Monday, October 21, 2013

Bliss Balls

     In September I took a class offered by the Connecticut Herb Association (CHA) that Guido Mase was teaching on making medicine.  Guido taught one weekend during my advanced herbal studies and I was eager to glean more nuggets of wisdom he may have to offer.  That day he made bliss balls, fire cider and an herbal decongestant tincture.  The recipes can be found on his blog A Radicle Guido Mase.
     This morning I made my version of his bliss balls or balls of bliss as they were aptly named that day.  When we made them in class we used 2 Tbsp of maple syrup.  This was not sweet enough for my family - plenty for me.  Though I think the molasses was an unexpected taste for my brood.  I love them.  And this is an awesome way for people to take herbs that may be put off by a tea or tincture.  It's like eating candy or truffles. The herbs used are great for boosting the immune system.  I use both of them in a whole form (as opposed to powdered) in my winter soups, stews or anything that is simmered for any length of time.

     Here is my recipe:

Bliss Balls:
16 oz jar natural peanut butter (just peanuts and salt)
1 cup molasses
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 cups raw cacao powder
4 Tbsp. reishi powder
4 Tbsp astragalus root powder
unsweetened coconut flakes to roll them in

Mix peanut butter, molasses and maple syrup together.  Add the herbs and mix well.  Add the cacao powder and mix well.  I used a small scoop (1 1/4" across) and then rolled into balls and then rolled in the coconut.  This made 64 balls of bliss.  Three a day would be a serving.

Sunday, October 20, 2013


      Calendula officinalis is a beautiful garden addition.  It is sometimes called pot marigold but this not to be confused with the many marigold annuals sold each year.  The flowers are used fresh or dried and are one of the best herbs for treating local skin problems.  They can be used where there is inflammation on the skin whether it is due to infection or physical damage.  They can be used on wounds, bruises or strains.  they also benefit slow-healing wounds and skin ulcers,  And they can treat minor burns and scalds where treatment may be with a lotion, a poultice or compress. Because of their affinity for the skin I use them in making my lip balm and cleansing grains.  I recently made a batch of salve for a friend.  She has a scar from surgery and wanted something healing to apply.  It is luscious.  It is great on dry chapped skin, as a cuticle treatment or as part of a first aid kit.  This salve is now part of my offerings.
     Internally calendula can aid digestive inflammation or ulcers. They can be used in the relief of gallbladder complaints and many vague digestive complaints called indigestion.  Calendula is anti-fungal and can be used internally and externally to combat such infections. I would brew calendula as a tea for internal use.
      Calendula can be applied externally to improve lymphatic drainage from wounds and is bacteriostatic meaning that it will not kill bacteria but prevent the extension of infection. It works well with people who are "bone weary."
     Calendula is a great addition to soups in the winter as they warm and protect against wind and chill. Petals can be sprinkled on top of salads to add color as well as health benefits. The possibilities are endless.