Sunday, September 24, 2017


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Things have been very busy here at Herb Essentia.  Busy making new products, learning about herbalism, and spreading the joy at farmers markets around South Florida.  In case you haven't visited HE at one of the local markets, please stop by to taste the herbal tea of the week, and check out the HE product line which includes herbal teas for a wide variety of health needs, tinctures, salves, and lip balms!  We have recently set up shop at the Yellow Green Farmers Market in Booth #23, which runs year-round on Saturday and Sunday from 8am-4pm (click here for directions).  We will continue at other markets on a rotating basis...please see the Facebook page for weekly schedule updates.

New Products, and Stuff in the Works
We have just recently unveiled a growing line of herbal tinctures, which includes: Sleep Well, Immunity, Wise Up, and Stress Less.  More are on the way – it just takes time to make these babies, which are our signature herbal blends concentrated in vegetable glycerin and alcohol over the period of 4 weeks, then strained and bottled for YOUR convenience! :)

Also, by popular demand, I am finally releasing some smaller bags of tea, which will make about 10-12 cups.  These are a good way to try out Herb Essentia teas.  I am likely only going to offer this option for the teas that have more immediate effects.  For example, the Sleep Well Tea will make you relaxed and sleepy pretty fast after drinking, whereas the Detox Cleanser Tea needs consistent use (3 cups/day, and drink the whole package).  These are not available online, so stop by the markets to try!

I have also released In the Mood Tea during Valentine's Day!  It's created for both men and women to support a healthy sex drive.  Makes a cute gift for your lover!  Lemon Lavender Green Tea is a fairly new one, as is the Chai Tea, which I use to make Chai Tea Latte.  Have made a Chamomile Rose lip balm, which is light tasting, and packed with Shea Butter and Vitamin E.  Also working to revamp a couple of teas for an even better herbal experience!

Indeed, it is true that all of the Herb Essentia line has shifted to loose-leaf teas, from the tea bag versions.  I just couldn't continue to make those little baggies by hand any more, as the demand for teas has become too great!  But never fear, I am also selling the little tea strainers at my booth, and am happy to offer directions on how to brew a cup (I promise, it's really simple, and fun!).

Another in demand product is a muscle/joint salve which is nearing the final phases of testing, and will be released (hopefully) soon.  For the summer, I plan to offer an all-natural bug spray, and an after-sun cooling spray.  Have a long list of other products I hope to develop, perhaps over the summer while all of South Florida hibernates from the hot sun and humidity...

As a side note, I've been playing around with some really cool silver wire rings with cool gemstones.  Once these are up to par, I plan on making these available too!

A few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to attend the second annual Florida Herbal Conference, which was an incredible experience for me.  Herbalism is quite popular on the West Coast (of the US), even in the North East, but perhaps because the South Florida climate is somewhat different from the rest of the US (and many common health herbs do not grow naturally here), herbalism tends to be a quiet subject down here.  Therefore, I've felt rather lonely and isolated from other herbalists, only studying on my own and via correspondence.

After attending the conference, I am now more connected with other herbalists around Florida.  I also enjoyed the experience of being taught by other herbalists live, which really adds a new dimension to my learnings beyond all the reading I've been doing.  And I am very excited, because a fellow South Florida herbalist Julia Onnie-Hay of Bless Botanicals is organizing the first South Florida Herbalists Council Gathering on March 23!  Looking forward to keeping the connections!

I've been scheduled to do a little workshop at the North Miami farmers market (in front of MOCA on 125th St) on Thursday, March 21 at 1:00pm.  I am going to discuss 5 Essential Herbs and Their Many Uses.  It's meant to be a simple intro to herbs informing people of the many capabilities of some common herbs.

In the little extra time I can find, I have been working on a Master Herbalist program through the Live Oak School of Natural Healing.  So far, it is a really great learning experience, and really helps that it is live with a great teacher — Dawn Gates, to interact with!  It will be a good 2-3 years before I complete this program though, as I am a very busy woman!


So that's my busy news for the past couple of months at Herb Essentia!  It has been a fantastic journey thus far, and I can't imagine what more this road has in store for me.  Every day is a ride.  I look forward to seeing you at the farmers markets, and continuing to receive your wonderful feedback on HE products.

Herb Essentia on the bay in North Bay Village

Tis' the season of farmer's markets in South Florida, now that the oven has cooled to a crisper, drier air, although the sun still beats with Floridian intensity.  Over the past month, Herb Essentia has begun selling its hand-crafted herbal teas, all-natural salves and lip balms in local farmer's markets.  

The markets have been going very well, and I am so pleased to be able to share with the public my herbal blends which I personally believe in so strongly.  Talking to the public has also helped me listen to people's needs, learn what ails, and develop blends based on popular request.  

So far, my discussions have lead to the development of Weigh Less Tea, an herbal tea for the support of weight loss and healthy blood sugar; and Good Heart Tea, which supports healthy blood pressure and cholesterol.  Plans are in the works to add a tea for Joint Health, and Adrenal Fatigue, in addition to a number of others.

I've also developed two beverage blends for those of you who come to me with no troubles at all, and just want to sip a yummy cup of tea: Winter Spice Tea (a seasonal blend) and Just Flowers Tea, which is also quite calming.  More of those beverage blends to come...

Herb Essentia has also added a great Cuticle Balm packed with Shea Butter for those dry winter cuticles, and Hand Sanitizer to prevent winter colds.  For burns, try the new Burn Salve for quick relief.  

As the beautiful South Florida winter continues, you can find Herb Essentia at the following farmer's markets (for exact schedule each week, be sure to LIKE Herb Essentia on Facebook or Follow on Twitter):

  • Thursdays, 11-5 in North Miami in front of MOCA on 125th St
  • Fridays, 2-7 in North Bay Village in the lot of The Crab House on 79th St. Causeway
  • Saturdays 9-1:30 in Miami Springs at All Angel's Church
  • Sundays, TBD

George CarlinI had to post this great quote from George, because I've stumbled upon a few who have tasted Herb Essentia's teas stating "they don't taste good", and suggesting I add flavorings to them.  Although everyone is entitled to their own opinion, I have to intervene by pointing out that HE's teas are made with 100% natural (and high-quality) herbs and teas, and the fruity flavors that you find in popular teas brands are not necessarily natural.  These alcohol-based flavors are added in highly concentrated amounts, and many are likely artificial.

The dried fruits you may see in some of these blends are mostly for show and do not add much, if any flavor to the teas.  Further, these fruits are often preserved with sulphites – and who wants to drink additives?

The purpose of Herb Essentia's teas are to offer their healing properties to you.  I avoid including highly offensive herbs in these blends, and have personally found each of the blends to have a decent, if not enjoyable taste with a bit or honey or agave added.  The only few complaints I've had so far are on the blends that contain Valerian Root, which on its own has an awful smell, but blended with other herbs and a bit of sweetener added, really isn't so bad.  

Why keep the Valerian Root then?  Because it's such a powerful herb for sleep and relaxation (it is the basis for Valium), there is really no other herb out there that does the job better (unless you are one of the 5% of the population that has an opposite reaction to Valerian...this is why herbs are trial and error, you must discover what works best for you).

And without further ado, here is George on fruit-flavored teas:

"I would like to talk to you about fruit-flavored teas. These would be teas that are flavored like fruit. Fruit-flavored teas. You need to understand that. These are not fruits. They’re teas. But they taste like fruit. All right? They have names like strawberry kiwi, lemon berry, orange mango, wild cherry, blackberry and cranberry. They taste like fruit. And they sound like fruits, too, don’t they? They’re not. They’re teas. Fruit-flavored teas. And frankly, I don’t understand this." 

"Personally, I’ve always been of a mind that if you’re looking for fruit flavor, if you’re genuinely interested in something that tastes like fruit, and you find yourself in the tea section, you’re probably in the wrong aisle. My advice is, if it’s fruit flavor you’re after, play if safe, go ahead and get some fruit. I have found in my experience that fruit almost always turns out to be reliable source of fruit flavor." 

"Another good place you may wish to look for fruit flavor would be in fruit juice. Fruit juice is made by squeezing the juice out of the fruit. Apparently, the juice that runs out of the fruit has fruit flavor. Perhaps that’s why they call if fruit juice. It doesn’t taste like tea. For tea taste, you would need to get some tea." 

"So let’s sum this up: If it’s fruit flavor you want, you can’t go wrong with fruit. Or, as I’ve pointed out, fruit juice. Don’t be ordering tea. Tea has tea flavor. It’s not like fruit. It’s more like tea. If you want tea, I say order tea. That’s a different experience. It’s known as “having tea.”

"Have you noticed, by the way, there are no tea-flavored fruits? Take a clue from nature."

By Lynn Grieger

There are lots of reasons why I enjoy a hot cup of tea: I love the aroma of various flavors of tea; holding onto a hot tea mug warms my hands on a cold winter morning; sipping tea in front of the fireplace is a great way to relax. And those are just the feel-good reasons. If you're not drinking tea yet, read up on these 10 ways tea does your body good and then see if you're ready to change your Starbucks order!

1. Tea contains antioxidants. Like the Rust-Oleum paint that keeps your outdoor furniture from rusting, tea's antioxidants protect your body from the ravages of aging and the effects of pollution.

2. Tea has less caffeine than coffee. Coffee usually has two to three times the caffeine of tea (unless you're a fan of Morning Thunder, which combines caffeine with mate, an herb that acts like caffeine in our body). An eight-ounce cup of coffee contains around 135 mg caffeine; tea contains only 30 to 40 mg per cup. If drinking coffee gives you the jitters, causes indigestion or headaches or interferes with sleep -- switch to tea.

3. Tea may reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke. Unwanted blood clots formed from cholesterol and blood platelets cause heart attack and stroke. Drinking tea may help keep your arteries smooth and clog-free, the same way a drain keeps your bathroom pipes clear. A 5.6-year study from the Netherlands found a 70 percent lower risk of fatal heart attack in people who drank at least two to three cups of black tea daily compared to non-tea drinkers.

4. Tea protects your bones. It's not just the milk added to tea that builds strong bones. One study that compared tea drinkers with non-drinkers, found that people who drank tea for 10 or more years had the strongest bones, even after adjusting for age, body weight, exercise, smoking and other risk factors. The authors suggest that this may be the work of tea's many beneficial phytochemicals.

5. Tea gives you a sweet smile. One look at the grimy grin of Austin Powers and you may not think drinking tea is good for your teeth, but think again. It's the sugar added to it that's likely to blame for England's bad dental record. Tea itself actually contains fluoride and tannins that may keep plaque at bay. So add unsweetened tea drinking to your daily dental routine of brushing and flossing for healthier teeth and gums.

6. Tea bolsters your immune defenses. Drinking tea may help your body's immune system fight off infection. When 21 volunteers drank either five cups of tea or coffee each day for four weeks, researchers saw higher immune system activity in the blood of the tea drinkers.

7. Tea protects against cancer. Thank the polyphenols, the antioxidants found in tea, once again for their cancer-fighting effects. While the overall research is inconclusive, there are enough studies that show the potential protective effects of drinking tea to make adding tea to your list of daily beverages.

8. Tea helps keep you hydrated. Caffeinated beverages, including tea, used to be on the list of beverages that didn't contribute to our daily fluid needs. Since caffeine is a diuretic and makes us pee more, the thought was that caffeinated beverages couldn't contribute to our overall fluid requirement. However, recent research has shown that the caffeine really doesn't matter -- tea and other caffeinated beverages definitely contribute to our fluid needs. The only time the caffeine becomes a problem as far as fluid is concerned is when you drink more than five or six cups of a caffeinated beverage at one time.

9. Tea is calorie-free. Tea doesn't have any calories, unless you add sweetener or milk. Consuming even 250 fewer calories per day can result in losing one pound per week. If you're looking for a satisfying, calorie-free beverage, tea is a top choice.

10. Tea increases your metabolism. Lots of people complain about a slow  metabolic rate and their inability to lose weight. Green tea has been shown to actually increase metabolic rate so that you can burn 70 to 80 additional calories by drinking just five cups of green tea per day. Over a year's time you could lose eight pounds just by drinking green tea. Of course, taking a 15-minute walk every day will also burn calories.

By Jennifer Grafiada

Spices are one of nature’s and God’s great gifts to mankind. Otherwise known as herbs, these medicinal plants offer amazing healing benefits. Whether fresh or dried, they help fight cancer, Alzheimer’s and aging and boost your heart, immune system, metabolism, and brain power. Basically, they keep you looking and feeling young, healthy and sharp. You can get their benefits topically in the form of essential oils, or you can use them to add that special something to your dinner. Listing all the different types of herbs and their uses and benefits would fill a book, and indeed there are many on the subject. Here are a few of the spices I use most frequently, along with a few of the great things they do (click on the source to read more in-depth).

Rosemary — Anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, anti-fungal and anti-septic; rich source of minerals like potassium, calcium, iron, manganese, copper, and magnesium. (Source:

Oregano — Anti-parasitical and anti-fungal, effective Candida treatment (it also only kills the harmful fungi, without affecting the natural intestinal flora);  treatments of gastrointestinal problems, headaches, respiratory illnesses and certain menstrual irregularities; rich in antioxidants. (Source:

Basil — Exceptionally high levels of beta-carotene, vitamin A, cryptoxanthin, lutein andzea-xanthin. These compounds help act as protective scavengers against oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a role in aging and various disease process; Zeaxanthin, a yellow flavonoid carotenoid compound, is selectively absorbed into the retinal macula lutea where it found to filter harmful UV rays from reaching retina and help to protect from age related macular disease (AMRD), especially in the elderly; Vitamin A is known to have antioxidant properties and is essential for vision. It is also required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin and to help body protect from lung and oral cavity cancers; Vitamin K in basil is essential for many coagulant factors in the blood and plays vital role in the bone strengthening function by helping mineralization process in the bones. (Source:

Parsley — Anti-cancer properties; antioxidant; boosts immune system; anti-inflammatory; vitamins C, A and K; promotes healthy heart. (Source:

Cinnamon — Treats colds, indigestion, headaces and cramps and also believed to improve energy, vitality and circulation; lowers bad cholesterol and stabilizes blood sugar; anti-fungal; fights leukemia; relieves arthritis; anti-clotting properties; boosts memory and cognitive function. (Source:

I like to sprinkle rosemary on chopped yukon gold potatoes. I add olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder and paprika and bake in the oven until crispy. Great with ketchup and a healthy alternative to french fries. Oregano is good in meat sauce and on pizza, while basil is a must-have on pasta and caprese salad. My grandma always said, you can never have too much basil. Ah, basil, how I love you. Fresh or dried, I pile it on. It is so fragrant and enticing. Parsley is good on fish with some fresh-squeezed lemon juice. I also put it on my organic macaroni and cheese! Cinnamon is good in apple sauce and I ALWAYS put it in my coffee (along with raw sugar, almond milk and raw cocoa powder).

But there are so many more delectable options, each full of their unique tasty zing (especially if locally grown — try to cultivate your own!) and medicinal magic. Click here to read about more spices and their benefits (like garlic, sage and curry) and here and here to learn about what foods to pair them with.


Contributed by Jennifer Grafiada
Emerald Sapphire


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