Thursday, June 30, 2011

Making an Herbal Body Splash for Summer

It is hard to keep up on a blog when you spend all your time outside away from “electronics.”  However, I was reading up on skin treatments, as I noticed that my skin this summer is rather dry instead of oily (must be the change in sun screen) and decided this was worth sharing!
While doing my research I ran across a recipe for a body splash and I thought this is the best idea for summer.  Quick to use, easy to prepare and won’t conflict with my need to wear sunscreen while outside.  And if I have sunburn I can chill it in the fridge for some healing and cooling.
I got this recipe from a book called Earthly Bodies and Heavenly Hair by Dina Falconi.
I tried out the Spearmint Blend. Falconi describes it as “an invigorating, cleansing and hydrating splash for all skin types.”  Because of the nettle and fennel it also makes a great dry skin remedy.
Herbal Body Splash
A combination of spearmint, nettle leaf and fennel seeds (crushed with the mortar and pestle prior to use) equaling one ounce (which by volume is between 1/4 and ½ cup depending on how much fennel you use. (If you need stronger aroma, use more spearmint in your combination.)
  • 16 oz. of water
  • about 12 oz. 80 proof vodka
First, make an infusion with the herbs and water by pouring the 16 oz of water over the ounce of herbs and allowing it to steep for four hours. Strain.
Pour the strained infusion into a measuring cup and add an equal amount of liquor. Pour the mixture into a jar or bottle, cap and shake well.
If you have a spray bottle, you can spray it onto your skin, or you can pour a bit into the palm of your hand and splash it onto your face.  I use it after washing my face before bed and in the morning as a rinse.
If you would like a stronger blend or a more intense aroma, you can add 10 to 30 drops of  spearmint essential oil and 5 to 20 drops of fennel essential oil.
For an even more basic body splash, add 40 drops of essential oil of your choice to 4 oz. of distilled water or sparkling spring water. The spring water will give it a tingling sensation and more stimulating effect.  Adding 2 teaspoons of vodka will help to preserve the splash and also make it more astringent and cleansing.  Remember water alone has a short shelf life, so always add the alcohol.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Herbal remedies for Hair Issues

My sister-in-law has well water that is high in iron, so they have a water softener to cut the iron content.  The result is her hair is brittle and frizzy from the drying effects of hard treated water.  I suffered with this for years, so I quickly agreed to work on something herbal to help her hair.  There are a few herbal treatments that can soothe your scalp and enrich your hair thus reducing the effects of hard or treated water, like hers.  These are the recipes I put together for her.

Luxurious Hair Rinse

Relieve scalp itch and revitalize brittle hair with this blend of moisturizing oils and herbs.  A hint of lavender scent makes a perfect finish.

1 Tbls. cut or powdered comfrey root
1 Tbls. violet leaf
1 Tbls. cut or powdered marsh mallow root
1 Tbls. plantain leaf
2 cups water distilled or filtered water
¼ tsp. jojoba oil
2 drops lavender essential oil

Place dried herbs in a non-reactive container.  Boil 2 cups water and pour over herbs.  Steep, covered for 6 to 8 hours.  Strain the infusion through a fine strainer or cheese cloth.  Discard solids.  Gently warm the infusion, then add the jojoba and lavender essential oils.  Cool and use as a rinse after washing hair.

To USE: Work ½ cup of rinse into your scalp and hair.  Then holding your hair over a large bowl, pour a cup over your head.  Pour the liquid that collects in the bowl back into the cup and reapply.  Repeat several times, working the infusion through your hair.

Herb-filled Vinegar Hair Rinse

A vinegar rinse will cut soap residue and leave your hair shiny.   It will also reduce the build up of iron deposits from hard water.

1 Tbls. nettle leaf
1 Tbls. cut or powdered comfrey root
1 Tbls. basil
¾ cup apple cider vinegar
2 drop basil essential oil
4 drops lavender essential oil
distilled water

Place the herbs in a non-reactive container.  Heat, but don’t boil the vinegar and pour over herbs.  Steep the mixture in a covered container, for 3 to 6 weeks, shaking or stirring it daily.  After it has steeped, strain the infusion through a fine strainer or cheese cloth, saving the liquid.  Discard the solids.  Add 1 drop basil oil and 2 drops lavender oil for every ¼ cup of vinegar.  Use as a rinse after shampooing hair.

To USE: Massage 1 to 2 Tbls. of full-strength vinegar infusion into the scalp and hair.  Wait a few minutes, and then rinse with plain water.  Or you can dilute the vinegar infusion (1 Tbls. vinegar to 1 cup distilled water) and pour one cup of the solution for short hair, 2 cups for long hair.  Repeat several times, then rinse with plain water.

I will be making this vinegar rinse soon because I liked the way it worked on my hair.  Up until now I only made a Rose Hair rinse which you can find on the site by clicking HERE!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Cleaning with Herbal Essential Oils

I have been experimenting with new cleaners for the kitchen and bath.  We are finding that commercial cleaners in addition to being harsh are no more effective than herbal cleaners so we have decided the convenience is not worth the price these items seem to cost.  In my research I found three new herbal cleaners that one can use in the bathroom and kitchen for both cleaning and disinfecting.

Lemon Crème Cleanser

This slightly abrasive cleaner is great on baths, basins, and stainless steel appliances, sinks and counter tops, but do not use it on fiberglass bathroom fixtures.

½ cup baking soda
5 to 6 teaspoons liquid Castile soap
½ tsp. lemon essential oil
1 tsp. glycerin

Combine all the ingredients and mix well.  Store in a sealed glass jar.

To use, scoop the mixture onto a cloth or sponge, rub over the surface, then wipe off with a rinsed cloth.

Citrus and Tea Tree Disinfectant

Spray this disinfectant in the kitchen or bathroom or into a smelly garbage bin.  Increase its cleaning properties by adding 1 tsp of liquid castile soap to the solution.  For extra disinfectant power, choose vinegar rather than water.

3 ½ fl. oz. vodka
¼ tsp. tea tree oil
¼ tsp lemon essential oil
¼ tsp. grapefruit essential oil
1 cup water or distilled white vinegar

Pour the vodka and essential oils into a spray bottle and shake to combine.

Add the water or vinegar and shake for several minutes.

Spicy Carpet Deodorizer

Banish pet smells and stale odors.  Be sure to grind the dried herbs very finely in a spice or coffee grinder.  Nothing toxic in this mix, so placing it on the floor even if pets will walk through is not going to injure them.  I have used this to treat carpets and upholstery in the car.

2 cups baking soda
4 Tbls. borax
4 tsp. ground cloves
4 tsp. ground cinnamon
4 Tbls. each finely ground dried mint, rosemary, lavender, and thyme

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly.  To use, sprinkle the powder over the carpet and leave for an hour or more (even overnight) before vacuuming the carpet thoroughly. 

We make both this Spicy carpet deodorizer and a scented geranium-based carpet freshener which you can get from the Backyard Patch.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

New Product - Herbal Zodiac Kits

Those born between June 22 and July 22 are born under the sign of Cancer (my sister's sign).  Recently I was rereading a book by Bertha Reppert entitled Herbs of the Zodiac.  It was an article the May June edition of the Essential Herbal Magazine that featured a reprint/rewrite from the section on the sign of Cancer originally from Bertha rewritten by her daughter Susanna Reppert Brill that made me realize I had gotten the book years ago.  When I found it, I also found Herbal Wisdom: Unlock the Power of the Zodiac to Benefit from the Healing Properties of Herbs by Roni Jay and Your Zodiac by Charles and Vivia Ray from the 70s (thank goodness I file my books by theme!)
I sat down one evening and poured over these books hoping for some healing inspiration for some personal ailments and instead found inspiration of a line of Herbal Kits based on the ideas presented in the books. 
So far I have created three Zodiac Herb Kits (Gemini, Cancer and Leo), each crafted for a specific Zodiac  Sign containing items crafted especially for them. 
Since my sister's birthday was coming up I did her sign first -- Cancer the water sign ruled by the moon.
The Zodiac Kit for Cancer includes 4 packages of single herbs, 2 different specially chosen Herb Mixes and a Cancer Sign Potpourri blend all of which compliment the herbal synergy of a Cancer.
The loose herbs are important to both health and well being and can be taken in food or as tea.   Recipes for using them are also enclosed.

For the sign of Cancer I chose:
  • Parsley
  • Dill 
  • Spearmint
  • Rose buds
Since lettuce and cucumber are special plants of Cancer, I also included two different salad dressing mixes in the kit to encourage the consumption of the beneficial vegetables:  The Backyard Patch Italian Dressing and Marinade and our Buttermilk Ranch Dressing, both containing more beneficial herbs. 
I then blended a special Potpourri for Cancer that includes roses, spearmint, parsley, dill, and St. John's Wort which is scented with Rose essential oil to give the Cancer rest, relaxation and peace.
I then gathered all of the above listed items together in a decorative box with a printout of Herb and Zodiac Information tailored to the Sign of Cancer.
Once I was on a roll I made one for Gemini and Leo too!  The herb combinations are different with each one and for Leo I made a tea similar to the one in Bertha Reppert's book because when I made the recipe myself I liked it too much not to share.  I only make this tea for the Leo Zodiac Kit however, to make it special for them.  I will be adding more signs of the Zodiac as the months progress, so if you do not see yours listed yet, come back again.
We have other Herbal Zodiac Kits and you can find them all listed under our Seasonal Products section on Etsy. 

UPDATE: We now have Zodiac Kits for Virgo, Capricorn, Pisces, Aquarius, Libra, Sagittarius, Scorpio, Aries, and Taurus. They are listed about 3 months before the season of the zodiac they are for and are removed 30 days after the zodiac season they are for.  You can find them all in our Seasonal Herbs Section on Etsy.  If you want one out of season, click the custom order button on any zodiac listing and ask me if I can make it.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Herbal Beverages for Summer

Summer has finally decided to stay in Illinois. (We were not sure for a while there.)
My sister-in-law and her husband were just in for a visit and she & I had to go shopping for flavored selzer water because she cannot get her favorite brand since moving to Wisconsin from Chicago.  That got me to thinking about summer-time drinks.  I tend to drink sugar-free fruit drinks in the winter, but come summer I lean to iced teas and lemonade.
Lavender Lemonade
Lemonade is a summertime classic. We dress it up and make it unique by adding lavender to the recipe. Start by steeping a handful of lavender flowers in 2 cups water for about 10 minutes. Strain out the buds and use the remaning liquid with water as you make lemonade.   And that can be any kind of lemonade, both freshly squeezed lemons and sugar or the powdered stuff. To make it special, garnish the glasses with a sprig of lavender.  I have also used Backyard Patch Lemon Lavender Splash Tea to do this as well.  Just make 2 cups of tea and continue as above.  The Lemon Balm in the tea only enhances the Lemonade.
Quick Gingerale
A homemade ginger ale is simple to make and tastes better than what you can buy at the store. Make a simple syrup by combining one cup of water and one cup of sugar and bringing it to a a boil. Chop one large rhizome of ginger root into small pieces add it to the syrup, then simmer for 15 minutes. Allow the syrup to cool and add 1 to 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. If you prefer to strain out the ginger pieces, do it while the syrup is still warm. However, leaving the pieces in will continue to intensify the flavor. Add 2 tablespoons syrup to a glass filled with ice.  Fill the glass with club soda and stir. Store the syrup in the fridge for up to a week.
Flavored 7-up or Gingerale
My husband loves gingerale.  A dash of bitters in a tall glass of gingerale with ice and he is quite refreshed.  If you want to add a colorful, flavorful items to store bought 7-up or Gingerale, try this:  Add 3 or 4 tea bags of your favorite fruit tea to a bottle of gingerale. Be sure to tighten the top of the bottle back down to keep the carbonation in the soda. Allow to steep for at about an hour. Serve over ice.  I have used Citrus and Cinnamon Black Tea to flavor gingerale.
Best Backyard Patch Iced Teas
Not all herbs give great flavor when iced, but mints, flowers and sweet herbs tend to work best.  I have experimented with all my herbal teas, trying them hot, cold and as a syrup.  The results include these three best summer-time iced teas: Rest Easy, Calming Spirit and Rose Blush.  We even market them as Sun Teas in large tea bags for summer brewing.
Syrup Iced Tea Base
If you or your family prefer traditional iced tea, try making a simple syrup of equal parts honey and water.  Place the honey and water in a sauce pan and heat until the honey is dissolved and liquid.  Add herbs or tea bags to steep in the syrup after removing it from the heat.  While it is still warm, strain out the herbs or tea bags.  To use the syrup add 1 to 2 Tablespoons per cup of water and ice. You can also add a splash of lemon juice to the glass for added flavor.  The syrup can be kept in the refrigerator for about 1 week.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Book Review - Edible Herbs by Charles G.W. Smith

I take herb books out of the library, I order them on inter library loan, I ask the research librarians to hunt them down sometimes from libraries outside our district.  I do this because I have so many books that I want to sample anything new before I decide to buy, otherwise I will have a library that overflows the shelves and still doesn't give me the information I need when I need it.

This month I found a book I had not ordered before because I thought it would repeat other bigger books I already owned.

The book is The Beginner's Guide to Edible Herbs: 26 Herbs Everyone Should Grow & Enjoy by Charles G.W. Smith (2010: Storey Publishing, Mass.)

I confused the author with someone else which was why I ordered it at all, but I was wonderfully surprised by my serendipitous error.

The book is slim, easy to carry with you, and measures about 6 x 9 inches.  It is filled with 145 pages of color images and information.

I am not sure if I like the book because of the 26 herbs highlighted it included both Lemon Balm and Lemon Verbena (a sorely under recommended herb in my opinion) or if it was the clever headings on the informational pages associated with each herb, like A Cabbage Lover (with dill) or Bury Your Nose in the Leaves (for Hyssop).  It could also have been the quick, easy-to-follow recipes or the way topics like making marinades, dressings or vinegars were incorporated into the text with an easy flow that matched the herbs presented around them.

As I spent a bus and train ride home one night reading through it, I found that not only was there growing information, but clear concise use and preservation information as well as medicinal traits, and little "aside" boxes on how to make Herbal Honey or a Sachet, or explaining a traditional blend like Fine Herbs. 

There is a little bit of everything in this book.  It is perfect for a beginner because it exposes you to  what the herbs are known for as well as what they can be used for while stretching you to new possibilities without giving you so much information you feel overwhelmed.  But as a seasoned herb grower and user, I also felt it had something to offer me, especially giving me the ability to look at 26 herbs I was already familiar with in some new and unique ways.  I definitely have been enjoying the recipes which included standards, but did not stick to tried and true giving me several combinations I was dying to try as soon as I read them.  In fact all three dressings have adorned my salads already.

I absolutely love this little book and will be adding it to my recommended reading list for all lectures and programs.  You should check it out too!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Holy Basil - Herb of the Week

In keeping with my summer tradition of what herb is in my face this week and sharing about it, I have chosen Holy Basil.

We had an odd turn of the weather at the end of May.  We had days that were in the high 90s, then suddenly it turned chilly and windy.  I paid attention only to the temperatures which were to be in the low 50s, not at all thinking about the unseasonable winds which created a wind chill in the 40s and below.

I had planted out all my basil seedlings, including my Holy Basil seedlings on Memorial Day weekend.  The wind frosted them (basil does not really like temps in the 40s especially when young and tender.)  I tried to nurture them back to health and although I rescued the purple basil and the sweet basil, the lemon basil and the Holy basil eventually all died.  This week I bought replacement plants from a local nursery - Hacker's Glen Bard Gardens in Lombard, IL.

So this week's Herb of the Week is Holy Basil (Ocimum sanctum)
It is known as Tulsi by many who grow it, which is the Hindu name for it.  I refer to it that way most of the time to keep people from confusing it with culinary Basil.  This plant is entirely different.
Holy Basil has a long tradition of use in Ayurvedic medicine (which is becoming very popular in the US currently) and is a well-known sacred plant of the Indian subcontinent. Holy Basil has been called the “Queen of Herbs” and “The Elixir of Life.”   Holy Basil is also considered an Adaptogen or adaptogenic herb.
In new herbal medicinal thought there is a focus on adaptogens which have the unique ability to switch from stimulating to sedating effects based on the body’s needs – thus correcting dysfunctions and producing a biological state of balance. One example would be Panax ginseng which can either raise or lower blood pressure depending on the circumstances. Adaptogens also produce an increase in the power of resistance against multiple (physical, chemical or environmental) stressors. Simply put, adaptogens help the body adapt to stress, support normal functions and restore balance. 
Holy Basil seedlings
This concept of balance through herbal tonics is ancient, having been practiced for generations, especially in India and China.
There are three varieties of Holy Basil, Krishna, Rama and Vana.  Krishna is a red Holy Basil, the other two are green.  The flowers of Rama are purple/pink while Vana has a while flower.
These are my three plants but I do not know if they are Vana or Rama because all three varieties tend to have the same hairy stem and deeply veined slightly pointed leaves.  Rama tends to have a darker stem, so these may be Rama but it is too soon to tell.  They look like basil when you look at them but no not have the same shiny quality to the leaves that Sweet, Lemon and Red Rubin Basil tend to have, instead the leaves are more of a matte color.
The scent is camphor-like and the flavor has a hint of mint in the background.  It is difficult to explain the taste.  It is a cross between chickweed, nettles and lemon balm to me, but others have described it differently.  I think each variety has its own unique flavor.  Suffice it to say it in no way tastes like culinary basil and I am not in the least temped to make pesto out of it.
It does dry easily (unlike other basils) and works well in herbal teas, especially those for stress reduction and relaxation.  Holy Basil has the ability to calm the mind and promote restful sleep, as well as increase energy and vitality (see how it can be two things in one?)
I started growing it because the herb is said to help lower bad cholesterol which I seem to have in abundance even though my cholesterol numbers are not bad at all.  I will let you know if this crop does better than the crop I grew from seed.
As with all herbs it is not a perfect herb and it does have side effects.  It can thin the blood, which for me is wonderful, but for those already taking blood thinners, you might want to speak with a doctor.  It can lower blood sugar, which can be beneficial to some, but not those which chronic low blood sugars as this can make things worse.  Again if you have diabetes or hypoglycemia, consult a doctor. As is recommended for many herbs it is not recommended for women who are pregnant, nursing or trying to become pregnant.
It actually has its own website

Here is a tea recipe you can use Holy Basil in.

1 Tbls. Bergamot (Bee Balm)
1/2 Tbls. Holy Basil (any variety)
1/2 Tbls. Lemon Balm
1/2 Tbls lavender flowers

Mix together and store in an air-tight container.  To make tea use 1 heaping tsp. per cup of hot water and let steep 5 to 10 minutes depending on your tastes.

We use Holy Basil to make our Green Chai Basil Tea (scroll to the bottom of the website page to find it) and hope to add a Holy basil curative tea to our offerings this fall.  We will see how the harvest of these plants goes.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Don't Freak Out the Backyard Patch has not disappeared!

Don't freak out! I decided that I wanted a new cleaner look to the blog so I changed it a bit.  There are new search features, ability to share it on Facebook, and other items in addition to what we have always had posted here.  The content will stay on the same topic of herbs and their uses.  We are also int he process of changing our website, so if you want to pop over there, please check it out and let me know what you think of the new look:

Friday, June 10, 2011

Recipe: Skillet Chicken with Mustard

Back on May 26th I gave a couple of recipes for making your own mustard.  After I had made a batch myself, I was looking for ways to use it and came across this recipe which I adapted to go with my home-made herbed mustard.  You can substitute Dijon mustard if you have not made herbed mustard of your own.


Skillet Mustard Chicken (serves 4)



  • 1/3 cup hot chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 2 teaspoons herbed mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • dash of pepper
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • nonstick cooking spray, butter, or oil


In a small bowl, combine bouillon granules, water, wine, mustard, basil, tarragon and pepper. Set aside.
Rinse chicken; pat dry. Spray a large skillet with nonstick cooking spray or coat with a little butter or oil. Heat skillet over medium-high heat; add chicken. Cook chicken for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until lightly browned.

Remove skillet from the heat; carefully add bouillon mixture. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for about 5 minutes, or until chicken is tender and cooked through. Remove chicken to a warm serving plate; boil pan juices for about 1 minute to reduce to about 1/4 cup. Pour juices over chicken. Serve with rice and a green vegetable.

Update 7/6/11

We made this recipe over the holiday weekend and I just wanted to share a couple phtos of the finished product.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Herb of the Week - Cilantro

This is not a complete herb of the week style post, so I reserve the right to go back and do Cilantro again, but truthfully with the weather the way it is I just had to say a few words about Cilantro and how it bolts in hot weather like this.

So this week's Herb of the week is: Cilantro (coriander) Cariandrum sativum

I live in the suburbs of Chicago and we do have record breaking 100 degree days around here in the summer, but they came early this year.  Usually you can guarentee that they arrive just in time for Taste of Chicago which is not until around the 4th of July.  We are a month ahead of schedule and it is wrecking havoc in the garden.  The plants do not know whether to produce leaves and get taller or make flowers and seed and end the cycle of summer.  Cilantro is always a victim of hot weather.

My Cilantro is growing quickly this year and if this heat continues it is going to bolt.   When a plant bolts it runs quickly to seed.  Since Cilantro is both an herb and a spice once it moves toward flowering and producing seed, it can no longer be harvested as cilantro.  The serrated round leaves of cilantro change in shape and characteristic to a feathery leaf and loose their pungent flavor that is so popular in Thai cooking and Salsa.  So when the plants get tall enough to begin making flowers you must gather all the cilantro you can, because the transformation can happen overnight. 

Coriander leaves
If your cilantro is beginning to bolt I recommend you make as much salsa as you can and perhaps try this great recipe.  This is not only a dressing but a great marinade and sauté.

Cilantro & Soy Dressing

2 Tbls. chopped cilantro
2 Tbls. dark soy sauce
1 tsp. clear honey
1 tsp. wholegrain mustard
2 tsp. rice vinegar
1 Tbls. sesame oil
1/3 cup peanut oil

Beat all the ingredients together and use as required.

You cannot stop cilantro from bolting, although there are a few slow bolt varieties that are available to grow.  You will still need to sow a new set of seeds about every two weeks if you want a continuous crop.  It is the same thing you need to do with dill.

Here is another recipe where you can use your cilantro.

Cilantro Salsa

Roma tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1/2 onion, finely chopped
4 jalapeno peppers, seeds and white stuff removed, finely minced
1 bunch cilantro (about 1 cup leaves)
Juice of 3 limes
Heaping Tbls. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
Couple grinds black pepper, not too much
1 tablespoon olive oil

In a bowl, combine all ingredients. Place in refrigerator for up to 12 hours to meld flavors.

Salsa Verde

¾ cup parsley leaves
½ cup mixed herbs, such as basil, chives, cilantro and mint
1 garlic clove, chopped
6 green olives, pitted
1 Tbls. capers, rinsed and drained
2 anchovy fillets, rinsed and chopped
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. lemon juice
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
Vegetables and bread to serve the salsa

Put all the ingredients, except the oil in a food mixer and blend to form a smooth paste.  Gradually blend in the oil to form a sauce, and then add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve as a dip with a selection of raw or cooked vegetables and fresh bread.

If you do not grow cilantro, but these recipes made you hungry for it, check out our herb mixes for a few made with cilantro, like our Cilantro Spread or Salsa blends.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Dill-Sage Cornmeal Muffins

My husband will sometimes out of the blue suddenly disappear into the kitchen and turn up a half hour later with a treat of some kind.  A couple weeks ago it was Cornbread Muffins.  They really hit the spot and I enjoyed them.  When he wanted to make more, I gave him this recipe for an even better muffin that we used with dinner and breakfast.

Sage-Dill Cornbread Muffins
1 1/4 cups sifted flour                                                                         
3/4 cup cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon minced fresh sage or 1 teaspoon dried sage
2 tablespoon minced fresh dill or 2 teaspoon dried dill
1 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
4 to 6 calendula flowers, pull out the petals

Grease 12 muffin cups. Preheat oven to 400 F. Sift the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl. If using dried herbs, add them to the dry ingredients.
If using fresh herbs, add them to another bowl with milk, vegetable oil and eggs and use a whisk to beat together until they are smooth.
Add the liquid ingredients to the dry, mixing just until the flour is moistened. Do not over mix. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups to 2/3 full. Sprinkle flower petals on top of each muffin.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until muffins are golden. Serve warm.
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