Friday, September 28, 2012

Herbal Remedies for the Cold & Flu Season: A class in Seattle

Cold and flu season is looming upon us. 

Are you prepared? 

The goal of this class is to give you the resources and abilities to effectively address many cold and flu symptoms. We will briefly cover prevention and then dive in to look at the most effective herbal treatments for colds and the flu.

During our time together we'll discuss… 
  • specific herbal remedies for common symptoms: sore throat, fevers, aches and pains, coughs, congestion and more
  • energetic patterns (e.g. Is this a cold fever or a hot fever and which herbs to use for both)
  • the most effective dosing strategies for children to adults 
  • many different kinds of herbal preparations (from syrups to teas to tinctures to oxymels to steams)
  • when you should seek professional medical help

Come to class prepared to take receive lots of information and take lots of notes! You'll also be able to taste many of the herbal preparations we discuss. 

Extensive digital handouts are included with the class. 


When: Friday, October 5th from 6:30 - 8:30pm

Cost: $30

If you would like to be notified about future classes by Rosalee in the Seattle area - 
Please sign up in the form below.

What others are saying about classes with Rosalee... 

 I love the consistency in your teachings starting with the foundation and building from there.  I find when I read others' posts, I'm starting to have an idea of what you'll say.  I think of it like, "what would Rosalee say".  Thanks for teaching not only how to care for acute situations but more importantly how to build in habits to care for ourselves everyday. 
-Victoria B

Hi Rosalee - Just wanted to thank you for your professional presentation at Dandelion . I hope to attend further presentations of this caliber. 

Thank you, Rosalee, for all the wise and caring advice you've given to every one of us in need.  You have always been there to guide and share your knowledge with us.  I will always remember you as my first herbal teacher.
Blessings forever, 


I wanted to tell you how much I appreciate your e-book on the nourishing herbal  infusions!   We have been drinking them daily and especially like the oatstraw and nettle!  We already eat a very healthy diet, and just feel more nourished since  including the infusions and have also noticed increased energy. 
Blessings, R. B.

Rosalee, Your encouragement and council has comforted so many who are in need. You are an energetic and enthusiastic herbalist who has inspired many including myself. Best wishes on your continued success. 
-N. Vickery

I just felt inspired to let you know how much I appreciate your dedication, your growing awareness and knowledge, your communication skills, empathy and incredible thoughtful suggestions and direction you share.  I also resonate with your apparent respect for life and lifestyle choices.  Really feel you are such a gem.  

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Tincturing Bee Balm ~ A photo essay

Bee balm has been flowering in my garden for the past month. As its common name implies, bees flock to the bush, leaving it vibrating with their bzzzz bzzzz bzzzz. 

I love using bee balm (Monarda fistulosa) as medicine. It grows abundantly and it is super effective for a plethora of ailments. In the past month I've given it infused into honey for someone with a sore throat. I've given it to someone as a wash for dandruff and I've used it myself as a mouth wash. Not to mention all the teas I've enjoyed with it as well. 

Bee balm is so beautiful and is such an important part of my garden's eco-system that harvesting it leaves a hole where it once bloomed.

This year I took photos of the harvest and tincture process - to celebrate bee balm and keep it in my heart a bit longer. 

Here is bee balm growing wild in Montana. We had almost arrived at the Montana Herb Gathering when I saw it growing in the fields nearby. I screamed (yes screamed) for my husband to stop the car and I jumped out to get a closer look. (Yes, he is used to my antics by now). 

I took a bite and yes, it is quite spicy!!! 

I've often read that garden grown bee balm is not as spicy as the wild, and perhaps this is true to some extent. But when I tasted the wild growing bee balm my first thought was, "Wow, it's as spicy as garden bee balm!" 

And just in case you think I am biased - I have another story. 

I recently gave some bee balm to one of Xavier's apprentices, Morgan. I did warn him that it was spicy. About five minutes later I asked him what he thought of the bee balm. He replied, "It's hot! My tongue is still numb!" 

So yeah, in my experience garden grown can be just as hot, yummy and useful as the wild grown. Supposedly bee balm grows wild a few hours from where I live, but I haven't found it yet. Hopefully one day. Until then I enjoy it growing readily in my garden. This year the bush was probably 2 meters in diameter and taller than myself! 

Okay, here is my tincture photo essay! 

preparing the supplies

 I tincture the leaves and flowers, but not the stems. So the first step is stripping the leaves and flowers from the stems. 

I chop it up really well. 

Then fill a quart jar with the well chopped herb. I then weigh it in grams. 
This batch was 180 grams. 

 I originally measured out 360 mLs of everclear (95%), but it didn't come close to cover the herbs, even if I packed them in. So I added another 180 mls and that did the trick. So my final product will be 1:3 ratio at 95%. 

 I had lots of bee balm this year. Some of it I've infused into honey and the rest are hanging to dry. 

Do you use bee balm? I'd love to hear how! Leave me comments below! 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Chokecherry Jelly Recipe

We are swimming in chokecherries this year! The large dark drupes of berries are weighing down the trees and just begging to be picked. 

Our local variety is Prunus virginiana, and it can be used for both food and medicine. The bark can be used as a powerful cough sedative - especially useful for those dry spasmodic coughs. My friend Kiva Rose uses an alcohol tincture of the fresh flowers as a relaxing nervine. 

Chokecherries especially shine as food. If you've ever popped one into your mouth you'll have an immediate understanding of astringency. The astringent sensation is that dry mouth feel you get if you eat a too ripe banana or drink a strong brew of black tea. 

You'll notice they are called CHOKEcherries not TASTYcherries or CAN'TWAITTOEATTHEMcherries. But, they do have some sweetness to them. The trick for making them more palatable is to harvest them when they are super dark - almost purple in color. The bright red chokecherries aren't quite ripe enough and will have a much more astringent taste.

Chokecherries are high in antioxidants. I mean really high!

Noni berries and acai berries have been heavily marketed as an exotic natural food that is especially high in antioxidants. They are generally sold as processed food beverages at a high price. Well move over exotic fruit!

Chokecherries have an astounding amount of antioxidants, and can be conveniently found just outside our door! 

Other ways to preserve the chokecherry harvest

In the past we have preserved chokecherries in a variety of ways. My husband likes the more primitive method of pounding the berries and drying them into cakes. You can read more about that at his blog by clicking here

A couple of years ago we also made chokecherry wine which was a big hit! 

This year we made chokecherry infused vinegar as well - but I haven't tried it yet so I can't comment on the taste. (Update: it is very delicious with a nice sweetness to it.)

I've also made chokecherry jelly before, but this year we decided to make lots and lots (gift spoiler alert for friends and family!) and also to use the Pomona Universal Pectin, which is a low sugar pectin. 

We LOVE the results! Tart, tangy and oh so delicious! 

Recipe for 12 jars of Choke Cherry Jelly

8 and a half pounds of berries
7 cups water
1/2 cup lemon juice
2.5 cups sugar
9.5 teaspoons of pectin
9.5 calcium water

Bring the berries and water to a boil and then lower to a simmer. 

Continue to simmer for fifteen minutes while crushing the berries with a berry masher, potato masher or large spoon. 

After fifteen minutes of mashing, strain the berries through a jelly bag using a large wooden spoon to squeeze out the juice. 

This gave us roughly 9 and a 1/2 cups of juice

Next, add 1/2 cup of lemon juice to the berry juice. 

And then add the calcium water to the juice. (Follow the directions on the Pomona box).  

In a separate bowl mix the pectin and sugar. (Note we did use honey for one batch but it never set up. Perhaps we didn’t use enough honey. Now we have delicious chokecherry and honey syrup!)

Next, bring the juice to a boil and add the sugar mixture. 

Stir the mixture vigorously for a couple of minutes. 

Turn off the heat and put into sterilized jars and proceed with a 10 minute water bath.

Have you made chokecherry jelly or other chokecherry treats? I'd love to hear about your chokecherry delights! Let me know in the comments below!