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 Render & 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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Fertility, Wild Woman

Damiana-Rose Sensual Massage Oil

Physical intimacy is an essential part of the human experience. Modern research supports what we intuitively know: touch is important to overall well-being, as well as the health of our relationships (Sreenivasan & Weinberger, 2021).

Studies show that physical affection reduces levels of cortisol (Ditzen et al., 2008), a stress hormone that is released to help your body react to a perceived threat, but can be detrimental to your health if levels stay elevated long term (WebMD, 2020).

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Recipes, Sourdough

Buckwheat Sourdough Pancakes

These buckwheat sourdough pancakes are a healthier spin on a classic breakfast favorite. Buckwheat flour adds high-quality protein, minerals, and antioxidants. Sourdough fermentation boosts the availability of nutrients and improves the digestibility of the gluten. 

Make the batter the night before and then it’ll be ready to go in the morning for a low prep breakfast.

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Cookies, Holidays, Recipes

Pine Needle Shortbread Cookies

These pine needle shortbread cookies are perfect for the winter holidays. The herbal, citrusy flavor of pine pairs beautifully with spicy cinnamon & clove and tastes like Christmas —in cookie form.

Winter is a wonderful time to forage pine, which is one of the few things that’s still lush and green in the colder months, if you live in the Northern hemisphere. Pines are fairly common in most parts of the world, so chances are good that you have some type of pine growing near you.

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Cookies, Holidays, Recipes

Mom’s Sugar Cookies

Growing up, one of my favorite Christmas traditions was making sugar cookies with my mom and sister. I loved deciding which shapes to cut out of the dough and mounding the cookies with frosting after they’d cooled. But, looking back, it was the quality time with my mom and sister that made this holiday ritual extra sweet.

Now, that Ayla is getting a bit older, baking with her has become one of my new favorite ways to celebrate the holiday season. Last year I asked my mom for her recipe and we’ve since enjoyed making Nana’s Christmas cookies together. It feels so special to be able to carry on these cherished family traditions with my daughter.

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Recipes, Sourdough

Sourdough Potato Buns

These sourdough potato buns are a favorite in our house. Light and fluffy and a bit sour, they would make a lovely accompaniment to Christmas dinner, but also pair well with a bowl of soup or with a cup of tea.

This recipe calls for sourdough starter. If you don’t have a starter, don’t worry, you can make your own very easily, it just requires a bit of time. Check out this blog post for more details about getting started with sourdough.

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