Monday, December 10, 2012

Nature to the Rescue! Building Your Own Herbal First Aid Kit - now available for Kindle

Just in time to save you from holiday mishaps, it's "Nature to the Rescue!" Yes, fruitcakes are heavy. And if there's one thing we all know, dropping one on your open-toed shoe (the pair you wear even when it snows because they look stunning with sequinned tops) really, really hurts. So what's a Wassailer to do? Grab your first aid kit! And since you're an all-natural sort who only eats organic fruit cake, you want your healthy habits to reach all the way to the medicine cupboard.

That's where my new book, "Nature to the Rescue! How to Build Your Own Herbal First Aid Kit", steps in. It helps you create your own herbal remedies from scratch (and tells you it's okay to cheat and buy them already made), then shows you how to use them for things like bangs, burns, bruises, and more. You'll also learn how to pull it all together to make your own first aid kit that's ready when you are. Which is good, because your Christmas tree looks crooked and your Uncle Al wants to dance.


Monday, November 26, 2012

Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) and its Uses

If you enjoy today's post on valerian and its uses, be sure to visit Amazon before Thursday, November 26, to get your free copy of my ebook Teas for Life: 101 Herbal Teas for Greater Health.

Valerian can be an incredibly helpful herb, though rather on the smelly side. There’s some growing in our neighborhood right near the sidewalk in someone’s yard, and at certain times of the year we literally hold our breath as we pass by. But it’s a plant well worth knowing for its useful properties, and in my opinion, nice to look at!
Found: Roadsides, especially in the Northeast U.S. and parts of Canada. Often in damp places with good soil, although it can be found in drier, more elevated areas as well. Native to Europe, this plant escaped from gardens and is now growing wild.
Identifying: Grows 4 to 5 feet tall with very divided leaves which are a little “ferny” in appearance. Lower leaves are toothed. Flowers are small and pink to whitish, and grow in clusters similar to Queen Anne’s Lace. They flower throughout the summer and often into early fall.
Parts Used: Root
Medical Use: Commonly used as a sedative and as a nerve tonic; pain reliever. Calmative, antispasmodic. Also used for hypochondria, nervous headaches, headaches that take place in the temporal lobe, irritability, depression, and feelings of despondency. Good also for nervous restlessness. Bronchial spasms, asthma. Colds, fevers, measles, scarlet fever. Stomach ulcers, flatulence, spasms and convulsions coming from nervous tension. Nervous heart palpitations, high blood pressure from emotional stress. Menstrual spasms, pains after giving birth, low libido. Lower back spasm, arthritis and gout, incoordination, paralysis. Counters alcohol effects.
Preparation: Can be made as a tea from the dried root, but it’s best as a tincture made from fresh root.
Allergic Reactions/Warnings: Small doses often cause a relaxing result, while larger doses can actually stimulate. However, some people react differently to valerian and even a small dose will wire them. If using tea from the dried herb, and if it’s used regularly over an extended period of time, one may find themselves getting symptoms of depression. Using tincture from fresh root helps avoid this issue.
Allergic Reactions/Warnings: Although it’s sometimes referred to as “Indian toilet paper”, some people are sensitive to the hairs on the leaves. WILDCRAFTER’S WARNING: This plant grows in similar conditions to hemlock, and it looks similar as well. Do NOT harvest on your own unless you’re absolutely certain you know the plant well.
Video: Herbalist Michael Moore collected video footage of numerous herbs, and they’re all on the SWSBM site. Take a look at this valerian video to get a better idea of how it looks. Videos can be quite helpful in learning to identify plants.
Note: These posts are not meant to be a medical guide but an overview. Consulting an herbal specialist is always recommended.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

I Take Mine with Lemon – Home Remedies Instead of Deodorant

Here are some natural home remedies you can try instead of the usual deodorant. This article originally posted on my blog dkMommy Spot in May of 2007. I still use these underarm remedies.

When I was pregnant, I suddenly became acutely aware of the food I ate, and also the products I used on my body. For instance, deodorant became more of a concern. Knowing things like aluminum and talc were present and bad for not only me but my baby as well, I began eliminating certain products. And after I gave birth and began breastfeeding, the same concerns lingered. I learned that what you use on your pits travels nicely to the breast milk. I’d already tried using an interesting solution in place of deodorant, and I’ve also come across some other alternatives; some of them more – ahem – unusual than others.

I’ll start with my favorite, one that was told to me by a coworker. It’s simple, portable, and it sure smells nice! Lemon. Yes, folks, plain old lemon. You can squeeze a little of the juice on your hand and rub it under your arms. It’s a deodorant and a surprisingly effective antiperspirant. I’ve even taken slices of lemon to work with me. (During certain parts of pregnancy, a little extra protection is good to carry around.) I prefer an actual lemon to the little plastic bottles shaped like lemon, as those have additives. And since the point is to eliminate that sort of thing, it’s good to go straight to the source.

I’ve tried baking soda, and although that works okay, it can sting after shaving. It also irritates some people’s skin. But if you mix it with water and wash with it, I’m told it works nicely.
For persistent body odor, you may be magnesium deficient. Try taking magnesium tablets and see if that helps over time. Some swear by it.

The granddaddy of them all, however, is an old Peruvian remedy. You only need to do this 4 times a year, thank God. Here are the ingredients if you are truly desperate: 1 cup syrup, 2 tbs. lemon, and 10 crushed fireflies. (Or for you Southerners, lightning bugs.) Apparently if you apply this mixture to the ol’ pits and wrap it in Saran wrap for 30 minutes, you shower yourself to fresher underarms. They do suggest stocking up on the bugs for the winter months as they are hard to come by. This gets the gold medal in the gross category. Or shall I say “cate-GORY”.

Whatever your preference, there is something satisfying in finding the natural way to solve life’s little problems, no matter the odor! Overall, I suggest the lemon minus the lightnin’ bugs. Unless you like glow-in-the-dark pits.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Cardamom – A Natural Remedy for Nausea & Queasy Stomachs

Cardamom is a wonderful herb probably most recognizable to us in the West as an Indian cooking spice. But what this plant’s fragrant little seedpods hold is much more than culinary delight. Its use as one of the more tasty natural remedies for nausea and queasy stomachs sets it apart.

Cardamom is actually a member of the ginger family. As you may recall, ginger (Zingiber officinale) is another effective anti-nausea remedy, but what’s so charming about cardamom is its tidy packaging in the form of a pod, making it nature’s portable solution for the queasies.

Cardamom pods come in green, black, and bleached white. Oftentimes the best pods, which are saved for culinary use, are bleached before sale. Any of the three colors will work, however, and the pods keep well for years. I have a batch I use that was purchased about four or five years ago and they’re still quite effective.

To use a cardamom pod to ease stomach upset, break open the outside and remove the small black seeds. You can break off a seed (they’re sort of segmented chunks) and suck on the small piece, breaking it apart occasionally with your teeth. You can swallow it when you’re done if you wish, or spit it out; it’s up to you.

You’ll find the cardamom tastes so good and refreshing that you may enjoy carrying a few in your purse or pocket to use as breath fresheners. You’ll also find cardamom such an impressive natural remedy for general queasiness, nausea, even a nervous stomach, that you’ll want to keep them as a permanent member of your herbal medicine chest!

Note: Cardamom - "A Natural Remedy for Nausea & Queasy Stomachs" was originally posted on my blog dkMommy Spot - because everyone loves a good rerun.

Friday, October 12, 2012

A Nutrient Rich Herbal Tea that Packs a Whammy

There's a common weed that might be in your backyard right now, and it's also a nutrient rich herb. This herb contains surprisingly high amounts of Vitamins A and C, and minerals such as potassium, manganese, and calcium, making for a power packed cup of tea that would have Granny running for another mugful, then maybe out the door and around the block for a little jog. And if you add this tea to your day, you'll be running alongside her.

So, what is this healthful tea? Glad you asked.

It's stinging nettle, and this garden charmer is usually considered a major (and painfully) pesky weed by most gardeners in the U.S. But nettles is more likely to find a home in the kitchens of Europe and Asia than the weed pile. While you can cook up a pot of fresh nettles and serve it with dinner, it's also fabulous dried and used as a tea. (You can actually eat it raw and I have seen it done without the person getting stung in the mouth, but it involved rolling the leaves inside out paired with tricky chewing, something I'm not quite nervy enough to try.)

Cooked nettles are somewhat like cooked spinach or other pot greens, and they're best gathered in the springtime. Drying the herb for tea provides you the spring goodness all year, and off season it's easily found in healthfood stores where it's very affordable in bulk.

You can prepare the tea by the quart, steeping five or six teaspoons of the dried herb in cold water. This cold infusion method keeps more of the constituents in tact, but you can also do a regular infusion method, steeping a teaspoon of the herb in a mug of hot water for 15 to 20 minutes. Either way, feel free to drink this healthy brew daily. Stinging nettles is definitely a nutrient rich herbal tea you don't want to miss out on.

Monday, October 8, 2012

How to Brew a Proper Cup of Herbal Tea for Medicinal Use

When I first began tinkering with herbal tea for medicinal use, I did what most people do: Zap the water in the microwave, dunk in a tea bag, and squeeze it out after two or three minutes. Then I'd do that other thing so many of us do: I'd wonder why herbs didn't work that well.

But I persisted because the subject was fascinating and didn't require a prescription, or a second prescription to get rid of the effects of the first. And I learned a few things about the correct way to brew the tea. When I followed those simple steps correctly, a funny thing happened: Herbs worked.

First, make sure your dried herbs are fresh. They should still have color. Fresh chamomile is pale white with bright yellow centers, for instance. And the herbs should be fragrant and smell much like the plant does when it's still alive and growing. If there's little to no fragrance and the color is dark brownish green, you might be looking at old herbs.

Also, make sure to get your herbs in bulk. They're much cheaper this way, and when they're not in tea bags, you can see what you're getting. Many times what starts off as an expensive box of tea is actually, upon dissection, a smidgen of dried plant dust hidden within a tea bag. I've also seen some old herb in those bags. That means very little result.

To prepare a mug of tea, heat the water to almost boiling. I like the stovetop as opposed to the microwave. (I could give a long explanation here, but then I'll get off track and forget what I was talking about. Where was I?) Put your dried herb into a tea ball or reusable unbleached muslin tea bag and plunk it in the mug. Pour in the water and cover the mug with a little plate or liddy thing to keep the steam in. This prevents any volatile oils from escaping.

Now steep for 20 to 30 minutes.

That sounds like forever. But for medicinal properties to be extracted, it takes a bit of patience. If you discover that the tea is just too strong for your liking, then you can back off a bit the next time you make it. But first give it a shot and see what you think of the outcome. I bet you'll be surprised at how different the results are, if you make your herbal teas like I used to.

This is a brief overall explanation, as you can see. Some teas don't need such a long steep, others are better prepared in cold water. If you'd like to sort all that out, you can check out my book Teas for Life: 101 Herbal Teas for Greater Health for more detail.

Just remember: While making a good and effective cup of herbal tea for medicinal use does require a bit more time than the usual dunk and squish, your body will thank you for the extra effort.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Smoothie Power! Time to Dust Off your Cape

Wonder Woman's Gonna be Jealous.
Crack out your x-ray glasses and pull on your knee-high boots - Smoothie Power! Recipes for Weight Loss, Vitality, & the Occasional Superpower is fresh off the e-presses and still steaming. I'm even more excited than usual (which means it's near embarrassing levels).

The research I did on this book changed my life. An exagerration? A late-night infomercial claim? No, it's just me being amazed at how big and unexpected this change was for me. I've learned I can control my asthma with food, and that I don't have to shove myself into denial because I can't eat this or that. I've learned that I can stuff myself and eat all day if I want to (I usually want to) if I eat the right things, and I won't get a muffin top. I've learned that drinking tall glasses of green stuff in the park makes people stare, especially when you pass the glass to your child.

And I've learned I have superpowers. Not x-ray vision or flying, but when you've been weighed down your whole life with something like asthma, having it lifted away does make me think I might be able to at least punch out a bad guy with a ski mask. Or kick. I think I'd do pretty well with kicking about now.

If you're a paperback type of person, Smoothie Power! will be ready for you the last week of September. Both Kindle and paperback offer over 100 smoothie recipes, a selection of raw soups and salad dressings, witty banter, how-to info, and other good things.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go change my clothes in a telephone booth before my morning run.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Question of the Day: Is Henna Safe for My Hair?

Henna - every 19th century actress's friend.
Just ask Renoir.
Is henna safe for my hair? I've been asked this question many times, and I think it's a good thing to ask before you glop what looks like green slimy mud onto your hair. What is it, how does it work, will my beautician kill me when she sees what I've done? Will I throw myself from the nearest tall tree? All legitimate questions.

First off, let me tell you that I've hennaed my own hair for several years, and it never once fell out. I didn't have to go to the hairstylist and have my head shaved. And it didn't ever come out green, as the color of wet henna would have one think. What does happen is that my hair is stronger, it's shinier, and it's dandruff-free because that's what henna does. And yes, it's red.

I think where hairdressers get their concern is from having seen the results of a cheap box of stuff that says "henna" that isn't just henna, but a cocktail of strange and mysterious ingredients. When you purchase powdered organic henna (not a premade mix) and blend it and apply it properly, it is much safer than anything on the average hair salon shelf. In fact, if you screw something up like missing a big patch on the top of your head, you can apply more immediately without fear of damaging your hair.

And it smells like autumn leaves. No commercial hair dye smells like autumn leaves.

Yes, trying henna for the first time can be a bit nervewracking. After all, it's your hair and henna is permanent. So I suggest taking a sample of your hair from an inconspicuous spot (don't cut your bangs, for instance) and doing a test run to see how you like it. Remember, too, that henna oxidizes for the following two or three days, so white hair that starts out looking brassy will calm down a bit.

If you're not into going red, you can add other herbs to alter the results. I discuss that, along with step-by-step instructions for coloring your hair with henna in my book "Hair Gone Wild! Recipes & Remedies for Natural Tresses" which is available in paperback or as a Kindle ebook.

I've used henna more times than I can count, and I love the results. I often joke I'll be a 90-year-old woman with bright red hair. I bet even then I'll be telling people that with a little know-how, henna is safe for my old-lady hair, and for your gorgeous locks, too.


Saturday, September 1, 2012


I keep having dreams that I'm running.

Not the usual dreams where someone is chasing me and my feet have become one with the cement. But the kind that mean freedom. Last night in my dream, it was raining and I was running in my new shoes. And laughing.

You see, last night, I bought running shoes. Not last night in my dream, but last night in an athletic store. The very place I usually shun and gripe about having to enter because there's nowhere proper to read my Kindle while my husband and son drool over soccer balls and cross trainers.

I've been wanting to go running for awhile now, ever since my lungs opened up and the asthma went to be wherever asthma goes when you radically change your diet. If you have known me since childhood, you'll know that running is only something I do while trying to outpace a wasp. I was the kid who would do anything to avoid gym class, would break out in hives every Wednesday just moments before P.E. I was the kid who always got hit in the head with the volley ball.

But now I want to go running. And standing in line at the checkout last night, I felt like I was holding more than a new pair of shoes. I was holding a milestone.

I'm not going to do this to prove something to myself. I'm not going to do it to prove something to others, or to complete an experiment for a book. I'm going to do it because I want to. I really want to.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Horsetail (Equisetum arvense) for Superpower Hair

Lots of teas are good for your hair, but one that excels is horsetail (Equisetum arvense). If you're looking to imbibe your hair with superpowers, this is your herb.

After I discussed horsetail during yesterday's Nappturalite Radio interview, which you can hear at the bottom of this post, I thought it'd be nice to give you the lowdown here on the blog. And if you're visiting for the first time, welcome! Glad to have you along!

So, how do you use horsetail? You can either drink it or wear it. Either way, it's prepared the same. I find that simmering it seems to bring out the most silica, which is what gives your hair shine and strength. Put a heaping teaspoon of horsetail per cup of water into a pan and simmer it for about five or ten minutes, or until the herb starts sinking to the bottom of the pan instead of floating like a bunch of grass trimmings. Turn off the heat and allow the tea to cool. Strain it well, especially if you plan to drink it.

Now you have two choices, remember? Drink it or wear it. If you prefer to drink it, you'll also be feeding your nails, your skin, even your connective tissue. It's a nutritive tea, so bottoms up! Feel free to drink it every day.

Wanna wear it instead? Take it to the shower with you. After you've washed your hair, pour it on and leave it. No rinsing it back out. You'll notice your hair is shinier and more manageable. You may also notice that water beads up on it! That's just the silica doing the water-off-a-duck's-back trick. (Silica's such a showoff.)

One last word before I leave you to make your tea: Make sure to get certified organic horsetail.  If it's not, you risk getting herb that's sucked up pesticides, even heavy metals, that may have been downstream from its watery home. So go for the good stuff. I like Frontier Bulk Horsetail Herb, Cut & Sifted, CERTIFIED ORGANIC, in the 1 lb. package. It's cheap, and a pound will last you till the cows (or the horses) come home.

Want to hear more about horsetail and other herbal teas for hair? Be sure to check out August 23rd's episode of Nappturalite Radio! You'll hear what else I and others have to say about the health benefits of tea for hair and beauty.

Let's Have Tea! Benefits of Tea & Aromatherapy 08/23 by Nappturalite Radio | Blog Talk Radio

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Nappturalite Radio Interview - I'll be There!

Nappturalite Host Dawn Yerger
Tonight, 08/23/12 at 7 p.m. EST, brew yourself a cup of tea and tune in to Nappturalite Radio online to learn about herbal teas and aromatherapy! I'll be discussing herbal teas for beautiful hair with host Dawn Yerger at about 8 p.m. EST. Can't make it to tea then? That's alright. You can listen online later or download the mp3.

Hope you can come! Keep up on the latest events, interviews, and book releases by subscribing to this blog or visiting me on Facebook. Or Twitter. I'm there, too. Pinterest? Yup. Goodreads, Shelfari, Amazon... No wonder I have jetlag!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

How to Control Allergies Naturally with an Herb that Would Otherwise Make You Sneeze

This time of year allergy sufferers aren't usually having much fun; if you're one of them, you may be wondering how to treat your allergies naturally with herbs. One of the more helpful herbs might surprise you. It's one of the big offenders. Ragweed.

No, this isn't a matter of homeopathic "like treats like." It's the pollen of ragweed (Ambrosia) that causes the allergies - not the rest of the plant. You can purchase ragweed tincture commercially, or you can send a friend out to gather and tincture it for you. The easy way to make a ragweed tincture via Simpler's method is to stuff a clean glass jar with everything but the root, then cover the plant in the purest, strongest grain alcohol you can get. Cover it tightly and wait for about two weeks. Then strain out the herb. (You can do this part; the pollen is too drunk to fly at you by then.) Whether you buy it or make it yourself, the dosage is the same: 20 to 40 drops up to 4 times a day.

You can prepare a ragweed tea, too. You'll definitely want someone else to collect the herb for you, then bundle and hang it until dried. Have them hide it far and away from you. Once it's dry, it can be crunched up and stored in a glass jar. Prepare a standard infusion of the tea by pouring a mugful of almost boiling water over a teaball of herb. Allow it to sit for about 15 to 20 minutes before straining. Drink about 1 or 2 ounces of it up to 4 times a day.

There's something slightly revengeful about combatting allergies by ripping up the offending plant and ingesting it, don't you think? Or perhaps ragweed doesn't really mean us all that harm and tries to make up for it. Either way, it's pretty cool, don't you think?

For more herbal goodness, be sure to check out my books on Amazon or Like me on Facebook, where I share remedies, random natural tips, and the occasional guffaw.

Friday, August 17, 2012

How to Make Your Own Homemade Natural Bugspray

While preparing for a trip to the woods, I decided it would be fun to share with you how to make your own homemade natural bugspray. If you have just a few essential oils, you can ward off biting, nibbling critters of all sorts. Except bears. You're on your own there.

Here's what you'll need:

A clean 4-ounce spray bottle
4 ounces distilled water
30 drops lavender oil
30 drops rosemary oil
30 drops sweet orange oil
30 drops spruce oil
A wee bit of vodka or grain alcohol, say, 3 or 4 squirts with an eyedropper

Mix this all into your spray bottle and shake vigorously before each application. You can reapply as needed. The best part? You won't have to inhale all those smelly icky-poo bugspray fumes. Nothing worse than heading out into the woods to inhale the fragrance of the forest and instead getting a DEET headrush. Okay, so this stuff definitely has a fragrance. But it blends in with the forest. And while you won't smell the stuff after a few minutes, the mosquitoes and biting flies definitely will. Word on the woodland path is they don't like it.

Now, you go enjoy preparing your own homemade natural bugspray, and I'll let you know later if I have to come up with a recipe for bear repellant.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Herbs Gone Wild! Ancient Remedies Turned Loose - in Print

I can't count the number of emails I've received from people asking me when Herbs Gone Wild! Ancient Remedies Turned Loose will go to print. Will it? Won't it? Why NOT? (Thanks especially to my dear friend Ann who keeps insisting it should be in print, and to reader Debra who wanted to send copies to Camp Fern, an incredible place for youth she told me about.)

Why not, indeed. You'll be happy to know that the print edition is in the works and should be out shortly. I'm keeping my fingers, toes, and eyes crossed in the hopes that it will be available for sale within a week. If you're as excited about this as I am, then - well, I'm sorry that you're losing so much sleep. But keep your face glued to this blog because it will be announced here the moment it's "Turned Loose" on Amazon -- at a reasonable price, I might add.

Thanks to all of you for your gracious input! It's always wonderful hearing from you, and the support for going to print has been much appreciated. And if you're wondering, Beauty Gone Wild, Hair Gone Wild, and Teas for Life will all be following into print within the coming months.

Not subscribed to yet? Please do! You'll be among the first to know when Herbs Gone Wild! Ancient Remedies Turned Loose turns to print.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

A Delightful Little Excerpt in Which We Learn Barberry Relieves Malaria, etc.

Today, class, I thought it would be a nice change of pace to share with you a wee excerpt or two from my latest ebook entitled "Teas for Life: 101 Herbal Teas for Greater Health." I'm sure you'll agree the title does not invoke the usual giggle or smirk as the others (Harold, be quiet or the ruler comes out), but it does indeed encapsulate all that is within. Teas. 101 of them. Greater Health.

Firstly, let us visit the barberry and its properties:

Barberry (Berberis vulgaris)

Uses:  Promotes the flow of bile and corrects liver function. Remedy for gallstones and gallbladder inflammation. Mild laxative. Relieves biliousness due to overeating or drug excesses. Dyspepsia after fatty foods. Vomiting during pregnancy. Cleanses the system in the weak or debilitated individual. Reduces enlarged spleens. Eczema. Acute psoriasis. Migraines that hurt even more when moving. Sore, burning eyes; dry, itching eyes. Antimalarial.

Parts Used:  Root or stem bark

Constituents:  Isoquinoline alkaloids, chelidonic acid, resin, tannins.

Dosage:  Cold infusion, 1 to 3 ounces up to 3 times daily.

Notes:  Some herbalists stick to the idea that barberry is not for pregnant women, while others recommend it to reduce vomiting. It is an extremely bitter herb, which makes it difficult to overdo the tea - you just wouldn’t want to drink that much of it. Still, if you’re pregnant and want to take barberry, discuss it with your doctor or midwife first.

Warnings:  If pregnant, consult your health care professional before use.

Next, we shall take a peak into the wonder that is juniper. (Harold, this is your last warning.):
Juniper (Juniperus communis)
Uses:  Chronic non-inflamed cystitis or urethritis. Non-inflamed prostatitis. Painful urination after a hysterectomy. Diuretic and stimulant for the stomach. Chronic arthritis, gout, muscular rheumatic disease. Flatulence. Poor digestion, appetite in atonic digestive systems. Relieves pain and inflammation in arthritis and gout.
Parts Used:  Berries (most effective) or leaves
Constituents:  Volatile oil, myrcene, sabinene, a- and b-pinene, 4-cineole, camphene, limonene, condensed tannins, diterpenes, flavonoids, sugars, resin, vitamin C.
Dosage:  Standard infusion of berries, 2 to 3 ounces up to 3 times daily. Standard infusion of leaves, 2 to 4 ounces up to 3 times daily.
Notes:  Juniper berries have a very long history of medicinal use dating to the ancient Egyptians. Back in 1500 B.C., it was the tapeworm remedy of choice. Lots of cultures thought it was good for warding off evil. If you consider flatulence evil, then I guess they were right.
Warnings:  Short-term use only. May irritate the kidneys over time. If you’ve been using it awhile and your urine starts smelling like violets, this means you’ve used the tea too long. It does not mean you have magical urine.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I must return to a recent undertaking of mine, that of reading through the Harvard Classics, thus ruining any hope of my ever again writing with modern clarity. I bid you ado.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Record-Breaking Downloads of Herbs Gone Wild sends Author into State of Shock

Author of the bestselling Kindle book, "Herbs Gone Wild! Ancient Remedies Turned Loose" was reported to have fallen onto the floor in an unexplicable stupor after her ebook hit the #7 Free Kindle Book spot on Amazon. Family members say they found her there, gazing into space and repeating what sounded something like, "It can't be possible. I just wrote it last year."

A similar reaction has been reported by other indie authors who decide that, instead of submitting their work to countless traditional publishers, then waiting a year or more to even make it into print, they will tap into a pioneer spirit and do it all themselves.

For Kidman, this is already meaning real results. Her first ebook, the aforementioned "Herbs Gone Wild", hit Amazon last August and has now made its way to the (also aforementioned) #7 Free Kindle Book spot on Amazon.

(Oh, dear. I think our author just fell down again.)

Rumor has it "Herbs Gone Wild! Ancient Remedies Turned Loose" will remain free for all until July 26, 2012, despite the fact that over 17,000 people have already taken part in obtaining their free copy. The author is said to be a bit shaken, but she's sipping ice water and repeating the mantra, "How do I thank them? Will an ecard ever be enough?"

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Wildcrafter - A Blog for Herb-Heads

If you've been hanging with me on the blogosphere these past six years, you know by now I occasionally get a wild hair and start a new blog. It's a sort of addiction, a blogging disease, I like to think of as chronic blogging syndrome. The symptoms tend to include having half the letters missing from your keyboard (much to the spouse's chagrin), mumbling things about headers and SEO's, and the random starting of a new blog.

I suppose I'm off the hook on that last one. The Wildcrafter has been a long time coming. What has been my main blog for many years, dkMommy Spot, has been getting rather top heavy. Not that I don't still love it or will abandon it, but it's creaking like an old ship. Over 1,000 posts, over 100,000 comments, and somewhere around 1 million and a half hits have definitely made me one happy blogger. Fed the addiction, yes it did. But I've wanted to put my herbal bloggings in their own spot for a long time. Not all of them; herbs have been a mainstay of dkMommy Spot. But being an herbalism addict as well as a blogging addict, I figure it's time I have a place for the more hardcore stuff. (Please don't set up an intervention. I'm not ready yet.)

The Wildcrafter is more in the vein of my herbalism ebooks - herbalism seasoned with humor. So if you'd like to visit me there, I'd be more than happy to make you a cup of tea. Perhaps chamomile? Yerba mate? Your pick, I have a myriad of choices. And I'm sure I'll be blogging about them soon.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Get a Free Copy of Teas for Life: 101 Herbal Teas for Greater Health!

Blame it on the heat wave if you like, but I feel like doing something special just for my readers: If you leave a comment here with your email address sometime before July 13, 2012, I'll email you a FREE copy of my latest ebook, Teas for Life: 101 Herbal Teas for Greater Health. Yes, just because.  I probably should dress up in a cowboy hat and ride an ostrich around a used car lot while yelling "FREE! The greatest deal on herbal ebooks, right here at Diane's ebook ranch. I'm out of my mind!" But it's too hot to wear a cowboy hat, and I can't find an ostrich.

If you enjoy the book (or even if you'd like to throw it if it weren't lodged inside your Kindle), I'd love to have you leave your opinion on Amazon.

So Hurry, Hurry, Hurry to this post's comments box now! Operators are standing by! Act Now! Now! Do it! (You know you want to, even though I didn't deliver on the ostrich.)

Note: If you don't have a Kindle, don't despair. You can get a free Kindle app on Amazon for your PC, Mac, iPhone, android tablet, or papyrus scroll.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Veggie Nut Burgers and Chocolate Smoothies

On Monday, it will officially be one month since I started fiddling with green smoothie recipes for my up-and-coming recipe book. Things have changed for me in four weeks. I expected to have four week's worth of recipes. I do have that, but I also have four week's worth of major health changes.

To my surprise, my breathing continues to improve every day. The asthma I thought was not that big of a deal turned out to be worse than I'd imagined - at least when I compare my breathing now to what I've been used to my entire life. Breathing is a wonderful thing. This is my new mantra. My energy levels continue to climb, and I have this sense of balance and well-being that I'm not accustomed to. You see, I'm generally rather high strung. In case you've never noticed.

As my health improves, so does my hunger for healthy foods. I've always eaten fruit, and I'm fine having a salad with dinner. But now I really, really want fruit and salads and greens. I can't go through a produce department at the store without accidentally knocking several peaches, a pineapple, and various other items I can't pronounce but they look good and make me drool a little. I worry about what to do with them when I get home.

Yesterday, I visited a large botanical garden and sculpture park. While strolling through the beautiful flowers and greenery, I noticed several big pots of ornamental lettuces. I actually salivated. My first thought was not, "Oh, that looks so nice next to the chrysanthemums." Instead, I instinctively wondered if anyone would notice if I grabbed a handful for a light snack.

Today, I decided to give a raw food recipe a whirl. Raw foods baffle me, I'll not lie. While my first instinct is to just enjoy a salad when the strange urge for raw stuff hits me, I wanted to be a bit more adventurous. But so often, the recipes look complicated. No pans. No oven. No grease. Okay, maybe it's less complicated, but it's foreign to me and somewhat scary. All those seeds and grated veggies. This time, I used a food processor and fresh ingredients: almonds, sunflowers, carrots, onions, dill and parsley, lemon juice. Grind, grind, dump, shape. Done. I put the convincing-looking patties on beds of lettuce, topped them with tomatoes and a dollop of mustard. Then with a sense of delighted shock, I scarfed those puppies down. Even my little boy asked for seconds. Yes, we're going to have them for dinner, too.

Let's not forget the amazing cherry chocolate smoothie we indulged in this morning. A banana, 1/2 a cup of pitted black cherries, 2 tablespoons raw cocoa, 2 1/2 cups water, and 2 cups of spinach (which you cannot taste, not at all, trust me.) Heavenly. I thought I had another glass left and was looking forward to it at lunch, but apparently I drank it when I wasn't looking.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Day 10 - Not Suffering for the Next Book

It's Day 10 of my green smoothie experiment, started accidentally while researching for my next natural health ebook. Every day, while testing green smoothie recipes, I've been drinking about 2 1/2 quarts of green goodness throughout the day. While it does sound a bit nuts (I'm a sucker for research), the changes in my health have felt quite dramatic. But the most dramatic of all so far is a reduction in asthma symptoms.

I'm not the sort of asthmatic that wheezes - very rarely. But my breathing is definitely restricted, something I wandered around with for years before a doctor noticed that, indeed, I had not grown out of my asthma at all. I just wasn't having wheezing attacks.

I've been making green smoothies for years, and I've always noticed improved breathing after having one. But we're talking one 8 ounce glass in a day. Not over 2 quarts! Now, my lungs are opening up and I can take very deep breaths, like the kind they tell you to take during excercise - the kind that usually choke me.

Green smoothies at this quantity forever? I don't know. I'd like to think I can do that, and I have to say getting really good air is a major motivator. But at least for now, it's pretty darned nice not suffering for my art.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Day 8 of the Smoothie Experiment

Yesterday, I was thinking it's not easy being green. Day 7 of my smoothie book research experiment found me totally dissatisfied with the usual foods I might grab for a snack, and I didn't have the things I was craving. Usually, my snacks are relatively healthy. Not the greatest, but not your average junk food, either. Plantain chips are a favorite, for instance. Or tortilla chips and salsa, maybe a piece of good quality chocolate or some granola cereal. (Oh, cereal! My downfall.) But this time around, none of that sounded good.

Today, I went to the store and stocked up on some almonds and some sprouted chips I found, things that normally wouldn't get my attention. Sure, they're good for you. Fine. But I didn't crave them. Today, I think almonds are one dandy, delicious snack.

To say I'm shocked at my reaction to all these smoothies (about 2 to 2 1/2 quarts a day) is an understatement. My health is improving noticeably by the day, and I actually know what the word "vitality" means. I'm starting to rethink how I want to do the smoothie book in light of my discoveries. The research is opening lots of doors, lots of thoughts, and taking me places I thought were interesting before but not for me. Like raw food. Right now, my diet is easily 75% raw, although I'm not forcing any changes in my diet - just what comes naturally. Would I want a totally raw-food lifestyle? I don't really want to think that way right now. But adding much more to my diet is definitely gaining appeal - and fast.

Experimenting for the sake of a book just puts that much more excitement into the process for me. I'm thoroughly enjoying coming up with the recipes, and learning about the importance of raw fruits and vegetables has been a real eye opener. For instance, take 73-year-old Mimi Kirk. She's a raw food enthusiast. And a couple of years ago, she was named PETA's "Sexiest Vegetarian Over 50." Now, I've read some inspiring things over the last week, watched some amazing documentaries and devoured numerous books and web content, but nothing so far has inspired me like this woman. I'd be happy to look half this good!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Staring at Kale Like it's Chocolate Cake?!?

It's day five of what has turned into a green smoothie experiment in preparation for my next ebook. I'm sitting next to a tall glass of beautiful dark purple smoothie, this morning's breakfast. (Well, alright, it's actually breakfast #2, but thankfully it's advised to binge on fruits and greens.) I've been drinking green smoothies for about six years, but never in such vast quantities, and I'm quite frankly shocked at my body's reaction to this level of macronutrients.

Five days ago, I had half a homemade birthday cake sitting on the kitchen counter. Not a box mix, mind you, but a Better Homes & Garden recipe with homemade buttercream frosting. I was eating big chunks of it between smoothie experiments.

"But, Diane," you say, "I thought you were a health nut! You write all these ebooks, you blog about a healthy diet, you love plants..."

Yes, I do all those things. But if there is a birthday cake in the house, I am completely powerless. Which is why as soon as a birthday cake is in the house, I feel compelled to eat the whole thing really fast so it's no longer bothering me. Which is what I planned to do, but already by day two of the accidental smoothie experiment, I didn't want it. In fact, I threw the remaining cake out. I still can't believe I feel no remorse.

Just now, I tossed some blueberries, some cantaloupe, a large bunch of raw kale, and some water into a blender and was impatiently pacing for 30 seconds while the blender liquified it all. I realized I was reacting to it just like I normally would chocolate cake. Believe me, five days ago this smoothie would not have tasted sweet enough to my tastebuds. Now, I'm craving it. No one's more surprised than I am.

Only thing missing are the candles, but that can be arranged.

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Accidental Experiment

Pretty much what the inside of my fridge looks like now.
I didn't mean to do it. It's really a big accident. After releasing "Teas for Life", I was anxious to start on the next book project. My husband suggested a recipe book filled with all those green smoothies I make for the family, the ones I've been blogging about for years. It sounded like a great idea, and to be perfectly honest, it also sounded like an easy idea. I'd just start taking notes of what I was making anyway, then compile a small collection of recipes, and another book would be born.

But instead, as all my ebook projects have done, it's taken on a life of its own. As soon as I told my husband I'd do the smoothie book, he was all excited for a trip to the grocery store to purchase ingredients for taste testing. (He does enjoy a good grocery store trip.) So we carted home armfuls of fruits and leafy greens.

The first day was a lot of fun. I came up with three smoothie recipes, all winners. But since I ended up with three quarts, I found myself drinking most of it. Felt kinda funny. Floaty. Good but... well, maybe not so good. Perhaps I'd overdone it. (Mind you, I did share with my son and husband, but they only had small glasses each, whereas I didn't want to waste any and drank the remaining 2 1/2 quarts. Perhaps that's why my son told me I looked pregnant. No, Mom, I'm not.)

I swore the next day I'd only make maybe one recipe, but it was so much fun. And I could have sworn my lungs felt more open. Perhaps this would help with my asthma. Three quarts later, I was feeling pretty darned good. Still oddly sluggish, but happy.

Day three, I forgot to eat lunch. Just forgot. Didn't feel like it after 1 1/2 quarts of smoothie, including a killer combo that includes cactus leaves. I realized I hadn't been constantly snacking, either. I felt pretty energetic.

Today is day four. I realized that when I awoke with a good dose of energy, that perhaps this simple recipe book thing wasn't going to be that simple anymore. There's something to this. I'm about to concoct the third recipe of the day, and I'm totally looking forward to it. Like, totally, like, 80's valley girl big-hair looking forward to it. So I thought I'd better share.

Normally, I'd post things like this at my other blog dkMommy Spot, but this is a writing project, after all. It just fits here. So I'll keep you up to date on my smoothie progress, share a recipe or two as a sneak preview, and I'll let you know if I stick with it, become more energized, or perhaps start to turn green or grow a third leg. So far, all I can think of is that bag of kale in the fridge. I got a smoothie to whip up.

Subscribe to this blog so you don't miss a post! Follow by email in the upper right corner of this page. You'll also be among the first to know when the green smoothie book comes out.

Friday, June 1, 2012

I've Just Given Birth to an ebook - I Wonder if There's a Tea for That

I've just published my latest ebook, "Teas for Life: 101 Herbal Teas for Greater Health." There's something about the writing process - any creative process, for that matter - that is like giving birth. Except there is no epidural for birthing a book. Which means the neighbors have to listen to me scream throughout the process, and no one gets to smoke a cigar afterwards. But when it's done, I am the proud mother of a brand new ebook. Shining, not quite sure what to do with itself, but so darned cute. People will stop by and say congratulations, then they'll leave and whisper that it's a funny looking kid but sure to be loved, anyway.

I'll probably wake up in the middle of the night and wonder how my e-baby is doing. Is it selling? Are people perusing Amazon in the middle of the night and clicking the "Buy Now" button? Will it graduate high school with honors and get a scholarship to Harvard?

Overall, I'm already proud of my new e-baby. A lot went into this one. (Have you ever had to research the chemical composition of the wahoo plant?) I poured over my herb notes, gathered together as many uses for each of the 101 herbs as I could find, and tried to organize them so they made sense. I cross-referenced dosages so I don't OD people on pine twigs. I even dug up a multitude of weird and unusual trivia on each plant. (Did you know ancient myths claim parsley came from the spilled blood of Archemorus while he was getting eaten by serpents? Ugh.)

A fun baby to grow, this ebook. But I've read it about 17 times now and it's time for me to turn it over to the rest of the world. Push it from the nest, hope it eats healthy when I not watching, and that it gets to bed at a decent hour. I may stare out the window and wonder why it doesn't call home more often, but I'll always remember the good old days when I was writing the first scratchings of it, sipping my herbal tea and dreaming about what it'd grow up to be.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

"Beauty Gone Wild!" has a Free-for-All May Day Blitz-Type Thingie

I realize May usually kicks off with a profusion of flowers and leaves, so this May I thought we'd add a free ebook to the buds and blooms. The best part? "Beauty Gone Wild! Herbal Recipes for Gorgeous Skin & Hair" offers you a vast array of interesting and sometimes unconventional herbal recipes for making your own face lotions, hairspray, lip balm, and a whole myriad of things I can't quite remember but am sure are useful and witty, or so my mother told me after she read it.

"Beauty Gone Wild!" is the second of my three-part "Herbs Gone Wild!" series. All three are Kindle bestsellers, thanks to your huge amounts of support.

So in honor of spring and the idea of new life and freshness, yada yada yada, please enjoy the baby owl and spray of blooms on the cover of "Beauty Gone Wild!" Yes, lots of flowers and leaves after all. You won't even have to water them.
Nothing says "cute" like a baby owl in a straw hat.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Free ebook Friday Rides Again! (and still needs a suitable name)

Saddle up and git yer free ebooks
The name "Free ebook Friday" may lack luster, but the event is full of sparkle. And free ebooks. If you're a proud owner of a Kindle (or a free Kindle app), here's a great place to wrastle you up some good free reading material, and you can come any old day you like. Even Tuesday, which I would highly advise so you don't forget to get your free copy of "Beauty Gone Wild!" written by yours truly.

If you're an author and your ebook is going to be free anytime between now and next Friday, please do plunk in your book's name, the date it'll be free, and the link to the Amazon page. Then tell everyone you can think of to bookmark this site so we can make it an even greater resource.

And if any of you witty types can come up with a better name than "Free ebook Friday," please do leave a comment and save us all from dry toast.

Friday, April 13, 2012

What a Week! I Need a Nap.

It has been one heck of a week, in many ways the sort of week I'd hoped for when I first set out to make writing my "real" job. My latest ebook, "Hair Gone Wild! Recipes & Remedies for Natural Tresses", went up for free on Amazon for three days, a little stunt I've never pulled before. Usually, my stunts last only one day because the excitement exhausts me. OCD sets in and I can only think about the book and who's downloading the book and do they like the book and what if they don't and (dear Lord!) what if they do? So three days of that has left me needing a stiff martini and a weekend in Maui. I can only afford one of the two. Cheers.

How did the three free days go? The final tally for downloads of Hair Gone Wild is a whopping 11,454! It pushed the sales of the other two to their record highs, and pushed my nailbiting to a frantic squirrel's pace.

One may wonder why on earth an author would go and give their work away for free in such large volumes. In my mind, the term "self-pubbed" doesn't just mean that you're self published. It also means that you have to self publicitize. I have no publicity manager, no staff shouting into their cellphones when a new ebook goes live. I have me. And if I can let over 11,000 people know my ebooks exist by giving them free ebooks, by golly, I'll do it.

Besides the benefit of getting the books promoted, I love that everyone who took it now has information on how to ditch some chemical exposure and learn to live more naturally.The feedback from those who have already read it is enough to make me feel like I'm on some sort of team of people in love with natural living. It's amazing to hear from those of you who enjoy getting back to a natural way of doing things, and who have embraced some of the remedies in the ebooks. I think that is by far the best part about all this promotional hoopla. I get to connect with a big group of people that, if I met them face to face, I'd really, really like them.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Day "Free Ebook Friday" Showed Up on Wednesday

The cool thing about being a writer is that I get to do really flaky things and then blame it on being a writer. Such as forgetting to brush my hair or occasionally running into a wall because I didn't see it. People who know a writer will chuckle and say, "That's okay that she just dropped our grandma's urn of ashes. She's a writer." You see, people expect us to be absent-minded.

Which is why last Friday, there was no post for Free Ebook Friday. I could have put it up. But I didn't.

Today, which I'm pretty sure is Wednesday, my ebook "Hair Gone Wild! Recipes & Remedies for Natural Tresses", is free. And I really need a Free Ebook Friday post so I can promote it. So let's just pretend in my distracted state of mind, I woke up and thought it was Friday right now.

Us nonfiction self-published authors need all the help we can get. There are about three of us. I'm not sure where the other two are right now, perhaps out searching for lost car keys or feeding their dogs frozen peas by mistake. But maybe they'll find this little corner of the blogosphere and feel compelled to list their free ebook day, too. Naturally, I'd love to have the fiction self-published writers put their free ebook days here as well. They really need our help.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Your Hair Wanted Me to Tell You

Your hair is feeling a bit neglected as of late.
I just got a phone call from your hair. It says it knows you're frustrated with it, and it's very, very sorry. But being frizzy/dry/greasy/dandruffy isn't fun for it, either. You see, the stuff you've been putting on it - although pricey and the commercial promised wonderful results - is still not the best you can feed it.

Your hair says that you should check out the Kindle book "Hair Gone Wild! Recipes & Remedies for Natural Tresses" which, incidentally, will be absolutely free April 10 and 11. It would be very grateful if you'd pick up a copy.

Your hair would also appreciate it if you'd read the ebook outloud. It will gently tap you on the scalp when a promising remedy is read.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Free Kindle eBook Links for Authors & Readers!

Did someone say "free"?
Yes, it's true - this is where you can find (and list) some great free Kindle eBooks.

If you're an Indie author and you've got a free day going on at Amazon, just plunk that book title and Amazon link into the little box below. You'll also be able to add your book's cover.

Kindle users, you can add your free eBook finds here too! The more, the merrier.

Anyone linking, please make sure to put the book's title and the free date (if known) in the "Your Name" box, followed by the Amazon link in the "Your URL" box.

Don't forget to spread the word! Tweet, email, shout out your car window while driving up and down residential neighborhoods. It all helps make this a better place to be.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Open All Night - Find & List Free Kindle eBooks!

Every Friday, readers and self-published writers can unite right here to find and list free Kindle eBooks.

Add a Book: When submitting your eBook to the Mr. Linky list below, please put the name of the book in the "Your Name" line, followed by the date(s) the book will be up for free. You can also add the genre of your book, if you like. Then paste a link to the Amazon page where the free eBook can be found.

Take a Book: If you download any of the listed eBooks, please return the favor to the author by clicking the "Liked" button on the Amazon page. Consider leaving a short review after reading their works. Nothing makes a writer smile more!

Everyone: Spread the word! The bigger the list gets, the more successful it'll become!

Now, get clicking...

Thursday, March 15, 2012

It's Here! Hair Gone Wild: Recipes & Remedies for Natural Tresses

It's out: Hair Gone Wild: Recipes & Remedies for Natural Tresses, my new Kindle book, is now available on Amazon worldwide. This fun ebook gives you a natural approach to hair care, whether you've been on the hunt for some good hair growth remedies or you're ready to jump in like a brave soldier and ditch the shampoo. I've put together a nice collection of easy-to-understand recipes and remedies for everything from adding body and shine to how to make your how hairspray and gels.

For me, testing out new remedies was a unique experience. Having gone no 'poo four years ago, natural remedies and homemade hair products are already a big part of my daily routine, but I got to turn the kitchen into a mad herbal scientist laboratory once again. Islathered lots of stuff on my head. Some stuff worked surprisingly well. Other stuff did  not. (You'll be happy to know I left the "did not's" in a pile elsewhere.)

If you'd like to be in the hat to win a copy, swing by my other blog dkMommy Spot to enter. I've made the giveaway ridiculously easy to enter, so there will be no jumping through flaming hoops or singing Danny Boy while standing on your head. We'll save those ideas for the next giveaway.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Find and List Free Kindle eBooks Here!

Every Friday, readers and self-published writers can unite right here to find and list free Kindle eBooks.

Authors:  When submitting your eBook to the Mr. Linky list below, please put the name of your book in the "Your Name" line, followed by the date(s) your book will be up for free. You can also add the genre of your book, if you like. Then paste a link to the Amazon page where your free eBook can be found.

Readers:  If you download any of the listed eBooks, please return the favor to the author by clicking the "Liked" button on the Amazon page. Consider leaving a short review after reading their works. Nothing makes a writer smile more! (Also, feel free to add your free eBook finds to Mr. Linky, too!)

Everyone:  Spread the word! The bigger the list gets, the more successful it'll become!

Now, get clicking...

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Get the Word Out About Your Kindle eBook's Free Days

I publish my eBooks through Amazon, and like a lot of self-published writers, I've been making use of their KDL Select free days. That means writers can offer their work for free every now and then, and readers get the chance to feed a hungry Kindle and discover something new. I love this program, but one thing that can be a real challenge for both readers and writers is finding a good place to share all this information. Sure, there are free eBook forums, but most of them frown on having the authors list their own stuff. And as a reader, it can be a bit frustrating combing the forums. So I thought perhaps we'd all come together here.

I don't have a clever name for it yet, but as soon as inspirations strikes, I'll let you know. But the unnamed event will happen here at every Friday. I'll put up a post with a Mr. Linky form that authors can use to list their eBooks and the days they'll be up for free. Readers can swing by and check out the list in an easy click-click way.

While a new post will be added each Friday, it'll be there to use all week long. Just swing by and scroll down to get to the most recent Friday post, and have at it!

Please spread the word, be you reader or writer. The bigger this gets, the more useful a tool it'll be for everyone.

Oh, and if you have a clever name for this thing? Just let me know.

See you tomorrow right here!

Friday, February 24, 2012

My Hair is Going Wild

I experiment on myself a lot. Maybe some people would prefer to just read something in a book and be done with it. But herbs have a funny way of making an unforgettable impression on you when you've had a close encounter, even if it's of the throwing up variety. I'm not in the habit of testing poisonous substances on myself, and I don't really see that as a thing I'd like to pick up in the future. But I do like to see how I react to certain herbs in different doses, and if I hear something tastes really, really gross if eaten raw, I eat it. I'd like to think the Food Network would find this a great show idea. Me eating valerian straight out of the woods, then passing out to sleep for three days, for instance. Or not.

Lately, I've been doing research for an ebook on hair remedies. I thought I was all up to speed on this topic. As another experiment on myself four years ago, I decided to give up shampoo and blog about it. Turns out that one worked so well I still haven't shampood. Perhaps you think that's disgusting, but now I think shampoo is disgusting. I'd never pay $20 for a bottle of goop at the hairdresser's. My hair would be oily by evening, and I've gotten used to never, ever having greasy hair. Sounds like it goes against the grain, doesn't it?

I've been plowing away with my same old hair washing routine for the past four years, and I've learned to use various herbal rinses in the process. My hair coloring regime is henna and lemon juice, and I just learned to layer my own hair. With scissors, not sharp herbs.

But what I found surprising is that when I pull all my herbal hair remedies together and research until I'm blue in the face, there's just not that much out there. The same remedies turn up again and again, which may point to the fact that the few that exist work so well that no one ever bothered to come up with something else, but I don't think so. Now I'm digging through old pharmaceutical formularies and books dating back a few hundred years and coming up with remedies such as taping a piece of of amber to your ear to get rid of inner ear problems. (Anyone heard of an earring?) Or tying a bit of black string around your child's neck to stop coughing during the night. Perhaps their lack of oxygen would account for that cure.

Thankfully, there are lots of hidden gems among advice to give our children regular doses of cocaine or morphine. It's amazing how many natural cures have been in existence for hundreds of years without having had the benefit of scientific explanations. But now we know why so many of these things actually work. And there are countless remedies that we still have no reasonable explanation for their efficacy, yet they accomplish their wonders all the same.

My search for good hair remedies continues on, as do personal experiments on my own head. (Hair samples in the way of layering leftovers have become valued.) I still may have to create some of my very own remedies, but in the meantime I'm having a lot of fun just digging through all these old texts discovering other things I might want to test on myself. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have the hiccups and need to stick a penny between my toes.

Check out my Herbs Gone Wild series for Kindle here.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Beauty Gone Wild! Herbal Recipes for Gorgeous Skin & Hair

I'm happy to announce my latest fledgling has left the nest. Beauty Gone Wild! Herbal Recipes for Gorgeous Skin & Hair is now available on Amazon. If you're tired of paying armloads for fancy moisturizers and beauty products with questionable ingredients, this ebook will teach you how to make your own, step by step. You'll learn how to make toners, astringents, salves, lip balm, deodorants, tooth powders (that really whiten), sugar scrubs, and more. All for cheap, cheap, cheap. (How's that for bird talk?)

If you're without a Kindle, have no fear. You can pick up a free Kindle app on Amazon for everything from your iPhone to your PC.

Beauty Gone Wild! is the second volume of the Herbs Gone Wild! series. Swing by Amazon and take a look. If you pick up a copy, please do let me know what you think! I'd love to hear. Next in the Herbs Gone Wild! series? Hair Gone Wild!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Natural Cold Remedies for the Wimpy Sick Person

I can't stand getting sick, not even the sniffles, which is why I'm chock full of natural cold remedies for the wimpy sick person, said wimp being myself. So if you're wondering what an herbalist would do when a cold starts to come on, I can tell you from personal experience: First I cry a little. Whining is good, perhaps to those nearest and dearest, but not so much they do the eye-roll thing. Eye rolling is never well received by sick wimps.

Last night I woke up around 1 a.m. with a sore throat and no one to whine at, so I dragged myself out of bed and grabbed the echinacea tincture, something I never go without. I know some people say echinacea isn't really a cold and flu thing, but it does boost the immune system, and I've had it work wonders. And yes, its biggest remedy use in the past was for poisonous snake bites, etc., but hey, most plants have more uses than we know. And I don't hang out with poisonous snakes. Let's stretch here.

This morning I grabbed a lemon and squeezed (squoze? I like squoze better, even if it's wrong) half that baby in a glass of water, gulped, then drank the other half about an hour later. I'll keep doing that all day. I never, ever, ever commit the unpardonable citrus sin, which is to buy one of those silly plastic lemons and use that instead. Number 1: It tastes gross. Number 2: It's stored in plastic, and I'm an undeniable anti-plastic snob. Number 3: They add citric acid as a preservative and occasionally other stuff too. Squeezing a real lemon isn't much work, even in my sickened condition.

For lunch, I'm going to partake of a large bowl of vegetarian chili, which (how providential) I cooked just yesterday. I'll be adding lots of crushed red pepper to mine, which will help that sore throat and any aches and pains.

Tea? Of course. Chamomile with honey, perhaps a cup of peppermint, a spot of ginger. All good choices.

I'll also enjoy a nice big green smoothie made of fresh spinach, cranberries (which I freeze by the bagful during the holidays), and orange juice.

More echinacea, more lemon, more tea. Blah, blah, blah. By tomorrow, I may not even have the right to whine anymore.

Oh, and lest I forget, everyone in the household will receive the same treatment, sick or not. My natural cold remedies aren't just for this wimpy sick person, it's the right preventative for everyone that has to put up with me.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Herbs Gone Wild Goes Free for One Day!

I'm doing a bit of an experiment today and have decided to make my ebook Herbs Gone Wild free, one day only, 01/06/12, through midnight PST. Almost halfway through the day so far, and already over 1,300 people have snagged themselves a copy of herbal deliciousness! You, too, can enjoy this healthy ebook treat. Doesn't your Kindle deserve it? Yes, it does. It follows you everywhere, even has to sit in that big ugly bag all day waiting for your lunch break. I know because it told me so. It wants herbs. Greenery. Natural remedies, not the artificial stuff. I think what your Kindle really wants is to learn how to make homemade salve. And herbal tea. And cherry cough syrup.

There, now, doesn't it make you feel good to give to your Kindle? And it didn't cost you a thing.

Herbs Gone Wild! Ancient Remedies Turned Loose