Cannabidiwhaaat? CBD FAQ's!

By Miles, CN Supplements Buyer & Trainer

The legal hemp market is exploding with all sorts of products! Caught up in confusion? Heard your neighbors talk about CBD but can’t figure out the difference between hemp and marijuana products? This guide is for you!


So what the heck is CBD anyway!?

CBD or cannabidiol (can-nAh-bi-dEYE-ol) is regarded as the medicinal* component of cannabis. CBD is regarded as a well-studied and safe compound naturally present in agricultural hemp.

 Green Mountain CBD hemp fields in VT

Green Mountain CBD hemp fields in VT

What do people use CBD for?

CBD may support healthy stress and pain response in the body. Numerous research into our endocannabinoid system indicates CBD may also have a role in supporting proper nerve signaling, healthy cell division and balance inflammation.



Our body has a cannabinoid system. All throughout our body, our cells use different messengers to communicate with each other, including our own cannabinoids. Cannabinoid receptors are found in our brain as well as throughout our periphery. Compounds such as CBD activate CB2 receptors, promoting feelings of relaxation or relief of mild and occasional pain.


How is CBD legal?

CBD comes from agricultural hemp, rather than marijuana. Interestingly, marijuana that people use recreationally is the same species of plant (Cannabis sativa) as agricultural hemp. Marijuana, however, is high in the presence of the compound THC, which causes one to feel high. Agricultural hemp that is imported to or grown in the United States must contain less than 0.3% THC.

In contrast, agricultural hemp contains other non-psychoactive cannabinoid constituents such as CBDa and CBD (as well as essential fatty acids and vitamin E) which promote wellness in our bodies.

Even though marijuana has been legalized by the state of Massachusetts, stores cannot yet sell THC-containing products. The United States congress passed the Agricultural Act of 2014, sometimes called the “Farm Bill”, which allows for the use of low THC-containing hemp in industry and agriculture.


So wait, CBD will get me high?

As the hemp-derived CBD we carry contains negligible levels of THC, it does not get one high, stoned, lit, etc. CBD may cause drowsiness in a dose-dependent manner.


What brands of CBD do you carry? How can you take it?


We have numerous brands! Some of our favorites include:

CV Sciences – One of the leaders in the hemp industry, they import Dutch agricultural hemp for processing into capsules, liquids and salves. They have a variety of different doses, and are known for their purity, research-based ingredients and quality extraction methods.

Green Mountain CBD – One of my favorites, this locally operated brand grows their own organic hemp right in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. They extract their hemp with coconut oil into capsules, paste or liquid tincture. Many of their products are higher doses per serving, including their beloved 20mg capsules.

The Healing Rose – Based out of Andover, MA, The Healing Rose specializes in topical CBD products! They have a high potency salve, containing arnica, peppermint and ginger beyond just CBD, for those of us looking for a little bit of extra tension release. Their roll-ons with essential oil of rosemary or fir needle together with CBD are great for the neck and temples, too.


What dose do I take?

Dose is a very personalized thing!

I personally prefer around 5-10mg of CBD for daytime use, and maybe another 15mg before bedtime. That being said, I know some people who take 1mg a day, and I know some people who take 60mg a day.

High doses of CBD (think 200mg) seem to be well-tolerated, based on studies. CBD is a GRAS (generally recognized as safe) dietary ingredient. However, although it is safe for most people to take that much, you usually don’t usually need that much.

Your sensitivity depends on your genes. I invite you to be flexible with CBD use. Start with a low dose, and build up until you find your sweet spot. In my experience, one often feels CBD within an hour of use, and you can take it multiple times a day, if you wish.


Can I stop taking my other medications if I use CBD?

Talk to your doctor! We do not recommend changing your medications without consulting with your doctor.


Disclaimer: Nothing in this website is intended as, or should be construed as, medical advice. Consumers should consult with their own health care practitioners for individual, medical recommendations. The information in this website concerns dietary supplements, over-the-counter products that are not drugs. Our dietary supplement products are not indended for use as a means to cure, treat, prevent, diagnose or mitigate any disease or other medical or abnormal condition.

Beyond "Sweets for the Sweet": Your Guide to a Savory Chocolate Valentine’s Day Feast!


By John, CN Grocery Buyer

Anybody can give a lovely box of truffles to their sweetie on Valentine’s Day, but if you really want to impress your loved one, why not serve up that chocolate in a more intriguing fashion? Chocolate is a great ingredient in savory dishes, from obvious choices like mole sauce or steak rubs to much more surprising combos like the ones I’ll be sharing with you in this month’s column. Follow my instructions and you’ll be ready to prepare a huge meatless spread showcasing the less sweet tendencies of that dark chocolate deliciousness. After all, you’re sweet enough already, aren’t you?



  • 28 oz can peeled tomatoes
  • 14 oz can black beans
  • 14 oz can kidney beans
  • 14 oz can garbanzo beans
  • 14 oz can pinto beans
  • 1 tbsp Navitas Raw Cacao Powder
  • 2 jalapeno peppers
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1/2 cup brown beer
  • 1 tsp Cambridge Naturals Bulk Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Cambridge Naturals Bulk Chili Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Cambridge Naturals Bulk Oregano
  • 1 tsp Maldon Smoked Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp Alex's Ugly Cayano Hot Sauce
  • 1/2 tsp La Chinata Smoked Paprika
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 1 tsp Nutiva Coconut Oil


Combine tomatoes, beans, salt, and beer in a large pot over low heat. Stir occasionally. Peel sweet potatoes and cut into cubes. Add vegetable oil and sweet potatoes to a nonstick skillet and sautee for about 10 minutes on medium heat. Add in garlic, onion, hot sauce, and peppers and sautee for an additional 5-6 minutes. Empty contents of skillet into the chili pot and stir. Add cocoa powder, cumin, chili powder, oregano, and smoked paprika. Cook on low heat for as long as you possibly can, adding salt/cocoa/heat as desired. Use more beer if the chili seems too thick.



  • 3 cups Canaan Fair Trade Nabali Tree olive oil
  • 2 lb. eggplant, cut into 1″ cubes
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 rib celery, roughly chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 tbsp. tomato paste, thinned with 1⁄4 cup water
  • 1 cup crushed canned tomatoes
  • 6 oz. Alive & Well Chalkidiki olives, pitted and roughly chopped
  • 1⁄2 cup Bragg's Apple Cider vinegar
  • 1⁄2 cup golden raisins
  • 1⁄4 cup salt-packed capers, rinsed and drained
  • 3 tbsp. Nutiva Coconut Sugar
  • 2 tbsp. Theo 70% Baking Chocolate (finely grated)
  • 1⁄2 cup finely shredded basil
  • 2 tbsp. Cambridge Naturals Raw Pine Nuts


Heat oil in a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add eggplant and fry, tossing occasionally, until browned, 3–4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer eggplant to a large bowl; set aside. Pour off all but 1⁄4 cup oil, and reserve for another use. Return skillet to heat, add onions and celery, and season with salt and pepper; cook, stirring often, until beginning to brown, 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, and add tomato paste and cook, stirring, until caramelized and almost evaporated, 1–2 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes and continue cooking for 10 minutes. Stir in olives, vinegar, raisins, capers, sugar, and chocolate, and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 15 minutes. Transfer to bowl with eggplant, along with basil and pine nuts, and mix together. Season with salt and pepper, and let cool to room temperature before serving.




  • 1 head cauliflower, trimmed, halved, and cut into 1 1⁄2" wedges
  • 2 tbsp. plus 1 cup Canaan Fair Trade Nabali Tree olive oil
  • Cambridge Naturals bulk sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 8 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup Nutiva coconut oil, for frying
  • 12 shishito peppers
  • 1⁄2 cup Will & Rose's Whole Sprouted Almonds, toasted and roughly chopped
  • 1 cup plus 1 tbsp. roughly chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp. finely grated Theo 70% dark baking chocolate
  • 2 tsp. Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar


Heat oven broiler. Arrange cauliflower in a single layer on a baking sheet. Brush both sides with 2 tbsp. olive oil and season with salt and pepper; broil, flipping once, until charred and tender, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, heat remaining olive oil and the garlic in a 12" skillet over medium. Cook until garlic is golden, 4–6 minutes; transfer to a bowl and let cool. Wipe skillet clean and heat canola oil over medium-high; fry peppers until blistered and slightly crisp, 4–6 minutes. Transfer peppers to paper towels to drain; season with salt. Stir almonds, 1 cup parsley, the chocolate, vinegar, salt, and pepper into reserved garlic oil; spread onto a serving platter. Top with cauliflower; garnish with fried peppers and remaining parsley.




  • 3 pounds baby carrots (about finger-width thick), green tops trimmed to about 1 inch
  • 3 tablespoons Canaan Fair Trade Nabali Tree olive oil
  • 1½ teaspoons Celtic Light Grey Sea Salt
  • 5 or 6 (4-inch) sprigs fresh thyme
  • ½ cup Cadia organic balsamic vinegar
  • ½ ounce Theo 85 percent dark chocolate, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon Crystal's Own New York Wildflower honey


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Put the carrots on a sheet pan, drizzle them with the olive oil, and spread them in a single layer. Sprinkle the salt evenly over the carrots, and lay the thyme sprigs on top. Roast until the carrots are tender and brown in spots, shaking the pan and turning once or twice, about 35 minutes total. While the carrots are cooking, make the syrup. Put the vinegar in the smallest saucepan you have and simmer over medium-low heat until reduced to 1⁄4 cup. Remove the pan from the heat and add the chocolate. Let the chocolate melt for 30 seconds, then use a small spatula to gently stir the syrup until the chocolate has melted completely and the syrup is smooth. Add the honey and salt and mix well. Cover the pan to keep the sauce warm until you’re ready to serve the carrots. To serve, discard the thyme and arrange the carrots on a serving dish. Drizzle them generously with the syrup, and serve immediately.

Herbal Supports for Pregnancy, Birth & Beyond

By Steph Zabel
Herbalist, Ethnobotanist & Educator

I have been meaning to write this article for a very long time… for a year, in fact! Ever since going through the powerful thresholds of pregnancy and birth I’ve wanted to share a few of the lovely herbs that I worked with to help me feel more comfortable, nourished and balanced during such a transformational time. Now that we are coming up to the 1st birthday of my beautiful daughter I feel it is time to finally put down in words some of the supports that worked for me personally.

1st Trimester

Because the first trimester can be a delicate time I don’t recommend using many herbs, especially herbs that you’ve never had before. Stick to gentle, nutritive, food-grade plants.

Morning sickness and fatigue tend to be the main issues that most women deal with. My own morning sickness wasn’t too severe, but it was uncomfortable from time to time (and it wasn’t always in the morning). Making sure that I had plenty of good food in my body — and not going for long periods of time without eating — helped immensely.  Also, getting enough protein and fat was important so that my blood sugar levels stayed stable.

Herb-wise I used gentle chamomile, peppermint and/or ginger teas to help with the queasy-ness. Ginger chews are also nice if you can’t make tea and need something right away.

Interestingly enough, the most helpful herb for me during this time of nausea was milk thistle, even though it is not particularly well known for this use. It is, however, famous for its wonderful supportive and gentle detoxifying action on the liver. Since the liver has extra work to do during pregnancy because of all the extra hormones in the body it makes sense that this plant would have a beneficial action. I used the ground up seeds and sprinkled them on my food — about 1 tablespoon or so per day, or as needed. I felt that this was an indispensable herb for me in this phase.

I also drank some rosehip tea from time to time as well as nettles, both of which are gentle herbs akin to food. The supplements I took during this trimester — and throughout my pregnancy — included magnesium, fermented cod liver oil and probiotics.

tea blends.JPG

2nd Trimester

At this point in my pregnancy I felt more comfortable using a wider range of herbs. I sipped on overnight-steeped nettle tea quite frequently, as well as oat straw, lemon balm, rose, hawthorn and chamomile teas. I also began taking raspberry leaf on a frequent basis.

Raspberry leaf is a beloved ally for the childbearing years. You may read some sources that say it is safe to use throughout pregnancy, and you may read some that say it should only be used in the 2nd trimester and beyond. I am in the latter group because I found that when I drank a cup of raspberry leaf in my first trimester it made me feel a little crampy, which of course you want to avoid. So I held off on the RL until I was well into my second trimester. I upped my intake of it in the third trimester — a few cups per week — and tried to drink even more of it in my last final weeks.

You can read more about raspberry leaf and all of its wonderful benefits here. Briefly I’ll say that it is known as a partus preparator, meaning it prepares the uterus for labor. The tea contains an alkaloid called fragrine that helps to strengthen the muscle of the uterus and is thought to promote a quicker, easier labor.

raspberry leaf tea S Zabel.JPG

3rd Trimester

Toward the end of my pregnancy I increased the amount of raspberry leaf I was consuming and tried to drink a quart of the tea every 2-3 days. At this point I also compiled my herbal birth and postpartum kit, which included herbs that I wanted to have on hand during labor and for recovery. Here’s what I included… (Read on to see what I actually ended up using…)


birth herbs kit.jpg

Raspberry Leaf tea and/or ice cubes: to aid in strengthening contractions

Labor Aid: a beverage that supplies electrolytes and improves hydration during labor (my blend included water with apple cider vinegar, lemon, liquid magnesium, sea salt, maple syrup and flower essences)

Chamomile, Motherwort and Passionflower tinctures: for tension and anxiety (for both the mother and father-to-be)

Yarrow tincture: for excess bleeding postpartum

Crampbark tincture: for afterpains and cramping postpartum
Homeopathic Arnica 30C: to reduce soreness, swelling and pain postpartum

Fennel seed & Fenugreek seed: to increase milk production

Calendula, St. John's Wort & Lavender oil: to massage onto a sore back, or painful areas
Herbal Sitz Bath blend (including comfrey, calendula, rose and lavender): for hip baths and to speed the healing of sore or torn tissues

Mugwort & Rose infused body oil: mugwort is traditionally known as an herb of protection for laboring mothers and is helpful in transitions

Mugwort smudge: the traditional herb of childbirth; stimulating and pain-relieving
Palo Santo bark: a grounding, sweet, and relaxing scent
Essential Oils of Lavender, Clary Sage and Chamomile: to relax and relieve tension
Rose Water: to spritz throughout the room for its calming properties

 "Centered Birth" essence (from Green Hope Farm): to take throughout labor in beverages or put into bath water
Five Flower Formula: akin to Rescue Remedy; useful during intense times and good to have on hand for the laboring mother or stressed father!


Honestly, I think I was a little over-prepared with this kit and ended up not using a lot of these items. Mostly that was because my labor came on so fast and furious and I quickly went to that place where you can’t speak or think straight.

The total time of my labor — including early labor and active labor through to the birth — was just 8.5 hours, which is quite fast for a first-time mom. Perhaps all the raspberry leaf tea I had been drinking helped to speed things along, but it’s hard to know for certain since I have nothing to compare it to.

A lot of the herbs in my kit would have been helpful if I had a really long, drawn out labor and needed more of a physical or mental boost.

 Steph's Labor Aid drink

Steph's Labor Aid drink

What I ended up relying on during labor was the Labor Aid drink (which tasted so good!), raspberry leaf tea, and the flower essences (which I included in my beverages and also put in the bath at one point).

Soon after giving birth I also drank a bunch of raspberry leaf tea with a couple dropperfuls of yarrow tincture to help with the postpartum bleeding. It really seemed to do the trick. I also took the homeopathic Arnica 30C for about 2 weeks afterwards to help with the intense soreness my body experienced. I used herbal sitz baths to help heal tender tissues, and took fenugreek seeds from time to time to support milk production. Finally, I had a bottle of motherwort tincture near me at all times and took a few drops when I was feeling a bit overwhelmed or emotional in those first delicate weeks of new motherhood.

And that’s it!

If you are looking to create your own herbal birth kit choose the herbs and plants that you already love and know well. And keep it simple. In the throes of labor you want to keep one or two comforting items — whether it’s a tea, scent or flower essence — close by and not worry about various bottles to sort through.

I hope this is helpful for some mama’s-to-be out there. These beautiful herbs are here to help and support us— call upon them when you need help!

Steph Zabel, MSc, is an herbalist and botanical educator who helps urban dwellers connect with the plant world. She teaches seasonally-oriented herbal classes that focus on local plants, herbal medicine-making techniques, and plant identification. She is also the creator of Herbstalk, Boston’s community herbal conference. Learn more about her work at: and

This blog series — Herbs and Botanicals — is for general health information only. This Web site is not to be used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment of any health condition or problem. Users of this Web site should not rely on information provided on this Web site for their own health problems. Any questions regarding your own health should be addressed to your own physician or other healthcare provider.

Moondeli: Herbacious Soup for the Soul

By Bex, Supplements Buyer & The Naturalist Contributor

All images by Pure + Wild Journal

Growing up, any hint that we would be going on my family’s now-and-then adventure to our neighborhood deli prompted knee-rattling anticipation as I contemplated a challenging decision at the large window display chock-full of salads and spreads in quantities that could quite literally feed a village. Then, inevitably upon arrival, I would settle on a moon-like matzoh ball suspended in a large bowl of piping hot chicken soup, which my grandmother always reminded me was “the Jewish Penicillin.”

So, when I stumbled upon Moondeli, I naturally thought of that scrumptious celestial body floating in a steaming edible bath for my digestive tract. The comparison is actually not that much of a stretch since Moondeli is my modern day answer to the enduring need for bowl after bowl of comforting and fortifying liquid. Now that I only reserve matzoh ball soup for when I actually fall ill, I’m focused on regularly consuming herb based tonics that support my body in staying strong, energized and relaxed, so that I find myself getting sick much less often. The organic, wildcrafted, ethically-sourced precious powders from Moondeli become boosters to add to your smoothies, tea, coffee, juice, and get this - soup!

Moondeli’s adaptogenic blends have become part of my self-care ritual, supporting my body and mind as they adapt - rather than react - to stress. Inspired by ancient plant medicine, Moondeli Tonics can be enjoyed heated or chilled on their own, immersed in liquid, or cooked into goodies galore. I’ve even experimented with putting these functional foods on my face! Try a teaspoon of the Meditation Tonic stirred into your favorite cup of herbal tea. If you crave a little sweetness, add honey or stevia to taste. Make a golden milk latte by whisking the Golden Turmeric Tonic into your milk of choice. However, if you want to really have some fun, get creative in the kitchen and add these to sweet and savory treats to infuse your bites with life-affirming goodness.

Here are a handful of Moondeli-inspired recipes to nourish your body and soul!



  • 2 tsp Moondeli Blue Green Protein (spirulina, tocos and salt)
  • 1 Banana
  • ½ cup of frozen mango chunks
  • 1 cup of frozen strawberries
  • 4-6 frozen peach slices
  • 1 serving of your favorite vanilla protein powder (I use the plant-based sunwarrior warrior blend)
  • 2 cups of unsweetened almond milk (or other milk of choice)
  • 1 Tbsp bee pollen (to sprinkle on top)

Place all ingredients into a blender and blend it up! Add more almond milk to achieve the consistency you desire (I like it on the thick side, so I usually use less.) Serves 2



  • 2 tsp Moondeli Mushroom Adaptogen (cacao, chaga, cordyceps)
  • 1 Banana
  • 1 cup of frozen strawberries
  • 1 handful of raw organic spinach
  • 3-4 mint leaves (to taste)
  • 2 Tbsp of hemp seeds (one to be blended into the smoothie, the other to use as a topping)
  • 1 Tbsp of almond butter
  • 2 cups of unsweetened hemp milk (or other milk of choice)
  • 2 Tbsp of granola (I sometimes add it as a topping and sometimes stir in. I use paleo granola)

Place all ingredients into a blender and blend it up! Add more hemp milk to achieve the consistency you desire (I like it on the thick side, so I usually use less.) Serves 1-2



  • ¼ cup Moondeli Bliss Booster (cacao, maca and cayenne)-like Mexican Hot Chocolate!
  • 1 Tbsp cacao powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup GF Flour blend (I use Cup4Cup or Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1.5 cups GF rolled oats
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp kosher salt (I often double that because I like salty cookies)
  • 1 cup coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • ¼ cup flax meal whisked with a fork in ⅔ cup water
  • ¼ cup almond butter
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • ⅓ cup of unsweetened coconut shreds (or unsweetened coconut chips if you prefer crunch)
  • ½ cup dark chocolate (I prefer chopped chunks, but you can also use chips)
  • ¼ cup dried cherries
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (this is another area where I get a little generous)
  1. Mix dry ingredients together (Bliss Booster, cacao, cinnamon, flour, almond flour, oats, chocolate, coconut, cherries, baking powder and salt) in a large bowl
  2. In a separate large bowl stir together the wet ingredients and sugar (melted butter, eggs, sugar, vanilla, almond butter, coconut oil)
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring it in bit by bit.
  4. Chill for at least 2 hours (I like to chill the dough overnight)
  5. Bake at 350 degrees F on a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper (or thoroughly greased) for 10-12 minutes
  6. Check the edges and consistency of the cookies. Depending on the oven, I usually increase the temperature to 375 and bake for another 1-3 minutes as needed.
  7. Cool on a cooling rack if possible.


  • 2-3 Tbsp Moondeli Calming Adaptogen (ashwagandha, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon)
  • 1 Banana
  • 1 cup berries of choice (I topped mine with blackberries and raspberries)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp almond butter
  • 1-2 tablespoons of cacao nibs
  • 1 serving of vanilla hemp protein powder
  • 1 can of coconut milk

Mash the banana into a tupperware container with the almond butter until it is soft. Add 1 can of coconut milk and stir together with the banana. Add 4 Tbsp of chia seeds and stir. Place in refrigerator for at least 3 hours (I like to let it sit overnight.) Mix in protein powder and Calming Adaptogen powder. Top with cacao nibs and berries!


I’ve also added these powders to soup, juices, overnight oats, zoom balls, pancakes, truffles, frosting, and salad dressing, so get creative and have fun! Moondeli suggests up to two servings of each blend per day, but remember that the tonics work synergistically, so you can mix several of them together in your attempt to gain superpowers. I’m not a doctor or a pharmacist, so I can’t say whether or not that will happen, but I’m gonna give it a try… Ceremony Tonic (matcha, cacao, maca,) here I come!


Herbs for Transitional and Challenging Times

By Steph Zabel
Herbalist & Ethnobotanist

2017 has been a challenging year for so many of us, on many levels. Just turning on the news can be heart-breaking and traumatic as we witness the loss, upheaval and grief so many of our kindred are experiencing due to human-made tragedies or environmental extremes.

What can we do? How can we respond?

When so many are wounded or are causing wounds, the pain existing in the world can seem overwhelming. If you feel at a loss for how to make a positive difference in the world at this moment in time… First, take heart that this too shall pass… Second, make sure that your body and spirit are nourished and comforted. Once you are well within yourself you will be able to spread this wellness and comfort outward to everyone whose lives you touch.

Some of my favorite ways of nourishing, comforting and healing myself — and my family — are the herbs below. These plants help us come back to our center. Some protect the heart; others nourish the nervous system; others lift the spirits. Read through these descriptions, try a cup of tea (or a tincture) of these plants and listen to the ones that call to you with their healing gifts.

 By Rasbak via Wikimedia Commons

By Rasbak via Wikimedia Commons

MILKY OAT TOPS Offering Nourishment & Calm
Milky oats provides deep, deep fortifying nourishment for the nervous system and helps to overcome exhaustion. It eases anxiety, frazzled nerves and emotional instability. When you feel like you’re about to either 1) throw a temper tantrum if the slightest thing goes wrong or 2) collapse into a sobbing heap if you have to deal with one more thing… turn to milky oat. It helps to soothe sensitive people and anyone who is feeling emotionally overwhelmed. It strengthens the physical heart and the emotional heart. Oat is food; oat is medicine; oat is pure nourishing LOVE.

To make: Use dried oat straw: and steep 6 heaping spoonfuls in a quart of hot water for 6-8 hours. Strain and drink for a nourishing tea. Or, get your hands on a bottle of the milky oat tincture (it must say “milky”!) and take 1/2 to 1 full dropper as needed.

oat tops.jpg

HAWTHORN Offering Protection & Openness

Hawthorn berry is a famous cardiac tonic, imparting a strengthening and protective effect on the physical heart. But it also has a very special affinity for the emotional heart. It can be used to bring comfort during times of loss, grief, homesickness and heart-break. Hawthorn soothes a saddened heart and provides gentle support during stress and overwhelm. It is one of the best herbs I know of for a tender or troubled heart, or for any period of emotional tumult. This red-hued berry also helps us to know when when better emotional boundaries are needed. It helps us discern when it is necessary to protect our hearts and when it is safe to open them completely.

To make: Use dried hawthorn berries and add 2-4 Tbsp. of the berries to 2 cups of water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil then simmer at low heat for 15-30 minutes. Strain and drink.

 By Ian Cunliffe via Wikimedia Commons

By Ian Cunliffe via Wikimedia Commons

SAGE Offering Clarity & Wisdom

Sage has a rejuvenating effect on the nerves, and has been used by herbalists to address depression, anxiety and nervousness. It is especially good for the frazzled feeling we get when life is too hectic or overwhelming. Sage helps us feel less anxious and more grounded. I believe when used over time it can also help us to feel more at peace with how things are, and to feel more connected with day-to-day reality, i.e. appreciating what is rather than what we want things to be. Many traditions have noted that sage has the ability to enhance one’s inner wisdom. Sage flower essence is especially beautiful and illuminating for enhancing inner knowingness.

To make: Use 1/2 Tblsp. dried herb per cup of hot water; let steep 7-10 minutes. Can also be gently simmered in a small saucepan for a more mellow flavor. Or, use sage flower essence, taking 3 drops 3-4 times per day.

 By Line via Wikimedia Commons

By Line via Wikimedia Commons


TULSI Offering Centering & Grounding

For centuries tulsi (a.k.a. holy basil) has been called a sacred herb. In traditional Ayurvedic medicine it is regarded as an “elixir of life” and is said to promote longevity and perfect health. It is also said to gladden the heart and lift the spirits. Tulsi is a lovely relaxing nervine, and a calming, centering herb useful for an anxious mind. It can offer comfort and grounding when it is most needed. It is a very important herb for helping the body adapt to stress and to cope with an over-active nervous system. Even the scent of tulsi is healing: it is uplifting, brightening and soothing to the mind and spirit.

To make: Use 1/2 - 1 Tblsp. of the dried leaf per cup of hot water; let steep at least 7 minutes, if not longer. The essential oil can also be used before bed or meditation, in a diffuser or simply inhaled directly from the bottle.

 By Shashidhara Halady via Wikimedia Commons

By Shashidhara Halady via Wikimedia Commons

Steph Zabel, MSc, is an herbalist and botanical educator who helps urban dwellers connect with the plant world. She teaches seasonally-oriented herbal classes that focus on local plants, herbal medicine-making techniques, and plant identification. She is also the creator of Herbstalk, Boston’s community herbal conference. Learn more about her work at: and

This blog series — Herbs and Botanicals— is for general health information only. This Web site is not to be used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment of any health condition or problem. Users of this Web site should not rely on information provided on this Web site for their own health problems. Any questions regarding your own health should be addressed to your own physician or other healthcare provider.

Coming Summer 2018: Cambridge Naturals at Boston Landing


Dear Customers and Friends,

We are SO excited to share with you the news that we are planning to open our second location in the summer of 2018!

For several years now we have been dreaming about and planning ways to organically grow our 44-year-old business in thoughtful and principled ways. We feel that the timing is right - we have an incredible staff and absolutely wonderful customers who seem to love what we do. Last year we reached out to the team at Graffito SP, who have been working with New Balance Development Group to build a community of businesses with an emphasis on local, unique, and independent. From the beginning we have felt that Graffito and NBDG really "get" who we are and what we do. They were excited by our long history of providing our local community with solutions for health and wellness, in a vibrant and welcoming setting.

We feel lucky to have found a home to grow our business in the Boston Landing neighborhood of Brighton, and we look forward to serving current and new customers across the river, and to creating new opportunities to grow our staff team. And this is just the beginning!

For more information on the Boston Landing neighborhood, please read our press release.

We are currently deep in the design process for the physical space and the business. For information on what we do know, please read our FAQ page. We'll post updates as we move through the process!

Thank you for supporting this local and independent business and for being a part of our growing community!



Visiting Vitality Works!

By Alyssa, Supplements Buyer + The Naturalist Contributor

Navigating the supplements section in any health food store can be a daunting task, especially when inevitable questions arise. Which brand is really the best? Are the claims on the label accurate? Which dose do I want? Is this a thoughtful and effective formulation? And then, of course, there’s the private label brand: why is it less expensive? Is it generic? Do I have to worry about the quality of the product?


Lucky for our customers, at Cambridge Naturals we do the homework for you, vetting companies and offering only the highest quality supplements on the market today. In addition to the more familiar brands you love, we also pride ourselves on being able to offer you our outstanding private label Cambridge Naturals brand, including our herbal supplements and essential oils, manufactured for us by Vitality Works in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This summer, our supplements manager Zach and I were fortunate enough to tour their facilities, including their organic and biodynamic farm in Abiquiu. There, we spent time with Mitch Coven, the founder, formulator and clinical herbalist mastermind behind the company.

 Zach and Alyssa in the field

Zach and Alyssa in the field

On our first full day in Albuquerque, we settled into the environmentally friendly hotel that had been arranged for us - a clear sign to me that this was a company with values that I could get behind. Later that morning, Mitch held an herbal class and gave the group a tour of the manufacturing facility as well as the beautiful medicinal garden he cultivated around the property. I was particularly blown away by the fact that the garden was crafted to reduce water usage and save literally tens of thousands of gallons of water per year! Green initiatives are a major part of Vitality Work's core values. Some of these initiatives include: composting all botanical matter not used in the extraction process (about 345,000 pounds per year), recycling all cardboard (80,825 lb/year) and metal and plastic barrels (884/year combined), using motion activated lights and installing an energy management system throughout the facility. Needless to say, I was pretty impressed.

 Tasting delicious herbal extracts

Tasting delicious herbal extracts

Addressing all of his employees by name as he showed us around the production lines, my head began to spin in awe at how much dedication and passion goes into creating the Cambridge Natural Brand herbal products we sell to our customers every day. Not only does Vitality Works feel compelled to create the highest quality organic herbal medicine, but they strive to connect with and benefit local and global communities in the process, as well as honoring the plants themselves. When it comes to sourcing, herbs are purchased from local organic farmers and wild harvesters who grow and gather the plants responsibly and ethically. When asked why he doesn’t grow his own herbs, Mitch expressed his preference to support farmers and wild harvesters who are already established, rather than competing with them. For example, their milk thistle is grown in Iowa by a man named Leroy - the only organic milk thistle grower in the United States! Mitch has even funded a 5 year study on the sustainability of wild Osha, in order to ensure that using this plant was not going to harm its long term sustainability.


Even though Vitality Works is highly selective with sourcing, the quality and purity of each product is still checked every step of the way. Organic and non-GMO herbs are always purchased whole (rather than ground or powdered), and from the freshest and most recent harvest, to ensure there has been no adulteration. This also allows for organoleptic evaluation (the process of using the senses to determine identity and quality) on top of the already scheduled laboratory testing done to detect any possible heavy metals and other environmental contaminants as well as potency. Since timing is essential in preserving potency, fresh plant matter is brought into production the day it is delivered. In the case of sourcing from the beautiful family owned 250 acre organic and biodynamic farm in Abiquiu, herbs are harvested in the early morning, driven to Vitality Works by 11am and brought into processing by 1pm! This year their offerings included ashwagandha, dandelion, spilanthes, echinacea purpurea, wormwood, marshmallow, valerian and St. John’s wort as well as offering the only biodynamic source of seabuckthorn in the country!


By the end of the trip, I felt like part of the Vitality Works family and so excited to share everything we had learned with the rest of the Cambridge Natural team and our customers. I have no doubt that we are putting our name on what are among the best herbal products available anywhere. The Cambridge Naturals brand is formulated by a passionate and humble herbalist who has 17 years of experience in a clinical setting. You can feel confident in purchasing products manufactured by a company that values this planet, ethical and sustainable commerce, and takes no shortcuts in the process. Next time you are strolling through the aisles, take another peek at our brand and feel free to grab any one of us on staff to chat and learn more about what Cambridge Naturals has to offer!

EVERYTHING BUT THE BIRD: A Complete Guide to Slaying Your Thanksgiving Fixin's!

By John, Grocery Buyer & The Naturalist Contributor

Well folks, I think I should keep the chit chat a bit short for this installment of the recipe blog, as we've got a lot to get through here... Often these blogs contain maybe three recipes, but today we're giving you SEVEN! Your veggies, stuffing, gravy, mash, and pie all planned out with fine ingredients available right here at Cambridge Naturals! These delicious selections are not all vegan, or gluten-free, but enough of them are one or the other or both to hopefully accommodate for any dietary restrictions you may encounter. The sides contained herein range from a bit complex to incredibly simple, so you can flex those chef muscles a bit without being overwhelmed. So, without further ado, let's get started...

 Photo via Pinterest

Photo via Pinterest


Gravy should be the glue that holds the whole plate together, as ideally your guests will want to put it on EVERYTHING! This one has some nice notes of cranberry and sage, which compliments the stuffing perfectly, and drops the gluten for good measure!


  • 3 jars Epic Turkey Cranberry Sage Bone Broth
  • 1-2 cups skimmed and strained roast turkey drippings
  • Celtic Sea Salt and freshly ground Cambridge Naturals bulk black pepper
  • Frontier (Bulk) Arrowroot Powder


Bring the bone broth to a boil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add turkey drippings. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer about one cup of your gravy mixture to a medium bowl and whisk in 10 tablespoons arrowroot. Just before serving, return the arrowroot mixture to the gravy base and whisk until the whole thing is thickened and smooth.



You may want to make extra of this. The desire to just eat a pan of stuffing for dinner will be very real!


  • 16 oz (a bit more than half a loaf) Dan's Bread Whole Wheat Sourdough
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup Cambridge Naturals pecans, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tbsp Organic Valley Unsalted Cultured Butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh sage
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 3 cups Epic Turkey Cranberry Sage bone broth
  • 3/4 tbsp Celtic Sea Salt, more as needed
  • Cambridge Naturals bulk black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup Organic Valley Unsalted Cultured Butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • Canaan Nabali Olive Oil (for baking dish)


Tear or cut the bread into 3/4 inch pieces until you have 8 to 10 cups. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet and bake at 275F, stirring every 10 minutes or so, until crisp and mostly dry (about 15-45 minutes). Heat 2 tbsp butter in a large, covered skillet over medium-low heat. Add the celery and onions and cook. stirring occasionally, until they're slightly softened but still have some crunch. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and stir in pecans and cranberries. Add the bread to a large mixing bowl, along with the parsley, sage, and thyme, and toss well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour the bone broth over the stuffing. Toss occasionally if mixture is not fully absorbed. Bread should be moist but not soggy. Stir in the 1/4 cup melted butter and eggs. Heat oven to 375F and lightly grease a 9 x 13 baking dish with the olive oil. Spread the stuffing and cover tightly with foil. Bake about 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake another 20 minutes or until the top is crisp. 



Just some humble, easily prepared mashed potatoes. With lots of garlic and olive oil because they make EVERYTHING great!


  • 2 lbs yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 8 garlic cloves, peeled
  • Celtic Sea Salt
  • Cambridge Naturals bulk black pepper
  • 1/4 Cup Canaan Nabali Olive Oil



Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add potatoes, garlic, and 2 tsp salt and cook at a brisk simmer until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain potatoes and garlic, reserving about 1 cup cooking liquid. Mash the potatoes and garlic. Beat in olive oil and then thin to desired consistency with the remaining cooking liquid. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.



 A delicious twist on a Thanksgiving classic, great for guests with dietary restrictions...

INGREDIENTS (Crispy Onion Strings):

  • 1 White Onion
  • 1 ½ Cups New Barn Organic Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • 1 tbsp Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 ½ Cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free 1 to 1 baking flour
  • 1 tsp La Chinata Smoked Paprika Powder
  • 1 tsp Celtic Sea Salt
  • ½ tsp Cambridge Naturals bulk black pepper
  • 3 cups Nutiva Organic Liquid Coconut Oil (for frying)

INGREDIENTS (Casserole):

  • 8 cups fresh green beans
  • 1 cup Cambridge Naturals raw whole cashews (soaked for three hours)
  • 1 ½ cup water
  • 1 tbsp Frontier Arrowroot Powder
  • 1 tbsp Nutiva Organic Liquid Coconut Oil
  • 8oz Mushrooms
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp Cambridge Naturals bulk onion powder
  • ½ tsp Cambridge Naturals bulk nutmeg
  • ½ tsp Cambridge Naturals bulk black pepper
  • 2/3 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice


Thinly slice the onion, using a mandolin if your knife skills aren’t up to snuff. You should be able to see through the slices. Pour the almond milk into a bowl and whisk in the apple cider vinegar. Let the onions soak in this mixture for 10-15 minutes. In a separate mixing bowl combine the flour with the smoked paprika, sea salt, and black pepper. Heat your 3 cups coconut oil in a large pot til it reaches 375 degrees. Gently toss the onions in the flour mixture. Shake off excess and transfer to yet another bowl. Deep fry the onions in small batches for about 2 minutes and remove with tongs onto paper towel. To make the sauce, drain the cashews from the soaking water. Add them to a blender with your fresh water and arrowroot and blend until smooth. Heat coconut oil over a medium heat and add mushrooms, saute for two minutes. Add shallot and saute for another 3-4 minutes. Add minced garlic and saute for another minute. Then add nutmeg, onion powder, sea salt, and ground pepper and saute for yet another three minutes. Stir in vegetable broth and your cashew cream in small portions, bit by bit, stirring until smooth. Bring to a simmer. Once the sauce is simmering add lemon juice and then finally the green beans. Toss the beans in the sauce and cover the pan with a lid. Let it sit for 20 minutes stirring occasionally until the beans are cooked. Transfer the beans and sauce to a casserole dish and cover with your crispy onions. Put the whole thing under the broiler for a minute or two and then serve immediately.



  • Sweet n' spicy veggies with the flair of New England Korean fusion!
  • 2 pounds carrots, peeled and quartered lengthwise
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ Cup Canaan Nabali Olive Oil
  • 3 tablespoons Feronia Forest Mission Maple Syrup
  • 1 heaping tablespoon Bushwich Kitchen Weak Knees Gochujang Sriracha
  • 1 teaspoon Cambridge Naturals bulk cumin
  • Zest of ½ lemon
  • Celtic Sea Salt and Cambridge Naturals bulk black pepper to taste



Preheat to 450F and line a baking sheet with foil. In a bowl, combine garlic, olive oil, maple syrup, sriracha, cumin, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Toss the carrots in the mixture to coat evenly, then pour everything onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 30-45 minutes or until tender.



Sticking with the sweet n' spicy orange foods theme we just saw in the carrots. Absolutely delicious!


  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, about 1lb each
  • ¼ cup Mike’s Hot Honey or Bushwick Kitchen Spicy Honey
  • 4 tablespoons Organic Valley Unsalted Cultured Butter
  • Celtic Sea Salt
  • 2 tbsp Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar


Preheat Oven to 350F. Poke holes all over sweet potatoes and wrap them in foil. Place on a foil-rimmed baking sheet and roast until tender, about 60-70 minutes. Unwrap and let sit until cool enough to handle. Increase oven temperature to 450F. Combine hot honey and butter in a small saucepan and season with sea salt. Bring to a simmer over low heat, stirring to combine. Remove from heat and stir in vinegar. Smash the sweet potatoes with your palm, then tear into bite-sized pieces. Place in a large bowl and add half of hot honey mixture, then season with salt. Arrange the pieces skin side down on a baking sheet and roast until browned and crisp, about 20-25 minutes. Drizzle with remaining hot honey mixture.



All due respect to apple, but pumpkin is the classic Thanksgiving pie. Won't even miss the butter or flour in this one, I promise!


  • 6 tbsp cold Miyokos Vegan Butter
  • 1 1/4 cup Bob's Red Mill 1:1 Gluten-Free Flour
  • 1/4 tsp Celtic Sea Salt
  • 4-6 tbsp ice cold water


  • 2 3/4 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup Feronia Forest Mission Maple Syrup
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup New Barn Organic Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • 1 tbsp Nutiva Organic Liquid Coconut Oil
  • 2 1/2 tbsp Frontier Arrowroot Powder
  • 1 3/4 tbsp Cambridge Naturals bulk pumpkin spice
  • 1/4 tsp Celtic Sea Salt


Combine gluten-free flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Slice in the cold butter and work gently with a fork to cut it in. Don't overwork it, just get it incorporated. Add water a little at a time while stirring with a wooden spoon. Only use as much as you need for the ingredients to come together. Once a loose dough is formed, transfer to a piece of plastic wrap and work it with your hands into a 1/2 inch thick disc. Wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, then let it warm up slightly at room temperature. Preheat the oven to 350 and start working on your filling! Add all the filling ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed and set aside. Unwrap your dough and set between two pieces of wax paper, then roll out with a rolling pin. If it cracks, simply reform it with your hands. Remove the top piece of wax paper and gently lay the pie dish face down on the crust and use the support of the wax paper to gently invert it, then form it into the pan by hand. Try not to overwork the dough. Pour the filling into the crust and bake for an hour. Crust should be golden brown and the filling should jiggle just slightly. Remove from the oven and let cool before loosely covering and transferring to the fridge to set. Let it set for at least 4-6 hours, overnight if possible. Slice and serve!

There you have it! Now you just need to figure out how to prepare the bird, if that's even necessary given the rest of this sumptuous feast. We'll leave that up to you. Share with your neighbors, be merry and full! Happy Thanksgiving!

Ritual: Take a deep breath this holiday season

By Heather, Lifestyle Buyer + The Naturalist Contributor

I have come to understand that breath is one our most powerful tools - to soothe, to decompress, to process, to shift. When my full capacity to breathe is deeply compromised, I feel disarmed; my musical career and my role here at the store (great customer service means lots of conversations!) both depend on my lungs being in tip-top shape.

Below is a tea blend, a playlist to listen to while sipping, and a simple ritual to support the hard work your lungs do every day. Many of the herbs in this blend are gently sedating or relaxing, making this a great tea to drink before bed, especially if you find that a cough is keeping you awake at night.


Deep Breath Tea Blend



  • Mullein - an expectorant with an affinity for the upper respiratory system

  • Thyme - Agatha Noveille, Associate Educator at the Herbal Academy writes, thyme “ useful for acute or chronic respiratory problems including coughs and bronchitis.” Thyme is also a nervine (an herb that aids the nervous system) and has a warming effect.

  • Honey Gardens’ Wild Cherry Bark Honey Syrup - a wonderful, tasty blend of several different herbs that are supportive of respiratory health. The blend includes:

    • Wild Cherry Bark - a bronchodilator (an herb that assists in widening of the bronchi, which opens the airways of the lungs) that can help ease the cough reflex, calm irritation, and assist in healing of the respiratory system. Because it is naturally astringent, it assists the body in drying out mucus.

    • Elecampagne - an expectorant traditionally used to combat coughs, chest mucus, and phlegm

    • Raw honey - besides being delicious, honey is antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antiseptic (preventing growth of harmful microorganisms)

Mix equal parts of each herb (I estimate about 2-3 teaspoons of dried leaf per 8 oz of hot water), cover and steep for 10-20 minutes. Strain the herbs and add the Wild Cherry Bark Honey Syrup, stirring to combine, and enjoy your elixir!


Ritual: Burning Frankincense Resin

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Steph Zabel, MSc, local herbalist and botanical educator explains the magic of frankincense: “The astringent action of this plant can also help eliminate phlegm and congestion in the lungs. For mucous-y situations that seem to hang around in the respiratory system or sinuses, try frankincense as it will not only help to dry up mucous but will also act as an anti-inflammatory in the nasal passages, making breathing easier.” You can find frankincense resin in our bulk section!



CN Late Autumn TEA Ritual Playlist


This blog series — Rituals — is for general health information only. This Web site is not to be used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment of any health condition or problem. Users of this Web site should not rely on information provided on this Web site for their own health problems. Any questions regarding your own health should be addressed to your own physician or other healthcare provider.

ASTRAGALUS (Astragalus membranaceus): Shield & Strengthener

By Steph Zabel
Herbalist & Ethnobotanist

A sweet tasting, yellow-rooted plant, astragalus is an important herb for the home apothecary, especially in the winter months. Every fall I pull out my stash of sliced roots and start incorporating them into my soups and broths (more on that later…)

Astragalus Root2_SZ.jpg

This special plant is native to China where it has been used for thousands of years; it is becoming more and more popular in Western herbalism and is now cultivated in the U.S.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine astragalus is considered to be a restorative tonic, as it improves energy and stamina when used over time. Modern herbalists would call it an adaptogenic herb since it helps the body to overcome stress, disease and weakness and increases one’s resiliency.

An important immune system tonic, astragalus is wonderful when used preventatively against winter-time illnesses such as colds, flu, bronchitis and pneumonia. Not only does this root increase resistance to disease it also helps to tone and strengthen the lungs, which are the gathering place for infections and congestion. Astragalus root is also known to increase the number of stem cells in bone marrow and lymph tissue and encourages their development into active immune cells.

 Photo by Tigerente via Wiki Commons

Photo by Tigerente via Wiki Commons

Whereas some herbs can open the body up to release toxins and pathogens through perspiration (such as a diaphoretic herb like elderflower), astragalus is on the opposite end of the spectrum: it helps to close off the body to outside influences and germs. Because of this closing or sealing action some people have even noticed that it reduces the amount that they perspire. This property is very useful when we are trying to avoid catching other people’s germs, especially during cold and flu season. We can think of astragalus as a shield against illness. Traditional Chinese medicine states that it increases the “protective chi” around the body that keeps out cold, infection and external influences.

 Photo by Doronenko via Wiki Commons

Photo by Doronenko via Wiki Commons

You want to be sure to use this amazing action at the appropriate time, though. Because of the sealing property it has on the physical body traditional wisdom advises to avoid astragalus if you are sick or have an acute infection. That’s because it closes the body to external influences and prevents fewer things from coming in OR going out. Astragalus really is an herb best used to strengthen the immune system and prevent sickness… it is not for times of acute illness. (Depending on what’s going on, you could turn to other herbs such as thyme, elder and/or echinacea.)


To make a decoction of the root use 1 Tblsp. of the dried root per 2 cups of water and simmer for at least 20 minutes in a small, covered saucepan.


People with autoimmune disease should avoid astragalus. It is also believed that astragalus should not be taken during acute illness and infection.

Astragalus Root _SZ.jpg


Astragalus slowly builds up the immune system and needs to be taken over longer periods of time (weeks to months) to be most effective. For prevention and immune-strengthening effects take daily. One of the best ways to get the supportive benefits of this herb is to eat it in soups and broths. The following recipe is one of my favorite ways to incorporate astragalus into my diet during the fall and winter months:

Steph’s Herbal Chicken Broth

bones, skin and leftovers of one roasted chicken
1 - 2 small chopped onions
2 chopped carrots (optional)
a handful of dried calendula flowers
6 - 8 large astragalus root slices
1 tablespoon black peppercorn
1 tablespoon dried thyme
4 cloves sliced garlic
1 star anise
1 small bunch of parsley, coarsely chopped
a little bit of salt
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Place everything in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil then lower the heat to a simmer. Skim off the scum that rises to the top. Cook for 12 - 24 hours, then strain and store in glass containers or freeze.


Steph Zabel, MSc, is an herbalist and botanical educator who helps urban dwellers connect with the plant world. She teaches seasonally-oriented herbal classes that focus on local plants, herbal medicine-making techniques, and plant identification. She is also the creator of Herbstalk, Boston’s community herbal conference. Learn more about her work at: and

This blog series — Herbs and Botanicals— is for general health information only. This Web site is not to be used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment of any health condition or problem. Users of this Web site should not rely on information provided on this Web site for their own health problems. Any questions regarding your own health should be addressed to your own physician or other healthcare provider.