Herbalist Penny Kahled gave a fascinating lecture, on the use of herbs in cooking and medicine, at the November meeting of the Clearwater Garden Club. Herbs, defined as those plants used in medicine, have been used in Europe, the Mediterranean and in America for hundreds of years. Herbs have become popular in American landscape design and floral arrangements, as well as cosmetic uses such as salves and balms. Growing herbs in Florida’s hot humid climate is a bit of a challenge, but Penny suggested that proper placement of the plants can aid in their healthy growth cycle. She explained that most herbs cannot take a full day of sun and that planting them under filtered shade, such as the shade provided by a Papaya tree, will provide the proper environment for a healthy plant. When asked about allowing an herb garden to be watered with reclaimed water, she advised to never use reclaimed water on any edible plant.
Herbs have been used to enliven the taste of most foods and famous cooks, such as Craig Claiborne have used herbs to take the place of unhealthy salt, butter and other rich sauces in their recipes. The symptoms of Menopause, indigestion and rheumatism have been alleviated by the use of these simple plants in teas and tonics, as well as combining herbs in salves and balms. Herbs provide a safe alternative to expensive, and sometimes dangerous, medicines in helping attain a healthy lifestyle.
Many Herbal recipes have been handed down and perfected through many generations. One of Penny’s favorite potions, Tumeric Super Tonic, started as a recipe called, “The Vinegar of the Four Thieves.” There is a story regarding four thieves who robbed the dead victims of the Bubonic Plague. They did not get the plague themselves because they had a special “magic,” vinegar tincure that kept them immune from the disease. The recipe varies considerably depending on which Herbalist you ask, but the basic ingredient is always Apple Cider Vinegar. Penny has adapted the original recipe by adding Turmeric. It helps stimulate the immune system, and is especially helpful in fighting off symptoms of the Flu. Super Tonic stops most infections, destroys bacteria and viruses and relieves congestion in the sinus and lungs. Many people swear it helps lessen the pain of arthritis.
Penny’s Turmeric Super Tonic (use all organic ingredients)
Plan on making your formula on the NEW moon. This is not necessary, but the formula will be stronger if you do. Fill a Blender with the first six ingredients. Then add Vinegar (about 3/4’s of the level of the herbs.) Blend vigorously and add more vinegar if the mixture seems too dry. Put the formula in a large jar (like a mayonnaise jar) with a lid. Place in a cool dark place and shake it one to three times a day. After 14 days, or at the FULL moon, strain by squeezing the solids with a potato ricer to extract all the liquid. Discard the solids Then bottle the liquid in an air tight jar. A small dropper bottle can be bought at most health food stores so that small doses can be regulated. Penny advises gargling, and then swallowing, one dropper full several times a day. For more information about the benefits of growing and using herbs, plan to attend a meeting of The Florida Herb Society. This organization works to educate members and the general public in the growing and preservation of herbs for use in Culinary, Medicinal, and Decorative Purposes. Their meetings are held on the third Tuesday of every month (except December) at the Clearwater Main Library. For more information contact Penny Kahled at 727-797-1179.
For more information about upcoming events, held by The Clearwater Garden Club, contact their president Laura Daniel at 727-449-9411. On Saturday, December 4, 2004, at 10:00 a.m., the Garden Club will host a workshop on holiday table and door arrangements. Their address is 405 Seminole Street in Clearwater. Call Laura for more information about the cost of this fun-filled morning.
Return to Home Page
Return to Current Edition