Summer Tea for Chilling Out and Cooling Down

Stressed out, hot and bothered, summer Blues, overwhelmed by the intensity?


1/4 c fresh wild rose petals & leaves
1/4 c fresh elder blossoms
1 sprig fresh holy basil
Honey to taste
1 quart hot water

Steep the herbs in hot water for 30 min, pour over ice. Go sit in the porch and relax. (You can use dried herbs if fresh is not available!)

My top 10 Must Have Herbs at Home

My top 10 Must Have Herbs at Home

Every herbalist has their favorite plant friends that they keep around the house and office at all times, both because they use them so often and because they offer relief, comfort, joy and versatility.  It is hand to keep tinctures of a few favorites around at all time, because they are so quick and easy to use, especially in a stressful situation, but some herbs I like to keep on hand as dried too, because there are times when a cup of tea is the best kind of medicine.  These are my top 10 herbs that I wouldn’t be without personally, in my home, on a day to day basis.  There are more herbs which I use almost as frequently in the apothecary with clients, but these are my 10 personal favorites.
Rosa spp, is probably one of my top herbs, that I use, almost every day.  Its one of my favorite nervines, which calms me down when I am sad, crying, hurt, scared or lonely.  Simple rose flower and leaf elixir, a cup of rose tea, or a drop of rose attar on my heart or head, all work beautifully to calm down my nervous system in the face of emotional stress and angst.  Rose Elixir has stopped many an emotional meltdown in my home.   But rose also doubles as a cooling remedy for burns, or in the heat of summer, calms and pacifies hot and bothered pitta (fire element) in the body.  Roses help me stay cool, calm and happy almost every day.  I put roses into my morning tea almost every day, mixing it with black smoked lapsang souchoung, or with sage or mint.

Salvia spp, my favorites are garden sage, salvia officinalis, and black sage, S. mellifera, but white sage, clary sage and other wild, bitter sage spp from the southwest make their rounds here too.    I love sage for so many reasons, I cook with it all the time, adding black or garden sage to my soups, meats, vegetable stirfry, sauces, and salad dressings.   My favorite salad dressing is made up of a couple of tablespoons of yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice, a crushed clove of garlic, salt and pepper, and some crumbled black or garden sage.
Sage is also a great calming and strengthening nervine, and I combine it with rose often for emotional stress and freak outs, but also for clearing heavy emotional energy at the end of the day.  It stimulates circulation throughout the body, including the head, and can help with feeling a bit more clear and centered.  It also is one of my favorite go to belly ache remedies- when the stomach feels sour, unsettled, or that food isn’t digesting well, or when stools are loose.  Its a good astringent and also helps relieve burns, sore throats, weepy rashes


Achillea Millefolium is one of the first plants I ever learned and used as a young girl for a nasty sore throat that threatened my late fall family ski vacation.  This versatile herb is an amazing first aid remedy that I keep on hand, both as a tincture and as dried herb for bleeding cuts, cleaning the wound, and then packing with the powdered leaves or applying the tincture as a compress on the bleeding area.   It works reliably to slow or stop the bleeding, even when a wound may need to be stitched.  Yarrow is also a remarkable good remedy for heavy menstrual/menopausal flooding, or cramping from stagnation with scanty flow.  Tincture (15-30 drops) taken every 10-15 min until the flow eases. Yarrow tea, brewed hot, is my go to herb for fevers and flu, and many bacterial infections.  It is a disinfectant, and anodyne (great for sore throats!)  and will help stimulate a healthy fever response and support the body in overcoming illnesses.    Yarrow is also a great healing skin remedy for bites, stings, and itchy rashes.  A compress of the tea is my favorite way to use this, or a tincture in a pinch.


Alnus spp, a tree of riparian areas in the southwest, and all over the country, is the answer for infections on the skin, internally, gut health, bee stings, ant bites, poison ivy rashes, strep throat, teen acne.  It is a complex and versatile herbal medicine, and I usually keep the bark tincture on hand as the most useful form.  Applied topically to the skin it can help address weepy wounds, and weepy poison ivy rashes, it takes the sting right out of insect bites, it helps to fight off bacterial infections in the gut, throat, urinary tract, and improves digestion and absorption of nutrients.  Its not a tasty herb, but I find it really reliable when I need a fluid and damp moving antimicrobial and pain reliever. Its very astringent and drying, and moves lymphatic fluids as well as cleaning the blood as an alterative.


I’m never without my Elderberry, because inevitably, there is always someone around who is coming down with something who needs it. This the family safe immune ally.  Great for kids, elders and everyone in between.  I usually make an elixir of the dried or fresh berries in alcohol and honey, rather than a sugar laden syrup, but elderberries work well as a tea too!    ANYTIME I feel something coming on, I start taking the elderberry elixir, hourly, in rather large doses (2 droppers) , children and elders can take smaller doses, but I think taking it hourly or so (more frequently) is the most effective way to use it.  Elderberry is specifically helpful for viral kinds of things, colds, flus, cold sores, pox, measles, shingles etc.  It absolutely can be useful when dealing with bacterial infections as an immune helper, but I usually go with Alder for bacterial things.  Elderberry can be used everyday to keep the immune system strong during flu season, and is the one thing I wouldn’t do without when dealing with the actual influenza virus, which is a serious infection not to be taken lightly.  1 -3 tsp a day as a preventative, and in acute illness taken hourly. I have even given babies under a year elderberry paste in glycerin (not honey).  Good stuff!


Larrea tridentata is known by creosote bush in arizona, and if you live elsewhere, its known as chaparral.  Whatever you call it, its another one of those incredibly useful and versatile medicines I learned when I lived in the Sonoran desert, and will never be without.  I most often use the infused oil or salve on any and all skin inflammations, cuts, scrapes, rashes, sores, burns, bites, stings, or fungus.  Its a super antinflammatory, very cooling, antiviral, antiseptic and antifungal.  Itchy insect bites literally melt into a cooling sensation when applied, strange rashes fade and stop itching, cold sores shrink and the pain eases, it takes the heat and inflammation out of sunburns and pimples.  Eczema and psoraisis calm down and itch less, and sometimes clear up (though that often best responds to dietary and internal herbal protocols).  I do keep the tincture around for use on foot and toenail fungus, or weepy and damp rashes that salve may aggravate.  In my years of making this medicine, only 2-3 people had an allergic reaction to it, or found it made the symptoms worse, and please use caution when applying any oil/salve to an infection, as it CAN spread the infection around topically.  I also do use the tea internally for stubborn infections, candida, or long term viral illness, but do not use it internally for more than a few weeks generally.  There is some concern with its effects on the liver/kidney, so I err on the side of caution with internal use on this plant, and only use the water based tea for this purpose.


Vervain (verbena spp, or glandularia spp in the SW) is my best friend.  Vervain is my personal favorite nervine for body tension, stress, crabbiness, frustration, pms moodiness, type A overwork, and insomnia from tension and stress.  This isn’t what I reach for when I have grief or heartache, but when I’m feeling cranky, weepy and stressed out by too much life and too many hormones.  A lot of folks carry tension in their shoulders and neck and this plant helps to relax that sort of tension, especially if sitting at a computer or behind the wheel of a car is a common part of your day to day.  Vervain is a fairly strong bitter, so must be blended with aromatics like mint or lemongrass in tea for most folks to find it palatable, but as a tincture or elixir it goes down alright, and works fast.  Dose is variable, I personally need to take 2-3 droppersfull when I’m stressed out and crabby, some folks find two drops lays them up on the couch from the relaxation.   Its also a great night cap/sleep aid, and I often use it before bed just to aid with the relaxation of the body.  I also like vervain before meditation or journey work, to cultivate relaxation and to stimulate the creative/visionary mind.  Its a good digestive bitter as well and can be taken before meals to improve digestive function, especially if its deficient due to stress or emotional upheaval at meal time.

California Poppy

California poppy, or mexican poppy (Escholtzia spp) is super easy to grow in your garden and grows wild in much of the west in the spring and summer, (though I believe it is protected in California in the wild, so you may want to grow it at home).  This strong medicine is one of the safest of the poppy family nervines, and is my go to herb for pain, especially of the musculoskeletal variety, or pain that keeps you awake at night.  It also works rather well for intense emotional upset or anxiety.  It is non- addictive, and not likely to have side effects, unlike other poppies.  It is even safe for relief of teething pain in young ones (tincture applied to the gums.),   I always tincture this fresh, rather than make tea, as the taste is ghastly, and use the tincture in large or small doses (10-90 drops)  rather freely, depending on the situation.  Many people will respond well to this for general insomnia as well.


Sunny, golden, bright calendula officinalis, is a great skin remedy, like many of these other plants, but my reasons for keeping around the house in quantity, and growing it in abundance is for internal skin.  Its super healing to any sort of internal mucous membrane inflammation and irritation,  I will drink a strong brew of calendula tea, usually with peppermint to address stomach pain and inflammation from eating something I should not have ( accidental gluten) as it helps to reduce lymphatic swelling and calms the inflammed tissues.  Any time I feel my digestion is a bit cold, damp and blah, a few cups of warm and rejuvenating calendula will improve it.  Its a strong bitter as well and stimulates healthy digestion.  It strengthens the third chakra and balances stagnation by warming like the sun.


Good old peppermint, seemingly simple, but amazingly useful.  Peppermint is my favorite herb for covering up the bitter taste of other less pleasant medicines, in tea form.  Even bitter creosote bush can be somewhat curtailed by the minty fresh taste of peppermint. But peppermint by itself, brewed as a strong tea, or as a tincture, can calm down late night stomach upsets, nausea, heartburn (though some folks find it worsens with mint, careful!), a mid afternoon lift/pick me up.  Peppermint tea or a little peppermint essential oil in a mister spritzed on the skin or in the room can cool you off when feeling hot and bothered, and a little oil rubbed on the temples can often give relief for an oncoming headache.  Strong peppermint tea can also soothe irritated throats, gurgling cramping GI tract  (from food that was a little off).  I cannot tell you how often I’ve reached for that handy bottle of peppermint elixir in the middle of night for a little stomach thing….it is instantly soothing.

Ginger (so what, its 11!)

Trusty Zingiber is a favorite home remedy in my cabinet for all sorts of belly woes- including nausea, gas, cramps and indigestion.  Its a perfect before meal digestive aid as well!   I always keep fresh ginger root on hand for a quick tea, grated and steeped in hot water, covered, for 10 min. But it can also be prepared with dried root pieces, steeped (not boiled because that boils off the volatile oils) for 10 min.   Its also perfect mixed with honey and lemon for colds & sore throats. (Try it with a pinch of cayenne too!)  Ginger is also a wonderful warming stimulant to the circulatory system, and I often use it to warm up on a cold day, or infused in oil for a warming massage agent for sore muscles or joints.  Hot ginger tea is also a great and simple antinflammatory and antispasmodic, so I often use it for menstrual cramps, back aches, and general achiness.  I most often use ginger as a tea, but a ginger root tincture or elixir is the easiest way to carry ginger with you for motion sickness or digestive discomfort on the go.

Obviously, this list could go on, as the herbs I love and use are many, for certain, but these offer so much in their simplicity and versatility.  Many have been allies to me for as long as I’ve known plants, and others more so in recent years.  And, its important to note that most of these plants grow around me, either in the wild or in the garden, for both ease of access, sustainability, and because its valuable to me to have a close relationship with the land I’m on.

Fireworks Flowers- Bee Balm (Monarda spp)

Celebration of summers fullness – bee balm blooms in July, around my birthday, in the fullest and most abundant moment of summer. Celebrating beauty, abundance, spicy life, and healing. Turning these spicy flowers into infused honey for winter months, and yet more into tincture for all kinds of infections. Blessed by the medicine.


My favorite ways to use Purple Bee Balm are as a tincture for all sorts of infections, both internal or externally.  I often formulate it with other herbs as it is very heating and spicy tasting.  I also love the flowers infused in honey (pictured here) to drizzle in tea all winter long, or as a sore throat and cold remedy.  The honey makes a wonderful wound or burn dressing  as well.  I always keep some dried leaves and petals around in the kitchen to use in my cooking as well, the spicy oregano flavor goes well with bold italian tomato sauces sausages, soups and mexican style beans or posole.

Winners of the Living Sacred Ceremony Giveaway!!!

Sunday came and went, and I got carried away shifting the energy in my house by rearranging my kitchen. Ooops!  But we have two winners, picked at random, for the Living Sacred Ceremony giveaway!!!

PeonyBlue is the winner of the E Book copy and Laurel Hanson is the winner of the print copy of Living Sacred Ceremony!!!

Contact me right away so I can get your information to Natalia to send your gifts!!!

Congrats and thanks all for playing!!!  I hope you will follow Natalia at Sweet and Sacred because she has some amazing offerings and is a true soul of beauty!

GIVEAWAY! FREE copy of Living Sacred Ceremony – A beautiful new offering from Natalia at Sweet & Sacred!

Praise for Living Sacred Ceremony

“From the first page, Living Sacred Ceremony had my heart. I am familiar with the practices of ceremony from the Andean tradition that Natalia so beautiful, generously and genuinely shares, and this gift literally had me in tears. So much beauty and heart expressed so powerfully yet so simply in Living Sacred Ceremony. Each offering had me wanting to run out and do that particular ceremony myself, right then and there. I also teach ceremony and sacred living in my work, and I will absolutely be recommending and sharing Living Sacred Ceremony with my students. It is a perfect introduction to creating and living with ceremony in our day to day lives, with step by step explanations of both how and why, and leaves plenty of room for personal exploration. But even for a seasoned practitioner, these offerings are perfectly beautiful and applicable.  

I love the simplicity in each ceremony, making it easy to accomplish and ripe to be imbued with your own meaning and feeling, which makes these practices accessible to all. There is so much love in the creation of this book, the beautiful photographs, radiating Natalia’s love and spirit, and the clear and straightforward formatting.  

This one is a winner- full of love, and the magic that imbues our sacred life!”

Darcey Blue, Herbalist

From Natalia Karaoway– my sister shaman, herbalist, yogi and chef!  You won’t want to miss this beautiful book- which can open the magical doors of ceremony and healing in your own life!


Discover the Power of Sacred Ceremony!

Living Sacred Ceremony BookStepping outside of your daily life and into sacred ceremony is an invaluable tool. Ceremony is a beautiful and active prayer that allows you to commune with the spiritual world in an incredibly meaningful way. When you are weighed down by challenges, these practices offer a powerful way to disperse and transform negative energy. When the beauty of life shines through, ceremony becomes a celebration of gratitude and an invitation for more blessings.

Living Sacred Ceremony is filled with unique and beautiful practices that empower you to heal and transform your own life. Whether you are looking for assistance in the realm of love, money, family, health or beyond, there is a ceremony for you to become a powerful change maker and find deeper fulfillment.

Inspired by the Peruvian shamanic tradition and fused with modern day practicality, this book will show you just how beautiful life can be when you are Living Sacred Ceremony.


Do you want to win your own copy of Living Sacred Ceremony from Natalia???  And Get a free E Copy of Sacred Plant Wisdom from me?

We are giving away one print copy and one E book copy of Living Sacred Ceremony, and I will also add a copy of Sacred Plant Wisdom, an E book with meditations, journal work and recipes and sacred messages from 12 plant allies for each winner!!!    2 amazing offerings to increase the magic and sacred and healing in your life!

Here’s the deal!

  • You gotta share this blog post (link), on social media,
  • & include a link to Living Sacred Ceremony (
  • AND sign up for Natalia’s, Sweet & Sacred Email List here!
  • Finally comment in the post below with a link to your share so we can see that you entered the giveaway.

To be entered in the giveaway you must comment below with your link, and have signed up for the newsletter!  

The Winners will be drawn from the entries below on July 26!!!

Shamana Flora Online Apprenticeship 2015 – Early Registration Open

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Begins Sept 15, 2015

Early Registration: Until Aug 15 – $199

Regular Registration: Aug 16- Sept 30 – $250

Early Registration – PAY In Full NOW


Early Registration Payment Plan 

Two monthly payments $99.50


Early Registration BONUSES!

When you register before Aug 15, you will also receive the following bonus materials FREE!

Sacred Plant Wisdom Vol. 1-12


Downloadable PDF files with mp3’s, videos, journey prompts and journal questions for 12 unique plant allies!

This sells for $50 but it is worth much more, hours and hours of information, inspiration, recipes, recordings and more for you to dive deeper with 12 beloved plant allies!

The Full Plant Medicine for Earth Cycles E-Course


Plant Medicine for Earth Cycles ~ Weaving the Wheel of the Year includes recipes, journaling prompts, guided meditations/journey in written form, videos & downloadable mp3 formats, nature awareness and connection practices, ceremony suggestions and information about botanical medicines to help balance and work with the seasonal energies of the earth and the body/spirit/heart… and so much more!!!

These Seasonal lessons on plant medicines help us attune to, align with and navigate the natural energies of the Earth, the Plants and our own Spirits.

$200 value!

Both of these bonuses are available to you as soon as you register before Aug 15! 

An introduction to Shamanic Herbalism from Darcey Blue- lessons, videos, mp3′s to help you understand how to work with plants from a spiritual and shamanic perspective.    We will cover communication with plants, shamanic journey, divination, sacred medicine/potion blending, talismans, ethics and more.

If you have wanted to learn to work with plants from a magical and rooted place, connected to intuition, spirit and the sacred, this is the course for you.

Listen to the recording of the FREE Telecall   : What the Heck is Shamanic Herbalism?

6 Modules which includes video lessons, mp3 recordings, practices, journal prompts, materia medica and a group forum (on Facebook!) for discussion, questions and interactions between students and Darcey Blue.   There will be a few books, pod casts and  movies assigned as outside study material.

2014-11-01 11.03.03Course materials will be available to work through at your own pace, downloadable and accessible by web.  You must have internet service adequate for streaming audio and video content.  Ipads, Kindles and other Pads have a tendency to have problems. You should use a desktop or laptop.

Each student is expected to fill out and return the registration information below to be considered enrolled.

Lesson Information and Curriculum

 What is Shamanic Herbalism, the Journey, Sacred Space and Safety

 Plant Allies, Intution, Body Wisdom/Felt Sense, Your Daily Practice

Ceremony, Ritual, Clearing, and Engaging the Medicines

 Tricks of the Trade: Divination, Talismans, Earth as Healer

 Tools of the Trade: Energetic Plant Medicine, Sacred Bathing, Elixirs, Teas, Spirit Inspired Formulation

 Every Day Shamanism: Finding Meaning and the Shamanic Mindset

Materia Medica: (subject to amendment & additions) hawthorn, yarrow, sage, juniper, artemisia, rosemary, marigold, cacao, tobacco, rose, alder, wood betony, hyssop, blue lotus

goudsbloem, calendula


Listen to the Free Teleconference Recording from Jan 22- What the Heck is Shamanic Herbalism

“Shamanic herbalism goes well beyond learning about herbs in their commonly taught context. This class, facilitated by Darcey Blue, goes into the deep spirituality and energetics of plants as beings and partners in our world and in our journeys towards healing and awakening od the soul. Each activity, video, and topic is presented in a way for all levels of learning and assured to me meaningful. Whether you are new to herbs or an ‘old timer’ you are sure to connect and move forward in your journey in celebration with the plant spirits. Certainly highly recommended and your journey will be meaningful.” -Kelli

“This ecourse has exceeded my expectations, Darcey’s offerings and her personal sharing has been a catalyst for my own personal transformation. The shamanic skills she teaches are so needed at this time. It will be a foundation for my path as a healer in my community, what I needed to ground, protect, but at the same time hold space for those that need healing, including myself.” -darlene

Shamanaflora is a life changing class! Learn the skills a human is supposed to know and practice. Learning to Journey and connect with the spirits of plants lead me down the rabbit hole to explorations in the realm of Spirit, Self and the world round me. Highly recommend this class to anyone wanting a deeper connection to the world of plants! – Susan

Apothecary Intern at Shamana Flora Apothecary

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Shamana Flora Apothecary is looking for a PT (8-15 hrs) Apothecary Intern this summer, and beyond. 1-2 days per week (weekdays only), harvesting, processing, making medicine, packaging products/orders, apothecary paperwork/inventory control, ordering & stocking as needed. In exchange for attendance at classes/events/retreats, product/medicines and lots of good experience with the plants and making potions and lotions. Location: East Flagstaff, AZ. Interested, write a letter of application, skills, and learning desires/goals. Please include references and time/day availability.