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Wormwood. Sounds like something off of Harry Potter. In fact, the very first time I ever saw this being sold at a nursery a man mentioned it sounded like something from witchcraft while I was browsing and then promptly refused to shop there. Wormwood can play a pretty big role in homesteading though, mostly as a natural dewormer. Read below to discover its many uses.


Wormwood is an anti-inflammatory, and shows potential to aid in inflammatory bowel conditions. Wormwood is being studied to possibly speed up healing and improve the mood in Crohn’s disease.


When looking at wormwood in an Ayurvedic perspective, wormwood is a warm herb, so people who naturally have a warm constitution may be aggravated by overuse of this herb.


Wormwood is a bitter herb. The bitter taste in an herb or food triggers th vagus nerve to kickstart the digestive flow. This can be especially helpful if you take this about 15-20 minutes before eating a food that’s difficult for you to digest.


Wormwood has a large thujone count. In large quantities, thujone can be toxic. It can cause hyperactivity, excitability, delirium, seizures, and more. So wormwood is an herb you take in lower doses.


Wormwood is a vermifuge and can be helpful in ridding the body of parasites. I have spoken to a few homesteaders who use wormwood mixed with other herbs for deworming.


The bitter properties of wormwood also increase appetite. Wormwood has been used to help with anorexia due to this property.


Absinthe was banned in the United States in 1912. I encourage further independent research if you’re interested, but the ban was put into effect because of wormwood was a main ingredient, containing thujone. There isn’t much evidence I can find to support that there ever were toxic levels of thujone in absinthe. It’s an interesting little bit of information though. The ban was lifted in the U.S. in 2007, so it was quite a lengthy ban. Google provides many articles if you’re interested in learning more.


The use of wormwood should not exceed four weeks, because of thujone. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should not take wormwood in any form. If you are taking any medications for seizures, you should avoid wormwood.

How to Use

Bring 1 cup of water to a boil and steep 1/2-1 teaspoon of dried wormwood for about fifteen minutes. Do not exceed 3 cups a day. 10-20 drops of tincture before meals is okay, too. Again, do not take wormwood over four consecutive weeks.

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

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Making Tinctures

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So, I was in the back hanging out with the donkeys and goats when something yellow caught my eyes behind the enclosure. Swaying in the wind, I found goldenrod. I was ecstatic. What caught my eye was too late to harvest, but it meant more was nearby that would be harvestable.

Behind the animal enclosure is a somewhat thick wooded area.

I did not care though. I was going to get some goldenrod.

Photographed by Amanda Harman

I battled thorns, spiderwebs, and a snake to get to my destination. Okay, to be fair, the snake pictured above is a black racer; they’re harmless. This also is not the same snake I ran into–I think. This was taken another day, but I did run into a black racer in the wooded area. I couldn’t snap a picture though, but had to share at least one picture I did have because they’re pretty.

Spiderwebs? They’re not pretty. They suck. I’d rather the thorned plants.

Photographed by Amanda Harman

So, I harvested some goldenrod to dry. I dried it and had enough to fill half of a pint mason jar.

Photographed by Amanda Harman

And what do you do with that much goldenrod? You make a tincture! I use flowers and leaves (mostly flowers).

Photographed by Amanda Harman

I’m not a big drinker, but I do love Copper Bottom’s vodka when I do drink. Since it’s a product I trust, I also use it for making tinctures.

So, we’re going to let this sit for 6 weeks, shaking everyday. After 6 weeks, we’ll have a lovely natural remedy for allergies. Happy Harvesting everyone!

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Goldenrod is in full bloom in the back of our lot. This breathtakingly gorgeous herb has so many potential benefits that it’s worth braving its gut wrenching taste. My favorite property of this herb is its potential to alleviate allergy symptoms. goldenrod has large amounts of quercetin, an anti-inflammatory constituent. This, paired with goldenrod’s astringency, makes this herb most effective with allergies that affect the nasal passages. Goldenrod tea can be used in a neti pot for instant relief. Goldenrod possesses other actions that may potentially help alleviate allergy symptoms: goldenrod is expectorant and anticatarrhal. This herb can help with sore throats and expelling mucus from the lungs.

Although I think of allergies and antihistamine when I generally think of goldenrod, it possesses some other actions that aid in realms outside of nasal issues. Goldenrod can support imbalances in the urinary system due to its diuretic, antilithic (think kidney stones), and anti-inflammatory properties. If you’re prone to UTI’s or kidney stones, incorporating goldenrod consistently into your regimen can be beneficial.

The flowers and leaves can be used on the skin for minor wounds as a poultice. It can work well in a salve with other herbs like St. John’s Wort or plantain.

I don’t grow this herb in my garden because it is found so readily in the wild. Once you see it and identify it for the first time, you’ll never forget it. You want to harvest the flowers just as it starts to minimally bloom. You use the flowers dried for the most part and if you try to dry a flower already in bloom it becomes nothing but fluff.

I’m not a fan of goldenrod’s taste. If I make a tea, I like to mix it with other herbs I like, including mint and ginger. Honey alone is not enough.

This is a very versatile herb. It starts blooming late summer/early fall and is just in time for when school starts. Next time you’re out on a stroll, really pay attention to what’s growing around you. You might find goldenrod.

Avoid this herb if you’re allergic to ragweed.

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

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Glorious Ginger

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I am not going to lie. I am obsessed with ginger, and not just for its medicinal properties. I. Love. Everything. Ginger. And my family does as well.

I use ginger to make ginger dressing and ginger sauce–you know, the kind they use in Hibachi style restaurants. I use ginger in decoctions and tinctures. I heart candied ginger and I devour ginger pickled carrots. Any chance I get, I add ginger. Did I mention we love ginger?

Nausea and Digestion

Putting the indisputable fact that it possesses the best taste in the world aside, ginger has several properties that are very beneficial in our lives. Many know ginger for its digestive assistance so we will start there. Ginger teas and decoctions are helpful for any type of stomach upset. Chronic issues, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are also relieved by ginger consumption. It’s a safe way to combat morning sickness while you’re pregnant and motion sickness. Nausea caused by chemotherapy can be treated with ginger, too. Some people use ginger ale for these ailments, but I suggest the tea. Ginger ale tastes great and all, but there are far more cons to drinking pop than your own healthy blend of ginger tea. If ginger tea is too strong, add honey. If adding honey doesn’t help, making a candied ginger to store for just in case can help, too.


Ginger could block heartburn, by stopping the lower esophageal sphincter from loosening, which blocks acid regurgitating back up.

Menstrual Cramping

Ginger is also a great help for menstrual cramping. I like to combine mine with dark chocolate. Don’t knock it till you try it. And stop judging me. It’s amazing.


Ginger does so much more though. Ingesting it and using it topically as a salve can assist with arthritis inflammation due to its anti-inflammatory properties. This also works for inflamed airway passages and can help make breathing more regular. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, ginger can also help treat inflamed skin and help heal rashes and treat acne. Just be mindful if it is too strong as it can irritate your skin.


Ginger improves circulation, which is very important for natural energy. It also opens up your vessels and can warm you internally. This is most felt during cold weather.


Compound 6-gingerol (known for cancer stopping abilities) is found in raw ginger. It has anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-tumor properties. This can prevent new cancer cells from forming and destroy active cancer cells.


Ginger cleanses your palette and therefore freshens your breath.

So, there you have it. Ginger is amazing both for taste and its medicinal properties. It’s very easy to grow, I have taken roots from the market and just stick it in the dirt to grow. You can harvest what you need and replant and before you know it you’ll have an abundant supply of this magnificent plant.

If you want to see what else we’re growing on the farm, check out this page.

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