New Tea in Town

tranquilitea41I’ve come up with the second in my series of organic herbal tea blends. This one, Tranquili*Tea, is made from organic chamomile, organic lemon balm, and organic red raspberry leaf, which have wonderfully relaxing and soothing properties. And it comes in eco-friendly packaging — individual tea bags, which are hydrogen peroxide and oxygen whitened, without the use of bleach or other chemicals. The label is printed on 100% recycled paper, and the packaging is compostable vegetable cellulose.

This tea has a warm, flowery herby taste, with a hint of lemon from the lemon balm. In the herbalist tradition, these herbs are believed to improve blood circulation, aid digestion and serve as an antispasmodic.*

I also offer a women’s blend, Feminini*tea, which contains a blend of organic red clover, red raspberry leaf and nettle, which are considered, in the herbalist tradition, to be excellent women’s tonics, supporting overall health and female-specific health.* Feminini*tea is available on my store website.

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For now, this tea is available only through my Etsy store. But it will soon be available in my online store herbanlifestyle.com. Here’s what customers have said about Feminini*Tea: “Yum. Really nice tea, very fresh tasting and relaxing.” “OH MY GOODNESS! I enjoy tea but I am REALLY enjoying this one! The floral notes in the tea are just beautiful!”


*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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SquidFire’s 2009 Spring Art Mart

springfrontNOTE: Click here for info on the 2010 Squidfire Art Mart.

Save the Date! Herban Lifestyle will be participating in Squidfire’s 2009 Spring Art Mart, which will be held on:

Saturay, May 9, 11am-6pm
Mount Vernon Square (between Charles and Cathedral Streets)
Baltimore, MD 21201
Click here for map

Join over 50 of the best local and regional crafters and artists as they display their handmade wares in the most beautiful park in the city. The event goes on rain or shine. Please join us!

How To Make Violet Syrup

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I love the deep purple hues of violets. These beautiful little flowers grow in abundance this time of year, so I took the opportunity to try out one of the recipes from Gibbons’ book, Stalking the Healthful Herb. According to Euell Gibbons, violets are “nature’s vitamin pill” containing 150mg of vitamin C per 100g of blossoms, three times the amount of that in oranges weight for weight.

I decided to make violet syrup, since it is healthful and a gourmet addition to desserts or cocktails.

So, I went out into my yard and picked about a cupful of violet blossoms. I did this in the early afternoon on a sunny day, a good time to harvest blossoms and herbs since the sun has dried off any moisture that might have collected on them overnight.

I placed the blossoms in a clean, dry canning jar.

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Then I covered them in an equal amount of boiling water (1 cup). You can see from the photo that the water begins to take on a beautiful light blue hue.

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Then, I let the mixture steep for 24 hours. I then strained out the violet blossoms (and put them in my compost canister, pictured behind the jar). What was left was this gorgeous jewel-toned blue liquid. Violet essence!

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I put the strained liquid into a sauce pan and added the juice of half a lemon, and 2 cups of sugar (the only sugar I had was vanilla sugar that I had made by placing a halved vanilla bean in a jar of sugar and letting it sit for two months — the color was a light brown, which may have affected the color of my syrup). The addition of the lemon juice caused a chemical reaction, turning the blue liquid into a pinkish-purpleish liquid. I brought this to a boil, and cooked it at a simmer for about 10 minutes.

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I then poured the syrup into a sterilized canning jar, and placed it in the refrigerator. The final result is below. I will try this recipe again with less lemon juice. I’m not sure how the taste will compare, but I’d like to preserve as much of the gorgeous blue color of the violet water as possible.

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According to Gibbons, ancient herbalists used violet syrup to cure epilepsy, pleurisy, jaundice, consumption, insomnia and more. He found that it had demulcent and expectorant properties, making it a tasty cough syrup. However, he recommends enjoying just for the pure pleasure of the taste, putting on pancakes, making drinks from it, or pouring some over shaved ice.

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My New Product Has Been Named!

Herban Lifestyle Baby

Herban Lifestyle's New Baby Products

Last Friday, my contest to name my new baby oil came to a close. And I promised to announce a winner today. So, congratulations to Jana Bridgman for her winning entry, “Organic Lullaby”! Jana will be receiving a set of the new Herban Lifestyle Baby™ product line, as well as a large Herban Lifestyle™ Gift Set.

Thank you to all of you who entered. I appreciate your creative input in this process! I have to say that it was difficult to choose! 

And a big thanks also goes out to two Jennifers, authors of the  Mom*entum Resources and Adventures in Momland blogs for spreading the word about my contest!

I Love Ewe

woolI recently bought my first order of hand-carded wool from a family farm in Wisconsin. I have been using the wool to make my felted soaps. Their wool is hand dyed with vegetable dyes. I bought a sampler of five colors, my favorite of which is pictured in this photo. This wonderful green color is made from a combination of Indigo and Marigold. Yummy!

Safe Cosmetics

safecosmeticsLead in lipstick?! Carcinogens in baby shampoo?! Are any bath and body products safe?

Luckily, there’s the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database, where you can look up virtually any product on the market and discover what’s really in your products, and which products are safe. If your product isn’t listed, you can look up the individual ingredients. Associated with this is the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, which asks companies to sign a pledge to abide by EU standards. Companies that sign the pledge register their products and ingredients in the Skin Deep Database, and abide by a set of standards that ensure full disclosure of the safety of their products. You can support the Campaign in many ways, big and small, from becoming a fan on Facebook, to starting a grassroots movement in your community! Herban Lifestyle has signed the pledge. Encourage your other favorite body product company to sign, too!

We Love We Love DC

welovedcLast week, Donna C, a writer for the We Love DC blog wrote about my baby oil naming contest. Thank you, Donna and We Love DC! 

The contest is still open, and I am taking entries until 11:59 pm this Friday, April 3rd. So there is still time to send in your wonderful ideas. 

Again, the author of the winning entry will receive a complete set of my new baby products plus a large Herban Lifestyle Gift Set

Keep those great ideas coming!