Natural First Aid: How to Use Yarrow to Stop Bleeding

Natural First Aid: How to Use Yarrow to Stop Bleeding

One crucial component to any herbal first aid kit is Yarrow, Achillea millefolium. This is seriously one of my favorite herbs.

Known as a styptic, yarrow is useful to stop bleeding. I’ve used this herb many times for this purpose and it is almost magical how well it works! Next time you have a minor cut or wound to treat and you need to stop bleeding, go for some common yarrow.

How to Use Yarrow to Stop a Bleeding Cut

Using Yarrow as a Styptic

Fresh or dried, it works just as well either way.

Grow some in your medicinal herb garden to use as needed. Both the common ‘wild’ variety (with white flowers), and the garden variety (with white to wine red blooms), are effective as a medicinal herb.

Harvest and dry some to be kept in your natural first aid kit so you always have it on hand. Good quality dried yarrow can be good for about one year, maybe a little longer. This is just a good medicinal herb to have on hand so make a habit each summer of harvesting and drying what you estimate you would use for the year.

WATCH NEXT: How to Identify Yarrow … Coming Soon!

How to Use Yarrow to Stop Bleeding for Natural First Aid

Obviously, for serious wounds seek medical attention!

Rosemary Essential Oil for Healthier, Thicker Hair

Rosemary Essential Oil for Healthier, Thicker Hair

What is Research Saying About Rosemary Essential Oil and Hair Loss?

Studies are showing that rosemary essential oil is effective at increasing hair growth in men and women suffering from thinning hair, or hair loss.

  • Rosemary essential oil has been shown effective against two types of alopecia (androgenic alopecia and alopecia areata) with six to seven months of regular use.
  • Rosemary essential oil has been shown to be just as effective as the active ingredient minoxidil in popular prescription and otc hair loss treatments.

According to the Natural Medicines Database

“preliminary clinical evidence shows that rosemary oil, in combination with lavender, thyme and cedarwood oils, applied topically to the scalp improves hair growth in some patients. This combination was massaged into the scalp for a minimum of 2 minutes, followed by wrapping the head in a warm towel, every night for 7 months. Improvement in hair growth was seen in 44% of patients receiving the active treatment, compared with 15% of those receiving placebo.” (Therapeutic Research Center, 2016)

And in this study, Rosemary oil vs minoxidil 2% for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia: a randomized comparative trial,

“both groups experienced a significant increase in hair count at the 6-month endpoint”

“[providing] evidence with respect to the efficacy of rosemary oil in the treatment of [androgenic alopecia].” (Panahi, Taghizadeh, Marzony, & Sahebkar, 2015)

Rosemary Essential Oil Benefits, Safety, Uses & Recipes for Your Hair!

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Rosemary Essential Oil for Thicker Hair - Benefits, Safety, Uses & Recipes!

Pin Design by PNWfromScratch // Rosemary IMAGE: By THOR – Flowering Rosemary

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) Essential Oil Basics

From the Latin rosmarinus meaning “rose (or dew) of the sea”.

Plant Family: Lamiaceae

Common Names: common rosemary, camphor rosemary, compass plant

Global Sources: native to the Mediterranean, available from similar climates around the world

Four Primary Chemotypes (depending on geographic region): cineole, camphor, verbenone, and myrcene

Steam distilled from the fresh or partially dried plant, preferably the flowering tops.

Therapeutic Actions and Benefits of Rosemary Essential Oil

  • stimulant – increased circulation encourages hair growth for thicker hair
  • potent antiseptic, antibacterial, antifungal – suppresses growth of fungus and bacteria that can cause dandruff, itchy scalp, and irritation
  • analgesic – relieves pain
  • antidepressant – uplifting mood and concentration boosting properties
  • antioxidant – minimizes free radical damage, supports the immune system and protects cells

Safe Use of Rosemary Essential Oil

Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) by the FDA

Not for young children. May be toxic for babies and children under the age of four if inhaled.

Not for use during the first trimester of pregnancy due to camphor content.

(Petersen, 2016)

Using Rosemary Essential Oil for Hair

Pretty much any application that gets the rosemary essential oil to the hair follicles will be helpful,

  • hair treatment / beard oil
  • dry shampoo / hair powder
  • hair rinse
  • add to your shampoo or conditioner

Here are 3 recipes for inspiration…

No time for DIY? Get our Cedar & Herb infused Hair Treatment and Beard Oil here!

RECIPE #1: Cedar & Rosemary Hair Treatment / Beard Oil

Use as a beard oil to make your beard grow faster and fuller, or as a daily warm oil scalp treatment to encourage thicker and fuller hair.


– 1 oz combined base oils (choose argan, jojoba, grapeseed, or other hair pampering natural oils)

– Base oils may be infused with herbs for additional potency

– add 1ml (18-20 drops) essential oil per ounce of carrier oil (7 drops cedarwood, 4 drops rosemary, 4 drops lavender, 3 drops patchouli)


– massage a small amount into scalp / underlying skin daily

– use as a hot oil treatment. Apply warm oil to scalp and hair, allow to remain 30 minutes to overnight before washing out.

RECIPE #2: Rosemary Lavender Dry Shampoo / Hair Powder

Make your own DIY dry shampoo using rosemary and other essential oils that encourage hair growth. Hair powder is an effective means of carrying the essential oils to the scalp and also works great as a dry shamoo to extend the time needed between hair washings.


– 1 cup arrowroot powder

– 1 cup cornstarch

– 15 drops rosemary essential oil

– 15 drops ‘lavender’ essential oil, Lavandin intermedia (for a stimulating effect) or Lavandula angustifolia (for a relaxing effect)


Apply powder to roots and scalp, massage in and then shake out the excess. Brush and style as usual.

May be used to absorb natural oils, lengthening the time necessary between shampoos.

For darker hair, add a little cocoa powder.

For more dry shampoo recipes check out this post from Wellness Mama.

RECIPE #3: Rosemary & Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse

Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) has added benefits for your hair. According to this article, apple cider vinegar is a natural detangler, normalizes hair and scalp pH, adds body and shine, reduces frizz, prevents dandruff, and may even further help stimulate hair growth and stop hair loss! 

For even more on the benefits of apple cider vinegar for hair loss, check out this post from!


– 1 cup water + 2-4 tablespoons organic apple cider vinegar (less ACV for dry hair, more for oily hair or dandruff) (Leonard, 2016)

– essential oils (3 drops rosemary, 3 drops cedarwood, 1 drop clary sage)


Apply after shampooing, drenching hair from root to tip. Allow to work for 1-3 minutes before rinsing. Repeat up to 1-2x per week.

Rosemary essential oil also blends well with…

Bay (L. nobilis)

Cedarwood (J. virginiana)

Lemon (Citrus limonum)

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

Lavandin (Lavandula intermedia)

Peppermint (Mentha x piperita)


Friedman, D. (2015, April 2). Benefits of apple cider vinegar for hair loss. Retrieved November 27, 2016, from

Hay, I. C., Jamieson, M., & Ormerod, A. D. (1998). Randomized trial of Aromatherapy: Successful Treatment for Alopecia Areata. Archives of Dermatology, 134(11), 1349–1352. doi:10.1001/archderm.134.11.1349

Keville, K., & Green, M. (1995). Aromatherapy: A complete guide to the healing art. United States: Crossing Press,U.S.

Leonard, J. (2016, February 10). 10 reasons to wash your hair with apple cider vinegar + how to do an ACV hair rinse. Retrieved November 27, 2016, from Natural Beauty,

Panahi, Y., Taghizadeh, M., Marzony, E., & Sahebkar, A. (2015). Rosemary oil vs minoxidil 2% for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia: A randomized comparative trial. Skinmed., 13(1), 15–21. Retrieved from

Petersen, D. (2016). AROMA 101: Introduction to Aromatherapy. Portland, OR: American College of Healthcare Sciences.

Therapeutic Research Center. (2016). Rosemary Professional Monograph. Retrieved November 27, 2016, from Natural Medicines Database,,-herbs-supplements/professional.aspx?productid=154

Rosemary Essential Oil for Thicker Hair - Benefits, Safety, Uses and Recipes!

How to Make a Wreath – Holiday / Spring / Fall / Anytime Wreath DIY

How to Make a Wreath – Holiday / Spring / Fall / Anytime Wreath DIY

I love bringing the outdoors in and one of the easiest and most budget-friendly ways I find to do that is to make a wreath. Any time of year you can take a ‘wreath walk’, gather some seasonal prunings, and make your own wreath. 

Grab your hand pruners and a hand basket to carry your finds, and let’s go foraging!



Step 1: Gather your Wreath Making Materials

Look for whatever you can get your hands on that inspires you. I always try to look out for bits that represent the season. Why limit wreaths to only the winter holiday season? Do wreaths year-round – spring, fall, whenever. Branches, brush, berries, cones, dried flowers, herbs, rosehips – you get the idea.

Where to Gather

Most of us have access to a bit of nature somewhere. For now, our family lives on the edge of forest land so I just head out the trail in our backyard. At other times I have had to get a little more creative to scavenge materials – rural roadsides, my mother-in-law’s yard, etc.

Just use common sense and be sure to ask permission before cutting. And get creative! Here are a few places you might be able to gather materials for making a wreath –

  • Go out into the woods. You can get a personal use permit to collect wreath making materials on USFS and BLM lands, usually at little to no cost.
  • Use the prunings from regular yard maintenance.
  • Roadside trimmings. We have to cut back the brush along our one-mile neighborhood road every year or so to keep it under control, nobody minds if we pick materials for bouquets or wreaths along there.


You might be interested in this post: Wildcrafting: Collecting Wild Food & Medicine with the Future in Mind

Here are some of the wreath making materials I brought back from my walk today…

HOW TO MAKE A WREATH – Holiday Spring Fall Anytime! Wreath DIY

I also had this on hand from a week or two before…

…just to give you a few fall or winter wreath material ideas.

Step 2: Lay Out Your Wreath Making Workspace

You are going to need –

  • Space to build your wreath. It is nice if you have a big, sturdy workbench to use. I don’t, so I use my patio.
  • A clamp-style wreath frame. Wreath frames come in various sizes and shapes, are not expensive if you can find a good source, and can be reused. I have mine from a few years ago, that is what I am using today. You can pick one up here from Amazon.
  • The pruners you used on your wreath walk. I always lose my good ones so today I am using whatever I could find that would get the job done.
  • The wreath making materials you collected.
  • A bucket for your compostable wreath making scraps (that will go to the compost when we are done).
  • Any other wreath embellishments you may want to add (I have friends that like to hit the craft store for sparkly, shiny things, I like things more au natural. Which do you prefer?)

Step 3: Plan Your Wreath

To put your wreath together, you will make mini bouquet-like bunches, one for each clamp on your wreath frame. My wreath frame has twelve clamps. So I am going to do three rows of four (3 x 4 = 12). I could do six rows of two, or one row of twelve (all the mini bouquets would be the same if I did it that way). For this one, I am doing 3 x 4. You will understand why we do this later.

HOW TO MAKE A WREATH – Holiday Spring Fall Anytime! Wreath DIY

Step 4: Begin to assemble your wreath bunches (mini bouquets)

I usually start with a base layer of ‘filler’ type material. For a Christmas wreath, this is usually where you use your evergreen boughs. You may have something different in mind or on hand, or maybe you are doing one sold material.

The point is to be creative. No two wreaths will ever turn out the same.

Today I have a lot of evergreen huckleberry and the ‘mystery bush’ so that is what I am using for my base. That goes down first. I like to trim my pieces to 6-8 inches or so (a little bigger than my hand spread out), but you can totally experiment with this and see what you like. Lay the pieces out in your rows like so…

HOW TO MAKE A WREATH – Holiday Spring Fall Anytime! Wreath DIY

Step 5: Add Your Wreath Accents

Now lets start thinking about our bunches in terms of rows (side to side) and columns (up down). I have three rows of four, and four columns of three, on the one I am doing here. As we add our accent pieces we want to build up our columns (or rows, either way) evenly. So, for example, when I add the sword fern, I will add it evenly to each bunch in the column. And then on another column I will add the pine branches. And so on.

The idea is just to distribute your materials evenly so that your wreath will be balanced and not lopsided.


Any embellishments that you want go out front, put them on top of the bunches…


We now have our bunches all assembled. Our columns are balanced, and all the bunches are about the same size. It is time for the final step.


Step 6: Put your wreath together

Grab a bunch, situate it so that about three inches of the stems of your bunch go beyond the clamp, and then bend the clamps down securely on that bunch. Make sure you clamp it good and tight. Use your pruners to trim any stems that are sticking too far out. Repeat.


Keep going until each bunch is secured on your wreath frame. Work across the rows left to right. When you are finished with one row, do the next. Its that easy (except for the last bunch… that one is always the hardest!)


And then, there you go,

You are done!

I hung mine just like this. Of course, you could add bows, cones, etc… your call.


Your Wreath Making Imagination is the Limit!

The fun thing about this wreath making project are the endless variations. Have fun with it! And then share with us!

Please let is know in the comments how this turns out for you if you decide to try it, or if you have any questions! Post pics of your wreaths on Instagram and tag us… @PNWfromScratch!


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HOW TO MAKE A WREATH for Any Time of Year | Spring | Fall | Holiday | Any Time! | Easy Budget Friendly DIY Home Decor Idea

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Herbal Salve – DIY Skin Balm Recipe

Herbal Salve – DIY Skin Balm Recipe

Traditional healing herbs, locally grown or sustainably gathered, then carefully infused into skin-loving olive and avocado oils. This is a healing skin balm that is helpful for minor wounds, sprains, strains, bruises, rashes, burns, blisters, cracked skin, redness, swelling, reducing the appearance of stretch marks and scars, preventing infection, anti-itch, and topical minor pain relief.

I find that a good all-around skin salve is a crucial component of our first-aid cabinet. When I was growing up it was always a popular kind of triple-antibiotic ointment. We used it for everything from cuts and scrapes to burns and more. Now that I am making our family’s medicine naturally this is the first-aid skin salve that I prefer. It can be used like that old triple-antibiotic ointment, but has even broader uses and is just as (if not more) effective.

What is an Herbal Salve / Balm?

Salves and balms are a great way to hold herbs and essential oils in contact with the skin so that their active constituents may be absorbed to serve their healing purposes. They are super easy to make yourself, although they do take a bit of time.

All-natural salves and balms are made using a variety of ingredients such as oils or lanolin plus a hardener like beeswax. The consistency of the balm depends on the ratio of ingredients and can be adjusted according to your preference. More or less beeswax makes a harder or softer balm.

oil or lanolin + beeswax = easy to apply ointment for skin

Each Ingredient Matters

In addition to any herbs and essential oils, the ingredients that make up the bulk of balm or salve recipes also have unique therapeutic properties. We chose olive and avocado oils for this skin balm for the healing properties they bring to the table, plus a little vitamin E.

Olive Oil (Olea europaea)

Organic olive oil is the herbalist’s base oil of choice, most often chosen for herbal infusions. Olive oil is one of the oldest cosmetics and medicines used for wound dressing, treating minor burns, and preventing and treating stretch marks (Therapeutic Research Center, 2016c).  

Avocado (Persea Americana) Oil

Avocado oil is used topically to soothe and heal (Therapeutic Research Center, 2016b) which makes it a perfect choice for a skin healing balm. Loaded with vitamins A, D & E, proteins, minerals and amino acids, according to this study avocado oil helps promote the regeneration of cells and production of collagen, and hastens wound healing (de Oliveira et al., 2013). Research also shows that avocado oil’s penetration enhancing effects help carry the healing properties of the balm to tissues that need it (Viljoen, Cowley, du Preez, Gerber, & du Plessis, 2015). Not to mention, avocado oil is a great skin softening moisturizer.

Vitamin E oil

Vitamin E is exceptionally high in antioxidants and so it doubles as a natural preservative, slowing the oxidization of the other ingredients. Vitamin E is also helpful for healing wounds and minimizing scarring (Petersen, 2016).

The recipe can use only base oils, like avocado or olive oil, or can be accentuated with herbs and essential oils.

Accentuate your Skin Balm with Herbs

Depending on the intended purpose of your balm, you can choose various herbs for infusing into your base oils.

I wanted an effective yet gentle all around skin healing balm that would be good for wounds, burns, minor cuts and scrapes, insect bites, bumps, bruises, sprains, strains, and healing scars and stretch marks. So after doing my research and gathering what was available to us this summer, we chose comfrey, plantain, pearly everlasting, calendula, and saint john’s wort to use in this recipe. These are herbs that are exceptionally good for skin and are available for gathering in many areas or are very easy to grow.


Read more about these herbs and why we chose each one in this upcoming post: 5 Safe Skin Healing Herbs You Can Gather or Grow. Subscribe via email to be sure you don’t miss it!

First, Make Your Herb Infused Oil

If you want to accentuate your balm with herbs, first you must infuse your base oils.

You can use one or all of the herbs we have included in our recipe, or maybe you have other herbs in mind. Just make sure the herbs you choose are safe and appropriate for the people who will be using your balm. You will want one ounce of dried herb to one pint of oil (Petersen, 2016).

With the exception of comfrey, all of these herbs are considered gentle and safe to use for all ages. Due to the alkaloid content in comfrey, the American Herbal Products Association warns against its use for those who are pregnant or nursing, and suggests limiting topical application to 4-6 weeks for everyone else.

There are a million and one ways to make an herbal oil infusion, and it seems like every herbalist book, school, class, etc gives a slightly different method. This makes me think, maybe it isn’t really all that complicated. The two main things are 1) getting the active constituents from the herbs into the oils and 2) being able to reproduce your results somewhat consistently. To learn more about herbal medicine making, check out this amazingly informative book: The Herbal Medicine-Maker’s Handbook by James Green.  I wish I would have bought this one years ago. Or for beginning herbalists, I found this book a good place to start: Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner’s Guide: 33 Healing Herbs to Know, Grow, and Use.

Skin Healing Herbal Oil Infusion Recipe

This infused base oil will be an ingredient in the final Healing Salve, or it can be used ‘as is’ for moisturizing, to make lip balm, as a base for lotion, or other herbal skin care goodies.


  • ¼ ounce dried comfrey leaf (omit for those who are pregnant or breastfeeding)
  • ¼ ounce dried plantain leaf
  • ¼ ounce dried pearly everlasting leaf and flower
  • ⅛ ounce dried calendula flower
  • ⅛ ounce dried st john’s wort flower
  • 1 pint organic olive oil


TIP: The active constituents of the herbs will infuse into the base oils even better if the herbal material is chopped into small bits. I like to measure out my herbs by weight and then run them through the food processor to break them up a bit.

  1. Place your chopped herbs into a pint size jar and cover with the oil, filling the jar to the top before sealing with a lid.
  2. Allow the herbs to macerate. You can do this slowly by setting the jar on the counter for 4-6 weeks, shaking it daily which is the preferred method by most. Or you can speed up the process by gently heating the oil. This can be done by placing the jar in a crock pot, fill the crock pot with enough water to come up the sides of the jar but not cover it, and set the crock pot on low or warm. Do not allow your oils to overheat! Try to keep them at 140-160F for 4 hours, then turn off heat and leave for 12 hours.
  3. Strain the herbs from the oil. Reserve the oil for making your salve, toss the spent herbs to the compost pile.

Now that you have your herbal infused oil, you are ready to make your salve. But first, let’s talk a minute about the essential oils we are using.

Essential Oils Good for Skin Balm

There are a wide variety of essential oils that we can choose from for making a balm. Again, it depends on the effect you are after and who will be using the preparation. It is important when using essential oils to research each oil you use and ensure they are safe for your intended purpose.

For our Healing Salve recipe I chose lavender and tea tree, two safe and effective skin healing essential oils.

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) essential oil

Lavender essential oil is not included simply because of the amazing aroma, Lavandula angustifolia has multiple healing properties that make it an effective first aid ingredient. Bruises, burns, insect bites and stings, scalds, sores, sprains, and minor wounds and infection will all benefit from the use of lavender essential oil. Lavandula angustifolia has minor pain relieving properties in addition to it being antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic, and astringent. (Petersen, 2016)

Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) essential oil

Melaleuca alternifolia has been a long time favorite in our family. We use it for everything. It’s healing properties are potent and highly effective. Like lavender, tea tree oil is an analgesic which can help relieve pain topically. Antifungal, anti-inflammatory, anti-itch, antiseptic, and highly antimicrobial. Tea tree oil is helpful for blisters, burns, cuts, bacterial and fungal infections, cracked skin, sores, insect bites and stings, wounds, and more. (Petersen, 2016)

Now, let’s get to the main event… the actual ‘Herbal Salve’ healing skin balm recipe. 

Herbal Salve - DIY Skin Balm Recipe Traditional healing herbs, locally grown or sustainably gathered, then carefully infused into skin-loving olive and avocado oils. This is a healing skin balm that is helpful for minor wounds, sprains, strains, bruises, rashes, burns, blisters, cracked skin, redness, swelling, reducing the appearance of stretch marks and scars, preventing infection, anti-itch, and topical minor pain relief.

Herbal Salve – DIY Skin Balm Recipe

Again, this healing skin balm is helpful for minor wounds, sprains, strains, bruises, rashes, burns, blisters, cracked skin, redness, swelling, reducing the appearance of stretch marks and scars, preventing infection, anti-itch, and topical minor pain relief. 

Tips and Precautions for Using this Herbal Salve

For topical use only. Apply a small amount of herbal salve to the affected area, massaging gently. Repeat as necessary, 2-3 times throughout the day. Because of the comfrey, limit application to 4-6 weeks and consult your healthcare provider before use if you are pregnant or nursing. Discontinue use if irritation occurs.

This recipe makes approximately 6 ounces. Just right to fill a few small containers for around the home, or for sharing with friends!


  • 2 ounces avocado oil
  • 0.375 ounce beeswax
  • 3 ounces herbal infused organic olive oil
  • 0.25 ounce (1-1/2 teaspoons) vitamin E oil
  • 15 drops tea tree essential oil (Melaleuca alternifolia)
  • 15 drops lavender essential oil (Lavandula angustifolia)


  1. Combine the avocado oil and beeswax, melting them together. Use the double boiler method or the microwave. Be careful not to overheat your oils! You just want the wax to melt.
  2. Once the beeswax is completely melted, add the herbal infused organic olive oil. By adding the herbal infused oil at this stage it will not be exposed to as much heat. It also brings down the temperature of the mixture before the next step so the heat doesn’t vaporize the essential oils.
  3. Allow the mixture to cool a little, but not so much that it is no longer fluid. Below 160F is good for most essential oils.
  4. Add the essential oils and stir to distribute.
  5. Pour the mixture into clean containers and leave undisturbed until balm is cool and set. Do not cover yet or condensation can form.
  6. Once completely cooled, cover your herbal balm and label your container carefully.



I would love to hear from you!

I’ve tried to make these directions pretty straightforward, but please do reach out if there is anything I can clarify. What questions do you have about using the safe use of herbs? Do you have a favorite herb you like for its skin benefits?

If you found this post interesting and helpful, please share it!

And, be sure to follow the blog by email to get new posts and recipes. You can also find me these places… Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter…  Let’s connect!

These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

This post contains affiliate links to books and products that I use and like enough to recommend, or similar alternatives. Clicking on those links doesn’t cost you anything extra but helps me pay the blogger bills (if the click results in a purchase) and keep posts like this coming. Thank you for your support!


de Oliveira, A. P., de Souza Franco, E., Barreto, R. R., Cordeiro, D. P., Melo, R. G., Medeiros, P. L., … Maia, M. B. de S. (2013). Effect of Semisolid formulation of Persea Americana mill (avocado) oil on wound healing. Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2013, . Retrieved from

Gladstar, R. (2012). Rosemary Gladstar’s medicinal herbs: A beginner’s guide: 33 healing herbs to know, grow, and use. United States: Storey Publishing.

Green, J. (2000). The herbal medicine-makers’ handbook: A home manual. United States: Crossing Press,U.S.

Moore, M. (1993). Medicinal plants of the pacific west (1st ed. ed.). Santa Fe: Museum of New Mexico Press.

Petersen, D. (2016). HERB 101 Basics of Herbalism. Portland, OR: American College of Healthcare Sciences.

Pojar, J., & MacKinnon, A. (2004). Plants of the pacific northwest coast: Washington, Oregon, British Columbia & Alaska. Vancouver: Lone Pine Publishing USA.

Therapeutic Research Center. (2016a). St. John’s Wort Professional Monograph. Retrieved October 18, 2016, from Natural Medicines Database,,-herbs-supplements/professional.aspx?productid=329

Therapeutic Research Center. (2016b). Avocado Professional Monograph. Retrieved October 18, 2016, from Natural Medicines Database,,-herbs-supplements/professional.aspx?productid=890

Therapeutic Research Center. (2016c). Olive Professional Monograph. Retrieved October 18, 2016, from Natural Medicines Database,,-herbs-supplements/professional.aspx?productid=233

Therapeutic Research Center. (2016d). Tea Tree Oil. Retrieved November 2, 2016, from Natural Medicines Database,,-herbs-supplements/professional.aspx?productid=113

Viljoen, J. M., Cowley, A., du Preez, J., Gerber, M., & du Plessis, J. (2015). Penetration enhancing effects of selected natural oils utilized in topical dosage forms. Drug Development and Industrial Pharmacy, 41(12), 2045–2054. doi:10.3109/03639045.2015.1047847

Hello October – Fall Images, Quotes, and Recipes to Share!

Hello October – Fall Images, Quotes, and Recipes to Share!

Hello, October.

Welcome back. We’ve missed you!

What is it about October that brings clarity?

It’s not just those clear, crisp fall nights that bring with them the familiar nip of a change in season. October seems also to bring a clarity of mind, and as the wind sweeps the year’s leaves from the trees, so too do we shake off the excess and prepare for what’s ahead.

Hello, October. It’s good to see you.


hello october image fall leaves
October is the fallen leaf,
but it is also a wider horizon more clearly seen.
It is the distant hills once more in sight,
and the enduring constellations above them once again.
Hello October – Fall Images, Quotes, and Recipes to Share!
What is it about fall that just makes the house feel extra ‘homey’?

October Recipes

By the time October comes around, the garden is pretty much done and we are drawn inside. The freezer and pantry are full of this year’s garden bounty, and the fridge is stocked with a fresh batch of kraut.

October is usually about the time that the craving to bake kicks in. There is something just extra cozy about having a batch of cookies (or a pot roast) in the oven when it’s crispy-cool and blustery outside.

Don’t miss this post on roasting almonds. Use them as an added crunch on your morning oatmeal or enjoy a handful before bed to help you sleep.

Here are a few favorite October recipes from our Pinterest

October Trivia

Did you know that we have a National Squirrel Awareness Month? Yeah, neither did I.

For a little fun this October, take some time to enjoy a little squirrelly nuttiness!

Share antics around social media using #SquirrelAwarenessMonth. 

Your turn!

For more fall images, find us over on Instagram! And, yes!  …share your October images with us using #PNWfromScratch & #HelloOctober!

Say, hi down below and join the conversation! What do you love about October?


Beard Oil, Ten Reasons Your Guy Should Be Using It (And what you are missing out on if he’s not)

Beard Oil, Ten Reasons Your Guy Should Be Using It (And what you are missing out on if he’s not)

How do you feel about your man’s facial hair?

Do you love it, or not so much?

Does he use a good beard oil?

I love my man’s beard. I can’t get enough of it! And the beard oil that he uses has a lot to do with why.

Today I want to share with you ten really good reasons your guy should be using beard oil, and what you are missing out on if he’s not. (…in no particular order)

PNW Herbal Infused Beard Oil - PNW from Scratch

UPDATE: We are no longer making and offering this beard oil for sale… so sorry! If I get enough requests, I can put together a post sharing my recipe and method if anyone would like to make some from scratch. 😉 Even so, my man still wears beard oil, and here’s why…

1. The scent… Oh, the scent.

The scent alone is reason enough.

I love cologne. Trouble is, store-bought colognes and perfumes, as it turns out, are really not that good for you. Synthetic fragrances “have been shown to disrupt hormone activity, cause reproductive malformation, and have been linked to liver and breast cancer, diabetes, and obesity” in addition to links that have been found to fetal exposure and such conditions as autism, ADHD, and neurological disorders. Shocker, right? Essential oils, on the other hand, don’t just smell amazing they can improve your health in so many ways.

2. The mood lift

If your man’s beard oil contains essential oils, they will not only help with everything from itchiness to increased beard growth, they also serve as mood altering aromatherapy.

For a stress fighting blend to help with anxiety, fatigue, and depression, look for blends containing essential oils like cedar, lavender, or patchouli. Citrus and rosemary boost concentration. And oils like vanilla and ylang-ylang to help relax and let go.

3. The look

I’m the one that talked him into keeping it, I love his beard! It’s fun to grow it out and experiment with different shaping and styles. But, a beard with any length, will eventually become unruly. A bit of beard oil smooths it right out. Shiny, healthy, under control, and looking good.

4. The feel

I asked my guy to grow out his beard. If I were totally straight with you, I would tell you it’s because I love running my fingers through it. TMI? Sorry. I love how it feels! And the beard oil just makes it so soft, it’s irresistible. I can’t help myself. And he doesn’t mind. 😉

5. Soft kisses

Am I right, ladies? We don’t like pokey kisses!

Beard oil will make your man’s facial hair silky and soft. No more scratchy beard hairs when you come in close.

6. Guys need skin care, too!

The skin under a guy’s beard can become quite irritated, dry and itchy. The base oils used in higher quality beard oils target these conditions. Loaded with vitamins and antioxidants they moisturize and penetrate deeply giving the skin what it needs to stay nourished and healthy. And, if your beard oil contains essential oils they can give it an extra boost, often having antifungal, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties.

7. Beard envy

Does he want to be the object of it? Teenage boys will hail his beard as magnificent.

Or does he want to be the guy wishing he knew the trick? What makes that guy’s beard so shiny, full, and under control?

8. No more ‘beardruff’

A lot of guys suffer from beard dandruff or beardruff. A good beard oil can nip that in the bud especially if it contains essential oils like lavender and rosemary.

Lavender essential oil is antifungal and anti-inflammatory which helps to sooth irritated skin and prevent the growth of yeast which can cause dandruff. Rosemary essential oil not only increases circulation and stimulates hair growth, it is also helpful in combating itchiness.

9. Go natural

Many of the best beard oils on the market are all-natural, ours certainly is.

10. Beard oil keeps his beard clean and healthy

You wouldn’t want to rest your head against a toilet seat now, would you?

Many of the essential oils found in a good quality beard oil possess antimicrobial properties. These essential oils naturally prevent the growth of fungus and bacteria which is not just dirty, fungus and bacteria can be the underlying cause for itch, irritation, and flakiness.

Want to learn more about what makes our small batch, handcrafted beard oil different?

Here’s our post, PNW Original Cedar & Herb Infused Beard Oil.


Keville, K., & Green, M. (1995). Aromatherapy: A complete guide to the healing art. United States: Crossing Press,U.S.
Petersen, D. (2016). AROMA 101: Introduction to Aromatherapy. Portland, OR: American College of Healthcare Sciences.
Beard Oil, Ten Reasons Your Guy Should Be Using It (And what you are missing out on if he's not)

Try some and let us know how you like it!

Roasted Almonds, How to Make Your Own!

Roasted Almonds, How to Make Your Own!

Like nuts on your ice cream? What about on yogurt? Save money and eat healthy by making your own oven roasted almonds, the perfect topping for a healthy snack!

Almonds are really good for you. They are loaded with vitamins and antioxidants and are a healthy source of protein. Among other things, almonds can help you lose weight and can even help you sleep!

Roasted almonds are one of the easiest ways to dress up your day to day with a healthy flair. Here’s how…

1. Chop almonds to desired coarseness

Chop the almonds to whatever size you prefer, just try to make them a roughly uniform size so that they cook evenly. Or… leave the almonds whole.

Easy Roasted Almonds - Healthy Homemade ICE CREAM & YOGURT TOPPING! Less than 15 minutes!_2

Easy Roasted Almonds - Healthy Homemade ICE CREAM & YOGURT TOPPING! Less than 15 minutes!_3

2. Spread in a single layer on a baking tray.

Spread your chopped almonds in a single layer on a tray. If you are doing a large amount, you can always make more than one tray.

Easy Roasted Almonds - Healthy Homemade ICE CREAM & YOGURT TOPPING! Less than 15 minutes!_5

Easy Toasted Almonds - Healthy Homemade ICE CREAM & YOGURT TOPPING! Less than 15 minutes!_7

3. Roast in a preheated 425F oven, 10-12 minutes until the almonds start giving off a nice nutty aroma

My husband always gets a little frustrated with me in the kitchen because I rarely use a timer to let me know when things are done. I like to cook with my nose. When the roasted almonds are ready they will give off a nutty aroma. They nuts will have begun to brown, but DO NOT LET THEM OVERTOAST, they will turn bitter.

Easy Toasted Almonds - Healthy Homemade ICE CREAM & YOGURT TOPPING! Less than 15 minutes!_9

4. Store in an airtight container

When the almonds have sufficiently roasted, remove them from the oven and let them cool before storing them in an airtight container.

Easy Toasted Almonds - Healthy Homemade ICE CREAM & YOGURT TOPPING! Less than 15 minutes!_12

Easy Toasted Almonds - Healthy Homemade ICE CREAM & YOGURT TOPPING! Less than 15 minutes!_13

5. Enjoy!

Roasted almonds on ice cream. Roasted almonds on yogurt. Roasted almonds on salads, or just a handful for a bedtime snack.

For more healthy snack ideas, have you seen this post? Get Your Jam On! 11 Favorite Ways to Use the Jam in Your Pantry

Easy Toasted Almonds - Healthy Homemade ICE CREAM & YOGURT TOPPING! Less than 15 minutes!_14

What is your favorite use for roasted almonds?

PNW Original Cedar & Herb Infused Beard Oil

PNW Original Cedar & Herb Infused Beard Oil

Prevents beard envy… Or causes it.

So, you have a beard. And you have heard of beard oil. But what is it? What is beard oil and why would you ever want to use it? That’s a good question.

A good beard oil not only makes you look like a well-put-together-guy, it also conditions your beard, moisturizes dry skin, prevents beard itch, treats beardruff and acne, encourages hair growth, and more. Our original beard oil recipe is designed to both tame and invigorate.

UPDATE: We are no longer making and offering this beard oil for sale… so sorry! If I get enough requests, I can put together a post sharing my recipe and method if anyone would like to make some from scratch. Let me know!

PNW Original Cedar & Herb Infused Beard Oil

Try it, you (and your girl) are sincerely guaranteed to love it.

What Makes Our Beard Oil Different?

This small batch, handcrafted beard oil recipe is a blend of five high-quality base oils including grapeseed, argan, jojoba, avocado, and sweet almond.

But while many beard oil brands stop there, we go on with ours to combine these beard pampering oils with the healing power of responsibly wildcrafted and organically grown herbs from right here in the Pacific Northwest. Western red cedar, horsetail herb, lavender, and rosemary (see the benefits below) – all specifically chosen with a magnificent beard and your skin in mind – are slowly infused into the beard conditioning oil which forms the base of this product.

PNW Herbal Infused Beard Oil - PNW from Scracth_1-3

Need to know more about what the heck beard oil is, and how to use it? Check out this article by the Huffington Post and then come back here and get some for yourself!

Choose the aromatherapy blend with CEDAR & HERB essential oils, or go ‘NAKED’.

The CEDAR & HERB essential oil blend is our own proprietary combination of quality essential oils including cedarwood, lavender, rosemary, and patchouli. Not at all flowery, this therapeutic essential oil blend has a nicely grounding, woodsy, down-to-earth scent that you are sure to love. Specially blended, not just for the skin and hair benefits, the aromatherapy properties can actually boost your mood, too! …not to mention anyone in your vicinity. Ladies? My guy wears this stuff daily, and I can’t get enough of it.

PNW Herbal Infused Beard Oil - PNW from Scracth_4


Apply a small amount to hands and work into beard and underlying skin. Breathe deep and enjoy!

Here is my guy’s review of the Western Red Cedar & Herb infused Beard Oil…

I am not one that uses very many personal care products other than the basics. So when my wife first created some beard oil, it took a little bit to convince me to use it. I decided to give it a shot, in part to make my wife happy (happy wife = happy life) and in part because it smelled really good.

Now I can’t stop using it!

It really is that good. First of all, it smells amazing – earthy and soothing. Secondly, it tames the wildness in my beard. Reduces stray and straggly hairs making my beard more manageable. Not the least of all, it smells really good to my wife. I don’t know about you, but if you’ve ever had a woman come face to face in the ‘kissing zone’ and breathe you in – it’s pretty awesome.

It really is one of those things I never thought I’d try and I likely never would have if it wasn’t for the fact that it was essentially purchased for me. I would recommend this as a gift for any man out there. It may not be at the top of their list, but after trying it, it likely may be there in the future. Just be careful because this stuff is addicting!

PNW Herbal Infused Beard Oil - PNW from Scracth_3

Skin, Hair, and Aromatherapy Benefits of Key Ingredients

For more information about the quality oils we use in our products check out this post: Why is that on the label? Guide to Natural Hair & Skin Care Ingredients: Oils & Butters

  • Grapeseed oil – Great for both skin and hair, grapeseed oil is a natural mild astringent packed with vitamin E. It is very light and easily absorbed by the skin. Moisturizing without an oily residue, this scentless oil doesn’t weigh down hair or leave a greasy feel. It is even said to regulate natural oil production, bringing your own oils into balance.
  • Argan oil – A popular hair and skin care ingredient due to its antioxidizing effects, it is rich in vitamin E and essential fatty acids, with antiaging properties to keep skin and hair looking great. Excellent daily skin and hair moisturizer that treats split ends and can help with skin conditions including acne.
  • Jojoba – Very close in resemblance to our own natural oil, jojoba is protective and emollient yet allows skin to breathe. It is easily absorbed and great for dry, damaged complexions and hair.
  • Sweet almond oil – When used in hair products it may help to strengthen, thicken, protect, add shine, and prevent split ends. Nutrient rich and light, sweet almond oil is suitable for all skin types, making the skin soft and pliable. It is rich in omega 9 and omega 6 fatty acids, and vitamins D & E. In the tradition of ayurvedic medicine, sweet almond oil is said to bring the body back into balance.
  • Avocado oil – A favorite for use in all kinds of hair and skin care products, avocado oil is highly penetrating and loaded with vitamins A, D & E, protein, minerals and amino acids. Avocado oil is known to regenerates cells, aid hair growth, soften skin, moisturize, hydrate, reduce inflammation and itching, relieve burns, and more.
  • Western Red Cedar tips (Thuja plicata) – antifungal, anti-viral, promotes immune function through stimulating white blood cell scavenging
  • Lavender buds and essential oil (Lavendula angustifolia) – calms the nerves, relaxing, uplifting effect, mild antidepressant, antiseptic, antifungal, antibacterial, disinfects acne blemishes, stimulates the repair of tissue, heals wounds
  • Horsetail herb (Equisetum arvense) – tissue repair | FOR HAIR/SKIN/NAILS: rich in silica and calcium to strengthen and give life
  • Rosemary leaf and essential oil (Rosmarinus officinalis) – mild and uplifting stimulant, treats inflammation, antiseptic, antidepressant, antioxidant, circulatory tonic, relaxant | FOR SKIN: brings blood to the skin giving a nice glow, antiseptic which helps skin resist infections | FOR HAIR: stimulates growth, activates circulation
  • Cedarwood essential oil (Texas) – used for addressing fatigue, depression, stress and overwork, irritability, bacterial infections
  • Patchouli essential oil – used for addressing anxiety, fatigue, depression, irritability, bacterial and fungal infections, dandruff

PNW Original Cedar & Herb Infused Beard Oil


Gladstar, Rosemary. Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner’s Guide. North Adams, MA: Storey Pub., 2012. Print.

Keville, Kathi, and Mindy Green. Aromatherapy: A Complete Guide to the Healing Art. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.

Moore, Michael. Medicinal Plants of the Pacific West. Santa Fe: Museum of New Mexico, 2011. Print.

Zak, Victoria. 20,000 Secrets of Tea: The Most Effective Ways to Benefit from Nature’s Healing Herbs. New York, NY: Dell, 1999. Print.

Disclaimer: This information is for research and educational purposes only and has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Do your research!

CEDAR & HERB Solid Shampoo Bar

CEDAR & HERB Solid Shampoo Bar

I can tell we are going to love this shampoo bar before I even get the batter into the mold. The pungent aroma of cedar held up straight through the cooking process. I almost decided to leave this bar ‘naked‘, and let the western red cedar shine through on its own, it smells that good. But I had already decided on a combination of essential oils to boost this soap’s natural hair care power.

Here is what went into this all natural Cedar Shampoo Bar.



Ginger Apricot Rhubarb Sorbet (How to Make ‘Any Fruit’ Sorbet)

Ginger Apricot Rhubarb Sorbet (How to Make ‘Any Fruit’ Sorbet)

What do you do with your rhubarb when you are done making pie and still picking this beautiful, prolific, and reliable veg? Have you tried it as a sorbet?!

Rhubarb sorbet is one of my favorite garden recipes. So easy to make if you have an ice maker. I love my Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker! (Btw, this is an affiliate link. However, it has nothing to do with the yumminess of this recipe so keep reading unless you want to click on the link and help support this blog!) I’ve used my ice cream maker for homemade sorbet countless times. More than for ice cream because, well, we don’t have a cow …for one, and for two… sorbet is almost pure fruit and veg and helps us consume the goodies from the garden!

Serve up a scoop of homemade sorbet along with some vanilla ice cream and you will be in healthy dessert heaven!

Oh… and if you want to be the star of the party this Fourth of July (or any other potluck) homemade sorbet is always a HUGE hit.

How to make sorbet out of anything…

First of all, you can use any fruit. You can use things that are not fruit as well. Rhubarb is a veg. I’ve made pure rhubarb sorbet before and it is AHHHmazing. But really, sorbet is a nice way to use up whatever you have that you think might go nicely together. This week, I happened to have a few apricots in the fridge that weren’t the best for just munching on, but would go perfectly cooked up into a dessert. I decided to toss in a chunk of ginger inspired by a recent foodie adventure at Wolfgang Puck’s ‘Cut Las Vegas’ where I enjoyed a dreamy dish of their Stone Fruit & Boysenberry Crumble which they serve up with a scoop of ginger ice cream, oh yeah, it was good.

Homemade Sorbet, Yum! Ginger Rhubarb Apricot Sorbet Recipe - from (5)

The basic process of making homemade sorbet

Roughly chop your ingredients and toss into a saucepan with a little sugar to taste depending on other ingredients. Less is more at this point with the sugar, you can always add more later, but you can’t take it back out. (I shoot for just enough sugar to make it tasty but not so much that the family goes into sugar overload after dessert.) Cover and allow to slowly stew over low heat until soft and all the flavors have melded together.

Transfer the cooked mixture to a food processor or blender and puree the everliving daylights out of it until its nice and silky. Add additional sugar if needed at this point, while the mixture is still warm, to get it just the way you want it.

Put your now silky smooth sorbet base into a bowl, cover and place into the refrigerator for up to 24 hours or until its nice and cold. When you are ready to make your sorbet, follow the manufacturer instructions for whatever machine you have. A little tip… I always like to chill the bowl I will be storing my sorbet in before I fill it to keep the freshly frozen mixture from melting before I get it in the freezer to set.

A little tip… I always like to chill the bowl I will be storing my sorbet in before I fill it. This keeps the freshly frozen mixture from melting before I get it in the freezer to set.

Here is the recipe I came up with for last night’s dessert…

Ginger Rhubarb Apricot Sorbet

  • Servings: 8-12
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 2 – 1/2 cups rhubarb, roughly chopped
  • 2 – 1/2 cups apricots, pitted and roughly chopped
  • 2-inch knob of ginger, peeled and minced (I really like ginger, you can use less, or omit it altogether)
  • 1 cup organic cane sugar (or whatever sugar you like, maybe honey?)


  1. Combine the ingredients in a medium saucepan and simmer, covered, over low heat until fruit is cooked and well softened. Keep the lid on to retain the moisture.
  2. Transfer the cooked mixture to a food processor or blender and puree until nice and smooth, and no chunks remain.
  3. Move the pureed mixture to a covered container and into the fridge to chill completely for up to 24 hours.
  4. When completely chilled, follow your ice cream maker’s manufacturer instructions to process.

Enjoy! Pretty much every sorbet goes great with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

For variations, try…

  • a pure rhubarb sorbet
  • blackberry and basil
  • spiced apple
  • raspberry and lemon zest
  • use your imagination and let me know how it turns out!

For more recipes and ideas of what to do with all that garden and market yumminess, stop by and see what we’ve been cooking up!

Homemade Sorbet, Yum! Ginger Rhubarb Apricot Sorbet Recipe - from (3)

Next, I think I will be infusing something with lavender. Hmm… maybe this time it will have to be an ice cream.

Does this recipe sound yummy? Don’t forget to share it with your friends via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, carrier pigeon, message in a bottle, all that good stuff. 😉

Summer Carrot Soap with Mint & Lemongrass Essential Oils

Summer Carrot Soap with Mint & Lemongrass Essential Oils

What do I do with all these carrots?! Why… make soap of course!

Loaded with vitamins and antioxidants, carrot soap makes a great facial cleanser and body bar said to increase collagen and fight acne, naturally! Pamper your skin and invigorate your senses with this all-natural aromatherapy soap and its pleasant, uplifting blend of peppermint and lemongrass essential oils.

To make this LIMITED EDITION SUMMER CARROT SOAP, we start with a pile of beautiful, bright orange carrots organically grown right here on the PNWfromScratch farm. The carrots are thoroughly pureed into a smooth mixture and blended with fresh, filtered Pacific Northwest rainwater to form the water base of this original recipe. Combined with skin loving nutrient oils through the age-old natural soap making process, and resulting in a beautiful bright orange bar naturally colored from only the carrots themselves!

Get this limited edition natural soap while it lasts, it’s going to sell out quick!

PNWfromScratch All-Natural Handmade Carrot Soap with Mint and Lemongrass (7)

Where to get it…

Visit our shop on Etsy at PNWfromScratch for this and more of our all-natural, handmade products.

See How the Soap is Made

Check out this post: [VIDEO] Making Summer Carrot Soap

Soap Details


Made from scratch with these INGREDIENTS: organic carrot puree {organically grown carrots from the farm and fresh, filtered Pacific Northwest rainwater}, *olive oil, sodium hydroxide {lye}, *coconut oil, avocado oil, sustainable palm kernel oil, grapeseed oil, cocoa butter, rice bran oil, castor oil, essential oils {pure blend of peppermint and lemongrass}, sodium lactate. *certified organic

For ALL skin types
Scent: pure blend of peppermint and lemongrass essential oils
Weight: approximately 4.75 ounces, hand cut
Dimensions: approximately 3.5″ x 2.5″ x 1″

Natural Soap Care

This is an all natural product with no synthetics or artificial preservatives. It is made fresh, allowed to cure, and then shipped ready-to-use. And that is what it is meant for… use it! Your handmade soap will last longest if you allow it to dry between uses. If needed, store unwrapped in a cool, dry place. Allowing the soap to breathe allows the bar to further harden and helps it to last longer.

Natural Skin Care

It is always good to listen to your skin. Discontinue use if irritation occurs. If using a particular soap every day begins to make your skin feel dry {especially soaps designed to pull dirt and toxins from your skin} then skip a day or two and use something different in between. This is how I find my best results, my skin knows what it needs {which is why I got into the whole natural-soap-making-thing in the first place} and so does yours. Give it what it needs and it will be happy.

PNWfromScratch All-Natural Handmade Carrot Soap with Mint and Lemongrass (5)

This information is for research and educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or condition.

12 Reasons to Grow Your Own Herbs!

12 Reasons to Grow Your Own Herbs!

There are so many reasons to decide to grow your own herbs. Expense, availability, freshness, health, and the advantages they provide in the garden are just a few of the reasons we cram as many herbs as we can into our growing space.

Whether you live in the city and have only a small patio with room for a few containers, or you live in the country and have acres upon acres of growing space, herbs are definitely worth a little growing room. You could always trade in a little of that lawn. 😉 Here are a few reasons why we think you might want to do so…

1. Save more money by growing your own herbs than any other garden crop. 

Pound for pound, if you do a good job of making use of the herbs you grow, they will save you more money than any other garden crop. Do you know dried dill costs something like $175 a pound? A package of cilantro seed, at about the same price of one of those little bunches from the market, will keep you in this favored herb for months. One little mint plant from the nursery will spread and provide you with endless amounts of mint tea.

2. Herbs, like everything else, taste better when home grown. 

Have you ever compared homegrown and store-bought tomatoes? What about lettuce or cucumbers? Herbs are the same! Nothing beats the freshness, quality, and taste of homegrown herbs.

12 Reasons to Grow Your Own Herbs - PNWfromScratch.com_8

a handful of Cuban oregano to be dried

3. Cooking with our own homegrown herbs, not only tastes better, it is so rewarding! 

There is something deep down satisfying about providing for your own needs. To prepare a meal entirely (or even just supplemented) with homegrown ingredients nourishes more than your physical being.

4. Brew up your own herbal tea blends!

Try drying some herbs, not just for cooking but also to make your own tea blends. You will be hooked! I love being able to brew up a pot of homegrown herbal tea for guests. I also love the flexibility of customizing the herbal tea blends for what is needed for the day whether something to help relax, combat a cold, or increase concentration. To be on the safe side, start with common herbs you find in blends in the tea aisle at the market. Try a little blackberry leaf, lemon balm, and chamomile flowers for a lovely herbal blend.

Here is our recipe for Cedar Leaf Herbal Tea: PNW ‘Winter Day’ Blend

12 Reasons to Grow Your Own Herbs - PNWfromScratch.com_7

store dried herbs in an airtight container

What is the difference between Herbal Tea vs Herbal Infusions: How To Make Your Own and What is the Difference?

5. You will have fresh herbs available.

During the growing season, you will always have fresh herbs to gather from your own herb garden. How long does that bunch of cilantro from the market stay fresh in the refrigerator? If you are lucky enough to have mild winters where you live, you might even have fresh herbs available to you year round. We learned last winter that cilantro stays nice in our Pacific Northwest garden all winter as long as it is protected it from the rain.

6. You will have fresh herbs available at a whim.

You will love being able to go to your own garden for a handful of herbs on a whim having decided to whip up a marinara sauce or herb butter. Having fresh ingredients available without adding them to a shopping list and waiting for a trip to the grocery store is a huge convenience. Sow parsley once a year in your herb garden for a constant supply. A rosemary shrub will give you fresh springs year round. Chives are one of the first herbs available for harvest in early spring.

12 Reasons to Grow Your Own Herbs - PNWfromScratch.com_3

so nice to just step out your door and snip a little fresh sage and parsley

7. There are so many different varieties of herbs you can grow!

How many kinds of basil can you find at the grocery store? How many kinds of mint or oregano? We have five kinds of basil in the greenhouse at the moment, three kinds of oregano in the garden, and I’ve lost count of the various kinds of mint. Branch out and learn to appreciate the differences!

8. Availability of uncommon herbs that are otherwise hard to find.

Have you ever even seen Lovage at the market? Lovage is a nice old world medicinal and a great substitute for celery. Lovage is also one of the many perennial herbs, once established it is quite easy to grow.

12 Reasons to Grow Your Own Herbs - PNWfromScratch.com_1

a little jasmine for your tea?

9. Many herbs are very easy to grow once established.

Herbs such as lemon balm, mint, and oregano grow so effortlessly that I like to plant them where they stay self-contained so that they don’t take over. Put these aggressive herbs in a bed with a border or next to a path where they can only spread so far. Allow annual herbs such as cilantro and dill to flower and go to seed to let them volunteer around your garden, no sowing required.

10. Grow your own pharmacy!

…or ‘farmacy’ 😉

Lemon balm is great for nervous tension. Chamomile and hops will help you relax before bed. Echinacea will boost your immune system. Dandelion root serves to detoxify your liver. Stinging nettle is a great source of nutrients and iron, a common supplement during pregnancy and for those who struggle with anemia. And everyone knows lavender is excellent for anxiety and depression. I could go on, and on… Get yourself a good herbal medicine book and study up!

This is one of our favorite recipes: Sage & Echinacea Chicken Soup – Easy Herbal Remedy Cold & Flu Care Recipe

12 Reasons to Grow Your Own Herbs -

Mmm… add a little sage to your chicken soup!


11. Herbs are good for you!

The more you incorporate herbs into your diet and daily habits, the healthier you will be! The tradition of herbal medicine teaches that herbs are best used preventatively to maintain a state of health and well-being. Add herbs to all your recipes… dill on eggs; cilantro, parsley, and basil in your salads; lovage in your soups and chowders; tea, tea, and more tea… hot and iced!

12. Herbs are great for your garden too! 

Herbs in your garden can serve many purposes. Many herbs help attract beneficial insects and repel pests. When arranged as companion plants they can increase yields and quality of the plants around them. Mint repels cabbage caterpillars. Yarrow increases the aromatic quality of other herbs. Garlic can help control blight on potatoes and tomatoes!

Get out there and plant some herbs!

12 Reasons to Grow Your Own Herbs - PNWfromScratch.com_6

When planning your herb garden, decide which herbs to grow based on what you like to use. I like to keep the herbs close to the house and easily accessible so that even in poor weather they are easy to get to for harvesting. For best success, try to group herbs together according to their light and water needs. Some herbs don’t like a ton of water so don’t plant those together with herbs that do. I prefer to stay away from containers because of the time it takes to water them in the summer heat but if that’s all you have room for it is better than nothing.

I love having herbs in the garden because at our place plants have to earn their keep. While we have five acres, most of it is sloped timber. Our gardening area is actually not very large so we focus on edible landscaping. We have a few plants that are there simply because we enjoy their presence. But for the most part, plants we choose to grow need to fulfill multiple purposes. Herbs are edible, medicinal, and either attract beneficial insects or repel pests. If for some reason we could no longer have a large garden and I had to downsize, herbs would definitely take priority over other plant selections.

Want to know more? Check out this post: PNW Medicinal Tea Garden – 14 medicinal plants for herbal tea that you can grow!

Herbal Tea vs Herbal Infusions: How To Make Your Own and What is the Difference?

Herbal Tea vs Herbal Infusions: How To Make Your Own and What is the Difference?

We love tea. Well, I guess it’s more the infusions we enjoy. What’s the difference, you ask? Grab a cup of tea, get comfortable, and let’s talk about it! 😉

We have enjoyed experimenting with our own tea blends over the last year or so using herbs we grow on our small farm in addition to wildcrafted ingredients from our region. There are so many herbs to work with, the possibilities are endless! I have been drinking herbal teas for years, but to be able to gather our own and try them alone or in various blends is remarkable.

How To Make Your Own Herbal Tea vs Herbal Infusions, and What is the Difference (3)

wildcrafted nettle, blackberry leaf, and comfrey hanging to dry

Tea is like anything else from the garden. It tastes so much more vibrant and alive when it is homegrown versus what you get in the tea aisle of the grocery store. If you don’t have a garden or time to do your own wildcrafting, a quality source like Mountain Rose Herbs or ACHS’s Apothecary Shoppe is the next best thing. Quality herbs make all the difference.

How To Make Your Own Herbal Tea vs Herbal Infusions, and What is the Difference (4)

My HERB 101 class through American College of Healthcare Sciences (ACHS) started this week. I’ve been learning and caring for my family using herbalism and nutrition for almost twenty years but have just recently decided to formalize my education. With just the first week of work behind me, I can already tell this course is going to be quite in-depth and well worth my time. Our first activity is regarding herbal teas versus infusions, something I am familiar with but still have a lot to learn about.

What is the Difference Between Herbal Tea and Herbal Infusions?

Herbal teas are made using less herb and steeping for a shorter period of time than herbal infusions. Teas are weaker than infusions and are generally consumed for pleasure and refreshment.

Herbal infusions are made using a higher herb to water ratio, generally, one ounce herb (by weight) to one ounce of boiling water (by volume), are steeped longer, and are used for medicinal and therapeutic purposes.

To Make Herbal Tea:

  1. Use one teaspoon of dried herb (or two teaspoons if using fresh herbs) per 8 ounce serving of finished tea. You can use a single herb, or a blend depending on what you are in the mood for.
  2. Place loose tea into a teapot or use a tea strainer such as the Press-N-Brew tea bags, or one of the tea strainers you can buy at various stores.
  3. Add 8 ounces per serving of hot, pure, clean water (no chlorine or fluoride). Temperature should be just under boiling.
  4. Allow to steep for 5-10 minutes. Cover to keep warm during steeping.
  5. Remove the tea bag or strain. Many people prefer to stay away from the metal strainers, definitely don’t use aluminum.
  6. Use immediately. Do not store.
  7. Enjoy! Honey, lemon, or milk may be added, or not, to taste.

To Make an Herbal Infusion:

  1. Weigh out one ounce of dried herb (or two ounces if using fresh herbs) per 16 ounces of desired infused water. The desired ratio is 1 ounce herb : 16 ounces water. You can use a single herb, or a blend depending on the desired effect.
  2. Place loose tea into a pot with a lid. You can use a teapot or any pot with a lid. Just be sure stay away from aluminum as it can react with the constituents in the herbs, and has also been linked with Alzheimer’s disease.
  3. Measure 16 ounces of clean, pure water (no chlorine or fluoride) into a pan or electric kettle to boil. Premeasure the water so that once it boils, you don’t waste time doing this before pouring the boiling water over the herbs. You want the water to be as close to boiling as possible when it is poured over the herbs to draw out as much of the plant constituents as possible in this process.
  4. Allow to steep for 10-20 minutes. Depending on the herb being used, you can allow it to steep for up to an hour, if desired.
  5. Strain the infusion using a non-aluminum strainer, and serve!
  6. May be stored in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
  7. Enjoy your medicinal herbal infusion! Honey, lemon, or milk may be added, or not, to taste.

My Assignment for this Week

My HERB 101 assignment for this week was a practical discussion comparing herbal teas and infusions and was as follows.

Maybe you will want to try it yourself. If you aren’t sure what to use, stick with herbs that you would normally find in the tea aisle to be on the safe side. If you do this activity, let me know what you think! I would love to hear about your experience.

ACTIVITY – HERB 101, Module 1: Herbal Teas and Infusions

Choose two herbs from your herbal kit that you would like to combine and prepare as a tea.

1. Follow the directions on the Press-N-Brew tea bags and use 1 teaspoon of the blended herbs to prepare two tea bags. Use the first to prepare one cup of tea.

2. Then, use the second, to prepare an infusion as outlined in the Herbal Preparations lecture. Conduct a taste test on both, and discuss your results.

This week, replace one cup of coffee with a new type of herbal tea!

Here is what I did…

For this activity, I chose to try the dandelion root (Taraxacum officinale) because that is the herb we are focusing on for the research portion of this module. I’ve had it in tea before but never this isolated. I chose to combine the dandelion root with something that I am more familiar with, German chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) so that the properties of the dandelion root would stand out. I also chose the German chamomile because we were doing this activity just before bed after a very active day and could use something to help us relax.

I mixed one teaspoon of each herb and then divided the mixture between two of the Press-N-Brew tea bags. I normally do loose leaf teas and infusions but was interested to try the bags. After filling them with the blended herbs, they sealed easily with a hair straightening iron as suggested in the directions.

We use our clean, crisp Pacific Northwest well water for everything. No chlorine or fluoride there. After boiling the water with an electric kettle I poured 8 ounces into one mug to steep for 10 minutes for the tea, and just 4 ounces into another mug to steep for 20 minutes for the infusion. I used less water for the infusion in hopes of it being closer to the actual infusion instructions. (I wanted to follow the instructions for this activity to start but was a little confused about how to proceed because of the directions for a proper infusion shown in Dorene Petersen’s video. It seemed like I should have used a lot more of the herb. I wanted to start out with doing the activity as directed but plan to try it again this evening with the proper proportions of 1/4 ounce herb : 4 ounces boiling water for a small serving.) I covered both mugs while they steeped.

When the steeping time was complete, the family got together and compared the two brews. We found this infusion to be only slightly stronger in smell, taste and color than the tea, but not a significant difference. I thought the dandelion would give a much stronger bitter flavor, but it remained quite mild.

I personally found the tea to be quite weak. We prefer a stronger infusion and typically do nearly a tablespoon of loose herb per 8 ounces of water, steeped for at least 15 minutes. If we are using tea bags, we just leave the bag in the cup while enjoying the drink.

After each of us sampled the brews and gave our opinions, I returned the herbs to the water, added a little honey, and consumed as usual. This blend made for a very pleasant bedtime blend that we found quite relaxing after a long and active day. Perfect thing to help us relax and drift off to sleep.

Time to quit tossing the dandelions from the lawn and add them to our herbal apothecary instead! I might even (gasp) let them go to seed!

How To Make Your Own Herbal Tea vs Herbal Infusions, and What is the Difference (1)

freshly wildcrafted blackberry leaf

Disclaimer: This information is for research and educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Do your research.

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