Fennel Seed

Fennel seed is a common kitchen herb used in several tasty meals. It is often found in varying quantities in sausages. We use it frequently in homemade pizza sauce that we make and can for weekly pizza nights. It tastes like a bitter licorice, but the licorice part isn’t as overbearing as the bitter. Its taste is similar to anise seed and the two can often be substituted for each other in culinary dishes, and even occasionally for remedies.

Fennel seed’s main benefit is found in its carminative properties. Being a carminative makes it especially helpful for digestive issues such as flatulence, colic, and constipation. Fennel seeds help gas move down and out of the digestive system and can even be mixed with other herbs for a nausea aid.

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Photographed by Amanda Harman

You don’t need to make a tea to make fennel seed work for flatulence. Chewing on some seeds after a meal (especially one you know will make you gassy) can be just as effective. This is nice because I am generally in no mood to infuse a tea if my stomach is killing me–I hate gas pains!

Another neat fact is that fennel seeds can aid in minor bad breath. Even if you don’t like the taste, it does kill bad breath. You can chew it or consume it as a tea (steep in a powdered form).

That’s fennel seed! Pretty easy to use and its main use is for digestive issues, usually gassiness. I can appreciate this herb, not only for its taste, but for its ease of use when needed.

Want to see what herbs we have in our medicinal garden? Take a look here.

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Interested in continuing your education or career as an herbalist? Check out the Herbal Academy.
Whether you are just getting started in herbalism or have been exploring this natural path for some time, you might realize that there are several directions to take as an herbalist! Perhaps you are interested in opening up an herb shop or selling your own natural body care products. Maybe your passion is for people, and therefore your desire is to become a community herbalist. Or maybe you wish to study herbalism to benefit your own family’s health and wellbeing.
Follow your calling, and match up your personal or career goals with the Herbal Academy’s unique Herbalist Paths. These discounted training packages are designed to help guide you in your journey and your educational needs! Infuse your life with your herbal education when choosing the Family Herbalist Path, prepare for a business start-up in the Entrepreneur Herbalist Path, or learn how to work with clients professionally through the Clinical Herbalist Path.
All Herbalist Paths are offered at a discount and with a payment plan option! Learn more about the Herbal Academy’s programs and paths here.
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Extra Extra Strength Deodorant

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Hello again!

I recently shared a deodorant recipe with some tips to make it stronger if needed (especially during the summer months). While this recipe can be very effective for some, it may not help everyone.

I’ll admit a stinky truth: working on the farm in the Florida heat can be hell on my pits. I’m not ashamed. I stink if I’m not using something with a little extra oomph when I’m out working.

So, I work with this extra EXTRA strength recipe. I’m a little limited on scents/essential oils because the only ones I invest in are the ones with properties that help with actually killing what causes that odor. I like to use my original recipe during the one month we have cold weather here (I know I’m exaggerating–sometimes it’s 3 months), but when it’s not winter, I simply focus on not stinking.

The big trick–other than essential oil choices–here is the lacking coconut oil. When I sweat and I have coconut oil in my recipe it just spells disaster for me. My deodorant is quickly rendered useless on a scorching day if coconut oil is used in almost any amount.

This recipe has a shorter list of ingredients: shae butter, arrowroot powder, baking soda, essential oil blends.

I have seen some recipes out there that also call for cocoa butter. As much as I LOVE cocoa butter, I don’t like it in this recipe. I typically have a deep appreciation for cocoa butter’s fragrance, but not for deodorant. That’s my personal preference. If you find another recipe out there with cocoa butter in it and it works for you, great.

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Photographed by Amanda Harman

I use my Kitchen Aid mixer for this whole process. It’s sad, but I use my Kitchen Aid more for natural remedies and cosmetics than I do for actual baking. The first thing I do is add 5 tablespoons of shae butter, 3 tablespoons of arrowroot powder, and 2 tablespoons of baking soda to the bowl.

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Photographed by Amanda Harman

I insert my paddle and…

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Photographed by Amanda Harman

mix on the lowest setting until I get this consistency. If you don’t have a standing mixer and handheld one with a deep bowl works just as well.

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Photographed by Amanda Harman

Once I have the correct consistency I add 20 drops of Cypress essential oil.

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Photographed by Amanda Harman

I also add 10 drops of lemongrass essential oil. I mix it in evenly so I can smell the essential oils every time I apply this deodorant.

Now, you can play with this a bit, but you are limited. 30 drops total is the safest amount. If you add more, do so at your own risk. If you have sensitive skin lemongrass and many other essential oils can become irritating. If you want to do only one essential oil, I recommend the cypress as its odor killing abilities are pretty phenomenal.

Instead of lemongrass, you can do another citrus. Most citrus essential oils also kill odor. Remember, if the goal is extra EXTRA strength deodorant, you want to use only essential oils that kill the bacteria that creates the odor.

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Photographed by Amanda Harman

I store this in dark tinted glass containers because of the essential oils. This keeps forever. I have tripled this batch and never had anything go bad. Don’t store it anywhere it could melt though.

Ingredients

  • 5 tablespoons shae butter
  • 3 tablespoons arrowroot powder
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 10 drops lemongrass essential oil
  • 20 drops cypress essential oil

Directions

  1. Mix firs three ingredients in a standing mixer or in a deep bowl using a hand mixer until you have a smooth, well mixed consistency (it will be gooey).
  2. Add essential oils and mix evenly.
  3. Store in dark tinted glass containers at room temperature, out of direct sunlight.

If you want to use my favorite supplies and ingredients, check out the links below.

Shea Butter
Arrowroot Powder
Cypress Essential Oil
Lemongrass Essential Oil

Let us know if you try this and how you like it.

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The Herbal Academy

I never claim to be all-knowing in the realm of natural healing–or anything I dive into. As a result, I am constantly seeking new information. It is never enough for me. I get a true high from grasping new information and storing it away for later use. I am just as happy learning alone as I am in a group of people. In fact, I hate crowds, but it is very easy for me to tolerate a crowd if learning is involved.

Even better than learning is actually using what I have learned, especially if I’m passionate about it. Many people we have become acquainted with or work with ask, at least once, how I know as much as I do about natural remedies and using herbs as an appropriate means of being healthy or solving ailments. My answer, for a very long time in my youth, was either “We have a garden…” or somewhere along the lines of  “That’s just what we use.” It wasn’t until around middle school that I realized my love and appreciation of nature and its partnership with us wasn’t the norm. My easygoing nature probably saved me from a lot of bullying because no one knew what I was talking about in this department–ever. It wasn’t important for preteens or teenagers. Most friends were either minutely intrigued or just brushed what knowledge I did carry off.

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Photographed by Amanda Harman

In my late teens and early twenties I hit a wall. And it was unexpectantly devastating. I had what I learned growing up in a household that valued and respected nature–but that was it. And it actually bothered me because I knew there had to be more. I ventured into the world of Google and learned there was a whole world I was missing, beyond the common culinary herbs of the kitchen. By mid twenties, I was mostly properly making tea infusions, oil infusions, and salves. Then I hit a wall again. I needed to know more, but Google wasn’t cutting it. I now know it was a combination of not really knowing what else to research for deeper understanding and technique and of not having a mentor or group to communicate with. So, I did what most of us do and I stalked forums and joined a few groups on Facebook later on when groups on Facebook first became a big deal.

Although it was very encouraging to communicate with like-minded individuals, the wall was still there. I realized it was time to do some research into education being offered to further my own studies.

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Photographed by Amanda Harman

I traveled back into the Google realm and found numerous online schools. After much consideration and research, I fell in love with the Herbal Academy. They offer numerous courses ranging from introductory to advanced with other courses in between. The natural starting point is their introductory course.

In the introductory course, the student has little to no herbal experience upon enrollment and is immersed in a world full of infusions and other handmade body care products. Don’t let the fact that it’s an introductory course turn you away; there is a lot of information on herbs (some found in the kitchen and some found with wildcrafting). There are recipes, plant identification tips, and much more content you can access online or download to print and keep a hardcopy of. And you’ll find that with every course available, all content is able to be downloaded and printed (minus the informative videos).

I have been really happy furthering my herbalist education with the Herbal Academy. When you’re done with the courses you’re taking, it is such an invaluable resource to have at your fingertips for future referencing.

Along with being a student at the Herbal Academy, you have access to their student-only Facebook community. There, you interact with students in various courses as well as the teachers.

If you are looking to receive a more formal education in the world of herbs, I highly recommend this school. It’s self paced, online, and interactive. Students and teachers are always sharing something, there are quizzes embedded into each course, and you do recieve a certificate of completion at the end of your courses.

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Photographed by Amanda Harman

I do recommend starting at the beginning, even if you’re on the fence between introduction and intermediate levels. Dosing is discussed even in the introductory course, as well as herbs for children, women, and men. Various body systems are discussed and what herbs are used to promote good health in regards to those body systems. So, even though it is an introductory course, it is definitely not for the faint of heart. There’s a very balanced combination of what I would label “newbie” stuff with very enlightening details as to why everything works the way it does, which is what I found to be lacking in my independent research before enrolling into this school. When you finish any course, you really get the sense of knowing what to do or use, but what I find to be most satisfying is that you begin to understand the why, which is most important because that why knowledge is what will help you make independent decisions if a scenario calls for it. Having a recipe is great and many are provided, but that why is going to help you change–in a responsible way–anything that needs to be changed in a formula based on the more unique needs of an individual and/or case, even for something as minor as a cold.

Many of you have enjoyed discussing our natural world with me and if you’re looking to further your own independent studies, check the Herbal Academy out. Knowledge is power. There are different courses and if you’re very certain you’re serious about it, check the different packages out below because it can save you money if you’re just going to take more than one course in the long run.

Clinical Herbalist Package
Entrepreneur Herbalist Package 
Professional Herbalist Package
Family Herbalist Package

I know some of you are probably tired of hearing this, but I am going to say it again. The family at Harman Farms does NOT discredit the practice of medicine and we do not ignore its place and need in society. Although we do believe much of medicine (the biggest topic being antibiotic overuse) is blindly overused by society as a whole, we do know that doctors of varying degrees are important and actually helpful (we LOVE our kids’ pediatrician and gladly overlook his lacking bedside manners in exchange for his brutal honesty); and although using herbs just as responsibly as you do pharmaceuticals is a BIG bonus to overall health, you’re going to AT LEAST need a diagnoses from a medical professional to make the proper lifestyle changes to benefit your unique needs the most. If you are unsure or concerned of something, there is nothing wrong with consulting a doctor and there is nothing wrong with also consulting a professional herbalist as well. Again: knowledge is power and the more of it you have, the better decisions you can make for yourself and your family.

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Maggie’s Herb Farm

I am feeling pretty overwhelmed at the amount of cool stuff I’ve been wanting to share lately! We have so much going on. I have to introduce you guys to one of my favorite places, Maggie’s Herb Farm. This introduction is long overdue, this place is amazing. Every single medicinal (and some culinary) herb I have came from Maggie’s.

This farm has been in the same spot since 1983. Dora Baker is the current owner. My family and I carry a very deep appreciation of her. She has worked in the clinical setting as a herbalist so it’s only logical that her nursery carries many medicinal herbs. Being a lover of nature, she also carries plants that attract butterflies and hummingbirds.

Maggie’s Herb Farm also carries plants native to Florida, one of my favorites being the datil pepper. This pepper is a native of one of my favorite cities, St. Augustine. It’s kind of a big deal around these parts. We purchased a few plants on our last visit to hopefully incorporate into our homemade spicy Italian sausages we sell at the Port Orange Pavilion Market.

Maggie’s also hosts numerous classes. We have attended the Herbal Medicine Chest and Beginning Soap Making classes. Being a teacher and also a lifelong learner my most enjoyable experiences during these classes have been learning new things, but it’s also quite inspiring to be around other like-minded people on similar quests to healthier living.

The environment itself is relaxing, so it’s no surprise that this nursery hosts yoga classes. Living in Ormond Beach, I simply have not been able to attend. Being someone who greatly enjoys the benefits of yoga, I would attend at least for the setting, if I lived closer.

Touring the nursery is a pleasant experience. Depending on the season, the plants will be booming with butterflies. Every day of the year one can see the chickens roaming the land. They’re far from a nuisance and don’t spook easily from people. It’s obvious the flock is well taken care of and loved. Even the roosters are calm, but being prey animals by nature I instinctively never tell anyone to try to hold or cuddle a hen or rooster they simply do not know. If you’re browsing plants at this nursery, do not be startled if a hen walks over your feet as she does her ritual foraging.

What I appreciate the most when I visit Maggie’s Herb Farm, is if I have a question Dora is there to answer it and she is actually knowledgable in the area of medicinal herbs. That’s really not an easy thing to find locally.

If you’re looking for an actual nursery where you can browse herbs and plants that you don’t typically find in most nurseries, I definitely recommend coming out here. It is such a gem and so much nicer than ordering plants online. As a studying herbalist I appreciate being able to grow most of what I use. I understand that it is not always possible to grow what I need to use, but to be able to grow as much as possible on site  is really a dream we’re trying to achieve on our farm.

If you are in St. Augustine–or anywhere in Florida–make a trip here. Visit the historical aspects of the city, do lunch somewhere, then come to Maggie’s to shop. It’s one of my favorite ways to spend a free day.

Check out their website, or their Facebook. They have a very quick respond time on Facebook and happily help with any questions you may have. Check them out, they are amazing.

And if you want to follow what we have been doing with these herbs check us out here, here, and here. These are some older posts and we will be adding more in the future as we look to the possibilities of a greenhouse and as I practice more with my copper still.

Check back with us the next couple of weeks as we share our beginning journey in soap making and other natural products.

Thank you so much for visiting today and if you have’t done so already, please follow our blog and check us out on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.

If you have anything you would like to share, please comment below.

Sage

Sage. Antimicrobial, bitter, carminative, diuretic, and astringent. There’s a lot going on with this herb, so it’s a great addition for many dishes to help get the benefits. You can also use this herb in medicinal recipes.

Antimicrobial

Something that is antimicrobial kills microorganisms, or stops their growth. Natural or synthetic antimicrobials are grouped based on the microorganisms they act against. So that means, something that is antibiotic is antimicrobial; something that is antifungal is antimicrobial. But something can be antimicrobial, but not necessarily antibiotic or antifungal. And the antimicrobial is then further categorized based on which strain of bacteria, fungi, etc. they fight against. There are TONS of herbs that are antimicrobial, but their microorganism fighting speciality differs. Sage fights against Bacillus Cereus. Bacillus Cereus is a bacteria that causes diarrhea and vomiting. Sage can also fight against minor skin infections/acne.

Bitter

Fun fact, bitter-tasting herbs aid in digestion, strictly because of the bitter taste. If you have chronic stomach issues with bloat or gas, or you want to give your digestive system a good kick-start, drink an herbal tea that is bitter about 20 minutes before eating. If you’re taking sage for an illness this bitter taste can be beneficial. 75% of your immune system is in the gut and keeping your digestive system healthy and running smoothly, especially when you’re sick, is important. You want your immune system to be focused on fixing you and not working extra hard on an ill functioning digestive system. How does this work? As soon as your taste receptors detect the bitter taste, your vagus nerve gets going, meaning all the digestive organs responsible for secretions begin as well as other functions involved in getting food from point A to point B.

Carminative

In short? Got the farts? Yeah, carminative properties help with flatulence.

Diuretic

Increases urine flow. This can help with water retention and high blood pressure.

Astringent

If you have oily skin, applying a sage infusion (especially if your skin is sensitive) can help because it tightens the skin.

In Ayurveda

Sage is classified as a drying and slightly heating herb, which makes it great for colds with lots of phlegm. It’s not something I would recommend by itself for a fever, but you can use it in combination with other herbs that are diaphoretic and fever breaking. Since sage is drying, avoid use in dry coughs.

So, that’s sage! I could actually do a second post in sage for culinary use to maintain good health as well. I can even write a third post on its history in different cultures. This herb is awesome and so easy to grow. Mine is going nuts.

Curious about other medicinal/culinary herbs we have on the farm? Click here and check it out.

Interested in continuing your education or career as an herbalist? Check out the Herbal Academy.
Whether you are just getting started in herbalism or have been exploring this natural path for some time, you might realize that there are several directions to take as an herbalist! Perhaps you are interested in opening up an herb shop or selling your own natural body care products. Maybe your passion is for people, and therefore your desire is to become a community herbalist. Or maybe you wish to study herbalism to benefit your own family’s health and wellbeing.
Follow your calling, and match up your personal or career goals with the Herbal Academy’s unique Herbalist Paths. These discounted training packages are designed to help guide you in your journey and your educational needs! Infuse your life with your herbal education when choosing the Family Herbalist Path, prepare for a business start-up in the Entrepreneur Herbalist Path, or learn how to work with clients professionally through the Clinical Herbalist Path.
All Herbalist Paths are offered at a discount and with a payment plan option! Learn more about the Herbal Academy’s programs and paths here.