Grey with Coneflower (this has caffiene), Blues Tea and more.  We offer lists of ingredients in each tea, tea kitchen accessories and a great conversation on herbs, spices and herbal teas.

If you want to know more about what we carry you will have to come by the store,give us a call, or contact us via our email.  We will be happy to help you find an herbal tea delight to suit what you might be looking for.

lemon honey in lemon grass tea 2