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Mullein, Cedar and Tangerine Peel: Simple Tea for the Lungs



Sometimes simple is good

A few months ago, I experienced a lingering cough after an case of influenza. When it was a stronger, more irritating cough, I treated it aggressively with Planetary Formulas’ Old Indian Wild Cherry Syrup (plus other things). It’s strong stuff, but when I have had bronchial infections it has historically helped so much that I go straight to it.

After the worst of the cough was gone, I reached for a tea of three simple herbs which are easy to harvest and created a tea general tea for the lungs that’s quite delicious.

Three Herb Tea for Promoting General Lung Function

  • Mullein – Verbascum thapsus.
  • Red Cedar –Thuja plicata.
  • Dried Tangerine Peel – Citrus tangerina.  Read More

Triple Rose and Lavender Sipping Tea



I love making custom tea blends for people. Whether it’s an herbal sipping tea or a strong medicinal blend, there’s nothing like making a big batch of tea with someone in mind.

One request was for a rose and lavender tea. Seems like simple enough directions, but when I tasted just the two herbs together, I felt like it needed depth and a variance of flavor. Those flowers competed with each other and needed to be tamed a bit.

Triple Rose and Lavender

  • 1 part Lavender flowers
  • 1 part Rosebuds
  • 2 parts Rose Hips
  • 1/2 part hand-harvested Rose Petals

The rose hips added a hint of sweet and tart, and gave the brewed tea a smoky rose color. Rose hips weighed down the floral and fragrant blossoms allowing the taste can linger on your palate, rather than float away to the ethers. I used to use rose hips sparingly, but now I use them in much higher proportions and appreciate the flavor and nourishment they offer as a medicinal food.

I could’ve just used the rosebuds, but the Oregon rose petals impart such a different quality of rose flavor that I had to include them. Hand-harvest rose petals have a spicy, dryer, milder flavor than the standard rosebuds, and I find that they blend extremely well with other herbs while the rosebuds tend to dominate.

There is a general menstruation tea I make with Rose petals, Bai Shao (White Peony root), Yarrow, Raspberry and warming spices. The rose petals blend so nicely herbs that the rose taste is barely noticeable, if at all. Those foraged petals are quite a different animal than the concentrated buds.

The rose petals are varied, coming from different plants at different times. To me, this adds to their appeal all the more. Yellow, peach, mauve, pink, red, pale lavender and any shade in between. Oh, and then there’s the delicately curled pinnate rose leaves. The rose petals impart a wildness, albeit an urban wildness, to a cup of tea.

Herbal medicine is time and space medicine… I guess you could say locally grow food is similar (or herbal sipping teas?). I love knowing where my herbs came from, who harvested them, what the plants looked like when they were picked, and what the clouds looked like in the sky. Is it farfetched to think clouds and wind and the buzz of pollinating bees can be captured in herbs that were harvested that day? And when I sip that tea, does that snapshot of time resonate within my body and spirit?







Feverfew and the Headache


This summer I grew Feverfew for the first time, in a pot with Mexican Oregano and Dusty Miler. It grew well, and tolerated frequent harvest of its flowers and leaves for tincturing, sprouting new buds and growth many times. I hope it comes up next year so I can enjoy it all over again.

Feverfew had always confused me. I rarely heard it used for any other use besides migraines, and since I rarely experience migraines or headaches myself or treat many headaches, I didn’t gain experience with it. It seems that there were differing opinion about it. Some said it was only good for headaches with specific indications, some said to take it as a prophylaxis daily for any sort of migraine. Some said it was overrated and some said it was highly reliable. Read More


Sneak Peak: New Products for the Shop



New products soon to be in the shop!

I am really excited to add a new herbal face care line. I have been using my own face toner, steam and oil serum for years now, so it feels good to finally perfect my formulas (for the time being, at least) and offer them in the shop.

Another addition will be a nourishing hair oil, with jojoba oil. I love jojoba oil, it is so luxurious and is notably a little different from other oils as it seems to lock in moisture and balance oil production with long term use. At first I was concerned it would build up on the hair, but I haven’t found this to be the case at all. From my experience, it seems that waxes tend to build up, not oils.

I also have a Cedarwood and Fir deodorizing body spray. Even though the scent is on the masculine side, I find myself wearing it almost daily. I just can’t get enough of that cedar scent. Read More


Tea of the Day: St. John’s Wort, Milky Oats and Chamomile Tea for the Center



Here’s a gentle and tasty tea combining some of my favorite herbs to support the all-important brain-gut connection. It works on the nervous system and the middle jiao (digestion) to move Qi and ease stomach aches, increase healthy permeability and absorption in the gut, calms the emotions especially anxiety, is tonifying to worn-out adrenals, warms and increases circulation. Read More

collosseum tree

Olea europaea: Olive Trees in Rome


arch olive treeI have just returned from an Italian vacation. Oh, the sights, the food, the plants and the ruins to be seen! One particular plant seen all over the place happens to be one of utmost importance: the Olive tree. Olive trees are all over the place. From afar they are easy to identify because of their round, squat crown and their distinctive pale silvery-green foliage. Read More


Herb Samples: A Most Useful Study Aid

The last 4 weeks have been a whirl-wind. But I made out out on the other side! Yes, I officially graduated.

My last board exam was the herbal one. I spent a week doing practice tests, reading through my notes and fondling my samples. My herb samples came from the free table at school. Some samples were missing, some had pre-made notes and some had lost their, um, freshness, but I didn’t care. They did the trick. It is much easier to memorize things when the thing you have to memorize is in your hands, or at least it is for me. I would’ve preferred to taste each one individually, see it growing, learn the botany, chemistry and ethnobotanic history in an attempt to really learn it. How much can you know about a plant by just reading about it? A lot, true, but so much can be gleaned experientially. Read More

featured slider image size elderberry tea

Elderberry, a Worthy Add to Herbal Teas

When I worked at a co-op in the health and body care section, I noticed that every year around November, bottles and bottles of elderberry products would fly off the shelves. Elderberry has earned a reputation as a cold and flu herb, especially for the dreaded influenza, and rightfully so. It packs a powerful punch of anthocyanadins, helps the immune system do this. Studies have shown that it is effective at reducing the length of the flu by half.

Yet like most herbs, elderberry has depth and can be used in many situations. Read More


Additional Places to Connect

I wish I could spend more time on this blog. I dream about all the things I want to explore and share and ask about herbs and health. Most everyday I am jotting down inspirations and taking photos of the the herbal apothecary that trail my shadow.

Luckily a major shift in my schedule and life is approaching; I will graduate grad school on August 30th. That’s less than two months away! I cannot wait to 1) rejuvenate and 2) pursue my herbal interests 4) connect with family and friends and 3) go to Italy in September and Wisconsin in October.

So in the mean time, I want want to share some of the other places I am seen frequenting.

During the month of April, I took an Etsy vacation. I closed my shop down and focused on exploring herbs in a different, more personal way. In April I also started second blog about plants, flowers, and the Portland area. You can check it out here: Fall Into Place Blog. It was supposed to be a month of internet reduction, but the need to take photos of flowers overcame.

I have a Tumblr page for Kyra Botanica : You can find my plant-obsessed Pinterest page here:kyrabotanica. And when I remember, I post photos on Instagram: celia_jean. and as kyrabotanica.