December 24, 2015

Botanical Safety & Soured Rosemary Focaccia

While herbal home remedies are often considered safe, and I would have to agree, especially when placed along side most 'over the counter' pharmaceuticals. However, there remains a responsibility on the herbalist, to be educated in the area of contraindications and toxicity when working with botanical home remedies that simply can not be neglected.

“Considerable risks are ignored far too often, while theoretical risks are exaggerated as they are passed along.” ~ Jessie Hawkins, Advanced Botanical Medicine, Chapter Six – Vintage Remedies.

Although I do not feel qualified to share an indepth post on botanical safety and all of its faucets. I do feel comfortable sharing about the importance of being equipped and point out a direction to help find information that could be vital in caring for our families. Reliable information.

During my courses I gleaned the names of two 'pharmacovigilance reporting' groups – an adverse reaction reporting system that includes traditional remedies, herbal remedies and pharmaceuticals. While I am sure there are others out there, these two groups were specifically mentioned:

  • World Health Organization International Drug Monitoring Program
  • American Botanical Society

The class text also reminds the student to review the material subjectively, as reports may not be thorough. We should to be diligent to verify if the herb in question was correctly identified and/or if the dosage was correctly used, as well as other possible reasons for the known contraindications.

Let's take Rosemary ~ rosmarinus officinale ~ for an example, known for it abilities in carminative action, being an antioxidant and active in antimicrobial ability. Indicated for enhancing memory, topical wound healing and relieving headaches... however with rosemary there is a need of caution for use during pregnancy. This is due to the connection between the high oil content {type of} that is linked to birth defects in rats... you see, this information needs to be verified by an evidence base, reliable source and not just random places on the net. Including my own.

This doesn't mean that we can not use, nor enjoy the flavor of this lovely herbal remedy. But that we should exercise wisdom on when and how we use it. Like on Rosemary Focaccia Bread!

The Recipe: soured focaccia bread with rosemary & asiago cheese

  • 3 ¼ c flour – I use spelt, whole wheat or any combination of these along with rye
  • 3 ¼ c water – not hot, not cold
  • ¾ t yeast – or ¼ c sourdough starter
  • ¾ t salt – real, celtic or pink

Place all of these ingredients into a bowl, and mix well. Place the dough into an oiled container and seal with a lid. Let the dough sit in the fridge for at least 48 hours, however I opt to leave mine in for 72 hours. This takes some extra planning, but it's oh so worth it.

After the fermenting process, remove the dough from the fridge. Work out the soon to be focaccia with your fingers on a oiled cookie sheet, to your desired shaped. Remember that focaccia is a flat oven baked bread, similar to pizza. Then move on to the...

The Toppings: apply in order shown here

~ A light spray of Avocado Oil – spray pan and top of bread 
~ Shredded Asiago Cheese – sprinkle to desired thickness, this is really personal preferenc 
~ Add Rosemary – I used a couple tablespoons sprinkled about, again ~ preference 
~ Thin slices of Tomato – placed randomly across the top of your focaccia

Once your topping are in place and your focaccia is looking yummy, pop it into a preheated oven, at 350 for about 20 to 25 minutes. Or until bread crust is done, as time may vary.

A note on the dough: I have used this type for a few years now, it's easy, it's yummy, and it's healthier. If you google bucket bread or something like that, you will many variations and recipes. Have fun and enjoy!
~ Blessings!

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