Here's a question we've heard a lot from our Facebook and blog friends:
"What's the deal with powdered herbs and how can I use them differently from cut and sifted herbs?"
There are a number of different ways you can use powders, but one really awesome thing about powdered herbs is that you can easily add a bit of herbal magic to your smoothies!
The herbs listed below are often called superherbs, superfruits, or super foods - although, we think all plants are pretty super! However you choose to define them, be sure to do your own research to see how they will best fit into your daily health regime. It's always a good idea, and fun, to diversify. So, with that said, I'm excited to offer my master list to help you herb up your smoothie!
Here's the master list of herbal boosts for your super smoothie!
Acai Powder - Acai berry is relatively new to the US and has quickly become a popular fruit used in smoothies, sorbets, capsules, and juices. The dark purple Acai berry is a source of antioxidants and anthocyanins, and contains protein, fiber, vitamin E and iron. It is naturally low in sugar and the flavor is a mellow mixture of red wine and chocolate. This amazing fruit powder is certified organic and quickly freeze dried after harvest.
Amla Powder - This is a dried and pulverized berry of a sacred tree in India known for being a source of vitamin C and having a sour, bitter, and astringent taste. The dehydrated Amla pieces will easily re-hydrate in water, creating a fibrous texture similar to dehydrated apples with a much tarter taste. You could also use the whole dried berries to make a juice as a base for your smoothies. This berry is commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine practices and is considered a cooling pitta herb.
Barberries (juice base) - These dried, red Berberis berries are often used in Persian and Afghan cooking, or made into jam or pickles. Barberries are known for their citric acid content, vitamin content, and contain the active compound berberine. Super tasty berry power!
Bee Pollen - Bee pollen has a long and storied past throughout human history. Hippocrates and Pythagoras both prescribed bee pollen for its healing properties. Native Americans wore pouches containing pollen around their necks on long journeys to eat so they could sustain a high level of energy. Bee pollen has a complex flavor that's sweet, spicy, and floral with hints of honey.
Beet Root Powder – Beets have been used in folk medicine to treat a wide variety of ailments since the time of the Romans and was popularized by the French for its culinary value. The natural sugar content makes this powder a great sweetener! It also offers fiber, magnesium, potassium, zinc, beta-carotene, calcium, and B vitamins.
Bilberries – A close relative of the blueberry, cranberry, and huckleberry, bilberries have a wonderful blue/purple color from natural anthocyanosides, which has earned them a rich traditional history. Bilberries have a flavor very similar to blueberries and contain naturally occurring antioxidant bioflavonoids including polyphenols and anthocyanosides.*
Cacao Powder – Who doesn't love the mood boosting properties of chocolate? The Mayan, Olmec, and Aztec civilizations used the entire cacao fruit medicinally. Cacao contains caffeine, flavonoids, phenylethylalamine, anandamide, magnesium, sulfur, oleic acid, theobromine, and tryptophan. Cacao beans and nibs are a source of magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc, copper, manganese and potassium, and are a source of vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C, E and pantothenic acid.
Camu Camu Powder – This fruit from the Amazon rainforest is attracting the attention of many for its Vitamin C content. Camu camu has a highly acidic flavor that can be easily sweetened to taste. Use in your smoothie as a source of magnesium, potassium, Vitamin C, beta carotene, iron, and amino acids.
Carob Powder - Made popular as a caffiene-free substitute for chocolate, carob powder was once deemed essential to the opera for saving the voices of performance-weary sopranos. This pea family pod has been used as a food source for over 5,000 years, offering dense nutritional value and a naturally sweet and slightly bitter flavor.
Cayenne Powder - The Capsicum family includes bell peppers, red peppers, and paprika, but the most famous members of the family are cayenne and chilies. Careful to use the slightest amount, unless you handle heat well! The capsaicin in these peppers has been used for its diaphoretic properties. Try freezing our Lemon Tea in an ice cube tray and then blending them up with apple slices, fresh greens, fresh ginger, and a 1/8 tsp of Cayenne Powder.
Chaga Powder – Chaga is a parasitic carpophores mushroom that looks like the charred remains of burned wood on the side of a birch tree (sometimes growing on Elm and Alder, but Birch is its favorite). Chaga is commonly made into a tea, taken by tincture, or put into capsules for its antioxidant content. Why not give your smoothie some mushroom power?
Chia Seeds – Chia seeds rule! They are great for making homemade puddings, gel juice, or easy jam recipes. They also rule in smoothies. Chia was a staple for Incan, Mayan, and Aztec cultures. “Chia” is the Mayan word for “strength” and Chia seeds used to be referred to as “Warrior Running Food”.
Chlorella Powder - Some scientists believe these single celled algae may be among the Earth’s oldest living organisms. Natural health enthusiasts know chlorella well as an excellent source of nutrients. Its bright green color would make it a perfect pair for leafy greens like kale or dandelion. You can also use it instead of fresh greens in your winter smoothie recipes!
Cordyceps Powder - Cordyceps is an adaptogen and has been used to create stimulating tonics and maintain a healthy functioning immune system in times of stress. Contains adenine, adenosine, uracil, uridine, guanidine, guanosine, hypoxanthine, inosine, thymine, thymidine, and deoxyuridine.
Cranberry Powder – A wonderfully flavorful herb, its fruity tartness and beautiful color is perfect for your berry filled smoothies.
Damiana Leaf Powder – This herb was historically used to celebrate weddings. Light floral taste with a spicy finish and lovely green color, damiana leaf powder would go great in a smoothie to help you deal with those day-to-day ups and downs we all experience.
Elderberry Powder - Elder flowers and berries have a long history in traditional European herbalism. Elderberries are traditionally made into a syrup for ingestion during the fall and winter months. The berries have a gorgeous dark purple red color and a sweet and rich flavor. You can make a syrup with the berries to add to your smoothie or boil the powder in some water and add to your liquid base.
Flaxmeal – Flax seed is an important and very popular ingredient found in the world of herbal health foods as a source of omega fatty acids and fiber. Add some to your smoothies or use the meal in bread and muffin recipes!
Garcinia Fruit – This dark red fruit can be rehydrated and blended up with your smoothie base. It is said to make recipes more filling and satisfying, which can be helpful to extend your morning shake! It has a distinct sour fruit flavor.
Guarana Seed Powder – Guarana is thought to be the highest source of caffeine available in nature. A lovely addition to your morning smoothie!
Hawthorn Berry Powder - The fruit of this rose family tree has been used traditionally to support a healthy functioning cardiovascular system.*
Hemp Seed - With a lightly nutty flavor and good fats, hemp seeds make a great addition to any smoothie!
Hibiscus Flower Powder – A beautiful flower with a tart taste due to its content of 15 to 30% plant acids, including citric, malic, and tartaric acids in a lovely wine-red color. Hibiscus is used as one of the main ingredients in many tea blends for its color and antioxidants.
Kava Root Powder - A beloved herb and a trusted ally to promote stress reduction.* Kava tea made from powdered kava root is warming and soothing to the nerves, body, and soul. Pacific Islanders have for centuries used Kava to help with relaxation.
Lycii Berries - A great way to sweeten your smoothies is to soak a handful of these dehydrated berries in water or milk overnight. In the morning, toss the combination into your blender with fruit or veggies! Lycii berry, otherwise known to Chinese herbalists as Goji or Chinese Wolfberry is bright red and almost chewy with a taste very similar to raisins. It has been used as a general nutrient tonic (Yin tonic) for many years and Chinese medicine refers to it as a cooling tonic.
Maca Root Powder - Maca is traditionally prepared as a food, particularly in South America where it grows. The root is a staple food, boasting carbohydrates, protein, and a variety of essential minerals like calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, sterols, and essential fatty acids. Because of its mineral content, Maca has been used to rejuvenate the body and mind.
Maqui Berry Powder – These berries taste tart like huckleberries and contain antioxidants. It is documented that Macqui berries have been used by the Mapuche natives of Chile and Argentina for centuries. Maqui berries are relatively new to the American herbal market, and are primarily being sold as one of the latest “superfoods” with antioxidant and other beneficial attributes.
Milk Thistle Seed Powder – Three of the active compounds within milk thistle seed are collectively identified as silymarin. This constituent is credited for much of milk thistle’s beneficial value, particularly associated with supporting healthy liver function.*
Rosehips – The fruit of the rose contains Vitamin C. Rosehips have a tart flavor and are widely used in jams, jellies, and teas.
Wheat Grass Powder – Wheat grass sprouts contain organic phosphates and a cocktail of antioxidants. If you are unable to grow your own, a powder is an easy addition to your super smoothies!
Yacon Root Powder – This root is commonly made into a sweet syrup or extract. In powder form, yacon root makes an excellent addition to your blended beverage. It is thought to be one of the “lost crops” of the Incas, who were known to cultivate it and who considered it an important food crop. The fresh root is small and similar in appearance to a potato, and is said to taste similar to a cross between celery and Granny Smith apples.
* DISCLAIMER: For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.