Valerie Lull

Marjoram, (Origanum marjorana) is a herb that we don’t usually hear much about, but it is good for skin, digestive problems and pain. It can be used as a culinary spice, a herb or as an essential oil. It is used to flavor foods and beverages, and as a fragrance for cosmetics and soaps.

Marjoram originated in the Mediterranean; some authorities say Cyprus and Southern Turkey, others say Egypt. The ancient Greeks believed marjoram was a symbol of peace, harmony and happiness.  It is sometimes called oregano, but not to be confused with the oregano we use on pizza.

The essential oil is extracted by steam distillation. The essential oil is useful for many things. It relieves pain from colds, fevers, inflammation, sore muscles, headaches and aches and pains.  It does not have adverse effects like NSAIDS.(over the counter pain relievers).

Marjoram contains vitamins A and C, calcium and Iron. It also has antioxidants. Besides the oil, marjoram can be used as an infusion of fresh or dried leaves or as a powder. Some herbalists make remedies with the flowers. Drinking the tea can improve digestion, appetite, relieve nausea, diarrhea, constipation and stomach cramps.

A simple anti-wrinkle ointment can be made using 1 or 2 drops of marjoram essential oil and two tablespoons coconut oil. Mix the two together and apply to  your face. It will help soften wrinkles.

Here is a recipe for Marjoram tea. Put 2-3 Tablespoons of fresh marjoram leaves in a cup. Pour over leaves 8 oz. of boiling water. Steep 5 – 10 minutes. Strain and use sweetener of choice. I like honey.….0…1..64.serp..0.0.0.HIcvC0noGOA

Goldenseal Tea (Hydrastis canadensis)


By Valerie Lull

Goldenseal is a common and powerful herb that
is good for assisting the immune system in warding off
colds and flu. It is a Native American plant and was widely
used by Native Americans, particularly the Iroquois and
Cherokee. Goldenseal has a reputation for being a cureall
and has been known as an effective antibiotic. It is
also useful for diarrhea and yeast infections. Goldenseal
is an endangered species, so be sure your tea comes from
a reputable source. You can find reputable companies on
the Internet. Goldenseal should not be used by pregnant
women or people with heart conditions. Some authorities
think it raises blood pressure.

Goldenseal may be used as a tonic and a detoxifier. It is
useful for respiratory infections and mucous membrane infections,
as well as for diarrhea and intestinal infections.
Goldenseal may help diabetes, yeast infections, periodontal
disease, eye disease, and liver problems in alcoholics. It is
a popular treatment for urinary tract infections. Goldenseal
has natural antibiotic properties. It helps to kill the harmful
bacteria in your system.

Here are some more uses for goldenseal tea: boost immune
system, stimulate appetite, anti-inflammatory, eye
infections, peptic ulcers, colitis, anorexia, and irritable
bowel syndrome. Use as an eyewash or as a douche for
yeast infections in women. Gargling with goldenseal heals
canker sores in the mouth and eases sore throats. Don’t use
if you’re taking blood thinning drugs like Coumadin; don’t
use if pregnant or breast-feeding.

Suggestions for use:
Take with meals

Honey sweetens the bitter taste

One last word. Goldenseal is an endangered species. Wildcrafting goldenseal is not advised. Be sure you get your goldenseal from  a reputable source.

Goldenseal Tea from the Root

Simmer 1 teaspoon of dried root in 8 ounces of boiling
water for 10–20 minutes. Enjoy.

Goldenseal Tea

Goldenseal Tea from Tea Bags

1–2 goldenseal tea bags
Honey or another sweetener of choice
1-2 cups of boiling water
Pour boiling water over the tea bag and let steep for 5 minutes.
Add sweetener to taste.

Goldenseal Lemon Peppermint Tea

1 goldenseal tea bag
1 lemon tea bag or ½ squeezed lemon
1 peppermint tea bag (to flavor the bitter taste)
Sweetener to taste
Pour boiling water over the tea bags in a large cup or small
teapot and let steep for 5 minutes. Add sweetener to taste

Question: Have you ever used goldenseal tea? How did you like it? Your comments are welcome.

— Valerie Lull
Author, Ten healthy Teas
Web Site:





Persimmons are a fruit that is edible and grows on a tree. Persimmons have been called the “fruit of the god’s” and are actually a berry. The most common variety in the United States is the Japanese persimmon.

Persimmons are a native of China and grown there for thousands of years. They spread to Japan and have been grown there 1300 years. They are the Japanese national fruit. They were first introduced to the United states around 1870.

The fruit matures in the fall and the color is a light yellow-orange to a dark yellow-orange. This fruit is not that common in America. I never heard of persimmons until I was in my 20’s and was served persimmon cookies. They were delicious. The taste is like apricots with a pudding type of texture.

Persimmons are loaded with nutrition like Vitamins a, B-complex, and C. They also contain manganese, copper and phosphorus. They have flavonoids, antioxidants and catechins. Other antioxidants include beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein, cryptoxanthin and zeaxanthin. Persimmons are high in fructose so if you are diabetic consume them in moderation.

Persimmons can be eaten fresh or cooked and included in salads, jams, salsa  or as a dessert.  Here is a recipe for persimmon cookies.

Persimmon Cookies

2 persimmons, pureed

1 C white sugar

1/2 C butter

1 Egg

2 C white flour

1 t baking soda

1 t cinnamon

1/2 t ground cloves

1/2 t ground nutmeg

1/2 t salt

1 C chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease or line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and salt. Cream margarine and sugar, and beat in the egg and persimmons. Add flour mixture and mix. Add nuts. Drop by teaspoonfuls, 2 inches apart onto baking sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes.

Check out my website at



5 Soothing Herbs for Peace and Calm



Valerie Lull

First published on American College of Healthcare Sciences blog,


Feeling overwhelmed lately? Perhaps you feel stressed out and frustrated. Stress is a natural side effect of life. Some stress is good for us; it can relieve boredom and keep us on our toes. But it can easily get out of control. Everyday life is filled with stressful situations, so it’s important to have tools that promote calm and peace.

Herbs and essential oils are exceptional when used to combat the little stresses of everyday life and promote peace and calm. So if your cat threw up, or the baby cried all night, or any of the hundred little frustrating things that happen during the day, there are a number of soothing essential oils and herbs for peace and calm.

  1. German Chamomile Matricaria recutita

Chamomile is very popular for its calming properties. It has been used for decades to help promote peace and relaxation. It can help you get a handle on a stressful situation.

German chamomile Matricaria recutita (L.) has a pleasant apple-like scent. It can be prepared as a delicious tea or taken in capsule form. One research study examined its calming effects on patients with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) with positive results, although it was concluded that more research studies are needed.[1] An old folk remedy recommends stuffing a pillow with chamomile.[2]

You’re sure to enjoy chamomile’s relaxing aroma. Chamomile M. recutita tea can be safely used for children and babies in small doses, but consult your pediatrician first.

  1. Lemongrass Cymbopogon citratus

Lemongrass Cymbopogon citratus (Stapf) is a fragrant herb that can be soothing on frayed nerves and has traditionally been used to promote calm. It has a lemony flavor that is used extensively in Asian cooking. The use of lemongrass in aromatherapy can encourage inner peace and relaxation.[3]

  1. Passionflower Passiflora incarnata

Passionflower Passiflora incarnata (L.) is a beautiful botanical. The fruit is often used in cuisine, but the flower, leaves, and stem have mild soothing qualities on the body and mind. It is native to South America, and has traditionally been used to induce calm and take the edge off a stressful day. It is also fantastic to promote healthy sleep patterns.[4]

Passionflower P. incarnata tea is a wonderful way to prepare this herb and experience its soothing properties.


  1. St. John’s Wort Hypericum perforatum

St. John’s Wort Hypericum perforatum (L.) is one of the most popular botanicals used to promote an uplifted, healthy mood.[5] Since stress and mood go hand-in-hand, a healthy feeling of happiness can calm you down … naturally!

It has been said that St. John’s Wort “brings the stork,” but the Herb Research Foundation says these fears are unfounded, as this herb has been used in Europe for centuries with no report of unwanted pregnancies.

It is recommended to use St. John’s Wort H. perforatum extract three times per day standardized to .3% hypericin at 300 milligrams.

This herb can be taken as a tea, a tincture, a capsule, or in pill form. Do not use St. John’s Wort H. perforatum if you are taking antidepressants.[6] If you are using Indinavir—a component of antiretroviral therapy to treat HIV—do not use St. John’s Wort as it is also contraindicated.

  1. Green tea Camellia sinensis

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention green tea Camellia sinensis (L.). Popular in many health and wellness circles, green tea is traditionally used for its soothing effects. Green tea contains L-theanine, which has been studied for its potential calming properties.[7]

Feeling strung out? Have a break and take a few minutes for yourself, relax, and sip the warm tea. Those few minutes may be all it takes to help re-focus and revive.

Some herbs interact with prescription drugs, so be sure to discuss any herbal preparations you use with your healthcare provider or registered herbalist with the American Herbalist Guild (AHG). Be especially careful if you are pregnant or nursing.

What are your “go-to” herbs for peace and calm? Tell me your favorites in the comments.


This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent disease. This article has not been reviewed by the FDA. Always consult with your primary care physician or naturopathic doctor before making any significant changes to your health and wellness routine.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I am a graduate of American College of Healthcare Sciences, the Institution that publishes this blog. However, all opinions are my own. This blog may contain affiliate links. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

[1] Amsterdam JD, Yimei L, Soeller I, et al. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of oral Matricaria recutita (chamomile) extract therapy for generalized anxiety disorder. J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2009;29(4):378-382.

[2] Howe, M. Chamomile: Shelter from the storm. Webmd. Retrieved from

[3] Blanco MM, Costa CA, Freire AO, Santos JG, Jr, Costa M. Neurobehavioral effect of essential oil of Cymbopogon citratus in mice. Phytomedicine. 2009;16(2–3):265–270. Retrieved from

[4] Passionflower. University of Maryland Medical Center. Retrieved from

[5] Archer, D. St. John’s Wort and Depression. Is St. John’s Wort a safe, effective alternative to medication for depression? 2013. Retrieved from

[6] Possible Interactions with: St. John’s Wort. University of Maryland Medical Center. Retrieved from

[7] Heese T, Jenkinson J, Love C, et al. Anxiolytic effects of L-theanine—a component of green tea-when combined with midazolam, in the male Sprague-Dawley rat. AANA Journal. 2009;77(6):445–449. Retrieved from

Topics: herbs, stress

Myrtle Essential Oil



Valerie Lull

Myrtle is an evergreen shrub in southern Europe. It has glossy leaves and white or purple flowers that give off a pleasant scent. It produces berries that are oval-shaped and a purple-black color. Myrtle is mentioned several times in the Bible and in ancient Greek and Roman history.

Myrtle is associated with Aphrodite, the goddess of love, beauty and fertility.  Roman women bathed in myrtle scented water. In Judaism myrtle is called Hadassah, the Hebrew name for Esther.

Myrtle can be used for both culinary and medicinal purposes. In the culinary world myrtle berries can be made into jam, the berries can be dried and ground up and used like a spice, and they can be made into mirto, a liqueur made of myrtle berries, alcohol, water and sugar or honey.

In the health realm myrtle essential oil can work like an antiseptic, astringent, deodorant, expectorant and a sedative. The essential oil is extracted by steam distillation of the flowers, leaves and stems. Some of the benefits of the essential oil are protecting wounds, relief for breathing problems, relief from stress and anxiety, and infections of the stomach and intestine. Myrtle essential oil is used by aromatherapists for skin problems and respiratory health. It can be used to keep away mosquitoes and insects.

Myrtle oil is generally safe to use but it should be diluted with carrier oils like olive or coconut oil. Do not use on pets especially cats, it is toxic to them. Always consult your doctor if you want to use myrtle oil, and consult the vet if you have questions about its use on pets. Also ask your physician about ingesting myrtle essential oil. Some essential oils are not meant for internal use and are toxic. They may not mix with prescription drugs.

Check out my website at

Cumin for Inflammation


Valerie Lull

Cumin is a spice that is well known for its use in Mexican, Spanish, Middle Eastern and Indian foods. It is technically classified as a herb and it has many medicinal uses. Some of the uses for cumin include reduced inflammation, increased urination, reduce gas, suppress muscle spasms, indigestion, jaundice, and diarrhea. It can be used in a poultice, a suppository and smoked in a pipe.
Cumin is native to hot countries like South Africa, Egypt, China and Morocco. It was used by the Romans and the Greeks for its health benefits. Cumin is mentioned in the Bible. Cumin is a seed and it is the seeds that are used for medicine. They can be obtained dried, or ground. Ground cumin is a brownish-green color.

Cumin has been used as a culinary spice for centuries. Besides being used as a seasoning for food, the oil is used for alcoholic beverages. Cumin is an antioxidant and is antibacterial. It can lower blood sugar and strengthen bones. Cumin has been used for boils and makes a great tonic. Cumin is good for hair and skin.

Some of the side effects of cumin include heartburn, belching, a heavy menstrual cycle, and low blood sugar. Because of the blood sugar lowering action cumin is not good for diabetics in quantities more than what is used in cooking. Some people are allergic to cumin and it can cause skin rashes.

Cumin seeds are often mistaken for caraway seeds because the seeds look similar. Cumin is also used for non food and medicine items like lotions and perfumes. Cumin seeds can be boiled and steeped for eight or nine minutes to make a tea. It is also available in capsule form from online retailers.…/ingredientmono-635-cumin.aspx:…cumin

Be sure to check out my website at




Valerie Lull

We all have heard of molasses. It makes delicious baked beans or gingerbread or cookies. We use it on holidays or for breakfast to sweeten our hot cereal. In the past molasses was a regular sweetener eaten almost daily by many. It is also used in the production of rum.

Molasses dates back to 500 B.C.E. in India. Molasses played a role in the slave trade  in America where people were traded for molasses. At one time molasses was the most popular sweetener in the U.S. That changed after World War I when refined sugar became cheaper than molasses.

There are several kinds of molasses. The result of the first boiling is light molasses. Dark molasses comes from the second boiling. The result of the third boiling is called blackstrap molasses. It is very dark and thick and one use for it is the manufacture of livestock feed. In some cultures molasses is combined with tobacco to create massel which is used by water pipe smokers.

Molasses is a by-product of the sugar manufacturing process.  The sugar cane or beet juice is boiled  until it becomes a thick syrup. The sugar crystals are extracted and what remains is a thick syrup that is colored brown. The color can vary from light brown to dark brown. Molasses can come from several sources; sugar cane, sorghum, carob, dates and pomegranate. Molasses can be sulphured and unsulphured. Sulphered molasses is made with sulphur dioxide to preserve it. This can leave a chemical flavor. Most molasses is unsulphured.

Sugar is not known for being high in nutrition. Molasses scores better. Molasses has vitamins and minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium, selenium, Vitamin B6 and calcium.

Here’s a recipe for Quick Molasses Bread.

Oil or butter to grease pan

1 2/3 C buttermilk

2 1/2 C whole wheat flour

1 1/2 C cornmeal

1 t salt

1 t baking soda

1/2 cup molasses

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees, Grease 8 x 4 or 9 x 5 loaf pan. Mix dry ingredients. Stir molasses into buttermilk. Pour liquid ingredients into dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Pour batter into greased loaf pan. Bake till firm, 45 minutes to an hour. Cool in pan for 15 minutes then invert onto wire rack. Bread tastes better after sitting for a day. Bread can be frozen.