Herbal Remedies, Plant Wonder Collective

Adaptogenic Tulsi Elixir

Adaptogens are herbs + mushrooms that boost our overall well-being, vitality, and resilience. Dr. Aviva Romm says, “adaptogens help your body to cope more effectively with the demands of everyday life. They provide a sustained sense of calm, and while they increase energy, […] they are non-stimulating. In addition to their effects on stress adaptation, adaptogens have profound antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects that protect your cells from damage from a variety of chemical exposures.”

Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum), also commonly called holy basil, is a powerful adaptogen. It is a revitalizing herb that helps ease fatigue, boost energy, and improve resilience + longevity. It is calming and uplifts mood. Some find it helpful for reliving mild depression (Romm).

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Recipes

Beef Liver Paté

While liver is rarely enjoyed in the modern diet, it is an incredibly nutrient dense food that is an important source of essential vitamins and minerals.

According to the Weston A. Price Foundation, liver provides:

  • “An excellent source of high-quality protein
  • Nature’s most concentrated source of vitamin A
  • All the B vitamins in abundance, particularly vitamin B12
  • One of our best sources of folic acid
  • A highly usable form of iron
  • Trace elements such as copper, zinc and chromium; liver is our best source of copper
  • An unidentified anti-fatigue factor
  • CoQ10, a nutrient that is especially important for cardio-vascular function
  • A good source of purines, nitrogen-containing compounds that serve as precursors for DNA and RNA.”
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Drinks, Plant Wonder Collective, Recipes

Rosemary Orange Sparkling Water

Rosemary has long been appreciated for its aromatic and medicinal qualities. It is rich in antioxidants and has been used to boost cardiovascular and digestive health. Studies have shown that rosemary helps to improve memory and may be beneficial in improving mental performance in elderly individuals.

This tasty sparkling water is a lovely way to enjoy the flavor, and potentially some of the health benefits of rosemary.

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Recipes, Sourdough

Rosemary & Garlic Sourdough Buns

These savory sourdough buns combine two of my very favorite culinary herbs — rosemary & garlic. In addition to boosting flavor, these herbs also have beneficial properties when added to food.

Rosemary supports the liver and helps to aid digestion, reducing gas, cramping, and bloating. Garlic is also carminative, helping to improve the digestive process and prevent constipation. Both herbs have antimicrobial effects and have been used as natural preservatives to help prevent food spoilage (de la Forêt).

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Natural Beauty, Plant Wonder Collective

Rosemary Dry Shampoo

Rosemary is a common culinary herb that is also a lovely addition to a variety of cosmetics. It is antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and rich in antioxidants.

When used on the scalp, rosemary essential oil improves circulation and nerve growth to help boost the overall health of hair. It is said to reduce hair loss, promote hair growth, and prevent premature graying. It may also ease dry, itchy scalp and dandruff.

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Fertility, Wild Woman

Reclaiming Female Fertility

“The primary purpose of passing laws to control women’s fertility is to obscure the fact that it’s not possible to control our fertility.” — Yolande Norris-Clark

The recent overturn of Roe v. Wade in the United States has led to a great deal of discussion around women’s rights and the ever heated subject of abortion. Yet, despite all the conversation surrounding these recent changes, it is rarely acknowledged that while laws might be passed indicating otherwise, women will always own their fertility. Modern females have all but forgotten this, but for thousands of years, women have been avoiding & releasing pregnancies, entirely outside of the system and without permission from anyone.

Now, this isn’t me advocating for sketchy back alley abortions. I don’t see that as a good solution. Instead, this is a call to something bigger and much more powerful — a reclamation of our fertility. I recognize that this is a foreign notion in a culture that teaches us to be ashamed of our our bodies, to disconnect from our monthly rhythms, and ultimately to disassociate from our feminine power. But, there is a wild woman inside of you that knows the way back.

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Herbal Remedies, Plant Wonder Collective

Ají-Mint Pain Relief Spray

Ají & Mint Pain Relief Spray is inspired by Icy Hot, a cooling and warming topical pain relief ointment. This herbal version, however, is easy to make yourself and contains only natural ingredients. It’s great to have on hand to help relieve aches, leg cramps, muscle soreness and pain.

I used a homemade tincture of ají (Capsicum pubescens), a spicy pepper that’s common here in the Ecuadorian Andes and grows abundantly in our gardens, in this spray, but cayenne (Capsicum annuum) tincture is a wonderful substitute for those living in Northern climates.

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muffins, Recipes

Banana Orange Muffins

Organic, local oranges and bananas are abundant here in Ecuador. Both grow well here in the Sierras and throughout the country. When you drive to the Ecuadorian coast you’ll see miles and miles of banana plantations along the roadways — reminiscent of the seemingly endless monocropped fields of corn and soy that you find in the Midwest region of the United States, where I grew up. Oranges are also quite common, and many folks with garden space have at least one (but usually several) orange trees.

These banana-orange muffins are a delicious way to utilize these abundant fruits and are a tasty spin on a classic from my childhood — banana bread.

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Condiments, Plant Wonder Collective, Recipes

Mint Yogurt Sauce

Mint (Mentha spp.) is a well-known herb that is a common flavoring for gum, mouthwash, & toothpaste, as well as foods and beverages, like ice cream & tea.

If you have an established mint patch, you likely have an abundance of mint, and may be wondering how to utilize it. This sauce is super quick & easy to put together and is a tasty way to use fresh mint from the garden.

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Pregnancy + Birth, Resources

Resources for Naturally Minded Pregnant Mommas

There is no shortage of advice about pregnancy, birth, post-partum, breastfeeding, and those early newborn days online. However, for naturally minded mommas, it can sometimes be difficult to find quality information that is in line with their ideals.

Below you will find an organized collection of articles written from a holistic & natural perspective on a variety of pregnancy, birth, and post-partum related topics — everything from remedies for morning sickness, to nourishing your body during pregnancy, to preparing for birth + post-partum, to herbs for breastfeeding, and so much more.

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DIY, Non-Toxic Home, Soap Making

Nettle & Green Clay Tallow Soap

This botanical soap is handcrafted with nettle (Urtica dioica), an herb that provides an array of vitamins & minerals and is an excellent tonic for the whole body, including the skin. 

One study found that nettle has anti-aging effects due to antioxidants and other constituents that help inhibit damage leading to wrinkles and loss of tone. 

The addition of mineral rich green clay soothes, exfoliates, and helps remove impurities from the skin.

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Baby + Child, Pregnancy + Birth

A Deeper Look at Prenatal Ultrasounds

It’s easy to take prenatal ultrasounds for granted. They are such a deeply ingrained part of birth culture in Western medicine, that most women don’t even think twice about going in for several scans during the course of a pregnancy.

While routine ultrasounds are now considered a part of standard prenatal care in most developed countries, this technology is not as helpful, or benign as we have been led to believe. In her article, “Ultrasound Scans — Cause for Concern,” Dr. Sarah Buckley states, “Although ultrasound may sometimes be useful when specific problems are suspected, my conclusion is that it is at best ineffective and at worse dangerous when used as a ‘screening tool’ for every pregnant woman and her baby,” (2005).

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Recipes, Snacks, Sourdough

Sourdough Nettle Crackers


It’s springtime in the Northern hemisphere, which means that nettles  (Urtica dioica) are starting to pop up, or will be soon, in many of my old stomping grounds. Foraging nettles was one of my favorite spring traditions when I lived in Michigan. 

These days, I’m fortunate enough to have a several large nettle patches I can harvest from year round, which brings me a great deal of joy. Nettles are one of my favorite herbs. They’re nutrient dense — rich in vitamins A, C, D and K and minerals, like calcium, magnesium, potassium, and iron — and help to boost overall health.

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Kitchen Basics

How to Make & Use Tallow

Tallow is rendered fat from a cow, goat, or sheep. It is a ancestral food that is deeply nourishing and can be utilized in various other preparations to boost skin health, too.

Beef tallow is rich in vitamins A, B12, D, E, & K, choline, and fatty acids — including CLA, which has immune boosting and anti-inflammatory properties. 

Tallow is a great source of fat, which is essential for the health of your immune system, bones & joints, brain, skin, heart, and more. Having enough fat in your diet allows you to absorb key nutrients, like fat soluble vitamins.

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Kitchen Basics, Sourdough

Getting Started with Sourdough

In his book, Wild Fermentation, Sandor Katz says, “many bakers I have known feel that breadmaking is a spiritual exercise that connects them to life forces. I quite agree: Like any ferment, bread also requires the harnessing and gentle cultivation of life forces” (94). 

The “life force” of bread is yeasts, which devour carbohydrates —in this case, flour — turning them into alcohol and carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide bubbles help bread to rise, and give it that wonderful airiness and texture. The alcohol is just a by-product, in bread making, and it evaporates during the process of baking (Katz, 2003). 

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