Herb Basics: Herbal Bean Bag Toss

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A fun project for the young (or for the young at heart): Try making your own herbal bean bags. Dried herbal mixtures added to the beans give off a great scent as you throw the bags back and forth. In her book A Kid’s Herb Book (Robert Reed, 2000), Lesley Tierra, L.Ac., explains how to make the bags.

  1. Cut a piece of cotton fabric into a 7-inch-by-7-inch square. Then fold the cotton in half, wrong-side out. Stitch along three of the edges using very small stitches.
  2. Turn the bag inside out and fill half-full with beans (such as kidney or lentils). Add 2 tablespoons of dried (not powdered) herbs—see suggestions below.
  3. Finally, turn under the edges of the open end and sew the bag closed using very small stitches. Have fun!

Herbal combinations

Sweet: Try fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra), anise (Pimpinella anisum)and/or vanilla.
Spicy: Use cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum), cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum), cloves (Syzygium aromaticum) and/or ginger (Zingiber officinale).
Relaxing: Try lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) and/or chamomile (Matricaria recutita).

Source: Tierra, Lesley. A Kid’s Herb Book. San Francisco: Robert D. Reed, 2000.