A Red Hot Bomb Of Herbal Goodness That Even The Aztecs Used

Hot For Your Tongue And For Your Health

No, it has nothing to do with fire rituals. I’m talking about an herb, that some say is the oldest domesticated plant.

Capsicum annuum, a.k.a. Cayenne pepper was first domesticated in Mexico and Northern Central America at least 8000 years ago.

While indigenous people used it mainly as a spice, the Aztecs used the red hot pepper to relieve toothaches and the Mayans used peppers to treat asthma, coughs and sore throats. (We should thank Dr. Richard Shultes ethnobotanist for finding all these herby things from the past)

Why it is so hot and why is it good?

One word: Capsaicin. This is the compound that gives cayenne pepper it’s fiery hot sensation. It is also the reason why it is used for the topical relief of arthritis and nerve pain.

Capsaicin biochemically alters our body’s perception of pain and this is a fact, still some argue that capsaicin merely helps one to forget the source of the pain.

A study done in 2017 found that eating food containing cayenne pepper “resulted in significantly higher satiation at the end of the meal and one hour post intake, while also feeling significantly more energetic and overall satisfied”

This result supports the notion that cayenne pepper is exceptional for cardiovascular health, while you can use it to increase weight loss and stimulate your appetite.

Grow it for yourself easily

As cayenne pepper was choosen the herb of the month this august by The Herb Society of America, Maryann Readal wrote about it in depth.

This red hot bomb of herbal goodness was spread around not just in the Americas, but most of the other continents too. It is mainly because it is very easy to grow as a perennial in USDA zones 9-11, or as an annual in many other climates.

It loves full sun and a moist, well-draining, preferably fertile soil. You can even grow it in a container on a balcony.

Then it is up to you how you use the peppers. You can dry them and grind them up, or maybe you want to spice a soup or some salad up with them raw, your really have a great many of choices.

+ Also USDA ARA scientists found that another component in cayenne pepper kills fungi and yeast in crops and also in our human bodies.

++ Courtesy to The Herb Society of America you can find some really delicious recipes with cayenne pepper here. (How does Rosemary Cheddar Bite-Sized Bars sound?)

+++ A very through growing guide by The Spruce. (like how to grow them from seeds or the pests you may encounter)

Snippets Of Herbalism

Shrooms. A book that she recieved for christmas present 11 years ago turned Emily into a mushroom foraging expert (and she also paints her forages before she eats them, she’s that very awesome). +her instagram

Poaching. Poachers are actually „foraging” white sage into exctincion, along with climate change, wildfires, and human development (cities are growing).

Underwater. Farming easily without pesticides, carbon emission, and reducing water use? Nemo’s garden does it, and they do it under the ocean! (They also grow herbs of course)

Growth. (A deep breath…) “following dietary trends, weight loss and diabetes patients need, mixed with the delicious sourness from the essence of noni fruit and lettuce with the sweetness from the essence of stevia.” Hetox herbal drinks coming to Europe and to the U.S. very soon, and I’m very excited.

Berries. Are you in a mood to pick some berries this summer? If you live in a continental climate you may find black raspberries, blackberries and elderberries to forage.  

This Cooling Mint Spritz Will Make Even The Hottest Days Of Summer Much Comfortable For You

The best part of it is that it’s really easy to prepare, and you probably already have all the ingredients at home. (I’m so grateful to Heather Skasick for sharing this recipe)

Being a hydrosol (water solution of herbal oils) it is also very easy to use, you only have to spray it on yourself and enjoy as the fresh cooling of the mint rushes through your skin.

Menthol is the main constituent in mint that adds the cooling sensation topically and internally too. And that is why mint is considered one of the best cooling herbs energetically.

Ingredients:

  • Large handful of fresh mint – pick plenty!
  • 2 cups of filtered/distilled water
  • Bag of ice to replenish 5 sandwich size bags

Directions

  • Place a ramekin upside down inside a stockpot
  • Sprinkle fresh mint in the pot, do not cover ramekin.
  • Place small bowl on top of ramekin.
  • Pour about 2 cups of water into the pot, do not submerge ramekin.
  • Place stockpot lid upside down on the pot.
  • Place a sandwich bag filled with ice on the lid.
  • Simmer pot for about an hour.
  • Change out sandwich bag of ice as it melts.
  • After one hour, turn off heat, carefully remove the lid.
  • Use clean oven mitts or silicon grip to remove the bowl of hydrosol liquid.
  • Bottle hydrosol and store in the fridge.

You can spray it essentially over your whole body, on your face, arms, legs while sitting in a hot room, working out in the garden, or maybe walking down a searing hot street. You wouldn’t think how refreshing this spritz is, really.

If you want to read a more detailed guide on how to make this cooling spritz, you should definitely check out Heather’s great article.

Why a Former Volleyball Player and Miss USA Became An Herbal Wine Pioneer

„I found myself in my early 30s neither happy nor healthy. It was from this place of rock bottom that Cale was born” confesses Nana Merriwether in an interview with The Herbal Academy.

She first encountered with herbalism at a permaculture in Costa Rica, but It was at The Herbal Academy where she had found her direction.

„Herbal Academy is what introduced me to herbal wine in the first place! I lived in a very small New York apartment with no space to play around with herbs; I remember finding the fermentation course, and after the first class calling my mother to tell her to clear a counter for me in her kitchen in Maryland”

Okay, but what is an herbal wine?

It could be described as the unique infusion of wine grape varietals with healthful, functional, and adaptogenic herbs, plants, and botanicals (I want to taste some right away).

The first one in the line of her light herbal alcohols is Hibiscus wine! I can’t find it anywhere how much hibiscus it contains, but I’m sure it is enough so you can enjoy its herbal powers.

„Hibiscus is a traditionally tart herb, thus so is its wine. The American palate is very familiar with sugar and sweetness, but not so much with the pull that the mouth can experience when drinking hibiscus” Nana describes

The wine itself is low in alcohol, sugar, sulfites and calories, it’s vegan, gluten and GMO free, while that extra punch of hibiscus may lower your blood pressure and blood fat levels, boosts your liver health and could even promote weight loss.

A life that shines bright

Herbalism changed Nana’s life in many ways for the better. It’s not just that she’s one of the few women winemakers in California, but she also found her life’s calling. In her words:

„Herbalism has given me my job! I am an herbal winemaker, a technique and tradition descendant from herbalism. I like to think of it as a cousin to mead and kombucha, but my day-to-day is building a business around the fermentation of making herbs and botanicals into wine”

+ Forbes also interviewed Nana where she tells her story from more of the perspective of building her business.

++ If you’d like to follow her journey you can do it through Cale’s Instagram page, or Cale’s official website.

Dear List Lover Herbalists, This Week You Get A List Of Tips

9 quick tips for beginner melt & pour soapmakers.

(Guided by Jan Berry’s article at the Nerdy Farm Wife)

  • Spritz the inside of an intricate mold with rubbing alcohol right before filling with soap base. The alcohol will help the soap base settle into all of the nooks and crannies for a cleaner impression and design
 
  • When adding a powdered natural colorant to soap base after it has been melted, try diluting it in 2 to 3 times as much rubbing alcohol and mix until it’s completely dissolved. Strain this mixture through a fine mesh sieve if you notice lumps that won’t dissolve. Stir small portions of the diluted colorant into the melted soap base until you reach a color that you like.
 
  • Save leftover scraps from projects, along with soaps that didn’t turn out as you wanted, and store them in an airtight plastic storage box. They can be remelted and repurposed for making mini embeds or accents.
 
  • Bits of undissolved colorants often migrate to the bottom of the jar or container the soap was heated in. When you pour the soap through a fine-mesh sieve, leave behind the very last bit of soap in the jar or container where any speckles have accumulated.
 
  • If your soap turns out a stronger color than you wanted, chop it up and melt it with an additional few ounces of plain soap base to dilute or lighten the color.
 
  • The smooth surface of melt-and-pour soap tends to easily show fingerprints. These can be removed or minimized by gently wiping over the surface of a finished soap with a soft cloth or paper towel dampened with rubbing alcohol.
 
  • Unless a recipe directs otherwise, let the soap base cool to under 135°F (57°C) before pouring. This cooler temperature keeps more of the natural colorant particles or additives suspended in the soap base, so they won’t settle to the bottom of the soap mold.
 
  • Weigh or measure essential oils out into a glass shot-size measuring cup, instead of plastic. Some essential oils, especially citrus, can easily eat through plastic when undiluted.
 
  • Stir gently when mixing melted soap base to avoid creating a lot of air bubbles, which can stand out in clear soap projects. If you’re concerned about the amount of bubbles in your melting/mixing container, try spritzing a spray or two of alcohol into the jar and gently stir it into the hot soap, spritzing another time or two, if necessary to dissolve the bubbles.

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