Everydays, Herb Power Balls
by Libby Jennison
These go by many names. Rosemary Gladstar, my mentor’s mentor, coined them Zoom Balls. Her intention was to provide a group of lagging students with some giddy up while out in the field. Of course, it included caffeinated herbs, like Guarana and Kola Nut. I believe the original formula even included Panax Ginseng and Bee Pollen, though she doesn’t include them now mostly because of their status as Endangered and a sensitive product, respectively. Since the seventies the recipe has taken many forms, shapeshifting to fill the need, as the recipe is incredibly versatile. It seems every herbalist will have their favorite recipe.
My teacher, Emily Ruff, who I interviewed a bit ago in this post here, calls them by a name I rather like. Her Ninja balls work under the cover of sweet and nutty goodness to hide the medicine. She likes to bring in nutritive and adaptogenic herbs to enhance ones vitality in a very long lasting, foundational way. Mineral rich herbs like nettles, oatstraw and their milky tops, and alfalfa are truly supreme at restoring nutritive gaps, especially for the nervous system, and I highly recommend them to everyone! Adaptogenic herbs are similarly important for vibrant health, which are generally accepted to be herbs that move the body towards homeostasis, bettering it’s ability to ward off stress and improve it’s resiliency.
I picked up this little bag of Sunrise Minerals at Milagro in Santa Fe during one of my yearly trips. The herbies working there are always lovely! Do stop in and say hello if you are ever there. You can find them on their website, or another great option is Racheal Jean’s Green Drink.
Needless to say, these little balls pack a punch. They make a great afternoon or after school snack, and I can vary the ingredients slightly based on the fluctuations of our health. Mostly, I stick to my allies. These are the herbs I want to take everyday, hence the name I gave them- Everydays- nodding to their residual nature; their effects and benefits unfolding slowly as they build up in our bodies.
hemp seeds and shiitake mushroom powder
They mirror Emily’s Ninja Balls, just with a different name. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?
1/4 c hemp seeds (nourishing, excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids)
1/4 c shiitake mushroom powder (adaptogenic, immuno-enhancer)
1/4 c ashwagandha powder (adaptogenic)
scant 1/4 c sunrise minerals, or a powdered mixture of your favorite mineral rich herbs (nourishing)
1/4 c raw cacao
3/4 c sunflower seeds butter (or YOUR favorite nut butter)
1/2 c raw, local honey
buckwheat groats for rolling
Begin by mixing all of your dry herb powders and the cacao together in a bowl very well, to ensure an equal amount of each herb finds its way into each ball. Then add both your honey and your nut butter. This part takes a little elbow grease. Stir and fold the powders into the nut butters and honey. There really isn’t an easy or pretty way to accomplish this. It’s a hot mess. *See bowl above*
Once the dough comes together, you can tear 1/2 tablespoon to tablespoon sized amounts off the big dough ball and roll them into small one or two bite Everydays. If your dough doesn’t just come together, as sometimes, depending on the different herbs you choose to use and their different properties, it won’t, then use more of either the wet ingredients or dry ingredients to remedy the batch. For example, if I make a batch and I’m finding that the dough is just too gooey, I might add some more cacao powder. In a particularly difficult to remedy batch, I might reach for carob instead, as it tends to absorb very well. On the other hand, if it isn’t coming together at all and its just too dry, I’ll slowly add more honey and/or nut butter a bit at a time. You will be surprised how one tablespoon to the next can change its state dramatically.
*rolling them in the groats gives them extra nutrition, but also makes them pretty! try rolling them in chopped nuts, seeds, coconut, or a mixture of these, perhaps with a sprinkle of cacao nibs? *
Finally, spill some buckwheat groats onto a plate and roll the balls in them until each are covered.
If balls just aren’t your thing or you just can’t bear the innuendos that inevitably come up as you serve them (even among seasoned herbies) you can always save time and simply press these into a baking pan and cut them into squares. I might refrigerate them beforehand to make the knife slide better. Cookie cutters are always fun, too!
Any favorite recipes out there for herb balls? I always need new inspiration! What are your everyday herbs?