Podcast 185: Herbs A-Z: Elettaria & Eleutherococcus

This week we’re talking about cardamom & eleuthero!

About Elettaria cardamomum, cardamom, we actually do have “one weird trick” for you today! Here it is: get yourself a cardamom-crushing stone. It is so much easier than using a spoon to crush the pods and release the pungent aromatic seeds. Cardamom is great to “ground” a very aromatic formula, and of course it’s also excellent in foods of many kinds.

Eleutherococcus senticosus, properly called eleuthero although sometimes referred to as “Siberian ginseng”. It got that name for very capitalist reasons, you know. And indeed it’s possible to use eleuthero in a rather capitalist manner, as a stimulant to improve work output. But we prefer to work with it for marathon-style stressors as a resilience-building herb.

These quick plant profiles were done off-the-cuff & on-the-spot. If you enjoyed them, we have more! Our organized & comprehensive presentation of our herbal allies is in the Holistic Herbalism Materia Medica course. We have detailed profiles of 90 medicinal herbs! Plus you get everything that comes with enrollment in our courses: twice-weekly live Q&A sessions, lifetime access to current & future course material, discussion threads integrated in each lesson, guides & quizzes, and more.

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Episode Transcript

Katja (00:14):
Hi, I’m Katja.

Ryn (00:15):
And I’m Ryn.

Katja (00:16):
And we’re here at Commonwealth Holistic Herbalism in Boston, Massachusetts.

Ryn (00:20):
And on the internet everywhere thanks to the power of the podcast. Yeah. Well if you’ve been following along with our feed here, then you know what we’re up to. If you’re just joining us for the first time, then welcome to the podcast.

Katja (00:33):
Yes. Hello, welcome.

Ryn (00:35):
And I hope you’re excited to learn about cardamom and eleuthero.

Katja (00:40):
And also if you’ve been listening forever, also welcome to the podcast.

Ryn (00:44):
Yeah. Welcome back. So, you know, if you are new, then we’ve been going down the length of the shelves in our home apothecary and looking at all of the herbs that we keep in the jars ready to hand. These are not all of the herbs in the world. They’re not all of the herbs that we have, but…

Katja (01:02):
Yeah. We do have a second stash in the basement.

Ryn (01:04):
And there’s a few things that we have as like, you know, tinctures or oils or whatever that we don’t keep as dry herbs for tea or for various other ready to make preparations. But anyway, these are the ones we’re focusing on now.

Katja (01:19):
Yeah, exactly. But this is still a lot of herbs. And it’s pretty exciting to just every week or every other week…

Ryn (01:27):
Some amount of time. Yeah.

Katja (01:29):
But you know what, that actually reminds me. So, you probably have noticed that we’ve been skipping a week here and there with the podcast. In theory this podcast comes out every single weekend. But in reality lately, maybe not quite so much. And part of that is because by hook or by crook, a brand new course is releasing. I thought I was going to get it done tonight, but it might actually be tomorrow. It is the new free, free for everyone, herbal study tips course. And I’m very excited about it.

Ryn (02:03):
Yeah. So, if you’re a little behind on your pods, then come to this not exactly the day it comes out. It might be ready already.

Katja (02:11):
Oh, it’s definitely ready already. Yes, yes, yes. It’s going to be out tomorrow. But the course includes… I mean it does of course include herby things, because we’re herbalist, and we can’t not talk about plants. But it includes all sorts of ways that we have found working with students over the last couple of decades, to help you learn more effectively, to retain the information. It is something that we hear all the time from herbal students, like how will I remember all this? Yeah. Especially because a lot of people come to herbalism a little bit later in life. And so then they think oh well, I don’t learn as fast as I did when I was young. And I always want to be like no, you’re awesome. You’re okay. Your brain still works. It’s just, there’s a lot to learn.

Ryn (02:59):
Yeah. There’s also often this feeling of like oh, I’ve got to memorize stuff, and that means I learned it. And that’s the form of learning I need to do, and the form of proof of having learned that I need to be able to express. And let me tell you that is not a major requirement of herbalism.

Katja (03:15):
No. Or like, you know, people who didn’t have great experiences in school, and haven’t found like what really works for them to learn information in a way that’s comfortable and kind to themselves. So, that’s what this course is about. Like all of the different tips, and tricks, and fun act activities, and ways that we have found to learn all the material of herbalism in ways that really get it to stick in your mind, and in your body, and make it more fun.

Ryn (03:54):
Yeah. I guess this is a little meta, you know, where like this is about learning how to learn. Or about, you know, getting exposed to some more options for ways that you can learn. And some of it is even just recognizing things that you may do, or you may be doing already, and shifting the way you attend to them or where you put your focus to turn them into learning, right? Every time you cook, every time you spice your food, that’s an opportunity to be learning more about herbalism, so…

Katja (04:19):
Yeah. Well anyway, that course is available to anyone for free, to everyone for free. Because we know that of course we have a lot of students, but also we know that there are herb students all over the place. And we want to share what we’ve come up with so far to help make it easier for everybody. You can find it at online.commonwealthherbs.com. And if you are one of those people who listens to the podcast right away when it comes out, 24 hours I’m telling you. It’ll be out in 24 hours.

Ryn (04:52):
All right. There we go. Cool. So, let’s talk about Elettaria and Eleutherococcus. But first let’s remind you that we are not doctors. We are herbalist and holistic health educators. That’s your line.

Katja (05:07):
Yes. The ideas that we discuss in this podcast… You know, we do this every week. I don’t know where my brain was. But I was drinking tea and whatever. Anyway, it’s not medical advice, y’all. That’s what I’m trying to say. No state or federal authority licenses herbalists in the U.S., and so these discussions are for educational purposes only.

Ryn (05:27):
And we want to remind you that good health doesn’t mean the same thing for everyone. Good health doesn’t exist as an objective standard. It’s influenced by your individual needs, experiences, and goals. So, keep in mind that we’re not attempting to present a single dogmatic right way that you need to adhere to.

Katja (05:42):
Everyone’s body is different. So, the things that we’re talking about may or may not apply directly to you. But we hope that they’ll give you some new information to think about and some ideas to research further.

Ryn (05:52):
Finding your way to better health is both your right and your own personal responsibility. This doesn’t mean you’re alone on the journey, and it doesn’t mean that you’re to blame for your current state of health. But it does mean that the final decision when you’re considering any course of action, whether that’s discussed on the internet or prescribed by a physician, is always your choice to make. And maybe we can convince you to choose to put some cardamom into your next tea blend.

Katja (06:17):

Ryn (06:19):
Can we? Let’s find out.

Elettaria cardamomum: Cardamom in Tea

Katja (06:20):
Actually, you know what? The tea that we’re drinking today, all day I’ve been like, something’s wrong with this tea? And earlier this morning I was like, I put too much tulsi in the tea. I don’t know the flavors just totally off. And then in the middle of day I was like no. I think I didn’t put enough damiana. That’s why the flavor is off. I know why the flavor is off.

Ryn (06:45):
No cardamom?

Katja (06:46):
No cardamom. Why did I not do that?

Ryn (06:50):
Well, tell them the rest of the ingredients.

Katja (06:51):
Okay. So, here is what’s in this tea. It is pine, mugwort, juniper, tulsi, damiana, hawthorn berries, and they’re supposed to be cardamom in it. It’s supposed to be there. And honestly you really can taste that… And right now in this moment is when I realize that’s what’s missing from this tea. Now I only ever put in what, like eight or 10 cardamom pods.

Ryn (07:25):
Well, that’s kind of a lot. I mean, if you’re making a quart of tea, if I’m setting that up, right? I’m using our French press and making a quart of tea at a time. I think I default to like four or five cardamom pods.

Katja (07:35):
No, that’s the same, because I’m talking about the big air pot. And that is two and a half quarts, yeah. I tend to put in like eight or 10.

Ryn (07:43):
Yeah. And that’s, that’s fairly, you know, strong cardamom flavor there, yeah.

Katja (07:50):
But on the other hand, it’s like it’s not that it’s not that much really, when you’re thinking about two and a half quarts of water. But having the flavor be missing is just super obvious.

Ryn (08:02):
Yeah. Cardamom is, you know, of course people know it as a spice. And like other spice herbs, like say cinnamon, or certainly clove, a little bit goes a long way, right? When we’re adding clove to things, you know, you add like one individual dried clove or maybe two of them per quart of water. Even if you make like a big pot of chai, you’re like okay. Three cloves and I’m done. Cardamom is not quite that potent. But still we kind of count them out, you know. When we’re adding them to our blends, we grab them. And I should say that when we work with cardamom, we almost always go with the green pods. That’s what we keep in our jar on the shelf. And then when we take them out of there, and we want to put them in the tea blend, we put them on the countertop and crush them with our dedicated cardamom crushing stone. So, if you don’t have one of these in house…

Katja (08:53):
You cannot buy these.

Ryn (08:54):
No, no, you have to find them. This is, you know…

Katja (08:56):
Yeah. Not available in any store.

Ryn (08:58):
River stones are really good for this.

Katja (08:59):
Yeah. It is. It is just honestly y’all, this got started because I used to crush cardamom with the back of a spoon. And I would put the spoon against the seeds of the cardamom and then push on it with my thumb. And then one day I wanted to put cardamom into the tea. And the spoon that we always keep on the work table was not there. I guess we had… like it was in the washer. I don’t know, whatever. Anyway, it wasn’t there, but I had put this rock on the counter, and I don’t know why. And I was like I don’t know. This rock will work. It’s just this like palm sized, really, really smooth river rock.

Ryn (09:43):
It’s perfect. It’s flat. It’s like a disc, you know. But you can hold it well, and it crushes perfectly. Every time I do it I think of, you know, okay. So, it’s that scene from Harry Potter, right, where they’re like in the potions class. And they’re supposed to like read the instructions and follow them precisely. And it says like chop with your knife. And then Snape had written into the margins crush with the side of the blade. It works better.

Katja (10:09):
Wow, that’s a really specific memory.

Ryn (10:11):
Yeah. Really kind of deep cut. But this reminds me of that every time. I’m like yeah, this is way easier than any other tool that I’ve tried to do this with. Because even a spoon, it might like slip out and fly across the room.

Katja (10:22):
Yes, it does do that. And I was like oh well, that’s just part of cardamom. No, no. So, okay so what we’re saying is go for a walk someplace, ideally with a river but you know, whatever. Go for a walk someplace and find a rock that you really like. And that will be your new cardamon crushing stone.

Ryn (10:45):
Yeah. And we like that, because you do want to expose the seeds that are inside to get stronger flavor, or to get more of the aromatics and the pungent elements. They’re liberated a little bit when you open it up like that. We do like to include the green in the formulas though, or in the tea blends. So, rather than just like crushing it and separating out the little brown-black seeds and throwing aside the green part, we like to include that. It does add a little bit of astringency extra. Cardamom has some astringency of its own a little bit, or like say the black seeds have some. But the green part adds a bit more.

Katja (11:29):
Yeah. And that of course makes me very happy, because I do like that.

Ryn (11:33):
Yeah, it’s a very nice feeling though from this one. It’s never like too intensive and astringent to cause gut cramping or anything like that.

Katja (11:43):
Yeah. So anyway, yeah. It’s like that full spectrum of flavor. All the flavors that cardamom has to offer if you put in all the parts. But if you just leave them all sealed up without crushing them first… I mean, if you were decocting it, eventually they would soften enough. But I think you just release a lot more of the flavor if you crush it. You don’t have to like crush it to a million bits. Just crush it enough so that each one of them opens, and that will do it. The little black seed bits pop out.

Cardamom Flavor & Digestion

Ryn (12:18):
Yeah. Well cardamom is in the Zingiberaceae family. So, it’s closely related to ginger and turmeric and galangal and you know, friends like that. And this is one of my favorite herbal families to do a reunion. Weren’t we just talking about a…

Katja (12:36):
Herbal family reunion? Yeah, because didn’t we talk about turmeric recently, like maybe in the last episode.

Ryn (12:42):
Okay. So that was exactly what. That was the same family, yeah. So, okay. You heard us talk about it there, but I really do like it though. You know, ginger, cardamom, some turmeric, some galangal if you’ve got it, grains of paradise if you have those, yeah. They’re all really good together. They have complimentary flavors.

Katja (12:57):
For me I really like cardamom in blends that are otherwise really green, or that are otherwise too bright. And that’s what’s going on with today’s blend. Like there’s not enough to hold it down, you know? Like it needs…

Ryn (13:17):
You had like the tulsi and the pine in there for aromatics.

Katja (13:21):
Right. And there’s mugwort, but both mugwort and damiana are very aromatic, but they do have a little lower flavor. But I didn’t put enough.

Ryn (13:33):
Right. Yeah, they have like airy aromatics.

Katja (13:36):
Right. Everything in this blend is very airy. And then the cardamom just gives it a little weight, like a weighted blanket, you know. It’s just right. The perfect comfy quilt. Yeah.

Ryn (13:54):
Yeah. And you’re right there. It is really great with aromatic plants, but a pretty broad spectrum of them. I remember the first time I had an elixir, I think it was, where someone put it together with cardamom and rose. I’m sure this was one of the Kings Road Apothecary specials back in the day, right? But yeah, wow. I don’t know if that would’ve occurred to me before then. But now when I’m like oh, put some rose in, I find myself reaching for the cardamom like right away.

Katja (14:24):
But it’s kind of the same thing. It’s like rose all by itself…. Okay, well rose all by itself is pretty delightful. But also it kind of is very lightweight. It kind of needs like… It’s just like a flute all by itself. And like it needs some bassoon is what I’m saying.

Ryn (14:48):
It’s making me wonder what we would get if we took some lavender and put that together with cardamom.

Katja (14:54):
That would be really interesting. That would be more like bassoon and piccolo.

Ryn (14:58):

Katja (14:59):
I mean, just…

Ryn (14:59):
I’m bad at instruments, so I know that I think the piccolo is very high pitched?

Katja (15:04):
Yeah. It’s the very Tweety bird one, yeah.

Ryn (15:09):
All right. Nice. Other Cardamom thoughts, well…

Katja (15:16):
Okay. Well, actually I’ve been talking about weightiness of the cardamom. And I don’t want to retract that. I’m solid on that. However, in the body I don’t feel that way about cardamom. In the body cardamom has some stimulation. Not stimulation like caffeine, stimulation like stirring up some movement. Maybe not in the same way as cayenne, you know. Like not as intensely as that.

Ryn (15:56):
Well, I mean, we can start in digestion, right? So, so like other ginger family plants, this is a carminative herb. It brings warmth, and following the warmth, relaxation to the digestive organs. So, that’s really nice. And then like many of those other herbs, it’s going to kind of spin out from there and affect other systems too. Get the blood moving a little better. And even into the respiratory system, you know, cardamom has somewhat of an expectorant quality to it. And of course that’s going to be most helpful for conditions that are phlegmy and wet and heavy in that regard. Because the warmth and the aromatic movement of cardamom is going to stimulate the lungs and help you to hack that stuff up and out of you. Yeah.

Katja (16:46):
You know, you were saying about digestion. And I think that’s why you see cardamom in so many different places. I mean, we’ve been talking about tea. And listen, it’s fantastic in tea. But cardamom is in all kinds of food, like savory foods, sweet foods, heavy foods, light foods, sugary foods, sour? I don’t know. Do we see it in sour foods? Maybe not sour, maybe that’s the only place that you don’t see cardamom. I’ve got to think about that one for a minute, but in all the other places. And especially I feel like cardamom shows up a lot in foods that have a lot of fat. Whether that is like a curry that also has a lot of… whether it’s ghee or meat fat or whatever in it. Or if it is a fancy dessert and there’s like creamy kinds of fat in it. And that all is coming back to that digestive stimulation. And even if you want to be very complex about it, cardamom does have a bitter element to it. It’s way under there, but it does have some bitterness. And so that simulation in terms of digestive health is really throughout the complete transit of the digestive tract.

Ryn (18:19):
Yeah, for sure. You’re right. It’s not really like a bitter on its own. But I do like it in bitters preparations. We had one a couple years back that was a pear bitters. And when we put a bitter blend together, we’ll have whatever the kind of like dominant or signature flavor is up top, and then obviously the bittering agent of some kind, and something pungent or aromatic, and something with a sweetness to it. So, in this particular one the pear was kind of the main flavor and also most of the sweetness was coming from that. I think there might have been a little molasses in there or something. But the cardamon was the primary warming, pungent, aromatic ingredient in there. And yeah, pear and cardamon, that was really, really tasty.

Katja (19:06):
It was really good. And now I want to make some very fancy baked pear with raisin and cardamom and some kind of nuts.

Ryn (19:18):
Yeah. I mean, even just try, you know, if you do little baked good things like that, and you’re used to just putting cinnamon on there alone, add Cardamom powder. Or just try the cardamom instead of cinnamon. See what that feels like.

Eleutherococcus senticosus: Eleuthero, Ginsengs, & Adaptogens

Katja (19:33):
Well, you know, what cardamom goes great with is eleuthero.

Ryn (19:39):
All right, cool. Yeah, let’s talk about eleuthero.

Katja (19:41):
They don’t actually have to go together, but by way of segue. Eleuthero is… And it’s almost always referred to as eleuthero these days, which is just a shortening of the Latin Eleutherococcus. And that is because it used to be called Siberian ginseng. But in whatever year that was, 2004 maybe? It was when George W. Bush was president.

Ryn (20:15):
2003 or 4. Yeah, right. So there was like part of a farm bill or something. There was a piece that was slipped in there and said you’re no longer allowed to call Eleutherococcus Siberian ginseng. It’s funny, because now I’ve started to see products that have on their label Siberian eleuthero. And I’m like well, yeah, that’s where most of it’s grown. So, okay.

Katja (20:39):
Well, a lot of it is also grown in China. Maybe they’re trying to emphasize that it’s Siberian grown, or maybe it’s just trying to call back to the older way of referring to it.

Ryn (20:51):
Sure. But look, why did they call it that, right? Why was it appealing as a marketer or a product seller or whatever to be like Siberian ginseng. Well, because ginseng is famous, and everybody wants to have the next one. And this is a longstanding thing. I have a list somewhere of ginsengs of the world, you know, like in quotey marks. Because you’ve got your Siberian ginseng, and that’s eleuthero. For a while there was a trend of calling ashwagandha Indian ginseng. There’s an herb from Brazil called Suma. And some folks like to call that Brazilian ginseng. I’ve even heard people refer to maca as Peruvian ginseng.

Katja (21:29):
Oh my goodness.

Ryn (21:30):
And boy that one’s getting far out there.

Katja (21:31):
Yeah. I mean, all of them, like ginseng is ginseng. And eleuthero is eleuthero. And yes, they do share some qualities. But they’re all adaptogens. So we could just, if you want to have like a common point of reference, then we can just note that they’re all adaptogens.

Ryn (21:48):
Yeah, and I mean eleuthero was kind of part of the adaptogen story in a way, right? You know, there were some Russian researchers in the fifties. And they were actively looking for alternative plants that would have similar effects to Asian ginseng. And they were looking within the botanical family that it’s found in, the Araliaceae. And they were like well, we’ve got this eleuthero plant. Let’s check that out. And so, you know, did some investigations. And of course this herb has traditional medicinal applications and all of that. But it was, as far as most reports on this go, it was a relatively minor herb. But when there was this connection made, and this discovery that yeah, it does improve endurance. That it can help people to deal with cold stress, heat stress, physical work, you know, maintain mental focus under high times of stress or exhaustion. And so then it was like aha, we’ve done it. We’ve got the Siberian ginseng now. We’re good to go. And some of those same researchers were the people who came up with this word adaptogen, rather than using some of the category designations from Chinese medicine. But to create this idea that is very general. This is one of the foundations of the adaptogen idea, right? It’s like it’s not that it improves your capacity to resist one type of stress or to adapt to one particular stressor, but all the different kinds that one may encounter.

Katja (23:15):
This is very uniquely an herb of capitalism. And so I think it’s only appropriate that a law was signed due to capitalism. Like oh, we can’t call it Siberian ginseng, because that’s competing with the money that the real ginseng people are making. Like, it’s just all whatever. But that is where that research actually originated, was they were looking for ways to make workers more productive. And so that’s literally why we have this. And they were experimenting on prisoner populations in Siberia in pretty horrific ways. And then they continued that in, I believe, it was auto factory workers. And trying to see can we get more work out of workers by providing them with eleuthero. And so I think that that part of the story has to be at the top of our mind whenever we’re thinking about working with eleuthero or any of the adaptogens. Not because there’s anything wrong with adaptogens, but because the culture that we live in encourages us to work with adaptogens, or actually use really is the right word here. I try not to talk about herbs as if… I don’t want to use the word use, because that’s a word of exploitation. But in this particular case both the plant and the worker are being exploited. But so, our culture is just so encouraging us, or pressuring us, or squeezing us into finding ways to do more with less rest. Do more with less recovery time. Do more with less resources. Do more for less pay, you know?

Ryn (25:23):
Yeah, in this way the adaptogens are often employed or promoted or even sought out. Because you exist within these conditions, and have to pay your bills, and feed your kids, and all that stuff.

Katja (25:36):
Right. And so being really clear about that, this is the place that we all find ourselves. And so it is not like any kind of moral failing, if you turn to adaptogens to help you get through this place. That is reasonable. But just recognizing that it’s all tied together. And so fight the system is what I’m trying to say.

Ryn (26:01):
It’s similar to caffeine in some ways, right? Not that they’re having similar or identical effects on your body. But I’m just saying that caffeine has that relationship with capitalism also, you know. Having the coffee pots in the break room or whatever and making sure that’s always available. This has long been recognized as a good way to improve worker productivity. And I guarantee you there’s like Silicon Valley startups that are having their eleuthero powder sludge that you can drink. Put it right in your coffee, put it next to it. And look, honestly, in your coffee is not a bad place to put your adaptogens, including eleuthero. Because at least that will add something that is more sustaining than outright stimulating.

Katja (26:44):
Right. And to be clear, eleuthero is not the same as caffeine. It is one of the stimulating adaptogens, as opposed to something like codonopsis or tulsi. It is one of the stimulating adaptogens, but it is not going to keep everyone up at night. Some people do find that they’re sensitive to it. And if they take it later in the day, it will keep them up. But some people don’t find it that stimulating. And it really doesn’t have the exact kind of stimulation that caffeine does.

Ways to Work with Eleuthero

Ryn (27:17):
Yeah. And there’s also really big differences in the way you take it, and how it’s prepared. So, let’s say you can work with eleuthero in lots of different ways. You can make a decoction, and you can adjust the strength of that just by how much herb you put in and all that. But you can do that. You can make a tincture at home. You can do the simpler method, but they’re going to be fairly mild if you do that. Even if you do a weights and measures method with eleuthero, if you do your kind of herbalist standard of one to four, one to five, that’s a very mild preparation of this particular herb.

Katja (27:52):
Which means it’s going to be more tolerable to take that later in the day.

Ryn (27:58):
Right. But if someone has been used to say that preparation. And they’re like okay, my dose is I take three droppers full. I do it morning and afternoon, and that makes me feel pretty good. And then they forgot to make some. They run out, and they go buy one. Most of the commercially available tinctures are much more powerful than that. They might be one to one strength or two to one strength. So we’re talking like five to 10 times more powerful than the one you might make at home. And with those products, if you were to take that same dose, you might suddenly be like either I feel amazing. I can get so much done today. Or you might also be like I’m a little anxious, and I can’t sleep.

Katja (28:36):
This is not very comfortable.

Ryn (28:38):
Right. So, yeah, be aware of like if you work with eleuthero, try different preparations to see which ones are kind of best for you. And then just be aware of what’s the potency factor for the one that you are taking.

Katja (28:55):
I, myself, really like it best as a decoction. It often ends up in my not coffee blend. Actually there’s some in this week’s batch of not coffee. And I find that’s a pretty balanced way to work with it. First off, I will say that in my own body feel like a water decoction is the most preferable way to work with it. Because you do get a lot of the potency that way, but you also get more than just the stimulating action. I feel like it’s a little more complete than a tincture. Like there’s more present than a tincture. And I can’t list out the items at a photochemical level. I mean, when I say that, that that’s what I feel in my body. So, I want to make sure that I specify. In terms of solubility there may not be a huge difference between alcohol solubility and water solubility with eleuthero. But in terms of how it feels in my body, I do feel a difference.

Ryn (30:11):
And you know, to be fair here, there is a place for stronger preparations or more stimulating preparations or doses of eleuthero. For the time when you need to drive a thousand miles today, for the time when you know, you…

Katja (30:28):
That example comes up a lot. You need to drive a thousand miles today. And that’s because there was this time that we were driving cross country to go speak at an herb conference in Colorado. And Ryn had to drive a thousand miles straight for reasons, and…

Ryn (30:44):
It was fine, you know?

Katja (30:47):
But you’ve done it once, and that’s a very calibrating standard now. You’re like I know what that feels like.

Ryn (30:52):
It stuck with me. That’s real. Yeah. Well, you know, but that, or it’s like I need to stay up. I need to stay watchful. I need to take care of other people. And I’m the one who’s on call right now, whatever, these kinds of situations. Then yeah, that boost of energy that eleuthero can give is valuable.

Katja (31:10):
And in that case, I would go with a tincture, and like at least a one to one tincture, if that’s what you want to or need to achieve.

Ryn (31:20):
Yeah. But eleuthero in more moderate doses is less of a direct stimulants and more of an herb that helps with sustaining energy generation. We talk about this as more of a marathon herb than a sprint one in that regard. And it’s an herb that’s helpful if you know that you’ve got a marathon coming, if you find yourself in the middle of one, or if you’ve just been through one and you need some more help recovering. All of these places are times when we would we would think about working with this plant.

Katja (31:51):
Yeah. And so that’s why that ends up in the not coffee so much. Because it is providing that support, and there’s balancing factor in the not coffee as well. You know, there’s often codonopsis in there, which is kind of like the soothing cleanup crew from any stimulation that you might feel from the eleuthero. And then there’s usually, almost always Angelica, which gets that heat and movement going. And there’s always reishi also. Different herbs that are helping at various levels to deal with all the aspects of the stress. So, you could have just eleuthero all by itself as a strong decoction, as a tincture, as whatever. But I really do like it with this whole…

Ryn (32:45):
Yeah, you’re going to want something in there for flavor, you know?

Katja (32:48):
Well, that’s true.

Ryn (32:49):
The eleuthero, it’s not like a bad flavor. It’s not an aggressive bitter or anything. But it’s not super tasty.

Katja (32:56):
It is kind of bitter.

Ryn (32:56):
So at least hey, get some cardamom together with it or some ginger.

Katja (33:01):
Chai spices are enough.

Ryn (33:02):
Yeah. They go really well. Or, yeah, put in a spoon of decaf coffee, and that’ll taste great. I also often will put this into formulas that start with sassafras and sarsaparilla, a little wintergreen, a little ginger, and that gives it like a root beer flavor. Eleuthero is really good into there. And you’ll hardly even notice it flavor wise, but it does add that energy maintenance factor to it.

Katja (33:30):

Ryn (33:33):
Yeah. I would like to someday eat an eleuthero berry. They look…

Katja (33:41):
Are they toxic?

Ryn (33:42):
Well, I would have to check first.

Katja (33:44):
Yeah. I’m not sure that they’re food.

Ryn (33:46):
Yeah. I’m not sure either. And I absolutely should have checked beforehand. But the pictures of them make them look like enormous blackberries.

Katja (33:55):
Yeah, kind of like that. They’re rounder than a blackberry, and not always as together. Like sometimes they’re like a blackberry that became a firework. You know, like just in that moment of all the little bits breaking apart in their little individual blobs.

Ryn (34:16):
Yeah. They look appealing in that way. Although of course looking appealing is not always a good indicator that a berry is safe to eat. So, yes, we will check on forging safety before we do that.

Katja (34:27):
Well, you know, fortunately it doesn’t grow here. So, it is sort of a rhetorical desire.

Ryn (34:34):
I kind of wonder if folks up in Canada are growing it. I feel like maybe Robert Rogers would know that one.

Katja (34:41):
I bet they could. You know, they are growing a bunch of rhodiola there. Okay, rhodiola also is native in Canada, but they are also intentionally growing it. But it would not surprise me if people were growing it on purpose in Canada.

Ryn (34:56):

Katja (34:59):
Well, so whether you like your eleuthero with cardamom, or all by itself, or like I do in the not coffee, it’s definitely worth trying out. Because the reality is that we do live in this capitalist world. And sometimes we need some help to get through the demands that are placed on us.

Ryn (35:21):
Yeah. For real. All right. Well, thanks for listening this week everybody. We’ll be back next time. It could be next week. It could be a little bit longer than that. But we’ll be back next time with some more Holistic Herbalism podcast for you. Until then take care of yourselves. Take care of each other. Drink some tea.

Katja (35:41):
Drink some tea.

Ryn (35:42):
And find yourself a good cardamom crushing stone.

Katja (35:45):
Yes, definitely do that.

Ryn (35:47):

Katja (35:48):
Bye bye.


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