Thursday, February 17, 2011

More Herb Information

According to Deni Bown, author of The Herb Society of America Encyclopedia of Herbs & Their Uses an herb (either the French pronunciation of 'erb or the English pronunciation of herb with the hard H is correct) is:

The term herb also has more than one definition. Botanists describe an herb as a small, seed-bearing plant with fleshly, rather than woody, parts (from which we get the term herbaceous). In this book, it refers to a far wider range of plants. In addition to herbaceous perennials, herbs include trees, shrubs, annuals, vines, and more primitive plants, such as ferns, mosses, algae, lichens, and fungi. They are valued for their flavor, fragrance, medicinal and healthful qualities, economic and industrial uses, pesticidal properties, and coloring materials (dyes).

OK, now for some really good information about herbs, be sure to check out Herbs for the Upper Gulf Coast of Texas a Galveston County Master Gardener publication. Even though the publication is directed for the upper coast, it certainly works for us here on the coastal bend.

Also, if you are a fan of Southern Herb Growing: Growing Herbs in the South by Madeline Hill & Gwen Barclay, you will enjoy the above publication.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

GOURDS PROGRAM: Herb Study Group & Barbra's Cauliflower Salad Recipe

Hey Herbies!

For those of you that missed yesterday's Herb Study Group on gourds . . . well you missed a really great program presented by Pat Baugh!

A gourd is a plant in the Cucurbitaceae family which also includes squash, pumpkin, cucumber, and many types of melons. I knew that gourds were used for utilitarian uses, but I didn’t know that some of them can be harvested very young and added to stir fries, used in mainly Asian and Indian cooking. Here is a website with lots of good gourd information along with some recipes:

Also bitter gourds have been used as medicinal herbs for ailments including dysentery, colic, fevers, burns, headaches, boils, painful menstruation, scabies and other skin problems.

The Buffalo Gourd C. foetidissima is native to the southwest United States, and it is often recognized by its stinky odor. Despite its odor, various Native American and Mexican tribes have used buffalo gourd for at least nine thousand years. It has been used traditionally in various ways as a food, cosmetic, detergent, insecticide and ritualistic rattle, to name a few. As research discovers the important resources of buffalo gourd’s past, it can be expected this plant will become a valuable asset to the future.
(From website:

For more information on gourds, go online and put in a search for gourds. There is lots of information out there on the Internet! I really like this website about gourds:

Also you missed a really great salad prepared and brought to us by our member Barbra Fox. For those of you that haven't met Barbra, she and her hubby have a weekend place in Copano Village with their permanent residence being San Antonio. Well the salad was wonderful and here is the recipe.

Barbra's Cauliflower Salad

6 heaping tablespoons of Hellman's Mayonnaise
2 heaping tablespoons of powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons of horseradish

1 head of cauliflower
1 red bell pepper
1 bunch of bulb onions
3 ribs of celery
1 can of black olives, thinly sliced
20 green olives, thinly sliced
*3 Roma tomatoes, chopped

Mix together all ingredients except for tomatoes and put into a large plastic bag and refrigerate at least overnight. Right before serving, *add 3 Roma tomatoes.

After the meeting we were discussing additions and/or variations for the salad. Here are just a few that we came up with:

• finely chopped red onion
• broccoli
• shredded cabbage
• any color bell pepper
• hot peppers (capsicums) for more heat
• shredded or thinly sliced cucumbers
• shredded or thinly sliced carrots
• sliced green onions
• roasted peanuts
• bean sprouts
• fresh herbs, any that you like

And we were discussing that you can use just the sauce for coleslaw. And I was thinking that you could make it as an oriental salad by substituting the horseradish for wasabi (possibly using less depending on your heat level) with a little soy sauce and pouring it over some oriental vegetables such as parboiled sugar snap peas, parboiled snow peas, shredded or thinly sliced cucumbers, shredded or thinly sliced carrots, sliced green onions, roasted peanuts, bean sprouts, etc.

Thank you so much Barbra!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Avocado Beauty Tips

The following is from Jeanne Rose's Aromatherapy Newsletter. Since lots of us like avocados, I thought you'd find this most interesting:

How To Use An Avocado For Beauty Care

The avocado you use should be fully ripe. If you buy several unripe ones for future use, let them mellow in your fruit bowl (they will ripen more quickly with apples) or put them in a paper bag, or wrap them in foil to hasten the process.

You may store your ripe avocados in the refrigerator, but never put this delicate fruit in the freezer. It might just die of shock. How do you know when the avocado is ripe? Hold it in the palm of your hand and gently press it with your fingers. A ripe fruit will yield to your touch. It will open easily, peel evenly and reveal its glorious green gold interior.

When the beauty formula calls for MASHED, PUREED pulp, the procedure is quite simple. Peel your avocado (or one-half) and remove the pit. Then PUREE or MASH, by using a fork, blender, potato ricer, food processor or the sieve.

The avocado like any other organic matter is perishable. The formulas are designed for ONE TIME USE, and should be freshly made for each treatment. Some formulas may be refrigerated up to 48 hours.

To prevent the avocado or whenever it is with other ingredients from darkening, place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the avocado mixture so as not to expose the mixture to air. The usual method of adding lemon or limejuice for this purpose may be too harsh for skin that is dry or sensitive.

Avocado Facial Cleanser

Beat the yolk of an egg until it is light and frothy, add a half-cup of milk and the mashed half of a ripe peeled avocado. A blender is handy here, but if you do not have one, beat the mixture with a fork until you have a thin cream or lotion-like consistency. Apply on squares of cotton as you would any other cleanser. You may also use this deep cleanser after ordinary soap and water, if your skin is normal. It is quite effective against pollution and grime. Therefore, it is a very pure method of keeping your complexion free of the pollutants that can interfere with normal skin function.

Since the formula is perishable, we suggest making it every other day and storing it in the refrigerator between uses.

California Avocado Moisturizer

The inside of the avocado peel is actually valuable. The peel and the oil hidden in the peel are a wonderful facial moisturizer as well as gentle exfoliant. The peel oil contains a humectant, a substance that holds moisture. Using gentle upward strokes, lightly massage your face with the inside of the peel. Let the oil residue remain on your skin for about 15 minutes. At that time you may either leave the oil on your skin and go to sleep or, if you intend to put on make-up, wash your face gently with three or four rinses of tepid water and pat dry. The oil will be invisible but it is there, ready to hold your foundation or powder in place for hours.

Aztec Mystery Eye Treatment

Nobody really knows WHY this is so effective on under-eye puffiness, but it IS! The procedure is very simple: peel an avocado, remove the pit, and slice a half into quarter-inch crescents. Lie down, secure a few slices under each eye, and rest for about 20 minutes. The result is corrective magic!

Santa Barbara's Dry Skin Masque

Beat the yolk of an egg until it is light and frothy, and then add the mashed pulp of a half avocado, blending it well 4 (you may use a blender at this point). Cleanse your face thoroughly before using this masque (or any masque).

Spread the avocado mixture over the face and neck evenly; relax on a slant board or bed for about 20 minutes.

Remove with clear tepid water and a face cloth, followed by a rinse of cold water or a mild skin lotion. The result should be a marked improvement in skin texture, and all-around revitalizing.

Santa Monica's Oily Skin Masque

Put the white of an egg, a teaspoon of lemon juice, and the mashed pulp of a half avocado into a blender. In seconds, you should have a lovely green mixture. Wash your face and neck thoroughly, then apply masque evenly on those areas. Relax for 20 minutes; remove with tepid water and a face cloth. Follow with cold astringent or skin tonic.

Home Brew for Hands

Cold weather's rapid arrival is bad news for hand texture.

"Make your hand beautifier by mixing a quarter of an Avocado in a small bowl with one egg white, two teaspoons of flaked uncooked oatmeal and a teaspoon of lemon juice. Blend and apply evenly to your hands. Wrap hands in saran wrap and leave on for 20 minutes. Rinse off with warm water."

The result should be luxurious and effective. This treatment is an exfoliating scrub that will leave dry, rough skin noticeably softer and smoother.

--(This tip taken from Reprinted with permission

Avocado Elbow, Heel, and Knee Abrasive

If you have hard horny tissue on any of these places, take a piece of Avocado peel and scrape away the meat. The inner part of the peel contains a potent cosmetic oil, which acts as a humectant. The peel will feel slightly abrasive; rub this on your elbows, knees or heels, wherever there is any horny tissue that needs exfoliation. First, it will feel oily and leave your skin green, and then as you rub it, it will feel more abrasive. The dead skin seems to dissolve and your elbows will feel satiny smooth. Rub any excess oil into the skin as a moisturizer.

From The Herbal Body Book, with permission

Garden Protector

Mash your fingers into a fresh Avocado before gardening. The flesh will get under your fingernails instead of the dirt.

Avocado Scalp Pack for Dry, Sunburned, and Over bleached Hair

1.Beat an egg to froth in a blender and add 1/2 Avocado until well blended.

2. Apply the green goo, section by section, to your hair, applying from the scalp outward until you reach the end of each strand of hair.

3. Massage completely into the scalp and put on a plastic shower cap, so that the heat from the head will facilitate the absorption of the protein and oils.

4. After 20 minutes, start rinsing off the mixture beginning with cool water, then tepid, and then warm. Never rinse an egg mixture with hot water as it will ‘cook’ and may become like scrambled eggs.

5. Rub your hair dry with a towel or with your hands or with a piece of silk for a glossy finish. Then brush.

From The Herbal Body Book, with permission

Avocado Hand and Foot Scrub to Carry Away Calloused Tissue

In your hands, mash 1 T. Avocado with 1 or 2 T. Cornmeal. Rub your hands together, squish your fingers about, interlock them and massage each joint —one at a time— with a bit of the meal. Very cleansing and softening.

Avocado Pit Massage

Wash any flesh away from the Avocado pit and use the pit to massage face, throat, chest, or legs. Massage in circular motions everywhere to help break down fat and to firm up flesh. It is also nice to do this massage with anAvocado pit in each hand while you are taking an herbal bath. Start at the toes and work up your legs inside and out, in big revolving circles, around the stomach, abdomen, breasts, and on up to the chest, throat, and face. Finish with a stimulating spray from your shower.

From The Herbal Body Book, with permission