Herein you will find a menagerie of food and medicine recipes, varying from my favorite grainless bread to pain relieving salve. These are just the bare bones recipes so if you if you need help learning basic medicine making, head over to the Mortar & Pestle page for further elaboration. It’s important to realize that medicine making, like food making, is a fluid, dynamic art. There’s no such thing as the perfect salve, it just all depends on what the need is and what the place provides. So while recipes may be very useful to the herbalist in the sense that they provide inspiration and come with the benefit of the maker’s experience, they are meant to be adapted and interpreted by each new set of hands. Like traditional music and storytelling, the beauty and strength of the song or story or medicine or pie, has the capacity to grow and deepen with each generation and perspective. That’s exactly while you’ll find my own personal variation on the infamous fire cider and my new-fangled adaptation of Elderberry Syrup here.
I have always had a passion for food, perhaps even more so since I’ve adopted a paleo-style diet and I’ve had to be creative in order to eat satisfying and interesting meals. I’ve collected a few tasty recipes here for your enjoyment. There are many more I’ve yet to write down, and I will add to this page as I’m able.
Loba painted the beautiful watercolors you see here, and I’m especially in love with the birthday portrait she did of me cooking nettle soup a couple years back.
Table of Contents
by Kiva Rose
This is yet another variation on the infamous Fire Cider and Super Cider created by various herbalists like Rosemary Gladstar and Monica Rude. Many of these creations are based on being super hot and spicy, and seeing as my belly just can't handle that kind of thing I decided to make something a bit different. The cider still feels warming and a tiny bit stimulating but lacks the GI bang & burn of other preparations.
1/2-3/4 Fresh Turmeric (roughly chopped)
1/2-3/4 Cup Fresh Ginger (grated or finely chopped)
1 head Fresh Garlic (minced)
2-3 Tbs. Fresh Rosemary (roughly chopped)
small handful Sundried Tomatoes (roughly chopped)
2 Tbs. Coriander (crushed in a mortar and pestle or powdered)
small handfull Dried Hawthorn Berries (whole)
2 Tbs. Fresh grated Orange Peel
3/4 Cup Fresh Basil (I used the stems that were leftover from pesto making, roughly chopped)
1 Whole red Chile
appr. 3 Cups Apple Cider Vinegar
Raw Honey to taste
1 Quart canning jar
I made mine in layers, starting with the Turmeric and working my way up to the Chile, but you could just as well mix it together beforehand, but then you'd miss the amazing display of colors that happens with the herbs all stacked on top of each other. You can adjust amounts to suit your taste and to properly fill your jar. After you add all the solid ingredients, pour the ACV over the top until the jar is full. Let sit for about six weeks.
Strain the Cider, preserving both liquid and herbs. Add honey to taste to the Cider. You can then refill the jar of preserved herbs with ACV again if you like for a slightly weaker Cider (you can freshen it up a bit with more Rosemary and other spices). Or you can put the herbs through the blender with a new batch of ACV and have a super concentrated version.
This stuff is amazing on nearly anything, with soups, salad dressings, spooned on steamed veggies, you can even marinate meat in it. I've even been known to drink it occasionally, cuz it's that good. The warming, tonic herbs help build and maintain the immune system, increase circulation and generally enhance your sense of well-being. The Basil and Hawthorn add a lovely relaxing aspect, and the whole potion is a potent digestive helper.
by Kiva Rose
For those of us unable to eat grains in any form, bread can seem like a thing of the past. I went years without eating bread, much to my great sadness. And then, I discovered flax! I'd made flax crackers before and they're great but I had no idea flax could become something firm, fluffy and yummy -- something very like bread!
This is my basic recipe, it's very simple and any part can be modified to suit you needs, it's really not the kind of thing that falls apart with any variation or omission. In fact, I don't think I've ever made it the same way twice! I haven't tried it as a yeasted bread, so I'm not sure how that would work, but I aim to try.
Amazingly, this bread is really really good. I've tried all kind of "fake" bread recipes, but none of them came close to this. This really, truly bread!
Be sure to get high quality flax seed. If it smells strongly or has the least little bit of fishy odor, reject it! I suggest getting whole seeds for this reason. Rancid flax is disgusting tasting and bad for you too. Good flax should be slightly sweet and slippery with a distinctive yet mild aroma and taste.
A word of wisdom: you must understand that flax has a LOT of fiber in it. So, if you're not accustomed to eating any kind of fiber, well then, flax could have a laxative effect on your belly. That said, I have a super sensitive belly and I have no trouble with flax bread.
2/3 C flax meal (I like Bob's Red Mill Golden Flax, hand ground - but that's just my preference from what I've tried so far)
1/3 C almond meal (optional, but nice, other nut meals such as acorn can be substituted)
1 - 1.5 tsp Baking Powder
Salt to taste (I like more salt in my flax bread than I would in regular wheat bread)
appr 3 tsp olive oil or butter or unrefined coconut oil (depending on what kind of flavor you want)
2 eggs (1 egg will suffice, but 2 eggs holds together just a bit better)
water to texture desired (it makes a big difference, and the wetter it is, the harder it is to get it to cook all the way through, I go for minimal water needed to get things fluid enough to pour the batter)
Mix dry ingredients together well. Gently beat eggs together before adding (optional, but it blends better that way.
The recipe will work for a regular sized pie tin or small loaf pan. Double the recipe for a more normal sized bread loaf pan. Don't forget to oil the pan well before pouring the batter in.
Get your oven nice and hot (I have wood cookstove, I have no idea what the degrees are, but cooler than for biscuits, more like cornbread temp).
Cook for appr. 20-25 minutes or until golden brown on top. Toothpick or butter knife should could out clean if you insert it into the center of the bread. Enjoy fresh out of the oven or at room temperature for a nice sandwich.
For an herbed bread: add small chunks of sharp chedder cheese, a TB of crushed thyme, a Tsp of crushed sage, a tsp of oregano or beebalm, small handful of fresh chopped Rosemary, fresh ground black pepper to taste and maybe some coarse salt on top. You can even add some green onion, broccoli or nettles for extra panache if you like.
Sweet Bread: add cinnamon, honey, cardamom, vanilla and even some fresh fruit like sliced strawberries.
Pancakes: just make the batter thin enough to spread on a hot cast iron pan or griddle. Unsweetened applesauce is nice in the pancakes instead of water.
by Kiva Rose
This is a perennial Kiva favorite (and cure-all) in the canyon. It’s especially nice just now, when the evenings have a nip to them but the days are still warm and heavy. The chilled cream and hot chai balance each other nicely, and the homemade (and preferably hand-harvested) fruit sauces add a nice old-fashioned feel.
1 Cup chilled Whole Milk Yogurt with Cream (if you can’t make your own, I totally recommend Brown Cow’s Cream on Top Yogurt, or if you don’t do dairy you could try chilled Coconut Milk instead)
1 tsp. - 1 Tbs. Maple syrup (optional)
1/4 Cup Pear Sauce (fresh Pears, boiled down and put through a food mill, no sugar)
2-3 Tbs. Berry Sauce (in this case Red Raspberries and Red Huckleberries boiled down with some raw honey added)
1 Handful of fresh (preferably wild) Blueberries
2 Tsp. grated fresh Ginger
Dark Chocolate Morsels for garnishing (optional)
1 Mug full of steaming hot homemade Chai with cream (or at least some Almond Milk or Coconut Milk), Coffee can work too but the flavor may overpower the creamy/tart berry taste of the dish.
Select a beautiful saucer or dessert plate (I like our bone china with Roses but whatever floats your yogurt) and pour Yogurt into its center. Then drizzle Maple syrup on top to taste and blend well. Swirl Berry Sauce into yogurt without completely mixing, then spoon Pear Sauce in a circle around the Yogurt. Evenly distribute Blueberries across the surface of the Yogurt and sprinkle grated Ginger on top before dispersing a few a Dark Chocolate Morsels around the very edge of the saucer.
Finally, sit down in a quiet place (preferably outside at dusk or in the moonlight) with your steaming mug of Chai, and savor a single slow spoonful at a time.
by Kiva Rose
Below is a simple recipe that I use for general ~excess~ stomach problems, and for what could be called IBS, although Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a broad name for any otherwise undiagnosable stomach problems. Symptoms might include bloating, flatulence, intermittent diarrhea & constipation, digestive headaches, sour stomach and other damp heat symptoms.
This isn't to be used for people who are cold, weak or generally deficient, this is for ~excess~ type people who need heat cleared in order to re-adjust and heal their digestion. This is a very common ailment for overworked, burned out individuals who's digestion has essentially shut down or works very erratically. Many of these herbs are considered to have Pitta reducing properties, and I do find this brew to be cooling and soothing overall.
These plants help to physically heal the stomach as well as calm the nervous system and act in an overall protective manner. This brew isn't meant to be a cure, but it has a remarkable ability to calm and heal many types of excess stomach problems over a period of time. I generally prepare this as a decoction simmered for about twenty minutes.
My formula is based on a somewhat similar tea found in Paul Bergner's ¨The Healing Power of Ginseng¨on the tonic herbs. I've adapted it to my own needs and have found it most effective.
3 Parts Chamomile
2 Parts Mallow Leaf & Root
2 Parts Dandelion Root
2 Parts Fennel Seed (or Anise)
1 Part Burdock Root
1 Part Licorice Root
If you find this mix a bit too cooling for your taste, try using honey-fried Licorice instead of plain, or adding a bit of Orange peel, Ginger root or other complimentary warming belly healing herb.
by Kiva Rose
Elderberry does not simply stimulate the immune system, which would make it somewhat dangerous to those with autoimmune disorders or certain other chronic diseases. Rather it modulates the immune system to more appropriately respond to environs and circumstance. It also disarms the virus and helps it flush through body quicker, while strengthening the mucus membranes, supporting the body's natural fever mechanism without overheating, improves energy and stress handling AND last but certainly not least, it tastes great too.
As an aside, I don't think that averting a virus is always the best course of action, sometimes we just need to get sick so we can spend a day in bed. Even so, I think Elderberry is a wonderful supportive therapy. Listen to your body and act accordingly.
Bare-Bones Elderberry Elixir
1/2 ounce of dried Elderberries
appr. 1 Pint Brandy
appr. 1/2 Cup Food Grade Vegetable Glycerine or Raw Honey
Place the berries in the jar, cover the berries with Brandy and then add Glycerine/Honey and Brandy to taste until the jar is full. Use at least 50 percent Brandy by volume in the jar to properly extract the Elderberry's healing qualities. You can also had a pinch of fresh Ginger, dried Calamus, Osha or some other warming circulatory stimulant to the mix for add benefit. I also always toss in a small handful of dried Rosehips and some Elderflowers for good measure. Let steep for at least four to six weeks before decanting, and wait at least two weeks before using.
Take 1/4 - 1/2 dropperful of Elixir every two to three hours at the first sign of illness. You MUST take the Elixir frequently rather than having a bigger dose further apart, it just won't work that way. Use the same dosage if you are actively ill. For a general preventative dose, I suggest 1/3 dropperful every four hours or so.
Be sure to rest extra as well, the Elderberry has a much harder time with your immune system if you're really worn down. A little extra sleep will increase its benefits tenfold.
by Kiva Rose
Rose and Cherry are best used where there's pain, heat and local irritation. They're cooling and soothing, great for acute situations but less so for chronic issues that have gotten colder and stiffer. For older, more achy conditions use a warming oil blend of Ginger, Rose, Cottonwood and Sage to keep the neck loose and healing. And maybe some Vervain and Peony Root internally for added anti-spasmodic, nervine and potentially pain relieving effects.
I've primarily used this simple formula specifically for neck problems, but I think it will also be effective for similar situations in other parts of the body.
1 part Rose petal tincture (Wild or other fragrant species)
1 part Chokecherry bark tincture
Combine, and apply liberally to affected area. That was easy, eh? I like a fresh plant tincture of the Roses but strong dried petals will work too. Combine with whole Rose hips for even greater effect.
by Kiva Rose
Rose vinegar is supremely easy to make and has about a million uses. Here's how you make it: get yourself a jar, fill it about halfway with dried Rose petal or leaves, or all the way up with fresh petals and/or leaves. Fill to top with a high quality apple cider vinegar. Let infuse for at least two weeks, and preferably six weeks. A plastic lid will prevent the Rose vinegar from eating through the normal metal canning lids (turns your vinegar black too, very unpleasant). Your vinegar will turn a lovely shade of reddish pink to brilliant ruby if you use colorful petals (dunno how yellow comes out it, I've never used them).
A cloth can be soaked in this lovely preparation (dilute to 1 part vinegar to about 7-10 parts water) can be used placed on the forehead for headaches (especially heat caused headaches), wrapped around a sprained ankle or used to wash itchy bug bites and heat rashes. It excels at pulling heat from an inflamed area in a very short time. It is especially powerful at rapidly quenching the redness and pain from a sunburn in to time flat. In fact a medium sunburn, if caught within the first 24 hours, can be nearly erased in three or four applications of vinegar over a period of six hours or so. Even where there is threatening sun poisoning and blistering skin, it can greatly ease the pain and lessen the general trauma to the body. While not a replacement for emergency care in severe burns, it is nearly always incredibly helpful.
First, do yourself a favor and don't smother your sunburn in salve or oil. It just holds the heat in and worsens it, no matter how healing the herbs contained therein may be.
Depending on the size of the burn, pour about 1/3 a cup of Rose Vinegar into a bowl, then add several cups of water and mix thoroughly.
Get a soft, absorbent cloth and dip into the liquid. Gently wring it out, being sure the cloth is still quite wet. You may want to use very large cloths/towels if the area burned is very large.
Place the cloths over the affected areas, it will very cold at first but the cloth will rapidly become hot. Keep re-dipping and wringing as soon as the cloth gets warm. Depending on the severity of the burn, I usually re-apply at least a dozen times during the first session.
Let the skin airdry. For a medium burns, I repeat the application about once every two hours. For severe burns, every hour. For light burns, as often as is needed.
Before bed, a topical application of fresh Aloe Vera gel can be applied (from the plant, not weird preserved stuff from a bottle) to the area.
Keep up the treatment until the area no longer feels hot to the touch. If the burns are very severe and there is the possibility (or existence) of infection, dress the burns with Rose and/or Beebalm honey between vinegar applications.
Once the area has cooled off (and stays that way) it's ok to use a healing salve or cream like Rose, Alder and Elderflower to speed the skin's complete recovery.
If there's no Rose vinegar on hand, plain or similarly herbal infused (Elderflower, Chickweed, Alder, Plantain) apple cider may be used.
This is such an effective treatment that I wouldn't dream of traveling without it or not having several quart jars of it in my pantry and medicine chest.
by Kiva Rose
This is a fine little tea recipe for crisp Autumn mornings or chilly Winter evenings. It's simple and delicious, as the best things in life are.
1 Tsp dried Blueberries
1 Tbs dried Elderberries
5 dried Wintergreen leaves
1 1/2 Cups just boiled water
Pour water over plants, cover and let steep for five or so minutes. Strain, or drink with a bombilla. A teaspoon of honey is a lovely addition.
by Kiva Rose
This is a nice little recipe to use when there's deep, hard congestion low in the chest and possible inflammation and infection. It's also good for simple sinus congestion. All three of these herbs are traditional lung and sinus herbs, and have the total effect of instant (though somewhat temporary) congestion, reducing inflammation and tightening up the tissues while reducing infection or the chance of infection.
1 Part Bee Balm (Monarda spp. the spicier the better)
1 Part Moonwort (Artemisia spp.)
1 Part Rabbit Tobacco/Cudweed/Everlasting (Gnaphalium spp. and related species.)
You can just take anywhere from a pinch to a small handful (depending on your tolerance of the smell and the strength of your herbs) of each and toss it into a small pot of just boiled water (about a quart) and cover for a few minutes. Then take a towel and place your face (carefully) over the open pot. Be careful not to burn yourself but to get close enough breathe in a lot of the vaporized essential oils. Try to stay under there as long as the water is hot and there's plenty of steam. If you can't, take short breaks while covering the pot and then go back under.
Follow this up with a hot cup of a good relaxant diaphoretic tea (in the case of tight, hot chest congestion) and some kind of smelly chest rub (Birch, Pine, Eucalyptus or Moonwort can all work). Be sure to keep warm and either soak your feet (you could use the steam herbs again, just reheat them, strain, and stick your feet in there) or put on fuzzy slippers (preferably sheepskin and not pink plush, but whatever works for you). If possible, do this treatment at least three times a day, it really does make a difference. If you can't (or won't) do it that often, at least do it before bed and save yourself the misery of trying to drift off to sleep while nearly breaking your ribs with those deep, hard paroxysms (not nearly as much fun as it sounds) of coughing.
by Kiva Rose
8 oz carbonated water
3-4 TB strong, honey sweetened Ginger tea
1 Squirt Elderberry Elixir
4 drops Peach twig or leaf tincture
Let the room temperature carbonated water go about halfway flat, then add the warm to room temperature Ginger tea to taste. At the last, stir in the tinctures. Serve in small cups to be sipped slowly. While I doubt carbonated water is really all that great for an upset belly, it helps one to take small drinks and children love it more than most teas. Make sure that the drink is NOT cold, as this would be most counterproductive for a sick belly. This little bit of root magic has proved to be a tasty, child compliant way to rehydrate and nourish and heal. A step up from flat Sprite, I'd say!
by Kiva Rose
This is a favorite formula of mine that has proved to be very multipurpose. It has been used successfully for muscle pain, sore joints, nerve pain and even basic first aid care. The Cottonwood is stimulating to the circulation (moving blood and thus relieving pain), deeply penetrating and also directly pain relieving as well as very healing to the skin and muscles (a bit like Birch or Wintergreen but without any chance of toxicity or irritation), the Goldenrod is earth’s gift to hurt muscles and is wonderful for spasming, aching, torn or even separated muscles, the Sweet Clover seems to be antispasmodic and can help a great deal with nerve pain. The Ginger is to warm up the formula if necessary, making it more stimulating and thus more appropriate for old, cold or chronic injuries.
These proportions can be used to make either a salve or liniment, depending on which you need. If you make the liniment, you macerate all the herbs in alcohol or you can do some in oil and some in liniment and then combine later.
4 parts Cottonwood bud/bark (just bark will suffice if it’s all you can get)
3 parts Goldenrod flowers (must be from fresh flowers, the more aromatic the better)
2 parts Sweet Clover flowering tops (from freshly dried plants)
1 part fresh Ginger (optional)
I like to macerate everything separately and then blend so that I can adjust according to need.
by Kiva Rose
This is a favorite salve of mine that I’m often sold out of due to its extreme popularity among the locals. It has a million uses, from cracked feet to painful cuts to bug bites to whatever else you might need a salve for.
4 parts Cottonwood bud/bark
3 parts Mugwort leaf (pre flowers if possible)
3 parts Cypress leaf/berry (or Juniper if you can’t get Cypress)
1 part Pine gum (the gooey stuff that collects in lumps around any injuries to the tree)
Pretty simple and very aromatic and healing. Some people find it medicinal in scent but most adore the warm SouthWestern flavor and I’ve even known a few people to wear it like perfume.
by Kiva Rose
2 parts Pine gum
1 part Plantain
1 part Elm (optional)
Pulls out all kinds of interesting splinters and boils, while being very soothing and promoting rapid healing.
by Kiva Rose
3 parts Larrea leaf and flower
2 parts White Sage leaf
1 part Mugwort
Simple, strongly anti-microbial and very healing. It’s also quite resilient to conditions that would cause other salves to pale and wither. It can take quite a bit of heat and melting and remelting (still less than ideal though) and lasts for damn near forever. A great hiking companion.
by Kiva Rose
4 parts Comfrey leaf/root
3 parts Cottonwood bark/bud
2 parts Mugwort
1 part Pine
For sprains, strains, contusions, broken bones and other deep trauma.
by Kiva Rose
1 pint jar
enough fresh wild rose petals to fill the jar
everclear or vodka/brandy to fill the jar 3/4 (I prefer a lower proof alcohol for this preparation, I might make a 50% solution with water and everclear)
glycerine or raw honey to fill the jar 1/4 (I generally prefer glycerine for first aid purposes since it is less sticky, which leads to higher compliance in patients, honey tastes better though).
Fill the jar with whole or roughly chopped Wild Rose petals. Add raw honey or glycerine, then fill with alcohol. Cover top with plastic or other non-reactive material before screwing on a regular canning lid. If you skip the plastic, your elixir will eventually start tasting strange and/or eat you metal lid, eating metal seems to be a special property of roses! Shake well. Let sit for three to six weeks, shaking regularly. You can strain at the end of that time or you can just pour off the amount you want to use a little at a time.
This is an incredibly useful preparation that I just love. Externally, it's amazing on burns and wounds. It has the wonderful ability to eradicate the pain of burns very quickly, to coat the surface of the skin without holding in heat, to actually reduce a great deal of the heat radiating from the burn, and to dramatically speed healing. The glycerine or honey helps to hold the elixir in place on the skin and contributes to the soothing effect. The Rose is blood moving, which contributes to pain relief and quicker healing. It's also very anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial as well as astringent, helping to reduce redness, swelling and any possible infection. It's extremely gentle and non-irritating, safe enough to use on baby skin or as a sitz bath but effective enough for most any first aid need.
A drop or two will calm itchy or stinging insect bites, and combines well with a Yarrow or Plantain spit poultice. It's also great on rashes from heat, contact dermatitis, blisters or poison ivy, especially when combined with Mugwort.
I use the elixir as a liniment, though the plain tincture will work well too, and is less sticky (but in a pinch, who can complain too much about sticky?). This liniment is effective for relaxing sore muscles, and has a special talent for sharp, shooting sensations related to nerve pain or slipped discs. For a badly pulled muscle or older injury, I will usually combine with Goldenrod oil if it is available.
Internally, I use small amounts of the elixir just as most would use Rescue Remedy, for any trauma, panic, fear or stressful situation for child, adult or animal. It's calming, pleasant and blood moving, helping to move someone out of a paralyzing shock or stuck emotion. It acts as a mild nervine, calming without sedating. I have met people though, who find it quite perception altering. And of course Wild Rose excels at opening the heart and restoring emotional equilibrium. It's also a well known aphrodisiac, but we'll leave those properties for a future post. It's also anti-spasmodic and can be used externally or internally for mild to moderate cramps.
For a more relaxing remedy with greater anti-infective properties, make with half Wild Rose petals and half Wild Rose hips (with seeds intact). This preparation is an especially good heart tonic (like its close relative, Hawthorn) and arthritis remedy when used in the long term. The hips are also effectively anti-viral (like their OTHER close relatives Raspberry and Saskatoon).
note: Yes, you can use domestic Roses instead, but depending on the variety you may not find it as strong as the wild ones.