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July 2019

Herban Farmgirl ~ Relaxing with Roses!


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“Love, which, in concert with Abstinence, established Faith, and which, along with Patience, builds up Chastity, is like the columns that sustain the four corners of a house. For it was that same Love which planted a glorious garden redolent with precious herbs and noble flowers–roses and lilies–which breathed forth a wondrous fragrance, that garden on which the true Solomon was accustomed to feast his eyes.“ – Hildegard of Bingen


My husband says I seem to wake up craving roses and sleep dreaming of them. Maybe it’s because the scent and flavor of the beautiful historic and fragrant roses in my gardens bring back so many of my best memories. They remind me of my father and the happy times that I spent with him in his rose gardens. Or maybe it’s because the magic spell of the roses helps my skin stay happy and smooth and my heart stay open and gentle.

When it comes to roses, we all have our favorites. Mine is the beautiful and ancient Rosa Gallica Officinalis, more commonly known as Apothecary’s Rose.


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The Apothecary’s Rose is just a joy, a rose older than the Renaissance and used for medicinal purposes during Medieval times. It is extraordinarily beautiful to see and smell when blooming. Its intense, deep pink to light red coloring and luscious old rose fragrance make it a must in any herbalist’s garden.

I have always found it easy to grow, which may be the source of its longevity and popularity. It only blooms once in a season, but it’s a generous rose. Mine has been blooming for more than a month. I return to it time and again to make rosewaters, jams and jellies.

Rose milk is my absolute favorite afternoon drink...so delicious and just so very pretty. (All roses are edible, but please use unsprayed rose petals in any recipe whether you consume it or smooth it onto your skin.) 


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This recipe is easy and delicious and is an old Ayurvedic recipe from India that has been used for centuries to cool down the body.   While I use coconut milk, you can easily substitute regular whole milk and some heavy cream if you like.

To start, you’ll need a pot of rose tea. Steep 2 cups of dried rose petals until strong, but not bitter and strain. Put a two cups of hot coconut milk infused with 1 cup of rose tea , 1 teaspoon of MCT (highly fractionated coconut oil), some raw honey to taste and a handful of fresh unsprayed rose petals into a blender. Blend on high for a minute until frothy then chill. Pour into a lovely glass, find your porch swing and just relax.  

Roses are said to be wonderful for the nervous system, soothing and nourishing for the skin and the MCT oil is so good for supporting relaxation and focus.

I generally look to my favorite flower when I’m feeling a bit tense and I’ve discovered over the years  (and this is backed by historic herbalist Hildegard of Bingen) that drinking rose water definitely has the ability to enhance my mood and relieve feelings of anxiety and stress. 

For example, I drink a simple tea of rose water, spearmint and almond milk if my stomach is upset or if I’m feeling bloated from too many of the wrong foods. I simply throw a handful of fresh or dried rose petals into my teapot with another handful of fresh spearmint. Steep for about ten minute and add some raw honey and almond milk. Sipping this tea, I’ll generally begin to feel better quickly, as the anti-inflammatory effects of the rose tea begin to take effect. One thing that I have noticed is that rose waters, milks and tea always seem to provide relief from bloating and fluid retention,  and my research into their properties does back this up. 

I also find rose-infused honey to be ever so helpful when I have a sore or scratchy throat and although you can buy it, it is just so easy to make. Stirred into a cup of hot water, or simply taken by the spoonful, the anti-inflammatory properties of the rose petals and the antibacterial properties of the honey seem to relieve any irritation quickly.

Rose Petal Honey

6 cups fresh rose petals (4 cups dried)

2 cups honey, room temperature

1-quart glass jar with lid


Add petals to the jar until half full and firmly packed. Pour honey over rose petals and stir to remove air pockets. Cap the jar tightly. After several hours stir petals and honey.  (I use chopsticks for this.) Add more rose petals and stir. Leave the jar in a warm place for about two weeks, stirring from time to time.


After two to four weeks, warm the jar in a pot of hot water (do not boil). Strain the warmed honey through a cheesecloth into a clean jar. Press the rose petals to remove all honey. Cap the jar and enjoy on toast, over yogurt, with ice cream and in cocktails.

I use rose water in my drinks consistently because I believe that it is so helpful for hydrating the skin from the inside out.  I also spray rose hydrosol (a fancy name for rosewater!)  on my skin every morning after my shower to help my aging skin.  I spent way too much time in the sun without sunscreen as a teenager and I have noticed that this daily spritzing with rosewater seems to have softened some of my wrinkles and it tightens my pores.

I’d love to know some of your favorite uses for your favorite roses, so please feel free to share them with me in the comments.  

May everything be coming up roses for you all summer long!

#Rose #Roses #Healing #BethSchreibmanGehring #Rosewitch #Herbalist #herbalism #Herbs #flowers #gardens #Rosegardens #apothecarysrose #DamaskRose #hildegardofbingen #rosewater #rosehoney #honey #tea #rosetea #Spearmint


Wise Woman Traditions - Why Herbal Medicine?


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“My belief is that it’s the caring of the healer that’s most important, but no one’s going to be able to test for that.”

—Stephen Buhner, Herbalist


“I would never choose a healer according to whether or not they had credentials. I’d find someone through word of mouth.”  Rosemary Gladstar- Herbalist


Medicine plants heal more than the physical body.

They help open our hearts, reconnect us with spirit and guide us in developing joyful relationships with the natural world. Deb Soule- Herbalist


“The plants have enough spirit to transform our limited vision.” Rosemary Gladstar - Herbalist


“Shamanic healers don't claim to have the answer or know the answer or be the answer; they remind us that the answer lies within ourselves.” Susan Weed- Herbalist




As I type this, I am sitting in my garden in the warm sunshine looking out over my new flowery mead.  This is a place that I love, a place where the healing herbs that I use every day grow as wild as weeds.   A simple walk around the garden this morning produced armfuls of rosemary, lavender , sage and thyme, nasturtiums and aloe. A glorious linden tree and the deep pink Apothecary rose and several others have produced so many fragrant petals to create  teas for a winters chill and my rugosa roses are heavy with the sweet vitamin C filled rose hips just  waiting for the first frost to ripen and be eaten fresh or turned into luscious jars of jam and chutney.  The abundance is extraordinary.


Over the last 37 years (OMG)  I have known and been fortunate enough to have been trained by many incredible healers; men and women who walked their talk and encouraged me to always use my instincts to learn everything that I could about the healing plants that can be found in the world around us. I am so  grateful for the teachers that I have been given. As a young herbalist I drank in the teachings of Hildegard of Bingen, Culpepper and Juliette de Bairacli Levy and I wandered over and over again through herb gardens with my sketchbooks and journals learning, listening and deep in wonder.  


The overwhelming lesson from  all of my teachers?


Take responsibility and learn everything that you can to become your own healer. Use your instincts and take control of your healing journey because you are accountable and responsible for your health in a way that no one else can be. Don’t rely upon titles, rely upon your instincts to tell you what feels right. If it doesn't FEEL right, don't do it.

I don't care who says so. 

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I find this to be a really empowering message because I have watched in absolute horror over the years as friends and family members have given over all of their power to a dominant system of allopathic medicine and  dangerous and untested pharmaceutical drugs, all too often to their detriment. I’ve got plenty of Doctors in my family and I’m grateful for the expertise of that community when I need it, but always as a last resort, not the first. The best Doctors I've ever worked with ( And I insist that my clients and I work in concert with their physicians) know what they do well. They are brilliant diagnosticians and they allow their patients to be completely responsible for their health choices, guiding and not condemning, allowing their patients to experiment and being there to simply help. 

Prevention is key and I think that it’s important to  work to promote the creation of health in an organic and sustainable way.


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My overwhelming thoughts are always this and they’re definitely not original at all; You are what you eat and your food is your best medicine; this includes the wonderful healing herbs that are growing plentifully all around us. Food DOES matter and so does movement, emotion, relationship, career, spirituality and environment. These are all of the primary food groups that create balance in your life. When one is out of balance, they all begun to topple like dominoes.

It’s a whole new world for alternative healing in 2019 than it was back when I was first learning so very long ago. Reiki and massage are mainstream practices that are universally accepted and the herbs that I used to have to harvest myself are readily available on the shelves of most grocery stores. I think this is a wonderful thing, because it places the responsibility directly on the shoulders of the consumer to learn to take care of themselves.

Please make sure to educate yourselves because that's how you keep this amazing tradition alive, safe and thriving.

It used to be that there was a Community Herbalist in every village and  an Herbalist in every home. Every wife and grandmother knew how to make the tinctures and tonics that they needed and the recipes and formulas were passed down through the generations. The herbalists and healers were charged with the prevention of disease and the simple knowledge to help keep the body in a healthy state of balance.


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Always use your instincts when choosing someone to work with. Many don't realize this but the titles Herbalist, Certified herbalist or Master herbalist are not regulated by any governing body in the US. We are allowed to educate and give you the information or lifestyle changes that you can then use to make a decision for yourself, but we are not allowed to diagnose nor are we allowed to prescribe. I actually like these constraints a lot. It means that if you are my client that I am charged with empowering and inspiring you to create and become responsible for your health. If I do my job right, in 3 months when our work together is done,  you won't need me!

I don’t ever want to see herbalism go the way of the big pharmaceuticals, synthesized and harnessed with regulations, restrictions and fear such that this gentle and effective system for healing becomes a pawn simply to be exploited financially and eventually compromised so that it is no longer recognizable.

Stop giving the responsibility for your health away to a system that has ceased to be a system for healing. Many of my own family members and other doctors I know have stopped practicing medicine because they no longer wanted to be controlled by the insurance and pharmaceutical industries. They have told me almost brokenheartedly that they went to medical school to become healers and that now as the system has begun to fail us,  that they felt that they were failing their patients. 

The sweet thing is that they all have begun learning about traditional herbalism. This cannot help but benefit all of us!

It is my dream to see Traditional Herbalism accepted and promoted once again in a way that teaches everyone to be responsible for their health and well being by learning about directly and using the best quality herbals that they can grow, wild-craft or buy.

To maintain personal standards and relay the degree of learning obtained, herbalists in America typically use the title their schools or teachers gave them, however to be an Herbalist is to realize that you will always be learning, that you will never know everything because we are dealing with a biological science that is constantly shifting and evolving.

Climate change alone has begun to change the way that many of us can grow and harvest our herbs. It requires us to be in complete touch with ourselves and the health of this planet to insure our very survival. It places the onus on real life experience and actual results.

Most of the pioneering herbalists who are responsible for forwarding this movement in the United States do not carry a title and are busy ensuring that this form of the peoples medicine always stays free and accessible to the communities that need it. Always consult your Doctor or pharmacist before using any herbs to make sure that there are no contraindications with any medicines you might be taking, even something as simple as aspirin or Tylenol.

If your Doctor can't advise you,  I have discovered over the years that Pharmacists  are generally the most well versed in what will be problematic chemical relationships.I have found most of them to be very open-minded and eager to be helpful so don’t be afraid to ask for their advice. Herbs are not risk free and they are powerful natural medicines. Any herb can react differently in any body..the same as any medicine can. Getting this simple and easy to obtain information allows herbal medicine to maintain its credibility and integrity in a way that licensing and over regulation never will.

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The good news is that there are many wonderful online courses that are available where you can learn the art of healing and herbalism for yourself from some really great teachers.  I would really encourage you to take one of them and learn as much as you can.  Practice, open yourself up to the world around you and enjoy yourself. Write your own book of recipes, use them, pass them down, You will be embarking on a healing journey and sharing a tradition that is totally organic and ages old and a life long exploration into being responsible for your own health and wellness that you will truly enjoy.


Here are some of  my favorites: