Herb in season: Fresh Milky Oats

Fresh Milky Oats in Upstate NY, 2017

Fresh Milky Oats in Upstate NY, 2017

Making medicine with “fresh and in seaon” herbs is very special. When plants are in their peak time, that means their energy, vibration, and nutrient are in the highest point. Although many herbs carry its potency when in dry, some herbs only offer treasures in very limited period when in fresh. Oat is absolutely one of them! We already know oats as energy boosting food. Do you know that "fresh milky oats" have deeply nourishing and medicinal aspect?

"Fresh milky oats” are harvested when oat tops produce milky sap. This milky stage lasts only for a week or so (Depends on the weather. Late summer in general). This is why it’s worthy of special mention. How do you ingest them as medicine? — Tincture from fresh milky seeds gives you a great benefit.

This year (2017) in NY state had experienced cooler summer, so the milky stage had been later and lasted longer than usual years. Now it’s the time to make medicine with them. Here are benefits of fresh milky oats.

• Supremely moistening (super Yin nourishing), demulcent

• Nervine tonic

• Nervous system trophorestorative

• Anti-depressant

• Help withdrawal from addictive substances

The taste is very sweet and the texture is viscously smooth as infusion. Sweetness is nourishing and restorative flavor. For conditions related to anxiety, insomnia, severe fatigue, nervous debility... Fresh milky oats is definitely the go-to herb. In addition, menopausal conditions, including vaginal dryness and low libido, are in its indication.

Jul 8, 2017 The Many Forms of Herbal Medicine: Yarrow

Yarrow in the still

Yarrow in the still

We held a garden workshop at 61 Franklin Street Garden in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. We demonstrated how hydrosol (flower water) is made with a copper still. Many people are familiar and know about essential oil, however hydrosol is not widely known and used. It was a great opportunity to witness another aspect of plant alchemy! Our focus is to introduce what plants can offer in many different forms — infusion, tincture, flower essence, and hydrosol, and also what each modality can provide therapeutically.

We used Yarrow, having its peak-time around this time in a year, to demonstrate, taste, and talk about.

Hydrosol is so-called 'by-product' of essential oil making — my herbal fellow puts it as "Distillation of a plant, often used in cosmetics for it’s aromatic qualities. It is the essence or soul of a plant in liquid form, and because it also has some chemical constituents, it has the ability to work on the physical level as well as spirit medicine." 

Yarrow hydrosol is used for protection from negative energy, and wound healing as Yarrow always is good at! 

Blue is Yarrow essential oil. Chemical constituent, azulene, create this beautiful deep blue.

Blue is Yarrow essential oil. Chemical constituent, azulene, create this beautiful deep blue.

Yarrow has a long history as medicine in many regions world wide. Its Latin name, Achillea millefolium, comes from Achilleus, an ancient Greek hero in Greek mythology. He was given Yarrow by Chiron, and used it in the battle field to cure the wounds. Millefolium means 'thousand leaves', as its leaves have many layers of fine leaves. In Japanese language, Yarrow is called 'Seiyou-nokogiri-sou' (Western Saw Weed), because the leaflets resemble teeth of crosscut saws. Sure enough, Japanese people found its leaflets pretty distinctive.

Yarrow has 2 Major known usages:

1: Any conditions involving 'bleeding'

Matthew Wood, American herbalist, describes Yarrow as 'Master of Blood'

Native American also uses it topically with conditions of injuries, wounds, and inflammations. Both open wounds and old scars, bruises, blisters and such. TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) uses it for topical injuries, and also internal inflammations. Modern herbalism, too, uses it for internal inflammations in GI tract, such as gastritis, ulcers, colonitis, enteritis, diarrhea etc... Another big benefit of Yarrow is seen in regard to menstrual bleeding. As 'Master of Blood', Yarrow can calm and regulate blood flow.

2: Cold and flu

Yarrow has properties of anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and diaphoretic (=promotes perspiration). Bitterness and pungency are the prominent flavors. The strong bitterness gives cooling and downward energy, and the pungency helps pushing the heat out to exterior through the pores. 

At the onset of cold and flu, we may experience shivers, chills, fevers, sore throat, aches... this is the best time to start taking Yarrow, before the pathogen and symptoms go deeper into the system. Take it every 1~2 hrs then. Combining with Elder may result in synergy!

Entire aerial part can be used. Yarrow can be taken internally and externally as infusion and tincture. For the external wounds, you can crush the plant and apply directly.

Yarrow can be also used as flower essence — the pure vibrational energy from plants, working on spiritual ~ physical levels. Here also, Yarrow is associated with "protection from vulnerability" – Protection specific to the mental and social aspects. For those who feel they have to hide their true selves to be in a social setting. It helps a person stay mentally and socially receptive without feeling vulnerable. (* from my herbal fellow, Maiya's speech on Yarrow flower essence)

Why Bone Broth?

Coming from the latest health trend in NY, nowadays you can purchase a cup or jar of bone broth from fine butchers and restaurants. Bone broth has become accessible over time! This growing services bring an awareness toward this old remedy. ...But do you want to pay $9 for a cup every time??? Granted that making bone broth takes time and effort, and this jar is a full of nourishments! Then why don't we make own for a full of big pot with less than $9? ;p

Each sip of bone broth gives you a wide range of nourishment like...

Multi-minerals and Amino acids (composing proteins)

Gelatin, works as digestive aid

Collagen, indispensable to bone, vascular wall, and skin health

Glucosamine and Chondroitin for joint health

Benefit to neutralize phytic acids* by cooking grains with broth

   *Phytic acid: contained in grains and legumes. It binds with minerals (meaning minerals cannot be assimilated into a body), and impacts on thyroid.

Bone broth alone has abundant nourishments, but adding medicinal herbs and seasonal veggies can boost up flavors and nutritional supports!

Organic, grass-fed chicken bones, gingers, and leeks are in the pot ↑

Organic, grass-fed chicken bones, gingers, and leeks are in the pot ↑

During winter seasons, it's nice to spend cozy time in house over the weekends and make bone broth. You can use whichever you like and have available, chicken, pork, beef, lamb, or fish. Beef bone broth has the most powerful boost.


What to prepare:

• Large stainless steal or enamel stockpot or crockpot (4 to 6 quart)

• Strainer

• Glass jar(s) for storing the stock in the refrigerator or freezer


• Chicken bones including cartilage parts, ideally including neck, feet and head  (bones can be from a roasted chicken or fresh)

• Rice vineger, apple cider vinegar or any acid, such as lemon juice

• Water

***Quality matters here. Use good quality / organic ingredients

Direction: time 12~48 hours

1. Combine the chicken bones, parts and other ingredients in the stockpot or crockpot, along with vinegar (1/4 cup for every 4-6 quarts but the amounts can vary) and enough cold water to cover the ingredients by @ 2 fingers. 

2. Optional: Let sit for 1 hour off heat. This increases the amount of gelatin and minerals released.

3. If using the stockpot on the stove, bring to a boil and skim the scum that comes to the top. (These are impurities and off flavors. Organic pasture based poultry will have much less scum). Then turn down to a simmer, and cover. Simmer low for 12 to 48 hours. If using the crockpot, turn on high to bring a to boil, and skim off scum. (Some crockpots will not heat high enough to bring to a boil though.) Then turn to low and let cook for 12 to 48 hours. (Optional: The time can be cumulative; i.e. not keeping the heat on overnight, the stock can cool at room temperature for up to 12 hours safely)

4. In the hour before finishing, add green herbs, salt and pepper. Salt and pepper may be omitted and added later to the dish, which incorporates the stock.

5. Using a slotted spoon, transfer all the bones, parts, and skin to a catch bowl. Ladleful by ladleful, strain the stock through a strainer into a glass jar for storage. Allow to cool.

6. Put in the refrigerator for up to five days (A fat layer unbroken will help the stock keep longer.) Or store in the freezer for several months. Be careful when freezing liquids in glass jars, as there is a risk of breaking the jar. Minimize the risk by keeping the level of liquid below the shoulder of the jar and not capping tightly until frozen. Also laying the jar on its side in the freezer prevents cracking. Or avoid the issue completely by using other freezer storage containers. 

***Seek out BPH free containers as BPH can leech out in freezer.

7. Optional: To save freezer space, create a reduction sauce. Use the stovetop and allow the stock to simmer at a low boil an additional few hours with the lid off, during which time much water will evaporate, leaving a thicker stock with less volume.

8. Optional: Freeze stock in muffin tins or ice cube trays and then store in zip-lock bags for easy access to small amounts to add to sauces and dishes

I added above Chinese herbs into soup to make it super medicinal :)

I added above Chinese herbs into soup to make it super medicinal :)

Beat Cold & Flu ~ Vol. 4: 4 Household Items To Approach Fever

Having a fever is a serious deal. That is almost like you are told "Now you are officially sick". Some people do have a hard (and long) time recovering from that. We need to approach to feverish conditions properly because a body is in such a vulnerable place under them. 

But Here, I want to get your attention baaadly!

Is fever a malicious symptom? ...Really?

"Give me a fever and I can cure any disease."

Hippocrates, 400 B.C.


Why is fever induced in the first place? 

When pathogenic agents (influenza, virus, or bacteria) enter a body, immunocytes (leukocytes and macrophages) get activated to signal neural transmissions to destroy pathogens, by the method of raising up body temperatures to kill pathogens — fever.

Our body, neither virus or bacteria, is causing the fever as one of natural self-healing methods. So, having a fever is a very healthy body reaction — that shows a body is functioning properly. And that is quite essential on healing process, you don't want to suppress.

While a body is fighting with running a fever, it's important to keep hydrating a body. (It's ok that a person cannot eat, but make sure not to be dehydrated)

Here are 4 recommended regimens! 

◊ Lemon water

1 tbsp of lemon juice in a cup of lukewarm~hot water

   ***Direction: Sip them through a day

◊ Herbal tea

'Diaphoretic' herbs are great ones to take advantage of — they increase sweating and guide the heat out of a body through pores.

There are so many herbs on the lists for each detailed condition. Here, I introduce all-around tea blends for feverish conditions with kitchen herbs!

• Pale, cold, weak condition

   Need to stimulate circulation

   Stimulating Chai tea ↓ 

   Mix any black tea with Ginger + Cardamom + Black pepper

• Feverish shiver, restless, irritable, tensed, ache with tension condition

   Relax tension in a body and also help circulation

   Elder (flower) + Lemon balm + Rosehips

   Yarrow (flower) + Mint + Elder (flower)

• If lack of appetite, upsetting stomach, or digestive cramp is involved...

   Ginger and Cinnamom are great digestive herbs, as well as   diaphoretic. You can blend them into above blends.

   Ginger + Cinnamom + Lemon + Raw honey

   ***Direction: Sip them through a day

◊ Bone broth

As written in BEAT COLD & FLU ~ Vol. 1, gelatin-rich bone broth offers infinite benefits to a body. Recently (finally!!) it's getting a hip thing to sip on good quality bone broth soup. Bone broth is getting acknowledged :) widely for its active health benefits. But actually, bone broth soup has been around traditionally all over the world as a base of tasty soupy dishes with profound umami.

Addition to what I wrote on the prior post, gelatin-rich bone broth also can be used on stomach flu, which gives act-up stomach. Gelatin can treat the root of the problem happened in gut.

You can use any animal bones to make it. You can ingest bone broth alone. But I'd recommend to mix with medicinal mushrooms + herbs and culinary herbs to make it extra flavorful and medicinal.

I am planning to share the recipe in another post soon.

   ***Direction: Sip them through a day

◊ Skin to skin communication

It's a miracle healing power we all have. Especially to kids in bed. They are wanting mom's (or anyone close) gentle sweet touch with care, and that really works! Give them comfort and warmth. Those are very heartening during feeling wear period. We all know, right? 

Even on injuries or pain involved situation, placing care-giver's hand on the vulnerable spot of a body can indeed alleviate discomforts. Our care and love transport in energy level.

Fever can give us an opportunity to show someone our affection that we couldn't show in busy days :)

Beat Cold & Flu ~ Vol. 3: 8 Medicinal Herbs to Minimize Symptoms

There are innumerable medicinal plants out there. They can be used to support getting you through the cold & flu, our homeostasis, and our immunity.

"Waters are distilled out of herbs, flowers, fruits, and roots"

–Nicholas Culpeper


Plants work on 'specific' indications — what kind of cough you are experiencing? where in your body are you congested? Are you shivering or experiencing hot flashes? There are so many ranges of symptoms. Plants can offer relief for your particular symptoms. Opening up to them and using herbs accurately is the key to be blessed with plants and... nature.

⚠︎ Herbs should be prepared in medicinal level (Strong infusion, Decoction, Tincture...)

◊ Astragalus (root):

Traditional Chinese herb. Great immune enhancement & tonic when weak and recovering from: colds, flu, bronchitis, and other upper respiratory tract infections.

    ***Avoid when in actively sick (such as feverish condition) due to its anti-diaphoretic action, which helps hot-flash/sweating from menopause.

   Preparation: Decoction, Tincture

◊ Echinacea (flower & root):

Traditionally a trusted herb for cold & flu, especially for prevention and early stages of onset. It should be taken frequently through the day to act on active cold & flu.

Its anti-microbial action can work on infections of the upper respiratory tract.

   Preparation: Infusion, Tincture, Electuary, Vinegar, Oxymel, Syrup, Oil, Steam

◊ Elecampane (root):

Coughing with mucus is our body's attempt to expel mucus out of the lungs. It's a necessary step in the healing process. Suppressing this natural healing step can cause mucus trapped in lungs, also lead to additional infections.

Elecampane works as expectorant, helping mucus leaving a respiratory tract.

   ***Great 'Prebiotic' as well. Probiotics (a kind of fiber) works as nutritional fertilizers for good bacterias in our gut, where 80% of our immunity is located.

   Preparation: Decoction, Infusion, Tincture, Honey

◊ Monarda:

Its strong anti-microbial action treats a host of infections — cough, sneezing, nasal discharge and congestion, fever, sore throat etc...

   ***oil Infusion, honey infusion, and strong infusion are useful methods to apply.

   Preparation: Infusion, Tincture, Electuary, Vinegar, Oxymel, Syrup, Oil, Steam

◊ Marshmallow (root & leaf):

Dry cough (without mucus) may be an indication that your respiratory tract may be dry and irritated. Marshmallow root has actions to soothe, moisten and cool down; it can be taken for dry/irritating coughs or an inflamed throat.

   ***DO NOT infuse Marshmallow with hot water, use cold ~ lukewarm water and let it sit at least for 4 hrs (over-night is ideal).

   Preparation: Infusion, Oil, Syrup, Capsule

◊ Mullein:

Very versatile herb for a respiratory issue! It has similar properties to Marshmallow, including soothing, toning, and cooling inflammations, while stimulating fluid production.

For a painful, cracking cough and cough coming from deep place (M. Wood), Mullein will show its benefits.  

   ***Plantain (leaf) can be used in the same box.

   Preparation: Decoction (root & seed), Tincture, Infusion (leaf & flower), Oil, Capsule

◊ Wild cherry bark:

Another known cough remedy in history. Anti-inflammatory, astringent, and cooling properties. It's great especially for a persistent cough, and irritating, tickling throat — Calming spasmodic coughs.

   Preparation: Infusion, Tincture, Syrup

◊ Wild lettuce:

Not only calming spasmodic coughs or cooling heated lungs, but also super sedative and calming (physically and mentally). This potency helps those who wake up over night from non-stop irritating coughs and induce better sleep. SLEEP is the MOST important while sick!

   ***This herb is not very widely sold, so do some research in your area! Here is one location in NYC.

   Herbs & Alchemist, Mountain Rose Herbs, Woodland Essence are online vendors carrying Wild lettuce.

   Preparation: Infusion, Tincture

Beat Cold & Flu ~ VOL. 2: 9 KITCHEN HERBS to Aid The Healing Process

Nonetheless you try your best not to catch cold & flu, things just happen right? We are sharing this world with 73 billion others. Some are sick. What can we do in alternative ways without OTC or antibiotics? 

First, we have to know there is NO MEDICINE TO KILL VIRUSES. So once we catch them, only things we can do is — to bundle yourself with blankets, sleep a lot, and eat well (meaning eat appropriately) until they get out of the system. While we are going through this healing process, we may experience sore throat, endless coughs, chills, stuffy and runny nose, pain behind eyes, phlegms, aches, fever, etc etc... They are all necessary healing process, which shows your body is functioning properly. Your body is fighting to protect you. We don't want to force to stop our natural healing power by overusing drugs, still want to minimize those distresses and rest our body to heal.

Now, what can we do with COMMON KITCHEN HERBS? Those are not only flavorful kitchen herbs, but also great therapeutic herbs.

⚠︎ To maximize their efficacy, consume them in medicinal level preparation (i.e. strong infusion, sit over-night)

◊ ELDER (flower & berry):

Elder has been used as medicinal plants for long time in history (since Hippocrates time!!) There is a reason for that.

Elder (flower) has a known use for Flu and Colds for its anti-viral property

Elder (berries) are used for Flu, also anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-histamin

  ***Have Elderberry syrup or cordial is a very helpful medicine in your   shelf!


Affinity for lung: indicated for Colds, Coughs, Fever, Flu, Bronchitis, and Bronchial asthma. Anti-microbial and anti-viral action can help the immune system deal with infections.

  ***Raw garlic has the most benefit! — Make sure to mince, crash, or chop cloves, and leave at least for 5~10 mins to let the medicinal property produced. Then, eat in raw or cook with them.

Bring a lot of garlics and onions into meal during winter time!


Colds, Diaphoretic action is helpful in feverish condition, Warming, stimulating circulations, anti-microbial, anti-oxidant


Colds, Warming and stimulating circulatory, Sinus infections and Congestion


Colds and Flu at its onset; warming + stimulating and it helps clear congestion throughout the body

Take a dose at first shiver; 1/2 tsp simmered in a cup full of water for 20 mins, then let it sit for another 15 mins or so. (Can be longer)


Colds, Virus & Flu; it is highly anti-bacterial and anti-viral

◊ SAGE: 

Sore throat, Laryngitis, Virus & Flu

  ***Spray or gargle with strong infusion for infections of the mouth


Sore throat, Laryngitis, Dry+Wet cough, Sinus infections & Congestion

  ***Thyme + Honey very effective sore throat remedy

  Recipe: Fill up the jar with fresh thyme leaves, then fill the jar with honey (local raw honey). Make sure all the leaves is submerged. Let it sit for 6 weeks.

  I was dragging mucus after cold one winter in past. It was annoying. I was carrying Thyme tincture with me, and took frequently. It helped clearing up.


Warms the body from the inside out by promoting blood circulation along with toning up vessels.


Coming up, medicinal herbs for cold & flu!

Beat Cold & Flu ~ VOL.1: 8 Foods to Build a Strong Immunity for the Winter Season

When a new year begins, a colder and drier season arrives (especially where I am, NY). People around you start talking about how sick they feel... Yes, this is the season of cold & flu!

Want to avoid the week(s) of being in bed with fever and dealing with endless coughs, a sore throat, and a runny nose? Why don't we prepare ourselves (for the season) to prevent onsets?

Building the immunity is the key here. That helps not only preventing you from cold & flu in the virus-active season, but also vitalizing your physical and mental foundation and coping with external bacterial + virus attacks and stress factors. 

WInter is definitely a time to eat warm and condensed foods. Not cold and raw foods! Here are some regimens to toinfy your immunity in winter.


Shiitake, Maitake, Turkeytail (Kawaratake), and Reishi are known as medicinal mushrooms. Turkeytail and Reishi are for decoction.       Shiitake and Maitake are available in supermarkets! So it's easy to consume them as tasty dishes while building your immunity. (Oyster and Enoki mushrooms are also immune tonic. Available in supermarkets as well)

Dosage: Eat them for 90 days

Tip: Shiitake is a great source of Vitamin D (vital for immunity, brain system, and bone health). To maximize the property, place them under the sun with caps turned back for 30~60 mins before cooking. D increases enormously. When sit under the sun, all the nutritions in shiitake boosts up.


Kale, Collard, Dandelion, Beet greens: Seasonal vegetables have the most ideal nutrition, energetics, actions, and tastes in a year. (see BENEFIT TO EAT FOODS IN SEASON) Do not forget to cook them to take the most benefits.

Daikons, Burdocks, Japanese taros (里芋), Beets, Turnips, Parsnips, Carrots, Potatoes, Lotus roots: Winter root veggies have an action to warm up our body. Lotus roots helps clear phlegm from lungs.


Healing and protective for lung. Destroying infection-causing viruses & bacteria. Alliums (scallion family) is known to have properties: anti-cancer, hypotensive, and reducing the risk of blood clots.


Healing for sinus


Honey is super medicinal. Has properties, antibacterial, antiseptic and soothing a throat and ease coughs. Pick raw and unrefined ones.


Avocado oil, Coconut oil, Tallow, Lard, Ghee, Butter, Egg yolk, Fish eggs, Liver, Nut butters, Fat from Animal foods (Blue fishes and Meat) and... Cod liver oil!

Good fats are necessary to maintain optimal health physically and mentally. *Quality matters here. Pick good quality products.

Super Food – Fermented Cod Liver OilVery high in Omg-3 EFA, vitamin A, D and E. Vitamin D is very vital for immunity, brain system, and bone health. Especially in a winter season, supplementing CLO is very helpful to speed up a healing process during infections and reduce a winter depression (less sun-light during the winter affects remarkably). 


Bone broths have highly nutritive and therapeutic for infinite conditions. Great all year around, still warming soup definitely supports us to get through a cold season.

Bone broths give you...

• minerals in easy to assimilate form

• nutrients that help build healthy cartilage and tendons

• amino acids that help the body dotoxify

• gelatin to help digestion and heal the gut lining


Fermented and cultured foods + drinks are known probiotic foods, which nurture gut-flora. 80% of our immune system is located in our gastrointestinal track. Meaning enriching gut-flora leads our immunity to be strong.

This is the reason we have to be careful with taking antibiotics.


Bring those foods into your dairy life and beat cold & flu!

Reishi Tincture

*The photo was taken right after reishi was immersed under alcohol.

*The photo was taken right after reishi was immersed under alcohol.

Reishi (Garnoderma lucidum) is a medicinal mushroom found on hardwood stumps and logs.

Luckily, I got a fresh reishi from one of our school teachers in Upstate NY this summer. Gotta make tincture!

Reishi is a known adaptogen, beneficial in immune system, hepatoprotective (protecting liver) and used in anti-cancer protocols.

My reishi had been sitting in my dark shelf to be extracted fully. Usually after 4~6 weeks, tincture is ready to be taken. However, reishi is ideally extracted twice. The reason is in its compounds. Some can be extracted in alcohol and other can be in hot water. This process is called 'double-extraction'. To make reishi extract with full benefits, I follow the double-extraction process. After the alcohol extraction, I decoct this reishi and mix both extracts. 

Alcohol % should be 25~35% for longer shelf-life at the end.

**My teacher RIchard Mandelbaum, very knowledgeable herbalist in NY, takes an opposite position on 'double-extraction'. So, you need to intuitively choose which process is right, if anyone wants to make mushroom tincture.

I use 190 proof organic grain alcohol to make tinctures.