Since this is my first contributor post here at Kitchen Stewardship, I’ll tell you a little about myself! I was raised in a Christian home on white bread, hot dogs, homemade roast beef and homegrown fruits and veggies. I thought it was normal for everyone to have 4 gardens and a small orchard at their house. And along with my parents, I also didn’t question any of the highly processed, prepackaged foods I ate.
Somewhere along the line I became more conscious of what I put into my body and changed the way I ate. I also fell in love with herbs, experimenting on myself and family members. Since then I have evolved into the bone broth making, kombucha brewing, coconut oil for everything, lifestyle. You’ll usually find me in the kitchen, cooking up something delicious, creating an herbal remedy, or crafting an all-natural body care product for my business.
(Please give a huge welcome to our first regular KS contributor, Jamie Larrison! –Katie)
Carrying on Childhood Memories
When I was little one of my favorite things about summer were the ice cream and popsicle treats my mom stocked up on. Once a year she’d go to Save a Lot and buy half a chest freezer full of frozen treats which we’d happily lick and slurp down the rest of the summer.
I was always sad to see the stock get low as summer wound down, leaving a few fudgesicles and unwanted grape popsicles behind (no one in my family liked grape). I never gave a second thought to what was actually in the popsicles. As much as my mom loved me and wanted to provide us with a fun treat, I know she never thought to question the ingredients either.
Now that I’m a mom myself I won’t touch the artificially colored and flavored, high fructose corn syrup laden, hyperactivity inducing toxins on a stick. But I still want to provide a fun and tasty treat for my son.
Unfortunately, I can’t protect him from every potentially bad situation. Little ones will be exposed to germs at public places and even from other family members. However, there is a way to boost their immune system and give them a yummy treat they’ll love: Herbal Popsicles!
Winter is finally over, but this is the time of year when the spring/summer bugs start to hit. We’ve had a nasty attack of intestinal flu in our area, with several families we know succumbing to it. Just because it’s warmer doesn’t mean you can let your guard down!
Immune Building Herbs to Use
(Katie’s note: Mountain Rose Herbs is a great place to find these ingredients!)
This is probably one of the most popular, if not the most popular immunity herb. You’ll find Echinacea in many store-bought natural preparations. This is a great all around immunity herb because it targets bacterial, viral and fungal infections. It’s best used short term and before a cold/flu is well on its way. Echinacea stimulates white blood cells and the lymphatic system. Do not use in someone with ragweed allergies.
These have a tangy, almost citrusy flavor due to their high vitamin C content. Especially good for diarrhea and constipation.
This nutritive herb is a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals. The name means “the father of all foods.” Alfalfa supplies 8 essential amino acids and has the highest chlorophyll content of any known plant. This helps the body absorb and utilize nutrients faster and better when used in conjunction with other herbs.
High in vitamins A and C, this is an anti-inflammatory that also increases blood circulation. Orange peel also helps with lung health by acting as a natural antihistamine and expelling congestion from the lungs.
What Else is in There?
For these popsicles I made some with coconut milk and some with yogurt. I also added some raw honey and frozen berries. Berries, especially blueberries, are high in antioxidants and vitamins. Raw honey is also an important addition. It not only helps mask any bitter herbal flavors but is packed with nutrition. Many have sung the praises of raw honey, especially in its use for soothing sore throats.
Not everyone can or wants to have dairy, but I like the idea of including probiotics from the yogurt. You could also substitute coconut milk yogurt if it’s available in your area. I actually prefer the taste of the coconut milk ones though, as they seem richer and creamier. You can buy organic coconut milk (found on Amazon), or if you don’t like the idea of using canned, make your own.
How to Make Homemade Coconut Milk
To make coconut milk from scratch you will need a young coconut. Pour the coconut water and scraped coconut meat into a high powered blender, like a Vitamix or Blendtec (found on Amazon). Process until smooth.
- To make an herbal infusion first boil 1 cup water. Turn off the heat and add 1 Tbs. of each herb. 2-4 Tbs. total herbs is a great range. Cover the pot with a lid and allow to infuse for about 30 minutes.
- Use a coffee filter, fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth to strain out the herbs. Be sure to squeeze out all the liquid.
- Combine the tea and rest of the ingredients into a blender and process until smooth.
- Pour the mixture out into popsicle molds or paper cups. With cups, use aluminum foil or other options to cover the paper cups and insert a popsicle stick or spoon through the center. I like using these BPA free, portable molds.
- This recipe will make enough for about 6 popsicles, depending on the size.
How do you boost your immune system during cold and flu season and beyond?
Prescription for Nutritional Healing, 5th Edition by Phyllis A. Balch, revised by Stacey Bell
Practical Herbalism by Philip Fritchey
Mosby’s Handbook of Herbs and Natural Supplements, 4th Edition by Linda Skidmore-Roth
Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this post to Amazon, Tropical Traditions, and Mountain Rose Herbs from which I will earn some commission if you make a purchase. See my full disclosure statement here.