Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Guest Post: A Few of my Favorite Herbs

As part of this month's challenge I have recruited the help of a few guest bloggers to share some new information for us to learn about. Today's guest has me at a hello with all of the info and life-changing facts!

Healthy living has been a subject of interest for me for a couple of years now. That is why I dedicated one of my 5 Fat Files to "Whole Foods Diet." This post reflects that this is also the heartbeat of the author, and I feel so privileged to be able to learn from her and glean from her wisdom! Without further ado, lets talk about herbs, shall we?

 Hi! My name is Lauren Lockhart and I’m a farm girl-at-heart who lives in the city and longs for the country! I grew up on an 85 acre farm among the rolling hills of Middle Tennessee so farming and living minimalist is something I’m very familiar with! My husband and I are currently living in the foothills of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of NC and have three children.  I love farming, animals (horses in particular) and herbs!

I remember my first introduction to herbs was my Mom’s herb garden that she planted every year. I remember the beautiful lavender flowers, the spicy smell of basil and oregano, and the sweet smell of sage. She used those herbs in sauces and such, but never grew any for medicinal purposes. I began researching herbs three years ago when I had a very bad car accident one week to the day of going through a miscarriage. The two did not mix well for my health and many debilitating issues arose from that combination. I visited Orthopedic Surgeons, sought Chiropractic Care especially tailored to my specific injuries, and even consulted with a Naturopath. Nothing helped.  Then, through Shoshanna Easling over at the Bulk Herb Store, I was introduced to Comfrey. Another name for Comfrey is Knit bone. Aha! Maybe this would help? It did! I was hooked!! I then began researching herbs for EVERYTHING! My favorite research aid for a good breakdown on any herb is the Bulkherbstore. Shoshanna never ceases to amaze me and her energy just spills over into everything that she does! Researching herbs can be very time consuming and you can get bogged down quick. Their research aid at the Bulkherbstore helps me to quickly locate the right herb for specific ailments quickly so that I can get a remedy made up quick! I love it! Once I’ve read Shoshanna’s info on the herb, I do more web searches to gain more information so that I’m making sure that I’m using the herb in the best way possible. One nice thing about herbs is this, unless the herb is noted for extreme poisonous effects upon the body, you can’t overdose someone by accident. :) That’s always nice to know! You can always sign up to receive weekly updates and tips from them and Shoshanna has bunches of YouTube videos on how to make everything from a simple smoothie to an incredible hairspray using those incredible little plants! Just go to youtube and type in “Bulkherbstore” in the search bar and her videos should come up!

Two years ago I began growing some herbs in my flower beds to see how they, and I, would do. :) I grew basil, oregano, comfrey, chocolate mint, peppermint, Echinacea, tansy, and Stevia. Everything was a complete success and I grew enough to put away for almost an entire year! This year my herb garden is going to be quite expansive as I will be growing certain herbs for medicinal purposes and some to keep unwanted pests from my garden and others to attract bugs, butterflies, and bees for proper plant pollination! My blueberry bushes have done so well since I planted Echinacea right by them. The butterflies and bees just love both sets of blossoms. :) Herbs are so easy to grow and if you’ve never done any sort of planting or growing of anything, start with herbs. :) You almost can’t kill them, well, unless you burn them I guess? :-)

I also have a favorite local resource that I like to use every year. Mr. Ron over at Plantwise Nursery in Spindale, NC has a diverse edible landscaping business that provides locals with edible plants, bushes, fruits, vegetables, and herbs that are native to our area. He is genius in this and I’ve learned so much from him! He teaches local classes, but I’ve learned so much more by just visiting him, picking his brain a bit, and then coming away with many new plants to try!

Some of my favorite herbs, roots, and dried berries that I use on a regular basis are comfrey, plantain, arrowroot, rose hips, pomengranate green tea, jasmine green tea, orange peel, licorice root, fennel, basil, oregano, chocolate mint, peppermint, Echinacea, tansy, stevia, cinnamon bark, diatomaceous earth, elderberry, blueberry, ginger root, red raspberry leaf, autumn olive berry, archangel …to name a few!

I love to make herbal teas, tinctures, salves, poultices, and astringents. All this I learned by getting Shoshanna’s DVD’s from the Bulkherbstore. I’ve also bought a book or two on recognizing edible plants in the wild and in your own backyard! I don’t have a specific title for this area. Really, any book on the subject will be informative, just make sure it has colored pictures! Sometimes the only difference from an edible wild plant or herb and a poisonous one is a variance in the color. You will be amazed to learn all the wonderful things that are all around you that you just don’t “see”!! The past two years I’ve discovered, now remember I live in the rural city, that I have Autumn Olive berry bushes that are super high in Lycopene growing all around my house, little purple archangel herbs growing in my yard, and several kinds of wild plantain! All of these are super charged herbs and plants that can be used for a variety of purposes.  I also discovered that elderberry grows in abundance here as well so while driving around town and in the country, I keep my eyes open for those beautiful bushes, mentally make a note of their location, and then come and harvest the berries when they are ripe! Elderberries are a must have when it comes to keeping everyone free of sickness! I use it with all my children and we’ve been flu free for 10 years. No one has had it, nor have any of had any respiratory infections, colds, or any other ailment to boot. Those little berries are potent!!

It all starts with a good resource and the Bulkherbstore is an excellent one! If you ever have a question about an herb, email them and they will get right back with you and will do their best to help you in any way that they can! To me, that is worth a thousand books!

Herbs are also a good family project! My kids love the mints and stevia that we grow. They call them their “chewing” gum. They simply pull off two leaves of chocolate mint, roll them around a pinch of stevia leaf (very very sweet plant) and chew away! We grow chocolate mint in hanging baskets on the porch and the minty smell just wafts over you every time you come and go from the house! Love it! My middle daughter helped me plant Chamomile this week and she checks every night to see if anything is growing yet. :)  Children will love what you love and we want them to love good and healthy things!

I am so happy to be able to be a part of this “Five Fat Files” and I’m going to be doing this myself! This is a really great way to get yourself motivated to learn and also to teach! Enjoy!

Please tell me that I am not the only one sitting here with my mouth gaping open (there may even be some saliva starting to form). I am awed by what a benefit and help to our bodies these little things called herbs can be! I really had no idea they were this important. I am so glad I chose to add this to my files, and excited to learn more as the days go on! Thank you again, Lauren, for sharing your wealth of information with us!

Click here to get a printable version of this post for your files. I for one have added this to my "Whole Foods Diet" file!

I hope that this post was a help to you! I'd love to hear how exactly you are going to use it to your advantage. If you have any questions for Lauren or would like more information, you can pop over to her blog, or leave a comment right here for her to answer.

We'd love to know - what was the most interesting part of this post for you? For me, it is reading how easy it is to grow these herbs right in your own yard. It is amazing to me how God has given us the ability and resources to care for our own bodies...without it costing almost anything! What especially stuck out to you?


  1. This is really interesting!
    My Grandma & Grandpa also go to a health store and ingest a whole lot of herbs and weird fruit juices. And you know what? They are the most healthy people their age that I know of! (They are almost 88 and 90.)

    I didn't know that you can grow Stevia. Does Chocolate Mint taste much different than "normal" Mint?


    1. Hey Meadow, I asked Lauren and she said that it does still tastes like mint, just less “menthol” tasting. It has a very good flavor and does hint of a chocolate liquor flavor.

      Thanks for your comment! My great grandmother lived to be 100 and a great aunt lived to be 102, so I guess there is something to eating healthier! She never even went to the hospital or took pills until the last couple years of her life. Amazing!

  2. Thanks!
    I might try some next year!



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