How to Make Elderberry Syrups and Jellies

How to Make Elderberry Syrups and Jellies with Fresh or Dried Elderberries
My friend, Tami, saw my comment on the Common Sense Homesteading Facebook page about wanting to experiment with elderberries, and embraced the challenge with gusto.  She and her family went picking, and came home with the entire car trunk filled with elderberries.  Bless her heart, I didn’t have time to help her process them the next day, so she stuck them in the freezer overnight and tackled them herself.  In this post we’ll share how to process fresh elderberries, plus how to make elderberry syrup and elderberry jelly with those fresh elderberries, and an easy recipe for a small batch of immune boosting elderberry syrup with dried elderberries. [Read more...]

16 Home Remedies for Arthritis

16 Home Remedies for Arthritis - foods to eat and foods to avoid, supplements and lifestyle changes, alternative and herbal therapies for arthritis.

Both my mother and my grandmother dealt with arthritis pain.  When I was a little girl, my grandmother Catherine held up her gnarled hand with crooked fingers and told me, “This is what happens when you crack your knuckles.  Never crack your knuckles.”  While most studies seem to have found no correlation between knuckle cracking and arthritis, the image of grandma’s hand has stuck with me, and I know arthritis caused her pain.  Mom never said much about it, but I’d see her rubbing her joints, and she always wore copper bracelets for the last several decades of her life.  Just recently, I was talking to my neighbor, Betty.  She told me that a friend of hers was on arthritis medication that knocked out her immune system so badly that she couldn’t kick a simple cold.  Her story inspired me to write this post and assemble a list of home remedies for arthritis to provide her with some natural treatment alternatives. [Read more...]

Learn Herbalism with the Herbal Academy of New England

Learn Herbalism with the Herbal Academy of New England

Those of you who have been around for a bit know that I am a plant person.  I have big garden, and have firmly embraced wildcrafting (learning to use wild plants for food and medicine).  What I haven’t had is a formal opportunity to learn herbalism.  Other than some interesting conversations with the neighbors about how to put some of their weeds to use, there simply aren’t many herby people nearby.  One of my wildcrafting mentors passed away, and the other moved out of state, so I’m back on my own again. [Read more...]

Herbal Library on a Budget

Herbal Library on a Budget @ Common Sense Homesteading

Most of my long time readers know I have a thing for plants.  I garden, I wildcraft (use weeds for food and medicine) and I experiment with herbal remedies and essential oils.  Like most subjects, the more I learn, the more I realize I’ve barely scratched the surface of what there is to know.  As such, I am always looking to add to my herbal library to expand my knowledge base.  It was great to see several herb related titles in the Extreme Health Library sale, including books on tree and rose medicine, which I have not yet had an opportunity to study.  Roses always remind me of my mother and grandmother, as they both had large patches of fragrant heirloom roses in their yards – which I have transplanted to my yard.  :-)  (That’s on of my roses on the lower right of the image above.) [Read more...]

6 Easy Home Remedies for Congestion

 Try these easy to use home remedies for congestion to relieve your stuffy nose and sinus pressure so you can breathe.  Natural decongestant options.

Less daylight, cold weather and busy schedules often lead to colds and flus making the rounds.  The discomfort (and even pain) associated with nasal congestion is one of the most common symptoms.  (Not to mention that the inability to breath is just plain annoying.)  I’ve gathered together several home remedies for congestion to relieve your stuffy nose and sinus pressure so you can breathe easy.  I don’t like the side effects of over the counter decongestants (they either make me jittery, knock me out or make my head feel like it’s going to shrivel up like a raisin), so natural decongestants are my option of choice. [Read more...]