Welcome the month of April and all the hope and beauty that she brings! I am definitely looking forward to warmer weather and all the planting and harvesting that will come with it! I have been moving most of my garden beds and redesigning some of the lay out for my yards. All the veggies are getting moved upfront and new stainless steel beds. I'll be incorporating some herbs with them and expanding what I call "the mother garden" which has the bulk of herbs I grow.
It was announced a few weeks ago that The Lavender Festival in Oak Ridge was cancelled again due to Covid, but they assured me that I was still on the agenda to make my debut in 2022, so I have loads of time to plan.
Lots of beautiful Herb of the Month info to share incase you haven't been following it on Facebook, here it is-
Off the Mulberry, we can use the fruit, the leaves, twigs and root bark for medicine and each part has a different affinity and action. Let’s break it down starting with the tasty fruit- In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the berries are known as Sang Shen and are used as tonic herbs to help with Yin deficiency. I don’t practice TCM, but Yin deficiency is known in more Western Herbalism as showing up as adrenal fatigue, burn- out, nervousness, hypersensitivity, anemia and/or excess dampness in the body. A good indication for this plant ally would be if you crave sleep and rest and feel great benefit from those.
Mulberry leaves may help lower blood sugar, cholesterol, and inflammation levels. These attributes may make them useful for fighting heart disease and diabetes. They are used in TCM as a cooling herb that combats against high fevers and feeling drained especially if you are running hot. The leaves as actually a diaphoretic and make you perspire which acts as our coolant.
* Mulberry leaves provide several compounds that may help combat diabetes and and blood sugar spikes.
These include 1-deoxynojirimycin (DNJ), which prevents the absorption of carbs in your gut.
* The leaves may reduce high levels of blood sugar and insulin. In one study, 37 adults ingested maltodextrin, a starchy powder that rapidly boosts blood sugar levels. They were then given mulberry leaf extract containing 5% DNJ.
Those who took either 250 or 500 mg of the extract experienced a significantly lower rise in blood sugar and insulin levels than the placebo group
* Some research suggests that mulberry leaf extract may improve cardiovascular health by reducing cholesterol and blood pressure levels, decreasing inflammation, and preventing atherosclerosis — a buildup of plaque in your arteries that can lead to heart disease.
* Mulberry leaf contains numerous anti-inflammatory compounds.
*Some research suggests that mulberry leaf may combat inflammation and oxidative stress, both of which are linked to chronic disease. I like the combo of the leaves and fruit together here to balance out the oxidative stress.
*Mulberry leaves can be taken as a tea, tincture or in capsules. Of course, I prefer the first two!
The root bark is an excellent expectorant and antitussive. It clears the inflammation of the lungs, stops coughs and helps bring up the phlegm that you can feel deeply. Decoction or tincture is the best way to take it for this. You can combine other herbs such as everlasting, Usnea or something pleasant like thyme or a mint added to the decoction as it cools.
Mulberry twigs are the anti inflammatory parts of the plant and have a particular use against rtheumatic issues and hypertension.
Used topically it’s renown for lighting age spots and evening skin tone. It’s a safe way to help with melasma or chloasma, known as the “pregnancy mask” that is a result of a spike in hormones creating more melanin.
My favorite way to use Mulberry is of course the fruit! I use the white Mulberry in teas, infusions, recipes and of course just eat them plain. The fruit is used to help fatigue and the feeling of being overwhelmed. It’s a tonic and works best when used over long periods of time. I feel like this herb is particularly valuable now as we all feel a little battle scared from the last year. It’s is an excellent source of iron and Vitamin C. It’s so easy to add a handful to yogurt, oatmeal or salads and I haven’t met anyone who doesn’t like or love the sweet yet subtle flavored fruit.
Individuals taking diabetes medications should consult a health professional before trying mulberry leaf due to its effects on blood sugar and there is not enough research about it’s use in pregnancy or breastfeeding to deem it’s safety. It is also counter indicated to use this herb if you are cold and clammy or have been diagnosed with a lung condition.
HERB TIP THURSDAY
Studies in mice on high fat diets demonstrate that supplements from this leaf reduced inflammatory markers like C-reactive protein, as well as oxidative stress markers like superoxide dismutaseStudies in mice on high fat diets show that Mulberry leaf reduced both inflammatory and oxidative stress markers
A test-tube study in human white blood cells likewise revealed that extracts of mulberry leaf and its tea not only reduced inflammatory proteins but also significantly lowered DNA damage caused by oxidative stress
Study using human white blood cells revealed that BOTH mulberry leaf extract and tea lowered DNA damage from stress
The leaves used as a poultice or wash over the eyes is a traditional cure for pink eye.
Mulberry can inhibit the proliferation of human gastric cancer SGC-7901 cells, inducing cell apoptosis and autophagy.
Mulberries are an excellent source of vitamin C, and one cup provides close to the daily recommended intake.
My daughter has requested that I choose Rosemary as the Herb of the Month for April because it's blooming all over our gardens right now, so stay tuned to learn much about it!
The photo in this news letter is of my latest tea- AntiquiTea which contains the beautiful Mulberry Fruit and Leaf -
A blend that I’ve been trying to build for months has finally come together. I’ve been called to create a tea with lotus flowers since October of last year and no matter how many times, I tried nothing ever tasted or felt right. Finally, I came up with this and I think it was well worth the wait.
This tea is a combination of flowers and herbs renown throughout history as healing and holy plants. The base is a white tea that gives a subtle taste and just the tiniest amount of caffeine. It’s really the foundation of the blend especially since it’s packed with polyphenols which work to reduce the damage done by chronic inflammation, they relax the blood vessels and keep them pliable making then less likely to burst or become oxidized. These same polyphenols help us stabilize blood sugar and suppress cancer cell growth. Some studies even point to White tea as a way to promote bone growth and lower the risk of osteoporosis. White tea leaves are the same leaves as green or black tea but they haven’t been oxidized. It’s closer to it’s natural state and more delicate but that’s why the other herbs work so well here, this is a blend of the subtle and slight but so powerful.
Jasmine Flower is as healing as it is beautiful and it adds more anti inflammatory agents to the tea and works it’s magic as a mild relaxant. I like to think of Jasmine as a gentle herb that soothes away the pain whether physical or emotional.
Chrysanthemum is also delicate but it’s focus is on purification, healing and protection. It’s mildly anti inflammatory but it’s protects against anxiety and that particular inflaming that happens in the body with prolonged stress or trauma. It is cooling and tonic for the heart but more for the furnace that happens in the liver and kidneys. Mums are flowers that go to the deepest injuries and soothe.
Mulberries, as you might know are my newest favorite ally for stress and burnout, that feeling of just being singed and overworked. They cool and wash away the ash but bring such a sweetness so we aren’t left bitter about it all.
Last but NEVER least, Lotus Flower. It’s been revered in all ancient Eastern cultures for being divinely feminine and bringing all the good energy, prosperity and health. It’s a plant to help us “open up” whether that’s to the healing elements, minerals and vitamins or the healing attitudes and adjustments that we need, it’s here for us. Many esoteric healers believe there can be no bad energy or curses where the lotus is and medicinally it definitely helps to bring circulation to any atrophy or disease. It is a beautiful plant to enjoy as often as you can or will.
This is lovely hot or cold but interestingly I prefer it BEST, luke warm.
Wife, Mom, herbalist and friend. Feel free to change the order of the description to fit your needs, I do several times a day.