Best Herbs and Spices for Cold and Flu – Plus a Secret Weapon

Best Herbs and Spices for Cold and Flu - prevent colds and fight the flu with these natural remedies from your pantry and a "secret" weapon for your home.

The common cold and a strain of influenza A are doing some serious tail kicking this winter from what I’m seeing on the internet and social media.  Because of the ability of the flu virus to quickly mutate, this year’s flu vaccine may be ineffective on over half of viruses sampled by the CDC.  So far, knock on wood, we haven’t battled more than minor sniffles and sore throat, and I’ve made a habit of adding these herbs and spices for cold and flu fighting into our meals and herbal teas.  This post discusses how herbs, spices, traditional remedies and your kitchen sink can help boost your immune system and protect you from cold and flu. [Read more…]

10 Easy Herbal Gifts to Enjoy Now, Plus One Gift That Lasts All Year Long

10 Easy Herbal Gifts to Enjoy Now, Plus One Gift That Lasts All Year Long - Win a scholarship for the HANE Introductory Herbal Course

Those who know me are familiar with my habit of running just a bit late.  (I blame it on the boys.  Before I had kids I used to be on time or early – honest!)  As we hit the middle of December, I’m still working on presents for friends and neighbors.  Homemade jams and jellies, hard lotion bars, homemade perfume, fresh baked bread and homemade fudge and truffles have all been well received.  This year I’m mixing things up a little with some herbal recipes from The Herbal Academy of New England (HANE), plus a few of my own.  These easy herbal gifts are great for the holidays or any time of year, and quick enough that you may just want to make up extra to keep for yourself.

Plus – the Herbal Academy of New England is also giving one lucky Common Sense Homesteading reader a FREE membership to their Online Introductory Herbal Course, and is offering everyone 15% off all their online programs and memberships with the coupon code “HANEHolidays”, including their brand new offering, The Herbarium, which is a gift you can give to yourself or an herb loving friend that will last all year long. [Read more…]

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…]