Herbalists believe that health and vitality begin in the digestive tract. Bitter-tasting herbs are best taken before each meal to enhance digestive function, improve metabolism, and support a balanced state of mind. People worldwide have traditionally called upon spring greens to cleanse the body and clear the mind. Learn more about bitter spring greens that are popping up all over the land and how to incorporate plants like, nettle, burdock, red clover, milk thistle, and dandelion into your daily regimen.View full article →
Let's face it. We live in a fast-paced world where we are bombarded by constant distractions. But, what if, for a few moments throughout our day, we took as little as 10 minutes to honor our bodies with a few self-care rituals to realign our mind, body, and soul?View full article →
Carrot and Yam Soup with Citrus and Spices
Adapted From Love Soup, By Anna Thomas - Deb Soule's Favorite Soup Book
1 or 2 large organic yams (1.25 to 2 pounds)
1 large onion
1 pinch of salt
1 pound of organic carrots
½ pound of organic parsnips
¼ pound peeled and sliced organic celeriac root
3 cups of water (or homemade soup stock)
1 tsp sea salt
1 inch stick of cinnamon
½ tsp of coriander seeds (lightly toasted & ground)
¼ tsp of nutmeg
1 pinch of cayenne pepper
1 organic orange rind (grated)
3 TBL of fresh organic lemon juice
1 ice cube of Immune Broth (added to each bowl)
Olive oil to saute with
Preheat oven to 375F. Roast the organic yams. Pierce them a few times with a fork and bake until totally soft - 45 minutes. Allow to cool, and peel. Chop and saute onion in olive oil with a pinch of salt until soft and lightly brown. Slice the organic carrots, parsnips and celeriac root and combine in a soup pot with 3 cups of water (or homemade soup stock), sea salt, stick of cinnamon, ground coriander seeds, nutmeg and pinch of cayenne pepper. Simmer together, covered, until tender - about ½ hour. Add roasted yam and onion, grated orange rind, fresh organic lemon juice, and salt. Add a bit more water if needed. Blend in small batches until totally smooth. Readjust seasonings. When serving hot, place one ice cube of Immune Broth in each person’s bowl, ladle in hot steaming soup. The ice cube will melt and the benefits of the Immune Broth will be imparted to all eaters!
For over 20 years, Avena Botanicals has combined certified organic roots and mushrooms into a blend for making your own immune broth at home. Unlike many competing products in the marketplace, 100% of the mushrooms we use are grown in the USA. Our Immune Broth contains certified organic Astragalus root, organic Burdock root, organic Eleuthero root bark, sustainably wild-crafted Red Reishi mushroom, and organic Shiitake mushroom.
I recommend that you cook the herbs and mushrooms for a minimum of 8-24 hours, adding water as needed, and then strain and pour the cooled concentrated liquid into ice cube trays. Once frozen, store the ice cubes in a sealed bag in your freezer (approximately 6 weeks of ice cubes per person when taken daily). The ice cubes are ready to use on a regular basis, daily or several times a week, by placing into a warm bowl of your favorite soup or into a cup of warm miso soup (my favorite miso is made by South River Miso Company). Winter is the season for soups with an added cube of Immune Broth! I recommend an ice cube a day, or three times a week, per person, to strengthen the immune system, digestion, and the respiratory system and to protect the body from exposure to inclement weather and environmental toxins.
Below is information about the fortifying ingredients in Avena Botanicals' Immune Broth.
Astragalus root (Astragalus membranaceus)
Astragalus is an essential herb for the time in which we are living as it gives us the nourishment and strength to think clearly, to stand up, and be our authentic selves, to be informed by inspiration, to digest both our food and life experiences fully, and to strengthen our lungs and immune system. Astragalus when taken regularly in soup (Immune Broth), or as tea or tincture, helps us be less “thin-skinned” and stronger in our ability to stand upright, emotionally and physically, and to receive the breath qi (chi)-inspiration in all its forms. To be guided by inspiration, and to receive inspiration from the beauty of the natural world (and from music, literature, theater, art, children, Elders, and healing dances and songs), can help humans be kinder, more caring, and compassionate towards ourselves, each other, and our planet.
Burdock root (Arctium lappa)
Burdock’s mildly sweet and bitter taste stimulates digestive activity, clears toxins from the gut, lessens sweet cravings and relieves gas, indigestion and constipation. Its sweet and oily properties benefit the endocrine system and nourish people who feel tired and run down. Burdock improves liver function and supports women’s hormonal shifts throughout their menstruating and menopausal years and even beyond menopause. Burdock root contains inulin, a rich source of fructo-oliogosaccharides (FOS), which enhances the growth of healthy bowel flora. Burdock root has long been revered for its ability to remove accumulated waste from the tissues and bring the body back into a balanced state of health.
Eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosus, also known as Siberian ginseng)
Eleuthero has been one my most favorite herbs for many years. When I take it consistently over several months, I feel like I am standing on solid ground. This deeply rebuilding and restorative tonic increases overall vitality, physical strength, and endurance. It strengthens the immune system’s reservoir, improves digestion and absorption of nutrients, supports healthy liver function and maintains healthy blood flow through the arteries to the brain-improving memory, concentration and overall mental clarity. During my recent trip to study in Ecuador, I used tinctures of Avena Botanicals' Eleuthero and Hawthorn Plus, starting a month before my travels, to support my immunity and ability to be at higher altitudes (10,000 feet). Eleuthero is far less stimulating than American or Chinese ginseng. See below for more information about our Eleuthero tincture, which is also now back in stock.
Reishi Mushroom (Ganoderma tsugae)
This red shelf mushroom is found growing in hemlock groves on old stumps and fallen down trees in Maine and throughout New England. I enjoy cross country skiing and hiking through hemlock groves-pausing to deeply infuse with their spirit and beauty. Reishi has become a popular mushroom for enhancing the immune system, improving adrenal function, easing stress, and reducing allergic reactions and inflammation.
Shiitake Mushroom (Lentinula edodes)
Shiitake is a commonly cultivated mushroom, usually grown on hardwood logs such as oak. It strengthens the immune system, improves overall circulation and cardiovascular health, assists people who feel chronically tired and run down, supports healthy cholesterol levels, and enhances an overall feeling of well-being. It has long been used in Asia as a food and medicine.
Applesauce Spice Cake
Adapted from Beyond the Moon Cookbook by Ginny Callan
¾ cup (1½ sticks) organic butter, softened
1 cup honey or maple syrup
2 large eggs
2 cups unsweetened applesauce (use homemade if you have it)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 and ½ cups whole spelt flour
1 and ½ cups white spelt flour
½ cup rolled oats
1 TBL baking soda
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
½ tsp freshly ground cardamom seeds
¼ tsp ground clover
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour two 9 or 10 inch cake pans.
In a medium-size bowl, cream the butter with honey until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, applesauce and vanilla. In another bowl, stir together the flours, oats, baking soda and spices.
Beat the dry ingredients into the wet. Pour the batter into prepared pans and bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let pans cool for 10 minutes and then turn them out onto cake racks.
Glaze: Heat 1 cup maple syrup, ½ cup organic cream or half and half, and 2 Tbl flour in a saucepan over low heat, whisking until it begins to simmer and thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Cool the glaze. Pour between cake layers and over the cake once the cake is cool.
Ginger, Pear, and Turmeric Muffins Recipe
The warming and pungent qualities of ginger and turmeric make a perfect pairing for winter muffins. They both support healthy digestion and are known in the Ayurvedic tradition to enkindle agni (digestive fire) and clear toxins from the gut. Most herbalists worldwide agree that supporting good digestion and elimination is necessary for health and quality of life. Both of these delicious herbs support healthy immune function, clear congestion in the head and chest, warm the body when chilled, and stimulate good digestion.
Preheat oven to 375. In a small bowl, mix flax seeds and water and set aside. Combine flour, baking powder, turmeric, spices, and salt. In a larger bowl, whisk oil, maple syrup, and Ginger Glycerite until well combined. Slowly pour flax mixture and milk as you whisk into the liquid mixture. Add grated ginger and ginger candy. Add flour mixture into liquid and mix until combined, taking care to not over-mix. Fold in sliced pears. Fill muffin tins 2/3 full with batter and bake 20-22 minutes. Eat fresh within 2 days or freeze. Enjoy these yummy muffins!