Monthly Archives: February 2011

Swamp Tea Cold Remedy


Remember I mentioned I was sick? I had a chest cold with hard heavy mucus, a super sore throat and I could barely speak. I was exhausted and frustrated I couldn’t cough anything up. Of course, my beloved Fernando went to the store and got me all kinds of Nyquil and other cough syrup expectorants. Guess what? Other than putting me to sleep, none of them worked. Why in my time of need, did I forget I was a medicine woman?

Being as sick as I was, I knew I wouldn’t be able to drive around looking for any fancy herbs. I went back to my herbal class notes and Kami’s new book The Herbal Kitchen (which I HIGHLY recommend) to remember which ingredients I had at home to help me get over this cold.

What did I pick?

Here’s a rundown of my selections.

Honey: It helps stuff taste better and it helps with sore throats. Plus, being anti-bacterial, I needed all the help I could get with killing germs.

Cinnamon: To help break down the mucus and as an expectorant. Also it just tastes and smells good.

Garlic: In Kami’s book, The Herbal Garden, she mentions some thing about garlic that I didn’t remember from class. Garlic boosts the production of white blood cells. If that’s not reason to eat it, drink it, slather yourself in it, I don’t know what is. But beyond that, garlic just helps get rid of colds. And it tastes good.

Cayenne Pepper: Now I know that it’s also like cinnamon, as it helps break down mucus and an expectorant. Plus it just gets your blood moving!

Ginger: My family believes  in the medicinal properties of ginger. If I felt naseaus, my grandpa would give me preserved ginger to suck/chew on. If I had a stomach ache, here came more ginger. Plus, he cooked a lot with it. For me, I don’t care that I don’t know how it works. All I know is that this is a staple in our house. Oh yeah and it tastes good too.

Did you notice a theme about stuff tasting good here?

What I love about this tea, is not only did it kick my cold’s a$$, but really, it’s stuff we all have in our house. And this tea was insanely easy to make. For the most part, I don’t use measurements, but I’ll try and give you approximates.

First, cut off a small piece of ginger and grab a clove of garlic. Dump them both in a pot of water and bring to a boil. I usually let the water boil down a little bit, but you can decide how strong you want this mixture.

While this is boiling, get your other ingredients in the cup.

Generally, I put in enough cinnamon to thickly coat the bottom of my mug.

Then add a dash of cayenne. (Or more if you like)

And lastly, a little honey. In this picture, it’s probably about a teaspoon, but you can add more to your taste.

After you’re done boiling your garlic/ginger water, add it to the cinnamon/cayenne/honey mix.

Now stir, stir, stir! And there you have it. Swampy, murky looking water that tastes almost like real Mexican hot chocolate. This stuff had me up and moving again within a day of drinking it. I started coughing things up, sweating like crazy and within 3 days, I was able to go back to work. I still sounded like crap, and not everything had come out, but I was able to finish a whole day at work without being overly exhausted.

I don’t know why I forgot to make my own medicinal teas at the onset of my cold, but believe you me, it won’t happen again.

P.S. As always, I’m not a doctor and use your own judgement when it comes to your health. But let me know if you try this tea and if it works for you too.




Weeds, Seeds and Caddyshack. All Happening in the Garden.


Hey everyone!

A couple of things have happened lately that took me out of the game awhile. One, I got super sick and two, I switched to a new alternative work schedule. This long weekend is the first in long time that I’m able to do things like blog and work in the yard.

Speaking of the yard, with the crazy weather we’ve just had, ours is out of control. Since yesterday was sunny and somewhat warm, I went out with shears in hand to clean up and harvest. Check out what I’ve found.

Crawling Rosemary

Initially I had this planted in the ground, but our resident gopher is treating the yard like a buffet. I came out one day and the gopher had eaten one of my rosemary plants. Then I found he’d eating my african tall grass. And a few other plants. Yes, I am currently wearing a Rambo style head band and clenching a knife in between my teeth. How did you know?

Roses and Rosehips

We had a week before the snow (yes I said snow) came that was in the 70s, so my roses started blooming. These are the last two that aren’t completely gone.

I have a lot of rosehips (above) in the yard now. I’m getting ready to process them now and will take lots of pictures for you.

At the same time, even with the hot weather, because of the rain, a lot of my roses had rust on them.

See the orange spots? Thats rust. Meh. So I spent a lot of time removing all the rusty leaves.


My yarrow (also known as achillea) has completely dried out so I finally took the dried blossoms from the yard. They actually looked really pretty dried. Oh yeah, and ignore the weeds in the background. Thanks.


Yes, lavender infused oil is coming soon. And I mean like REALLY soon. I can’t wait to harvest this. Last year when I transplanted this into the ground, I was really unsure if it would take. I am so happy to see it green and vibrant.


Okay, so these aren’t blueberries, but this is one of my blueberry plants. Fernando bought these for me last year and I almost killed them. Luckily, I got smart, moved them to another spot in the yard and now I have blooms coming. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for berries this year.


For the last month, my raspberry plant has been growing quite a bit. I’ve been lazy on harvesting so I’ve been feeding the bugs and critters with my raspberries. I’m okay with that.

Rose Geranium (Attar of Roses)

If you can believe it, this plant was originally a quarter of it’s current size and I’ve only had it for about 7  months. I’ve done almost nothing to this plant, other than watering occassionaly and pulling weeds. (Except for the ones you currently see of course – just ignore them. Thanks!) It amazes me how even with some neglect this plant has just thrived. It’s even got flower buds coming out.

This particular geranium is “Attar of Roses” and it truly does smell like a rose. All you have to do is rub a leaf between your fingers to get the fragrant oils on your skin. I am still debating how I will process this plant. Infused oil? Fresh tea? Lotion blend? I dunno.

Of course, I left out all the weeds. Except for the one I’ve been munching on.

When I was a kid we called it sour grass but there many different names for this weed. I love how cheery they are and how tart and refreshing they taste. Somebody told me that too much can be poisonous, so I try not to eat too many of them.

Well, thats all for today. Any good things growing in your yard?