Copyright © 2007-2015 Foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, All Rights Reserved

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Putting the Smack on Poison Ivy

They're beginning to fade now, but here is another bouquet of our violets.

I've long believed if we have a health problem there must be a natural, safe remedy for it.  We don't always find a natural remedy for everything, but sometimes we find one that is so good it must be shared.  I've just returned from my annual spring trip...

... to a family drugstore in Sweetwater, Tenn. where I buy a homeopathic inoculation for Goodman that prevents the dreaded bane (for him) of summer, poison ivy.
No affiliation, just appreciation.
 They make Rhus Tox every year for their customers who prefer to be free from the rash caused by contact with the poison ivy plant.
source

 Since the first time he took the inoculation Goodman has not had one bout with the rash. He now takes Rhus Tox every year, and it's much cheaper than a trip to the doctor if the rash gets out of hand. The best part is it's a totally natural way to prevent the rash.  If you don't live in E. Tenn. just google it as it's available even on amazon.com.
Shown are three separate doses that prevent poison ivy infection for approximately one year.

I always enjoy my trip to Sweetwater as I drive by this nifty place.
click for bigger pic

If you're ever in the Sweetwater, Tenn.  area  you might like to stop by Sweetwater Valley Farms on Lee Highway in Philadelphia, Tenn. They make a variety of cheeses and ice cream, and their operation can be viewed through large windows in the store area where they offer the products for sale.  No affiliation there, either.
click for bigger pic

Here's hopin' you're enjoying a rash-free spring and summer.  :)

Shared at: Good Fences

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Sweet Wonderland of Violets


 It's a very good year for violets here in the western foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains so I gathered a few and made some violet sugar and syrup with them - there are so many ways to enjoy them...

Gathering them is fun and easy; just stoop and pluck them to your heart's content. There's no need to move around much they are so plentiful.

 After washing I drained and patted dry two cups full of petals..

 And whizzed them in the coffee mill with one cup of sugar for a beautiful cup of violet sugar to sprinkle on cupcakes or cookies.  I might even add a bit to my afternoon tea now and then.

A small nosegay of the blooms and leaves in a tiny bottle is uplifting, also.  Violet sugar in a shaker on the right.

 The sugar is sweet and useful, but I also wanted to make a syrup with the abundance of flowers.  I steeped two cups of whole flower heads in two cups of boiling water overnight then added 1 cup of sugar...

 To make two cups of violet syrup.
 (Note:  When I reheated the steeped water to add the sugar it caused the violet water to turn grayish blue so I added a few drops of red food coloring to perk it up a bit.  (Ahem, I may have overdone it just a bit. O.O)  The syrup can be added according to taste to cold sparkling seltzer water for a light, refreshing summertime drink.

In other herbal news I'm putting together a little first aid travel kit and needed a few small tubes of antiseptic/analgesic salve so I followed these directions...
To make them...

Using a straw and my homemade plantain salve that I use for insect bites and scratches. There are tons of antiseptic salve recipes online.  (I don't remember which I used for my salve.:)

Our Confederate Violets wanted to say hello, too  :)

Have a wonderfully violet scented week, Y'all!

Shared at:  HomeAcre Hop, Wildcrafting Wednesday, The Maple Hill Hop, Roses of Inspiration

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Turmeric:: Best Taken With Food

Turmeric - Curcuma longa :  a perennial herb from India that has a large yellow rhizome 
Medicinal qualities:  Anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, anti-bacterial, anti-fungus, antiseptic and more.
Also, it has signature attributes to be aware of - heat and drying.


I  bought this turmeric plant at an herb farm in early June of  2014. It was about 5 inches tall at the time.  Four months later it was over three feet high!  I used regular potting soil.
As you already know I'm a big fan of turmeric for its medicinal qualities.  I've benefited from taking it in several ways.  (See this post.)
I've done a bit more research into its use and properties since first posting about it, and I found something that may help us take it in a safer manner.  The people of India have used turmeric in food preparation and medicinally for thousands of years so I think they are likely to be more knowledgeable about it than we in the U.S.A., who have more recently discovered its great benefits. In India turmeric is used to treat the stomach and the liver, and doctors there have found that its drying property, when taken in regular doses, could cause a degree of drying of the liver if the patient takes it without food.  They warn that turmeric should not be taken alone.  It should be consumed with food such as milk, bread, rice, etc. or in a tea always mix turmeric with herbs that have cooling properties (cumin, fennel, coriander or again - milk) so the turmeric is not alone in your system.  So, if taking turmeric capsules for joint pain or whatever, take them with food or a glass of milk to avoid any side-effects just as you would with any prescribed medication that may otherwise cause a problem.
Turmeric plants grow from rhizomes, the part of the plant harvested for its many uses.
Teatime with turmeric:
Grated turmeric
Turmeric Tea:
I grated a 1-inch piece of fresh turmeric root and measured 1 tablespoon to make a warming tea adding it to 2 cups water (that had reach a boil and removed from heat), 2 peppercorns, 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds and a sprig of fresh fennel from the garden for palate-ability and let it steep for 10 minutes.

 As it steeped the kitchen smelled like I'd walked into an Indian food store - delicious!   I strained the tea with a fine strainer and added a teaspoon of honey per cup.

Not bad ... but I still like it best used in dishes such as curries and enjoyed over a bed of rice.

Side note:  If you try a bit of the freshly grated turmeric you will discover it is NOT tasty and that you will be able to spit bright orange for several minutes afterwards and may even sport orange lips for even longer. o.O
Next, as I have a whole pot-full of rhizomes, I'm going to checkout how it performs in a dye bath with a skein of yarn.  Love that bright orange/gold color  - as long as it's not dyeing my mouth or my fingers.

In the kitchen:
This recipe for Chicken Pot Pie is the absolute best I've ever tried.  This one was decorated by Youngest.

The only thing I did different from the recipe was leave out the potatoes to cut down on the carbohydrates.   I doubled the recipe to make two pies for a recent birthday celebration, and it was a hit.  Yeah, I just tossed the leavings from Youngest's pie crust onto this one, lol.

I also made this cake  and filled it with raspberry jam, and it was very good, too.  
Source
Oh yeah, I'm ready for spring!  Bring it on. :)