Monday, June 30, 2008
We're off on our Wagon Train adventure in North Dakota. It is my hope we get to see a field of this glorious native American herb! It is also my hope we don't have to use it during our trek -- especially the way the Native Americans used it --- for snake bites!
ECHINACEA: medicinal uses
A guest post article written by David Brill, Clinical Herbalist, The Rosemary House
The 3 commonly used Latin Named Species: Echinacea angustifolia, E. purpurea, E. pallida
This beautiful purple flowering plant has many common names including Echinacea, Snakeroot, Snakebite Plant, Cone Flower, Toothache Plant and others. As these common names imply this herb has many medicinal uses.
Echinacea received its name from botanists after the Latin Echinus for the hedgehog to describe its prickly-cone shaped flower’s center. By the late nineteenth century Echinacea, pronounced /ek-ah-nay-shuh/, had become the most widely prescribed drug in the United States, it has been used for cancer pain, poisoning, spider and snake bites and many infectious diseases. Over 300 articles have been written in scientific and technical journals verifying the effectiveness of Echinacea to treat diseases of the immune system. The most widespread use today is for prevention and reduction of symptoms of the common cold.
Recent scientific investigation has established 7 distinguished actions of this plant: 1.) Stimulation of White Blood Cell (WBC) production when counts are low in the body, 2.) Increased maturation of WBC, developing immature cells quicker and continuously toward differentiation within the body aiding the lymph, spleen and thymus organs of the immune system, 3.) Amplifies chemical messengers released when the body is attacked speeding the migration of WBC to the site of damage, 4.) Increases the aggressiveness of WBC to invaders of the body, 5.) Increases marking of invaders to the body so WBC can identify and attack them quicker, 6.) Increases cell wall permeability of invaders so that WBC can identify and attack them easier, 7.) Helps to maintain the inter-cell integrity decreasing the ability of invaders to attack our human body’s cell walls and decreasing infection by the inhibition of hyalurenidase used by the attacking invaders to breakdown our cells walls thus reducing the spread of infection and stopping the spread of infection through the body.
Testimonials from our clients and customers suggest they find the Echinacea they use very effective or not effective at all. The reason for this disparate result can be explained as either form used, amount and frequency or timing of dosage. Fresh Echinacea should tingle the tongue this is your take home test. If taking capsules filled with ground plant material break them open and chew keeping it on the tip
tongue within a short time your tongue should tingle. If it does not this is probably inert Echinacea and medicinally valueless. This same test can be applied to tinctures or dry plant material found in retails herb stores. This verifies form, this tingling ensures freshness of the material.
Timing: Use Echinacea when you feel you are getting sick. Everyone knows the feeling: scratchy throat, slight body or head ache, pain in back or kidney area, tiredness and it is also appropriate to take Echinacea as a prophylactic (preventive). This would be when you have met a sick person or on the road in an airplane and/or stayed at a smoke filled party or bar. This is also the time to dose yourself with Echinacea.
Dosage: I suggest a teaspoon of extract every 2 hours for the first couple of days as soon as you get the feeling you maybe getting sick. This requires having a 4 to 8-ounce bottle of Echinacea extract in your medicine cabinet or carrying a small bottle with you while traveling.
(These recommendations are not intended to replace the advice of your personal physician.)
For those that cannot take alcohol, glycerin extracts can be used, most Echinacea glycerites are less powerful then their sister alcohol extracts and require higher dosing, follow manufacturer’s suggestions provided with their product.
David Brill is a clinical herbalist at The Rosemary House in Mechanicsburg, PA. He lives with his wife and business partner Susanna Reppert-Brill and their three little herbs Zachery, Angelica and Cedar.
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Sun Jun 29 Sunny 78°/52°
Mon Jun 30 Sunny 81°/55°
Tue Jul 01 Mostly Sunny 86°/59°
Wed Jul 02 Isolated T-Storms 82°/55°
Thu Jul 03 Partly Cloudy 74°/50°
Fri Jul 04 Partly Cloudy 76°/52°
Sat Jul 05 Partly Cloudy 75°/51°
Sun Jul 06 Partly Cloudy 77°/54° Wagons Ho!
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Summer Strawberry Salsa
1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
1/2 red bell pepper, julienned (seeds removed, thinly sliced)
1/2 yellow bell pepper, julienned
1/2 green bell pepper, julienned
1/4 c. finely shredded fresh cilantro leaves
1 c. fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/4 c. fresh orange juice
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, toss gently to combine. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours, but no longer than 4 hours. Remove from the refrigerator about 15 minutes before serving.
Yield: 2-1/2 c.; this recipe is very easy to double.
Serve the Strawberry Salsa with toasted pita triangles or toasted baguette slices, or simply with a plate and fork to enjoy as a salad! It would also make a colorful topping for grilled chicken.
Friday, June 27, 2008
Since ancient times trees and vines have been trained for useful purposes, raising crops off the ground, increasing the yield of the fruit and furnishing shade. The Romans were the first to develop these skills into topiary. Now generations of gardeners have used it as a softer alternative to marble statuary. As do many things, topiary went in and out of fashion with the Victorians reviving the fashion and adding ornate details.
Topiary is a fun topic to explore and many herbs lend themselves to it. Bay trees do very well as a "standard topiary" (think of a lollipop look), as do lavender and rosemary. Vining plants like English Ivy work nicely as a topiary shape but since we are The Rosemary House, we used creeping Rosemary.
First we shaped a 56 inch piece of 16 gauge galvanized wire into a heart shape. The Heart shape was approximately 32 inches leaving about a 5 inch stem on the heart and a small 3 inch circle on the bottom. We then hot glued the circle on the bottom of the heart to the bottom of the clay pot. Filled the pot with soil and planted two creeping Rosemary plants. With green twist ties we attached the Rosemary Plants to the wire and will continue to adjust the twist ties as the plant grows and begins to fill out our lovely heart shape plant.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
There are fairies at the bottom of our garden!
There are fairies at the bottom of our garden!
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Wednesday, June 25, 2008
so here goes Let's Play Tag!
The rules of the game: Each player answers the questions themselves. At the end of the post the player tags 4 people and posts their names, and goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment letting them know that they've been tagged asking them to read your blog. Let the person who tagged you know when you've posted your answers.
Ten years ago... Wedding preparations were under way as Susanna and David were married on the 4th of July at Peace Church with a wedding reception held in our gardens. All the food was prepared by myself, including the wedding cake decorated with crystallized pansies. It was a beautiful day with cause for much celebration. The honeymoon, a Rosemary House traveling herb seminar, included a trip to the Amazon with the newlyweds, 3 sisters, 1 brother-in-law, a cousin, her son, and a few other participants. What an adventure! A Honeymoon to Remember. It's hard to top an Amazon adventure, but our Wagon Train excursion is the perfect celebration for their 10th wedding anniversary.
Five things on today's to do list... serve lunch to a herb club, advance prep for tomorrow's event, clean off my desk, cleanup from today's event, set the tables for tomorrow's event, laundry, prepare the family dinner, think about packing for vacation, go to the bank... wait.... that's more than five things.... the list is never ending....
Snacks I enjoy... chocolate, chips, cakes
Things I would do if I was a millionaire.... travel leisurely around the world, eventually buy castles in England and Spain and invite family and friends over for dinner (airfare on me of course) every night.
Places I have lived... born in NJ, lived mostly in PA, a short while in CT, and spent my senior year of college abroad in Spain
I'm tagging TEA pals:
MaryAnne of Torchsong Studio,
Marilyn of Marmalady's,
Alice of Tea in My Cup, and
Valerie of Tea and Trinkets
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Peach Basil Iced Tea
3 Orange Pekoe tea bags
1 c. chopped basil, loosely packed, fresh
4 c. water
4 c. Peach Nectar
1/4 c. simple syrup (dissolve 1/8 c. sugar in 1/8 c. hot water)
Place tea bags and basil in a large bowl. Bring water to a boil, pour over the basil and tea bags. Steep 5 minutes and strain. Chill. Stir in peach nectar and syrup. Enjoy this refreshing iced tea on a hot summers day.
Monday, June 23, 2008
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Friday, June 20, 2008
But, if you would like something a bit unusual, pick the small unopen buds and drop them into a jar of pickle juice. In a week or so, you will be able to enjoy pickled day lily buds! Something unique to offer your visiting neighbor! The only unfortunate thing about picking the buds to pickle them is that you will no longer have the showy blossoms in your garden. It's a tough call. Typically, we enjoy the blossoms, and allow the buds to bloom unless we know we have an edible flower class in the future, in which case we will pickle the buds to pass around the lecture hall.
Monday, June 16, 2008
It was one of my wishes to have a spot to sit and enjoy the garden, the sights and sounds and even fragrances that you find in a herb garden. Every now and then, we will enjoy a simple summer meal in the gazebo. It's a pleasant break from the norm. Well, today, hidden along side the gazebo, we discovered 4 eggs nestled among the weeds (yes, we have those), slightly tan eggs, larger than a chicken egg, and definitely a nest. With a quick Internet search, it was confirmed that they are Mallard eggs (a-ha, that was a Mallard I saw last week). The hen lays a single egg each day, up to about 8 - 12 eggs. Once all the eggs are laid, she will begin nesting for approx. 28 days. The eggs all hatch at the same time, and once hatched, she will lead her brood to food and water.
We do indeed have a backyard wildlife habitat. Wonder if mother Mallard read the sign, or did she simply assess the gardens, and determined they fulfilled her needs. In the meantime, we realize that nature can be cruel, we do hope these eggs are safe, and wonder where she will take her brood once hatched.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
The Patriarch of our family, a father of 4, grandfather of 5, great-grandfather of 1 (plus 1 on the way), is celebrating a quiet Father's Day, with pizza and Daughter #3. (Daughters #2 and #4 are at a herb festival all day; Daughter #1 will probably call later this evening.)
This father of 2, grandfather of 1 (with 1 on the way) will do anything you ask him to do, with a smile on his face, even attend afternoon tea because that's what we do.
This father of 3, a boyscout leader, and our camping expert for the upcoming wagon train, is great with the grill, but will accompany us to afternoon tea because that's what we like to do.
This father of 1 (with 1 on the way) married the 'golden girl' in our family. A nickname her grandmother bestowed upon her when she was little, she is the oldest of the grandchildren, and a real blessing in our family.
Remembering Father's every where today - those that are near and far, and those that live within our hearts, Happy Father's Day!
Saturday, June 14, 2008
The Auxiliary Board of Bethany Village, a local retirement community, hosted an International Tasting Tea this past Thursday; and I was fortunate to have been invited to attend. The Auxiliary was organized in 1972 and conducts certain activities and projects in an effort to raise funds to procure necessary items for use at Bethany Village, such as outdoor benches, kitchen equipment, a multimedia projector, and more. This tea was one of their recent fund raising events. The tickets were $10 per person, limited to 86 attendees. It appeared to be a successful event, it ran smoothly, and looked effortless, although I know there was a lot of coordination to make this event a success. Mary Klaus, a local Patriot News reporter, spoke about the medical missionary work she has done around the world, and how she has served tea in many unusual locales, and that it has been a uniting factor for many. Her program,, "Dust off Your Dreams" was very interesting and entertaining. She had many memorable experiences to share. Following her program, it was time to sample the international teas. There were 6 tables set up around the perimeter of the room, and when you wanted to sample another tea, you would go to the labeled table which had been decorated to represent each country. We were able to taste Almond Sunset representative of Australia, English Breakfast typical in England, Harney's Paris blend symbolic of France, a Sencha Green from Japan, Raspberry Passion to illustrate Mexico, and Ginger Lemon denoting Thailand. The party began with a three tiered tray which included a bottom tier of sandwiches, a middle tier of fresh fruit skewers, and a top tier of assorted cookies, brownies, and sweets. The hostesses of the event would replenish each plate as it emptied. The assortment of sandwiches and sweets was amazing, and the amount of goodies appeared limitless. Just to mention a few of the sandwiches, there were ham & pineapple squares, cream cheese filled fruit breads, egg salad triangles, onion and olive rounds, shrimp salad sandwiches, and more. The desserts included chocolate chip cookies, layer bars, orange frosted cookies (my favorite), peanut butter cups in a cookie, brownies, and more. There were some very busy cooks preparing for this event. It was noted in the program that all of the tea and the treats that you have enjoyed today are supplied and prepared by our Auxiliary Board and Members, and they did a superb job in preparing and serving this large group of women, many wearing hats and gloves. What fun it was to be on the other side of the kitchen! Thank you Kathy for extending an invitation to me to join you in this delightful afternoon tea.
(If you wish, click on the collage to enlarge the photos.)
Thursday, June 12, 2008
The residence, located on Massachusetts Avenue, commonly referred to as Embassy Row, was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens (1869 - 1944) and built in 1928. It is a red brick building with stone dressings, suggestive of an English country house of the Queen Anne period.
The roses were in full bloom, and quite a delight to see. While we were there, the gardeners, some volunteers, were planting annuals in abundance.
The residence has been described as functional and comfortable, as well as impressive. Indeed.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
This past Friday evening was our all-important Apprentice Gardener night. We have three distinct gardens behind our businesses. The Rosemary House garden is a traditional English cottage garden, the garden behind Sweet Remembrances is considered a low-maintenance garden, and the garden behind David & Susanna's home is a whimsical garden. Although no mowing is needed, each garden has its own requirements to keep it under control during these growing months. In order to provide some extra hands for this garden maintenance, Susanna created Apprentice Gardener night where volunteers help in the herb gardens for about 2 hours. Many hands indeed make light work. There is a lot of weeding, trimming, planting, weeding, pruning, cutting, weeding, etc. that needs to be done; and it is done cheerfully by these volunteers. We rely heavily on the extra help we receive on these 6 Friday evenings scheduled April thru September. The benefits our gardeners receive include a herbal supper, surplus seeds and plants, a 10% discount in the shop the night they help, and a real learning experience. It is a fun event, and many of our Apprentice Gardeners come back year after year, affectionately referring to it as 'weed and feed'. Our menu this past Friday started with a Fresh Spring Garden Salad (all local, organic produce), followed by Meatloaf and Byron's Potato Filling. Dessert was a Chocolate Frosted Chocolate Cake with a raspberry chocolate filling. This menu, a favorite of Susanna's, was a continuation of her birthday celebration week.
~ Thank you to all our Apprentice Gardeners ~ we do appreciate your help!
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Monday, June 9, 2008
2 tsp. cornstarch
1/2 c. apple juice
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
approx. 6 cups prepared fruit (cantaloupe, pineapple, strawberries, & blueberries)
Combine the sugar and cornstarch in a medium saucepan. Stir in the apple juice, lemon juice and ginger. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture comes to a full boil and is slightly thickened. Cool.
Wash and prepare the fresh fruit. Gently mix the fruit with the ginger glaze, stirring to coat.
Serve chilled, or at room temperature. (we prefer room temperature as the flavor of the fruits intensifies).
Sunday, June 8, 2008
These early spring photos share our Peace Garden.
This garden is dedicated to our hope for Peace on Earth, Internal peace for all people, and Eternal peace for our Beloved Mother (1919-1999) and her sister Hildegard Peplau (1909-1999), and their sister-in-law Anne Nails Peplau (1913-1998).
We have quiet chimes, Tibetan prayer flags blowing in the breeze, St Frances over looks the garden, and a Peace pole in the center.
A memorial tribute to these three great influential women is placed in the Peace Garden, and a bench provides solace for thought and reflection, or quiet prayer. It is a peaceful corner in our little world that we hope spreads beyond our garden gates. Que la paz prevalezca en la tierra.
Friday, June 6, 2008
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
There is a spirit of make-believe hiding within us all, which perhaps is one of the reasons the upcoming Wagon Train adventure has its unique appeal.
Whether we are enjoying an open hearth dinner, or a very special afternoon tea, we are creating memories to last a lifetime.
Happy Birthday little sis. May the coming year be full of joy and happiness, hope for the future, and new adventures!
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
- Walnut Date cheese Ball & Crackers
- Ginger Glazed Fresh Fruit
- Chicken Salad in Tart Shells
- Radish Cucumber & Basil Rounds
- Peach & Brie Crostini
- Ham & Cheese Domino Sandwich
- Rose Petal Sandwich
- Gingered Cream Cheese Grapes
- Kensington Palace Scones
- Apricot Cream Scones
- True Devon Cream, Mock Clotted Cream
- Apricot Preserves, Lemon Curd
- Strawberry Cookies
- Miniature Dundee Cakes
- Fudgelicious Brownie
- Prince of Wales Tea
- Long Live the Queen! Oolong flavored Champagne
Monday, June 2, 2008
Spread a thin layer of cream cheese on soft white bread. Cover one layer of bread fully with the rose petals. Place another cream cheese covered bread over top of the rose petals. With a serrated knife, remove the crusts; cut the sandwich in half, and then each half in thirds; so you have small bite size rose petal sandwiches.
Place the little sandwiches in a circular pattern on your plate; and garnish with fresh roses. Cover with wax paper and saran wrap until you are ready to serve these dainty little tidbits. What a perfect addition to a garden party.