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Early March and spring is right around the corner. I thought it would be good to take some pictures, check in with the herbies as they venture out into the chill. Imagine my surprise when, four days after taking pictures for this post, this happened:

Crocuses in a March snow

Crocuses in a March snow

Ah, March. In like a lion, true to fashion. Let’s see if it goes out like a lamb?

Elderberry

Elderberry, budding out from where we cut it back this past fall (our dog Rowan in the background). My husband was so worried we would kill it. Now he knows *grin*

Black Cherry

Part of our dwarf fruit tree plantings, this black cherry is now three years old and budding out all over the place!

Lavender

New growth on the lavender bush. We finally found a spot where it could winter over. Hurrah for south-facing walls!

rosemary2013-03_2

Rosemary. Isn’t she gorgeous?

Rosemary

All abloom – just beautiful

Garden rhubarb

Garden variety rhubarb (not the medicinal variety) busting out ready for pies…

Tansy

The tansy is starting to reach out for another year of trying to escape its pot…

St. John's wort

and the St. John’s wort, so eager for the returning sun

Marjoram

Our marjoram is a bit singed from the frost, but weathered yet another winter, the old girl

Lemon Balm

The lemon balm is creeping up between the fallen leaves

Feverfew

and the feverfew as well

Grapes

The muscadine grapes are starting to bud out – these guys are three years old, too, and soooo tasty…

Hyssop

Hyssop is interplanted with the grapes…

Vitex

The vitex still looks pretty barren, but soon enough it’ll be busting out in beautiful blooms

Vitex berries

Damon holding some of the dried vitex berries

Echinacea

The echinacea is starting to peek out in clumps here and there

Daffodil and santolina

Daffodil and santolina cuddling up close for warmth…

Daffodil

so lovely…

Crocus

and of course, the crocus, flagbearer of spring.

Stay warm everyone! And if you’re on the East coast, enjoy the snow and stay safe!

A good friend of mine has rheumatoid arthritis. She’s been having a heckuva time, to say the least, taking the pill form of chemotherapy and hence dealing not only with the pain of R.A., but also the pretty nasty effects of her chemo treatment.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Tea

Last week was a rough patch for her, and she asked if I would put together an anti-inflammatory tea to help relieve some of her symptoms. Having gotten permission from her doctor to do so (I don’t want to interfere with anything he’s trying to do), I set about preparing this infusion for her. My goals were not only to relieve her symptoms, but also to make it tasty for her so she’d actually want to drink it. For instance, although dandelion root is excellent for removing uric acid from joints, I opted for the tastier analog of celery seed. The proportions are below, followed by simple instructions and the purpose of each herb in the blend. If you have any insights or suggestions of your own, please feel free to share in comment form – I’d love to hear from you.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Tea

1 part sarsaparilla
1 part celery seed
1 part licorice root
1/2 part ginger root

Each part refers to a volume measurement in proportion. For one serving of tea infusion, use about a level tablespoon of herb (or less). Add boiling hot water, cover, and steep for at least 12 to 15 minutes. You can re-steep this same batch two or three times for additional servings, if desired.

Actions:
Sarsaparilla: anti-inflammatory (feverfew would also be good)
Celery seed: clears uric acid from the joints (or dandelion root)
Licorice root: has a cortisone-like effect in the body
Ginger root: promotes blood flow, relieving pain and swelling

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