Genuine Arun Thai Natural Herbal Massage Balls about to be available for purchase in Australia!!

To all my massage-y friends:
Arun Thai Natural are going to be available in Australia! This is great news, I have been dying to get my hands on some of their products. If you think you might be interested, please contact Marike and her team.

I have bought a few products from Marike, and they are responsible for my fabulous complexion 😛

Australia has strict import restrictions for products with ‘plant bits’ in them, so we havent been able to get the massage balls or a few of the other products before. A lovely, fair trade business, making a mark on our health from gloriously exotic Chiang Mai (Thailand). If you’d like to know more about the fabulous work they do, here is a post I wrote a little while ago.

Ingredients: Thai Copper Pod, Bai Nad, Khontiso, Kaffir (leech) Lime, Citronella, Cassia, Yellow Phlai, Black Phlai, Yellow Turmeric, Black Turmeric, White Turmeric, Galanga, Wan Nam, Camphor, Sea Salt. 100% unbleached cotton cover.

Thai Herbal Massage Balls (also known as herbal hot compress or “look phra kob” in Thai) are used by many massage therapists and individuals who believe in integrating the wisdom and experience of many cultures.

Thai Herbal Massage Balls were originally used as an energy shifting medium, with many of the herbs having not only amazing healing properties, but also spiritual significance. Unlike many other Thai Herbal Massage Balls, Arun Thai uses 13 quality herbs as recommended by the Old Thai Medicine Hospital.

Sue and Peter Richards are the new distributors for Australia and they would like permission to make contact with some prospective customers in Australia in regards to workshops, customer needs etc. Please either add your name & email address below or send a PM on the Arun Thai Natural FB Page. And PLEASE SHARE THIS with other interested Aussies.



Starting out with herbs

A couple of weeks ago I went to a local herb event in my city, called Herb Awareness.  Imagine market stalls full of plants, crafts and other herbal products as well as demonstrations and presentations.  It was a gorgeous sunny day with a lot of herb enthusiasts coming to visit my stall.  I wish I had counted how often I was asked, “Where do I start?”  People ARE interested, and they really want to make herbal changes in their lives, but they are daunted by the information they see available.  They come to me with books that have 350 herbs and all their uses in them.  No wonder they are daunted.  You don’t need to know 350 herbs or the medicinal properties of every herb. I don’t!

Most recently, my favourite catch cry is “Start with what you know!”   So tell me, what herbs do you have in the fridge/pantry/garden right now?  Some of my favourite old world remedies are based on kitchen herbs that are always on hand.  Since you already have and use them in your food, why not learn about their medicinal properties as well? Once you know those few, you can use them in your food with more purpose than just taste.  If the family is going through the sniffles, it is a great idea to include dishes that contain thyme, because thyme is a well known remedy for colds and coughs.

Using those herbs in food can help maintain health, and when a bug does strike you can then use the same herbs to make simple remedies that have stood the test of time to treat your family’s minor ailments without having to buy synthetic products from the drugstore.  I know that there are many people out there ready to start on their herbal journey which is why I decided to write about how you can bring herbs into your life too.  And since my new book ‘Homemade Health’  deals with exactly this topic I thought I would use small section from the book to get you started.

“At a time when there were no health food stores and online herb suppliers not everyone had access to medicinal herbs.  Or did they?  People distinguish between medicinal and culinary herbs but really, culinary herbs ARE medicinal as well.  So what do you do when you can’t get what you want? You make do with what you do have.

Shops and markets are full of herbs meant for the kitchen and these herbs can be used to stock your home pharmacy. I won’t go through all the commonly used culinary herbs, their uses and healing properties, but here are a few to spark your interest.

BASIL (Ocimum basilicum)

Favoured by the Italians, basil quickly loses it volatile oils and flavour so it is best added at the end of the cooking process.  There are so many culinary uses for Basil and it is great combined with tomato.  Medicinally, basil is used to combat stress, tension and nervous indigestion.  It is cooling to the body and a natural mood enhancer.

GARLIC (Allium sativum)

Garlic has been helping people for centuries.  A veritable powerhouse of active ingredients which are reported to ease an A-Z of ailments and treating high blood pressure is one of the health issues on this list.  It has long been said that if fresh garlic is regularly included in ones daily diet, it would ease hypertension.   What does that mean in practical terms?  Well, I interpret it to mean that garlic is great for you anyway for many reasons including regulating your blood pressure. But if you have a problem with high blood pressure you may now have a natural way of reducing your reliance on blood pressure medication as well. Of course, do not stop taking prescribed medication without first consulting your doctor.

OATS (Avena sativa)

Oats are a well known staple on the breakfast table.  Whether it is oatmeal which is popular in the US or porridge in the UK, oats and oat products are well known and well loved all over the world.  Particularly in cold weather, oats are often eaten to generate inner warmth and slow-release energy which helps in the treatment of colds and chills.

The whole plant is utilised in herbal medicine.  Also known as oatstraw, it is an excellent tonic for the nervous system.  Used for both physical and nervous fatigue oats are also used for general debility.  Rich in minerals, vitamins, flavonoids  and more it has many healing properties. Oatstraw has antidepressant and restorative properties which make a great nerve tonic and it promotes sweating.  Rich in calcium, oatstraw is used to prevent or treat osteoporosis. The grains make a nutritive and antidepressant nerve tonic while oat bran reduces cholesterol levels and has antithrombotic properties.  You can also find a Wild Oats remedy amongst the Bach Flower Remedies which is recommended for times of uncertainty and dissatisfaction.

Oatstraw tincture and decoctions can be used for insomnia, anxiety and depression.  The decoction also makes an effective skin wash to heal skin conditions.  A poultice made from the grain has long been used to treat eczema, and other skin problems.

ROSEMARY (Rosmarinus officinalis)

Rosemary is a woody, evergreen with a wonderful smell. Its flavour is often associated with many dishes from the Mediterranean. It enhances the flavours of meats, gravies, risotto dishes, and stocks beautifully.  Medicinally, Rosemary is a great herb for the mind. Rosemary has been used to improve mental faculties for many hundreds of years. It contains a compound (carnosic acid) which may be of use in the treatment of neuro-degenerative diseases.  Rosemary in food and as an essential oil can be used to ease headaches and it is often used to combat depression.

SAGE (Salvia officinalis)

Sage is a staple in many European kitchens. Its flavour makes it a perfect pairing with meats and cheese. Of course, what could be better that a sage flavoured stuffing for your chicken roast? Medicinally, it is a virtual cure all. Sage can be used as an astringent and has antibiotic properties. It improves sluggish digestion and sage tea is excellent for a chronic cough.   For centuries sage has been used by lactating mothers to dry up the milk supply when weaning a baby.  The smoke from burning sage is used to cleanse and purify spaces.

THYME (Thymus vulgaris)

Thyme is found widely in culinary dishes all over the world, found in many  meat, tomato, and egg dishes. It is a natural expectorant which makes it an excellent remedy for throat or bronchial problems. Being a natural antiseptic, you can use the infusion to make a gargle which reduces the inflammation associated with a sore throat.

The medicinal uses of kitchen herbs seem to have been largely forgotten. Have a look around your kitchen and see what herbs and spices you use.  Why not research their healing properties and find out what else you could be using them for?”

From “Kitchen Herbs are Medicine too!”  – Homemade Health  by Anke Bialas

 If you don’t know where to start, start with what you know!


At home spa treatments you already have in the pantry


I found this infographic yesterday and put it up on the Herbology Facebook page and when I got up this morning it had gone absolutely nuts.  It has been shared almost 700 times now and  that number still grows.  So I figure that you guys here might wish to see it too.   I just wish I knew who the creator is so I could give due credit.

Great, healthy skin does not need to cost a fortune. Here are some wonderful home made spa treatments for you to try.

DIY spa treatments on Herbology

The book, the articles and those giveaways

Hello my neglected readers,

If you have been watching the sidebar over there —–>    you will have seen what I have been up to of late.  It has been completely manic over the past month (or two), everything having been taken over by the release of ‘Homemade Health’.  Instead of it being all I post about on here I thought I would do a some bunched up posts that cover a few days at a time.

Being the back to front girl that I am, I’d like to start this post with the radio interview I did on 4BC with the lovely Clair Levander of ‘Talking Gardening’.  It gives a nice introduction into the new book and the Herbology At Home message of all the books.

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Press PLAY to listen.

So far this book tour has been great.  It’s the first time I have put something like this together, and although it is small compared to what I have seen other authors do, I do have a life and I could not be happier with the outcome so far.


Tues 5th – Melbourne Australia
Suz’s Space hosted a Q&A session – You’ll get to learn a few things about me you may not have known.

Wed 6th  Brisbane Australia
Accidental Hippy hosted a guest article by me on Herbal Cleaners.

Fri 8th Illinois US
Comfrey Cottages featured a Homemade Health book review

Fri 8th Brisbane Australia
At the Friday Tea Club, May King Tsang held a class on herbal infusions at Tlicious Tea Emporium. I made a guest appearance and signed my books for attendees. Here is a write up of the night by local food blogger MissFoodieAus.

Sun 10th Brisbane Australia
Brisbane Radio 4BC Radio Interview with Clair Levander on Talking Gardening. If you missed it, you can listen at the top of this post.

Wed 13th Ballina Australia
Rhianna’s Guide to Ethical Eating hosted a guest article by me on Weeds as Wild Foods – For health & environment.

Thur 14th Derby UK
Herbal Haven featured a Homemade Health review book

Sat 16th US – Got lost in transit

Mon 18th AU
Susan Kirk |Journalist featured a Homemade Health book review

Tue 19th AU
A Green Witches Garden (FB) is hosting a Q&A session 
and her thoughts on the Herbology At Home books.

We’re halfway through the tour, which means you still have a few more great articles, reviews and Q&A’s to look forward to.  Here is something else to look forward to………GIVEAWAYS!

The Accidental Hippy giveaway requires you to do a few things to win an autographed copy of  ‘Homemade Health’, I like that she is not making it too easy 🙂   CLOSED NOW!  Congratulations Kelli!

Comfrey Cottages  have TWO giveaways.  One for a jar of gorgeous Rose Cream (running now)and another on June 22nd for an autographed copy of ‘Homemade Health’.

Herbal Haven in the UK is also giving you the chance to win a copy of ‘Homemade Health’, all you have to do is leave a comment with a remedy or a memory of an old remedy to enter.


Please visit the sites who have done so well in supporting the Book Tour so far.  I’ll write another post with the other half of the tour when it has happened.




Make vitamin water that’s actually good for you

I found this on Facebook the other day and thought I would share it with you.  It’s such a simple idea, yet so very good for you.

At a time where some of you are sweltering in early summer heat, this may be a great way to keep hydrated.

Borrowed from the Facebook page of A Life Balanced 

Make your own vitamin water:
Add fruits instead of sugar for a natural sweetener for your H2O ♥

Cut the fruit into paper-thin slices or small chunks.
Combine ingredients with water.

Refrigerate 4-6 hours.

Serve over ice.

Congratulations, Goodreads winners!


Can you believe that 1487 people from around the world vied for a chance to win one of 5 copies of newly released ‘Homemade Health”?
WOW!  I’ll be sending the books out first thing Monday.  In case you are interested, the lucky recipients hail from the US and Canada.


Homemade Health – Virtual Book Tour

Herbology At Home Book 3 - Homemade Health

HOMEMADE HEALTH – The 3rd book of the Herbology At Home series has finally hit the shelves.

When a new book is released upon the unsuspecting public, quite often the author will go on a book tour.  Book stores all over the state/country host book signings and readings to help promote new releases.  Since my readership is spread so far and wide, across a great many countries, I figured that a virtual book tour gave everyone the chance to attend events hosted by participating blogs from around the globe.  It also looks really cool to say that one day I am in Derbyshire (UK) and the next day I am in Melbourne (AU), soon to be in Illinois (US). The frequent flyer miles would be awesome, the air fares would not.

During the tour the hosts are presenting a variety of content to keep you all interested.  There are author guest posts, Q & A sessions, reviews and giveaways of autographed copies of Homemade Health.  Please visit these blogs, they each have a great message and I am very grateful for their support of Herbology and the Herbology At Home series of books.

I hope I’ll see you there 🙂
Anke B  

Details for Homemade Health can be found HERE.

Date Blog/Venue Content URL
Tues 5th AU Suz’s Space Q&A session
Wed 6th AU Accidental Hippy Post: Herbal Cleaners
Fri 8th US Comfrey Cottages Book review
Fri 8th AU The Friday Tea Club Guest Appearance & Book Signing at the Herbal Infusion Appreciation Class
Sun 10th AU Radio 4BC Interview with Clair Levander on Talking Gardening
Wed 13th AU Rhianna’s Guide to Ethical Eating Post: Wild Foods – For Health & Environment
Thur 14th UK Herbal Haven Book Review
Sat 16th US Writing Opinions Book Review

Post: Starting on the herbal health journey
Mon 18th AU Susan Kirk |Journalist Book Review
Tue 19th AU A Green Witches Garden (FB)

Book Review

Q&A session
Thurs 21st UK UK Herbarium Post: Herbs for Pets
Fri 22nd US Comfrey Cottages Post: Stillroom Book – Recording herbal traditions for future generations
Mon 25th AU Mayking Tea Book Review
Tue 26th AU The Environmental Rhi-Source Q&A session
Wed 27th AU Herbalicious (FB) Q&A session

Herb Awareness 2012

It’s that time of year again.  HERB AWARENESS 2012 is happening on Sunday May 27th at Albion Peace Hall from 9 til 4. This annual event is hosted by the Qld Herb Society (The website has improved heaps but is still not very social media savvy, sorry).

I’ll not only be signing my new book Homemade Health, but also have Herbology teas and dried herbs for sale on the day. So if you need those elderberries for your syrup, come and see me Sunday 🙂

Herb Awareness weekend 2012

Herb Awareness 2012

For everyone who wants to know more about growing and using herbs.

• Discover a large variety of unusual and water wise herbs and plants for sale.

• Browse a wide variety of stalls with herb related goods, products and food.

• Relax and revive at Café Sage for delicious, herb inspired food and beverages.

• Enjoy free demonstrations and talks by noteworthy notables.

Australian Bushfoods, Herbal Medicine, Workshops, Cooking and Gardening tips.

Guest Speakers  – Herb Awareness
Sunday 27th May 2012

9.30am – 10.30am        Obi Obi Essentials – Alexina Johnson – Olive Oil and Green Teas
Olive Oil and Green Tea are just two of the products available from Obi Obi Essentials. They are based in the hinterland of the Sunshine Coast. It is a family run business that grows and produces olive oil, green tea, olive leaf tea, green and olive leaf tea and finally, olive leaf and lemon myrtle tea. Alpaca wool is also home-spun and available for sale. Obi Obi Valley is on the Western side of the Blackall Range, on the way to Kenilworth.

11.00am – 12.00noon     Special Guest Speaker for 2012 – Costa
Costa photo 1


Costa from Costa’s Garden Odyssey and the new host of the ABC’s Gardening Australia program, his infectious passion for plants and people is sure to inspire us all.


12.00noon – 1pm        Valerie cooking up one of her delicious Curries using Sri Lankan Herbs and Spices! Valerie has been attending Herb Awareness for a very long time with her Mum Charmaine and they have a following of attendees that truly love her cooking.  She always brings such a surprise to our lunch time spot in the guest speaker tent.

1.15pm – 2.15pm
         Noel Burdette co-owner of Spring Fields Garden Centre and local Horticulturalist talking about Herbs for a Healthy Garden – How the addition of herbs in the garden can play an important role in a healthy eco system in your backyard!
2.30pm – 3.15pm          2nd 2 None – Suzanne Nation – Herbal Wine Tasting
Suzanne will talk about there Options range of wines which evolved in 2000 and research and development began in earnest in 2001 and the Options range of wines reached fruition in 2004 when the first of three infused wines were released. The following year another two infused wines joined the range, while the most recent, a sparkling, was released in 2006. Additional blends are to be released later this year. Each wine has its own identity and personality. The Options range evokes emotions, recollections and pleasures. These wines truly are a memorable experience.

                                                Draw the raffle prizes


Sunday 27th May 2012
All demonstrations will be 30 minutes in duration!

10.15am – 10.45am – “Herbal Tinctures, Oil Infusions and Poultices”
Sandra Nanka – Mudbrick Cottage
12.30pm – 1.00pm – “Growing Culinary Herbs – How to Plant, Grow and Use them”
Debbie Aitcheson – The Chilli Patch
2.00pm – 2.30pm – “Facilitating Herbal Teas to be Naturally Healthy”
Kate Maxwell – K Teas


Herb Awareness 2012 is on Sunday 27th of May at the
Albion Peace Hall, Windsor

The Friday Tea Club – MayKingTea & Tlicious teach the finer points of tea

Last night I was very fortunate to attend a special Chinese Gong Fu Tea Ceremony to announce the launch of The Friday Tea Club. I have written about May King Tsang and her love of tea before, and this time she has partnered up with Tlicious at Southbank to bring a series of Tea Appreciation classes to the public.

So, after braving ridiculous traffic (now I know why I don’t venture into the city often) I arrived late but so did everyone else.  Face saved 🙂

May King’s passion for tea is infectious.  Her eyes shine as she waxes lyrically about the colour, texture and aroma of the tea leaves she presents to us. We dutifully look and sniff and get completely carried away with her enthusiasm.  The group detects notes of spinach, lemon grass, a walk in a meadow….

Who knew there was so much to tea?  Country of origin, method of rolling the leaves, the right level of oxidation – my head swims but I am completely drawn in.

Now this is where I confess that I am actually not much of a tea drinker.  I love the taste of various teas, white, green and black, but I am always left with a lingering taste in my mouth that can last for hours (and hours) and is quite unpleasant. Turns out I may have been drinking the sweepings off the tea room floor, because when I tasted the two types of Oolong last night I entered a whole new world of yumm.

The tea ceremony itself is a set method of preparation.  Unlike a Japanese tea ceremony which is all about a ritual of set moves, the Chinese version is about the maximum enjoyment. May King explains the correct water temperature to elicit maximum flavour. First the leaves are washed. Not because they are particularly dirty but to prepare them for what’s about to happen. Then there are the actual infusions, (yes, more than one from the same leaves) – the first of which is the weakest. These infusions only take between 30 seconds and 2 minutes, very unlike the herbal infusions we usually talk about here on Herbology.

I could go through it step by step for you but I could not do it justice.  Let May King , who is one of the top 50 accredited tea specialists in the world, take you on this magical journey of the senses, you’ll be completely amazed at what you’ll take away from it.

There are 3 classes planned for May/June.:
In case you are worried you didn’t get to share the experience last night, the first class on May 11th is another Gong Fu ceremony.

May 25th concentrates on Oolong tea, the myths and facts about health claims, and the gorgeous taste.

June 8th is dedicated to herbal infusions and there may well be a visit from yours truly on this night.

Places are limited and bookings are essential. To find out more and to book your seat please call Michael on 07 3844 3305

Tlicious is a brilliant venue.  I want their ….hmm, I am not sure whether to call it a counter, table, work top…..well whatever it is, I want it. It’s a great space for intimate workshops. The shop is contemporary in design with a very pleasant atmosphere.  The walls are stocked with an incredible variety of teas from all over the world.  Do yourself a favour and SNIFF the French Earl Grey.  *swoon* Instead of the traditional bergamot you’ll also detect peach, hibiscus, and rose. Their range is phenomenal, and they ship nationally and internationally if you can’t make it into the shop.  I had a lovely chat with the owner, Michael McMahon. If you have any questions he’ll be the man to quiz.

I received some sample (ner, ner, ner) which I will review for you soon, but I see no reason for you to wait.  Pop over to Tlicious, shop or website and get some trial packs.


The evening was also attended by a rep from The Courier Mail, this is his write up of May King’s tea-chings which has a lot more edumacational facts in it tham my post 😉

Herbal First Aid Webinar


Outdoor Kids – Herbal First Aid for Summer!

John Gallagher from is hosting a webinar presented by Aviva Romm, M.D: Date: Thursday, May 3, 8:30pm Eastern, 7:30 Central, 6:30 Mountain, 5:30 Pacific

“During this 90 minute webinar you will learn:

  • Six fun herbal activities you can share with your kids this summer
  • What to pack in your simple, summer herbal
    first aid kit
  • When to use herbs and when to see the doctor

Simple herbal treatments for…

  • Bites and stings
  • Boo-boo’s and ouchies
  • Sunburn
  • Poison ivy
  • Allergies

Be safe this summer…naturally.”


Aviva Room, M.D., is author of Naturally Healthy Babies for Children, The Natural Pregnancy Book, and Botanical Medicine for Women’s Health. Before graduating Yale Medical School, she was a practicing herbalist and midwife for over 20 years. She is also a former president of the American Herbalist Guild, mom to four kids, and grandma to one.

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