Cauliflower with Pimento “Cheese” and Parsley or Cilantro

Years ago, my mom went on a vacation to England.  While being served dinner one evening, she was surprised to notice that the main dish was a huge head of cauliflower with a topping of cheese.  She looked around for other main dishes, but no, that was it.  After the initial surprise, she reported that it was a delightful meal.

For those who are intrigued with this idea but would like to limit their intake of cheese, consider a cheese replacement recipe, called “Pimento Cheese.”  Just mix it up and pour it over the steamed cauliflower!

Pimento “Cheese” Sauce

Adrianna (5)anticipating cauliflower for dinner

Adrianna (5) anticipating cauliflower for dinner

Ingredients: 1 cup water, ½ cup pimento, 1 cup raw cashews or other nuts, 1.5 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon garlic powder, and 1 teaspoon onion powder

Process ingredients in a blender until smooth. Chilling will make sauce thicker. Pour over steamed cauliflower.  Fresh parsley or cilantro placed around the head of cauliflower is a beautiful and tasty garnish.  Enjoy!

You may also use pimento cheese sauce over salads, cooked vegetables, pasta, rice, potatoes, pizza, lasagna or as a base for soup.  Add 2-3 tablespoons dried onion flakes after blending, if additional texture is desired.  Additional Option: Add 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast flakes.

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Developing Self-Reliance in the American Civil War (1861-1865)

Relying on Local Plants

Chicory along Northern Virginia Roadside, 2013

Chicory along Northern Virginia Roadside, 2013

Prior to the Civil War, Americans often obtained sugar and fruit from ships that sailed through the West Indies. They also benefitted from trade between the Northern and Southern states.  During the war, however, as the North blockaded trade in the Atlantic and ceased trading with the South, items such as tea, coffee, sugar, and pineapple, medical supplies, and weapons all became scarce in the Confederate states.  Of necessity, citizenry in the South turned to the land to seek alternatives for food, clothing, household products, and medicines.

How did Southerners cope with the stark necessity of being self-reliant? You’ve undoubtedly heard that the South was known for its production of cotton and tobacco! Well, with the Civil War, the southern states had to initiate changes in agriculture and replace cotton and tobacco with the cultivation of food, such as wheat, rye, rice, oats, corn, peas, etc…  Since Southern states could no longer obtain items from the North and sea trade was disrupted due to the Union blockade of ships, times were tough.  That is why a shift in agriculture production was a necessary fundamental change.

Now there are some products that just couldn’t be grown or replaced to the satisfaction of southerners and coffee was one of those items.  Patricia B. Mitchell, in her book Civil War Plants & Herbs, shares several accounts on finding good substitutes for coffee as well as tea. For example, an 1863 Confederate Receipt (recipe) book described drying, shelling, and roasting acorns with a little bacon fat to make a good substitute for coffee.  A South Carolinian family – also 1863- described substituting a drink of gruel (a liquid food made by boiling a cereal i.e. oatmeal in water or milk) for a cup of coffee. Southern newspapers advertised Dandelion Coffee as a substitute for coffee. To make the dandelion coffee, you would dry the root, then dice it and roast it until dark brown. Then, after grinding the root, you would brew it for coffee, about 1 tsp. per cup.  James Duke – a well-known modern-day herbalist – has shared that scorched leaves of the holly tree (Ilexopaca Aiton Aquifoliaceae) were used for tea and coffee substitutes during the Civil War (Mitchell, p. 7)

Along the roadsides of Virginia, the beautiful blue flowers of Chicory (Cichorium intybus) display themselves in the spring and summer months. Perhaps you’ve seen them too? Have you wondered if Confederate soldiers used the root of this plant for coffee?  Like Dandelion, the roots of Chicory can be roasted and ground as a coffee substitute.

Yes, ideas for coffee substitutes were certainly brewing during the Civil War. It is reassuring to know that if we take time to search out alternatives to our current lifestyles, we will likely be able to continue the legacy of early Americans who learned to develop greater self-reliance through becoming more acquainted with local plants.

ESSENTIAL NOTE: To enjoy quality essential oils, another wonderful way to enjoy healing plants, visit and select the link “Purchase Essential Oils.” I will be happy to help you learn and enjoy essential oils in your home.

Donna Evans, YL Distributor #517938

References: Mitchell, Patricia B. (1996) Civil War Plants and Herbs. Published by P.B. Mitchell, 1996.

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Figs – Wisdom from the Middle East

Fig Tree Over Winter Virginia, USA

Fig Tree Over Winter
Virginia, USA

Ficus carica (Moraceae, the Mulberry Family)

Mention figs?  A Lebanese man describes two fig trees growing in his own backyard. His wife talks of harvesting fresh figs in season, making fig jam, and preparing dried figs with rice and nuts in a cooked chicken. A Jordanian praises the garden city of Tafilah, located southwest of Amman, as the “city of figs.” North Americans remember the fig newton cookie, delicious Mission Figs of California, and the story of Adam and Eve wearing fig leaves. The importance of this fruit around the world is not a “fig-ment” of your imagination. Read to the end for some excellent stories and uses of figs.


When the wise and powerful King Solomon lived on the earth, peace and security were benefits his kingdom enjoyed. Describing this time, Old Testament verses in 1 Kings 4:24-25 reference the fig tree, saying that the people “dwelt safely, every man under his vine and under his fig tree, from Dan even to Beer-sheba, all the days of Solomon.” In this instance, the ability to sit under your own fig tree represented tranquility, peace, and safety.

Figs have been widely used and have been an item of trade throughout the Middle East for millennia.  During the summer harvest season, fresh fig is available and is a source of energy and nourishment.  Year-round, dried fig can be made into cakes (1 Chronicles 12:40) and taken on long journeys. In the days of King David (father of King Solomon) an Egyptian soldier who had not had any food or water for three days was revived with “a piece of a cake of figs, and two clusters of raisins.”  (1 Samuel 30:12)  How many of us today are still revived by fig cakes or cookies available in the market?


Given the prevalence of the fig in Mediterranean countries and throughout the Middle East, it is not surprising that the fig is mentioned in the Qur’an. The Qur’an mentions the Fig in Surat at Teen (Sura 95:1-8, Zidan).

The Fig
In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate
1 By the Fig and the Olive,
2 And the Mount of Sinai,
3 And this City of security!
4 We have indeed created man in the best of moulds,
5 Then do We abase him (To be) the lowest of the low,
6 Except such as believe and do righteous deeds: For they shall have a reward unfailing.
7 Then what can, after this, contradict thee, as to the Judgment (To come)?
8 Is not God the wisest of Judges?

In this verse, the fig tree is an important symbol, along with the olive, Mount Sinai (where Moses received the Ten Commandments), and the city of Mecca.

Those interested in creating a Qur’anic garden, a special garden showcasing plants mentioned in the Qur’an, would surely want to include the beautiful Ficus carica, or fig tree.


Enjoy a simple way of incorporating figs into your diet! Start with 12 fresh figs and the juice of 6 oranges. Cut the stalks off of 12 fresh figs (do not peel).  Then, quarter the figs and arrange them on a dish. Cover the figs with orange juice and chill in the refrigerator before serving. (Adapted from Middle Eastern Cooking by Christine Osborn, pg. 138)


Figs are a good source of dietary fiber.  They contain calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, B vitamins, and vitamin K. Doesn’t this sound like a healthy snack? Go “fig-ure.” Let’s appreciate together the many ways figs are used in the Middle East and blend some of this wisdom into our own kitchens!

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Essential Note… I also sell essential oils. Please click on the link “Purchase Essential Oils” to learn how these marvelous gifts from nature can help you.  Call or email me to learn more about what essential oils can do for you today! (Donna Evans, Young Living Distributor #517938, Phone: 571-313-1650, E-mail:

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Essential Oil of Rose – Wisdom of Arabia

Rose Harvester, Taif, Saudi Arabia

Rose Harvester, Taif, Saudi Arabia

Of all the essential oils, rose oil has the highest known electromagetic frequency (320 MHz). Its flowery fragrance promotes balance, harmony, and a sense of well-being.

For centuries, residents of Arabia have enjoyed these qualities of the rose. The city of Taif, in the Western Province, is famous for the Damask rose (Rosa damascena) and for its production of rose water and attar, the essential oil which is steam distilled from the petals of the rose.

An ancient tale suggests that a lone traveler from India first brought the rose which resulted in the Damask rose gardens flourishing in the fertile area of Taif, Saudi Arabia. A different story says that a pilgrim from the ancient rose plantations of Persia brought the rose. Or perhaps it was the Ottoman Turks, who occupied the area from the 16th century. Whatever the source, rose gardens have been an important part of this region of the world for centuries.

In earlier times, petals were collected and transported by camel caravans from Taif to Makkah. Distillers of Indian origin then produced rose oil. About 200 years ago, a more efficient process was created by bringing the distillation process to Taif. Today in Taif, visitors find hundreds of rose farms, which cultivate the fragrant Damask rose, and approximately 60 distillation plants, which produce rose oil and rose water – very popular products throughout the Middle East.

Flowers are hand-picked early in the morning, before they are affected by the sun’s rays. Harvesters take the roses directly to the distilleries where the petals are processed immediately to capture the high quality fragrance of the rose and maintain quality. After all, the King of Arabia himself, as well as the royal family, will be purchasing rose oil and rose water originating from the gardens of Taif.

Arabian Rose Garden

Arabian Rose Garden

In Arabia, rose water and the essential oil of rose are very popular at celebrations. In addition, rose water is a traditional remedy for the heart and the stomach. Also, the skin and face are cleansed with rose water. So from wisdom preserved in Arabian history and the gardens of Taif, we are reminded of the benefits of using the essential oil of rose.

To order the essential oil of Rose from Donna, visit: or e-mail her at

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Myrtle – A Biblical Oil


Myrtle (Myrtus  communis) is a marvelous evergreen shrub.  Its fragrant leaves, when steam distilled, yield a healing essential oil – reminding us that the fruit of trees “shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine.” (Ezekial 47:12)

The essential oil of myrtle is a decongestant, and an aid to the respiratory system, sinus infections, colds, flu, coughs, bronchitis, and asthma.  Dr. Penoel, M.D. of France, shares that myrtle normalizes hormonal imbalances of the thyroid, hyperthyroid, and ovaries.  To benefit from this biblical plant, one can apply the essential oil of myrtle topically, diffuse, or use in a humidifier.  It is gentle and useful for children’s chest complaints and coughs. Note: One way to start when applying topically is to dilute 50/50 in a vegetable oil, such as V6, and rub on the chest and upper back.

Six times, myrtle is directly mentioned in the Bible.  It is first mentioned after the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians in the 6th century BC, during the time of captivity of the Children of Israel.

  • During the Feast of the Tabernacles, a custom was to dwell in booths made out of boughs of trees.  Nehemiah 8:15 cites myrtle as one of the trees used for this practice. “And that they should publish and proclaim in all their cities, and in Jerusalem, saying, Go forth unto the mount, and fetch olive branches, and pine branches, and myrtle branches, and palm branches, and branches of thick trees, to make booths, as it is written.” The Feast of the Tabernacles celebrates the sojourning of the children of Israel in the wilderness and the gathering in of the fruits of the year.
  • The Prophet Zechariah, who preached repentance from the 2nd to 4th year of Darius (520-518 BC), saw a vision of an angel of God standing among the myrtle trees. Three times, myrtle trees were mentioned as the location where the angel stood.  Perhaps this man of God was enjoying the beauty and fragrance of the myrtle as he prayed and prepared for his work. (Zechariah 1: 7-11)
  • The Prophet Isaiah, in his description of the recovery of Israel, spoke positively of myrtle stating: “Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree” (Isaiah 55:13).
  • Again from Isaiah 41:19, we read: “I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the shittah tree, and the myrtle, and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the fir tree, and the pine, and the box tree together.”

Also fascinating are traditional uses of myrtle not referenced in the Bible:

  • Anciently, myrtle was used to make perfume and ink.
  • Myrtle branches have traditionally been used for strewing on the graves of loved ones in Syria and Lebanon. (Musselman, 2007)

Key Constituents of myrtle include Alpha-Pinene [45-60%)]; 1,8 Cineol (Eucalyptol) [17-27%]; Limonene [5-11%]; Linalol [2-5%]

Both Alpha-Pinene and Limonene are popular monoterpenes, found in many essential oils!  Monoterpenes can be described as balancing and healing. An oxide, 1,8 Cineol is decongesting and also known for increasing blood flow in the brain, which can relieve head pain. Linalol is an alcohol, a category which is generally energizing, stimulating, toning, cleansing, bactericidal, antiviral, antiseptic, gentle, and mild.

In a nutshell, myrtle is a great oil to have in your “at-home preparedness kit.” It has been used for practical purposes for centuries and you may enjoy it, too!

To experience myrtle, as a proud Distributor, I recommend Young Living Essential Oils!  They are pure and therapeutic-grade. Myrtle essential oil is available in 15 mL bottles (Order Code: 3596) or as part of the Twelve Oils of Ancient Scripture kit (Order Code: 3143). To purchase the essential oil of myrtle, please visit my website and provide my Young Living Member # 517938 when ordering:

OR (click on link to Purchase Essential Oils)

If you prefer phone calls, I’d be happy to help you place your order or you may call Young Living customer service directly at 1-800-571-3513.  When Customer service asks who your enroller/sponsor is, again please provide my YL#517938.

When you receive your selection, let me know how myrtle resonates with you!  We can again review its properties, its value, and application methods. It’s an absolutely awesome oil and I’m excited for you to try it!

Donna Evans, YL #517938
Herbal Educator / Young Living Distributor
Phone: 571-313-1650

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Herbs of the John Dickinson Plantation

Continental Congressman and lawyer John Dickenson (1732 – 1808) was born in Maryland, raised in Delaware, and served in Congresses representing both Delaware and Pennsylvania.  He was one of the wealthiest men of Colonial America.  In Delaware alone, he owned six farms along the St. Jones River.

Dickinson PlantationHistoric Herbs: One of these now historic farms is located in Dover, Delaware, and is called Poplar Hall.  Of interest to historical herbalists visiting the site are the herbs displayed in the basement kitchen (original to the house) which include wormwood, tansy, marjoram, horehound, rosemary, peppermint, yellow bedstraw, feverfew, lemon balm, thyme, and lemon thyme.

More herbs dried and hanging in the storage room include lemon balm, lavender, spearmint, tarragon, basil, rue, anise, fennel, and rosemary, as well as feverfew, peppermint, tansy, rosemary, wormwood, and marjoram.

Wormwood tea was used for worms and tapeworms. Wormwood is an excellent strewing herb; it was put on the floor of dwellings to release a scent that bugs do not like.  Wormwood, rue, and tansy were rubbed on tables to keep flies away. Tansy was used for worms.

According to Barbara Carroll, an historic guide who works at the Dickinson mansion house, spearmint contains no menthol and so was used to make mint jams and jellies and is good for upset stomachs.  Peppermint, which contains menthol, was used for upset stomachs and to repel rodents, who don’t like menthol.  Barbara described a type of orange water liquid that was prepared in a colonial crock pot, called a pipkin. The orange water was made with one-fourth cup of orange peel and one cup of water.  The liquid was left to sit overnight and would take on an orange flavor that was used to flavor cakes, pies, and cookies.

On the day of this author’s tour through Poplar Hall (August 15, 2012), a lady’s group was being treated to an herbal potpourri making activity, featuring rose petals, lavender, orange, cinnamon sticks (to be grated), peppermint, and spearmint.  Our guide explained that colonists wore herbs as well as strewed the floors with herbs to keep themselves and their houses smelling nice.

Poplar Hall is a wonderful historic site to visit to appreciate “the good things of life”  (specifically herbs, spices, aromas, plants, trees, and all of nature) and the old-fashioned ways that are becoming ever so popular once again today.

While reading this article, did you feel a desire to make orange water to create your own sweeteners for cakes or cookies? Would you like to try colonial cooking?  Dutch ovens and spider frying pans are some of the tools used and can be seen at by clicking on the hearth cooking link.  Books on hearthside cooking might be of interest to you, too!

ESSENTIAL OILS: And, quality essential oils for potpourris, cooking, healing applications and aromatic enjoyment may be purchased at my website:  Feel free to e-mail me for assistance at

More About John Dickinson:  Although remembered as a delegate who did not sign the Declaration of Independence in 1776, he was a clear advocate for American rights and was known as the Penman of the American Revolution for writing Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania to the Inhabitants of the British Colonies (1767-1768), in which he objected to Parliament taxing the colonies to raise revenue.  Dickinson served in the military against British troops and later was an ardent supporter of the Constitution. At the time of the signing of the Constitution, Dickinson represented Delaware which became the first state to ratify the Constitution, hence Delaware’s nickname as “The First State.”

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Chicken Tarragon Salad Recipe

A very lovely herb growing in my garden in Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus).  Yummy.  It gives an anise flavor to salads, sweetens up fresh vegetable juice, and generally helps to create lovely tastes.  This week I made a tarragon-chicken salad and it turned out so tasty I thought I would share it with you:

Combine 1/2 cup greek yogurt (plain) with1 tablespoon cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon fresh minced tarragon, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.  Mix until smooth.

Mix two cups cubed cooked chicken (chilled) with 3/4 cup celery and about the same amount of seeded, halved grapes.  Combine all ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate.

When it is time to serve, place lettuce leaves o a plate and top with the chicken-tarragon salad.  Garnish with slivered almonds.

There is joy in serving a healthful meal!

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Herbs for an American President

Thomas Woodrow Wilson (1856 – 1924)

A lovely pre-Civil War home to tour is the birthplace of Thomas Woodrow Wilson in Staunton, Virginia. You are shown the formal parlor and dining room, as well as the study, bedroom, kitchen, storage room, and family dining room. Hanging from the mantle of the storage room, adjacent to the kitchen, are the dried herbs of borage, thyme, salad burnet, tansy, lemon balm, basil, hyssop, sage, lavender, peppermint, curly mint, marjoram, horehound, lemon mint, and tarragon.

Were all of herbs presently hanging from the mantle grown in the garden of Mrs. Wilson? Although there is record of a garden existing behind the house, which could be seen from the balcony above, we do not know exactly which items were cultivated. We do know, however, that during pre-Civil War America, as recorded in a book titled “The Family Nurse” (also called “Companion of The American Frugal Housewife”) published originally in 1837, that many of these herbs were well-known and commonly used. Here are a few examples:

Sage (Salvia officinalis) tea relieved headaches and was known to relieve symptoms of measles. Mixed with honey and vinegar, it was a good gargle for sore throats.

Chamomile (Anthemis nobilis) blossom tea was recommended for poor digestion.

Mint (Mentha piperita) was used for flatulence, nausea, and spasmodic pain. The bruised fresh herb of mint was applied to the stomach to ease sickness and was used for cholera treatment for children.

Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) was drunk to cool fevers. It enhanced perspiration when taken warm along with medications for this purpose.

White Horehound (Marrubium vulgare) was made into a tea and sweetened with honey or molasses. It was highly recommended for coughs and lung complaints.

Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis) The bruised leaves were said to ease the pain of bruises and to heal them without scar. It was considered good for asthma, coughs, and especially healing for the elderly. A tea of elecampane, hyssop, and horehound steeped together and taken with warm flax-seed tea at bedtime was highly praised as a cure for colds.

Well, this lovely home and birthplace of President Woodrow Wilson was called a Manse, a house provided for a pastor by a congregation. Father, Joseph R. Wilson, was a Presbyterian minister who served in Staunton, VA. Mother, Janet “Jesse” Woodrow, was a gentle wife and mother. The family lived here a short time prior to moving to Augusta, Georgia when Thomas was about a year and a half old in 1858. It is interesting to note that this move positioned the family even more firmly in the South and Joseph R. Wilson served as a chaplain in the Confederate Army during the Civil War. Woodrow Wilson had childhood memories of Jefferson Davis, the Confederate President, being removed in chains by Union soldiers. He also vividly remembered the ravages of war. As President, on the brink of World War I, he remarked that he could lead the country into war, but it would be the son of the poor farmer or the son of a poor widow who would do the fighting and it would be those who would suffered greatest.

To remember a few key facts about President Woodrow Wilson quite easily, read this:  Thomas Woodrow Wilson was born December 28, 1856.  He became the 28th president of the United States at age 56.  (28+28=56)

To experience the essential oils of early American herbs, visit and click on the link “Purchase Essential Oils.” You will be able to find the essential oils of sage, hyssop, chamomile, mint, and lemon balm. Please be sure to use my YL# 517938 when placing orders – identifying me as your sponsor/enroller. Call or email me to learn more about what these herbs – in the form of essential oils – can do for you today! (Donna Evans, 571-313-1650)



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Meditation with the Oil of Frankincense

YL Resin Burner

In the Book of Genesis, there is a priceless story of Isaac going out into the field in the evening to meditate.  It was a special time of his life as he was waiting to receive the wife that his father Abraham had arranged for him, and Abraham’s servant had travelled to a distant land to bring her (Rebekah) back.  Surely, he had much to anticipate and consider.

Granted, he didn’t have video games, movies, or the internet to distract him, but he had a busy life, too, with chores to complete and family and servants to talk to.  Yet in the evenings, he took time – as recorded in scripture – to reflect and contemplate.

“And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide…” (Genesis 24:63)

Although we do not have record of Isaac utilizing frankincense during his meditations, it is most probable that he would be aware of its existence as it was a valuable treasure which originates in the Middle East. In fact, frankincense trees grow in southern Arabia and in East Africa, where they produce a resin used as incense.  Frankincense has travelled the major trade routes for centuries and has been used in religious and governmental ceremonies.  It is known for promoting meditation, increasing spiritual awareness, and improving attitudes.  In general, it is uplifting!

Boswellia carteri

So, the next time that you choose to meditate (daily, right?), consider using the Middle Eastern scent of frankincense to enhance your experience.  It is easy to utilize in its resin form, with a resin burner, or distilled as an essential oil which you can apply on your location of choice (head, neck, chakra points, etc.).

You may obtain the resin, resin burner, and the essential oil of frankincense through Young Living Essential Oils.  Young Living offers two types of essential oil of frankincense: Boswellia carteri from Somalia and Boswellia sacra from Oman.  Why not explore and try them both?  You may call me with any questions you may have! (571-313-1650)

When ordering, please use my YL#517938 so that I may be your enroller/sponsor.  You may visit and select the link Purchase Essential Oils or go directly to to begin the process. Select the Independent Distributor option in order to obtain a Young Living membership and purchase desired items at wholesale prices.

Boswellia sacra

May your daily meditations be meaningful and inspiring!

Herbally yours,

Donna Evans, MH
Young Living Distributor, YL#517938

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Bee Balm Tea (Monarda Didyma)

Making Bee Balm Tea may bring history alive as you consider the Colonists who replaced imported tea with this American one.

To make American Bee Balm tea, take a fresh edible flower of Monarda didyma (you may use leaves too) equal to 1-2 tablespoon of material.  Bring water to a boil. Pour one cup of boiling water over the bee balm.  Let steep 10 minutes. Add raw honey or blue agave to sweeten, as desired.  This recipe may be adjusted to bring out the delicate lemony/honeysuckle flavor that suits you.  Very nice! 

A tip I read about in the book Herbal Antibiotics, written by Stephen Buhner, is to look for wildflower honey rather than honey made from clover or alfalfa which are often sprayed, so the wildflower honey may be better for your health.

Blue Agave, a natural sweetener which comes from the plant Agave tequilana, may also be used to sweeten tea.  It’s low glycemic index makes it a popular replacement for table sugar. You may order Blue agave from the Young Living Essential Oils company.  Please use my YL# 517938 when placing your order.

Below is a photo for your enjoyment of the Monarda didyma plant.  You may consider it an investment in edible landscaping as it is a joy to be able to eat and drink from the plants surrounding your home.  There is a sense of self-reliance, the true spirit of American independence which helped to popularize this gentle tea with the early American colonists.  Of course, the native Americans were familiar with and using this plant prior to the arrival of the colonists, so we have much to learn from many sources! 

Bee Balm (Scarlet Bergamot)

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