Monday, September 19, 2011

DIY Sambucol or simply: "Elderberry Syrup"

For the longest time I promise to include the recipe for what we call Elderberry Syrup and is commercially known as Sambucol.

Elder Berry Syrup is a wonderful cold and flu remedy for kids. If you have a family, this syrup is a absolute necessity for your medicine cabinet. Use Elder Berry syrup for colds, flu, sore throats, and fever. As with all syrups, it may be taken alone or mixed into a cup of warming tea, and it is recommended that you have it administered at the first sign of illness.

The recipe is very easy to prepare and it's really worth doing it for several reasons:
1. Keep your family healthy during the cold and flu season.
2. Save some serious money (sells for $8 to $13 per 4oz bottle - with this recipe you can make at least 16oz for this price)

To buy dried elderberries go to my Etsy shop or to

Here's what you need:
1 cup fresh or 1/2 cup dried elderberries (or the mixture in the picture, which contains elder berries, elder flowers and echinacea root)
3 cups water
1 cup raw local honey/ 1 cup sugar/ 1 cup agave nectar (choose whatever sweetener you have on hand or your prefer)
Glass jar or bottle with lid

How to:
1. Heat the berries and water to a boil, then reduce to simmer for 30-45 minuets.
2. Mash the berries (if fresh berries are used. when using dried berries just try to squeeze as much juice out if htem before you starin), strain, and add 1 cup of honey. I add a half cup of the purple liquid to a measuring cup, then pour in honey until the total volume is 1 1/2 cups. Then stir to mix well, and add to the rest of the reserved liquid.
3. Bottle and store. Keeps in the refrigerator for 2-3 months.
4. Enjoy a tablespoon daily to keep the immune system strong. At the first sign of a cold - and may it be just a tickle in the throat - take 2 tsp every 2 to 3 hours until the symptoms don't get worse anymore. then continue with 3 x daily until all symptoms are gone.

This syrup could be added to my Organic Cold and Flu Comfort Tea or the Peppermint with Elderberry Tea to give it even more cold fighting power.

Sometimes I also make a tincture. Here alcohol or vegetable glycerin is used to make the tincture. It's also very potent, but since I serve the syrup to my children too, I just avoid the aclohol. Even though the tincture can be heated after it is strained, to evaporate the alcohol, it's not as pleasant tasting as the syrup.
There are many other recipes out there, but this is the one I'm using for years now. My husband, (an engineer) was very skeptical at first about the properties of this remedy, but it took him only one time to try and experience the power of this herb/plant that he's now convinced and even spreads the word about it ;)

Have fun and beat the cold this season!!! :)

*Please always remember, I am not a doctor and don't pretend to be one. Although I am 100% sure of the identification of the plants I harvest and research like mad before posting a recipe. Some books say Elderberry leaves, seeds, bark, stems and root are toxic. Only the berries, which must be cooked first, and the blossoms are edible. Use your best judgement when using plants from the wild.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Finally, a new blend for my little Etsy store...

Organic After Meal Mint

...that's the name for the blend we're using for such a long time now. Somehow it just got pushed back on my to do list to make a listing for this Herbal Tea in my store. Well, now it's here :)
It's a minty cool, refreshing tea that even my kids like.

Well, no more words - here are the pics:

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Herbal Iced Tea... delicious and easy to prepare. I serve it daily these days... and I don't mind that my children are asking for it, if they don't see on the table.

Iced Tea made from Organic Red Roiboos Chai 'Cream Spice'

If someone likes to try this - I offer samples as well :)
...or a tin of this: Organic Red Roiboos Chai 'Cream Spice'

I haven't posted in a while... once school starts, I plan to update and fill in whatever is still missing. I took many pictures but didn't take the time to post them here.


Anyway - everyone enjoy this cooler days (if you're in Indiana, you know what I mean ;))

Friday, July 1, 2011

Organic Lemon Balm

Just a few pictures from my deliciously lemony fragrance emitting Lemon Balm ;)
I cut the leaves off the stems, cut the leaves in smaller pieces and then let them dry.
I use this herb in several of my Organic Herbal Teas. For those who are interested: It can be bought as a single herb as well.
(Additional information about Lemon Balm can be found in the Herbal ABC page)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Interview published in The Republic!

Last Sunday the local newspaper, The Republic, published an article about my Etsy store :)
Great promotion - for free!
I will add a scan of the article here soon... please be patient.
Thanks to all who are reading this :)

Here is the scan of the article!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Honey Bees and Elderflowers

...finally I'm taking the time to post this picture. i took it when I cut some more Elderflowers for the Cordial/Syrup last week... There was a lot of buzzing around me!

Honey Bees & Elder flowers - perfect combination :)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

How to make Organic Elderflower Cordial...

It's easy - that's for sure :) We know it from our time in Austria, where it was served in 'Buschenschanken'. These are usually farms or vineries in the countryside who serve their own produce, meat and, of course wine. They also served chilled 'Elderflower Cordial', which was my favorite beverage (well, besides the wine ;))

A few years ago I started making the cordial myself, since we have lots of 'Common Elder' plants on our property.

Freshly cut Elderflowers and Lemon

Tiny blossoms in the sugar-lemon-water solution.

Here are the simplified instructions for anyone who would like to make this refreshing beverage:
Dissolve sugar in water (5 parts sugar, 3 parts water - or whatever ratio works for you - the sugar is mainly used to preserve the syrup. If less sugar is used, the syrup/juice can spoils rather quickly - unless it's stored frozen. I did this too one year - made with agave syrup and honey, instead of sugar)

Add the peel and juice from lemons
add elderflowers (freshly picked, washed - as many as you can fit, I usually add a few more after a day or two)
let stand for several days (in the fridge)
Strain and fill in mason jars or glass bottles that can be closed tightly.

Pour some syrup into a glass, add ice, water - ENJOY!
(I was enjoying too quickly to take a picture ;))

Thanks for reading!!!

I also found a link on Wikipedia... (after I wrote all this to find a better name for 'syrup' or 'juice' - I didn't know there was the term 'cordial' for this particular beverage - one never stops learning ;)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Organic Lemon Balm and Lemon Thyme

What a storm last night!!! Several branches came off of our trees, but no major damage to the house. At least the temperature came down as well - at least a little bit.
I already harvested some lemon thyme and lemon balm this morning - I just love the fragrance of both - never fails to make me smile.
And btw - just rub a few leaves of lemon balm between your hands and then rub the hands wherever you need to be protected from mosquito and bug bites - very helpful, naturally! I add a few leaves of mint too, it even more effective. I love the fact that this way there's no harm from chemicals on our skin. The boys like to do this themselves :) (Note: Repeat this every so often, or as soon as you feel the mosquitos are back bothering.)

Lemon Balm

Lemon Thyme

Yes - finally the farmers market opened yesterday. And even though I was not a vendor and my little man complained and wanted to leave just a few minutes after we got there, it was so good to see all the wonderful products!!! So great to be able to shop fresh and local.
Thanks Tracee :) It was so good to meet you too! I told my husband the next time I need to go without our boys - this way I have more time to socialize ;) Your dresses looked so beautiful - I need to take a closer peek next time, when I'm by myself.

Enjoy your Sunday - everyone :) Jana

Monday, May 30, 2011

Volunteering Chamomile

What a pleasant surprise to find a patch of Chamomile in our 'Orchard'!!!
I did sow some seeds this spring and very few plants appeared. I was a bit disappointed but thought they'll be spreading their seeds and next year I'll have a nice supply.
But then I found these volunteers within a mass of Chickweed (this herbs will get it's own post later). That just made my day ;)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Dandelion harvest & clean up

About a week ago I dug up some dandelion roots (not all are pictured ;)) and let my younger son help with the clean up. It was hot outside, so he had fun and we both were soaking wet after he was done ;)

just out of the ground

my big little helper - or little big helper?!?!? ;)

almost done!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Wow, all those storms...

...I hope they're over now. We've been without power for 24 hour from Monday to Tuesday and not even 24 hours later, it went out again... due to all the severe thunderstorms. Thank goodness there was no damage on our property, so i should not complain. While driving through Columbus today (bring the kids to and pick up from school) we saw huge trees that had snapped during the storm... nature is powerful indeed: From huge storm to tiny plants (to close the circle and come back to the topic of my blog ;))

Thanks to all my new followers!!!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Organic Yarrow

My yarrow is coming along very well - growing like a weed, of course ;) It doesn't take long anymore and I can harvest the flowers (to be dried). Perfect timing since I ran out of stock.
This herb is essential for my Organic Cold and Flu Comfort Tea

Yarrow is used against colds, cramps, fevers, kidney disorders, toothaches, skin irritations, and hemorrhages, and to regulate menses, stimulate the flow of bile, and purify the blood. Medicinal tea is a good remedy for severe colds and flu, for stomach ulcers, amenorrhea, abdominal cramps, abscesses, trauma and bleeding, and to reduce inflammation. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Dandelion and Rainboots...

...have not too much in common. Although they meet quite regulary recently when I'm out and about in our yard to collect Dandelion Leaves.
It's too sad that the properties of this common plant are rarely appreciated these days. Well, here's to the Dandelion ;)

Nearly every part of the Dandelion is edible. Since the first fresh leaves peeked out I collected them to add to our salads and what we don't consume I dry to use in my Herbal Tea Blends.
Usually I take the time a few times a year to dig up the roots of the Dandelion too. I wash and dry them. Herbalists have long prescribed dandelion root tea to relieve acne and eczema as well as to enhance liver function. It's on of the best herbal diuretics.

Since everyone probably knows how a Dandelion looks like, I thought I just introduce my very soon to be replaced rainboots ;)

Thanks for reading - comments are always welcome!!! :)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

What would I do without Elder Berries...

...from the plant also known as
Sambucus spp (Nigra for berries and Canadensis for flowers) American Elder, Common Elder, Black Elder, Bour Tree, and European Black Elder.

Too many good things to tell about this Tree (or rather tall bush).

I already added some information on the Herbal ABC here on this blog, but no picture yet. Here it is, my Elder Berry in mid April

I'm looking forward to harvest Elder Flowers and Elder Berries again this year. Of course, I always leave enough for birds and bees and butterflies :)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Oh the places you'll go.... or work ;)

That's the places I usually work at to get everything ready for my shop and my customers :)

Now, that spring is here, one can find me more and more outside, tending the herbs... (they're peeking through more and more - check out my recent post with some pictures)

My desk get's a lot of attention - of course, because so far allmost all my sales are online based. Also I can watch my kids from here (in this case just one, the older one is in school), if they're playing outside.

This is some of my storage space and close by the place where my husband will set up another table, so I can blend and fill and have stock/storage all in one place. I'm looking forward!!! ;)

...will have to move the plant and the binders, of course...
blend and fill

Oh yes, and since there's the 'treehouse in my shops name, you might wonder... Well, we have the plan to build one in our backyard for quite a while. The base is done and hopefully it will grow slowly but surely, just like my business :)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spring is here!

Some of my herbs are already showing their beauty... I love when they peek through in spring - so fresh and new, full of aroma already... ahhhh :)



lovely lemon thyme

lemon  thyme again - one of my favorites :)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Thank you!

To all my followers here and to all who trusted my Herbal Blends and bought some to try and to my family who is always supportive of my business.
Thank you! :)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Time for Elderberry syrup or Elderberry Tincture

Since everywhere I turn I hear people are sick, I thought this is the perfect time to spread the word about Elderberries (and flowers)

I always have a batch of Elderberry Tincture or Syrup on hands. Their antibiotic, antiviral and antibacterial properties are just amazing.
I do have some information on the Herbal ABC page, if you like to read on...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Thanks to Local Green Stores!

When I came home from running my morning errands, I had to work an hour or so (my own set rule, I work from home usually in the evenings) for my 'paying' job and then I treated myself to some Cake and Tea:
We have a green grocery store here in town (Columbus, IN): Double Oak Farm where I get most of our veggies, fruit and eggs and meat and some other good stuff (too much to list) - and since today also pasta! :)
Lori, the owner was the first one to sell my Herbal Blends in a store - in her store. That was basically the beginning of Treehouse Herbs. Well, here's a big Thank You!!! to Lori.
For a while now she's working together with Ashleigh, who owns a bakery: Ashleighs Boulangerie. I'm so glad that both of them sell such good things.
I'm known for loving sweet things. I always have to buy something baked, when I'm at the store... today it was the Coffe Cake (again ;)) It is soooooooo good. I just love it. It's my treat every Wednesday, when I come home from the errands, I brew a cup of tea (today: 'Organic Good Morning Tea') from my store ;)) and Pecan Coffee Cake... no need to say more.