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29 June 2015

St. Johnswort, Lemon Balm & Motherwort

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Do It Yourself, Herbal Medicine, Local Plants

cw in lemon balmLemon Balm, Motherwort, and St Johnswort are three of my favorite herbs to grow. The pleasures of growing these herbs are many. . .

To begin with, in herb gardening, I am partial to perennials and strong self-sowing annuals, which result in more benefit year by year from the original input of labor. Sure, there’s mulching and tending each year but there’s also the advantage that the plants grow bigger and offer more as they grow.

26 June 2015

Wise Woman Medicine Making

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Do It Yourself, Herbal Medicine

At the Fall Conference 2014 Corinna taught a Wise Woman Medicine Making Class. Her very simple and well organized handout is a wonderful go to for beginner and advanced medicine makers alike. When in doubt it's the perfect reference on infusions, tinctures, vinegars, oils and salves.

0 Wise Woman Medicine Making Chart.pdf - HO

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

23 June 2015

Lambsquarters Leaves and Seeds

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Do It Yourself, Herbal Medicine, Local Plants, Nourishing Foods

cw 2015.5.22  field med res cropped 320 x 346One of my favorite things to do after work on a long, languid afternoon of summer is to gather a fresh, wild salad for the evening meal. I always add plenty of lambsquarters to my basket. Her curvy, velvety leaves create a mild base for other, stronger tasting salad greens like dandelion.

Lambsquarters is abundant during the late spring and summer season. The beguiling, undulating leaves—often tinted with just a touch of magenta—have the appearance of a webbed goosefoot, hence her botanical name, Chenopodium album, which translates as “goose foot powder”. The powder refers to a chalky coating that appears on the underside of the leaves. It’s a good way to identify her and also gives a hint to one of her nutritional benefits; lambsquarters is high in calcium.

chenopodium giganteum2 484 x 324This is a good thing, particularly because lambsquarters is a native ancestor of spinach. She shares many of the same health benefits but, like spinach, contains some oxalic acid. The high level of calcium in lambsquarters helps to neutralize that component. Like spinach, she’s wonderful cooked as well, and her tender leaves make a wonderful dish when sautéed with some garlic and olive oil (to provide healthy fats which increase absorption of the minerals and nutrients).

18 June 2015

Balancing Hormones

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Nourishing Foods, Women's Wellness

2015.5.2 core bio 2 med res croppedSo much of women’s health revolves around our reproductive cycles and the corresponding hormonal cycles. I get countless questions about the estrogen/progesterone balance. Women want to understand more about their PMS, endometriosis, fibroids--or to how to support their fertility, a healthy pregnancy, or menopause.

In these times, many girls and women tend to have high levels of estrogen, or what’s being called “estrogen dominance,” in large part to the xenoestrogens found in pollutants such as plastics, pesticides, and bovine growth hormones, which find their way into our food and water supplies. This estrogen dominance is being found to contribute to many of women’s chronic reproductive system health issues.

Taking steps to balance the hormones is helpful for many reproductive illnesses as well as easing common issues such as PMS or the menopausal transition. Some ideas:

13 June 2015

Fermented Honey: Mead Making 101

Written by Flora, Posted in Do It Yourself, Herbal Medicine, Local Plants, Nourishing Foods

Lindsay Wilson's Mead Making Class that the Fall Conference 2014 was a hit. The following is her handout with information about honey and a thorough recipe. In case you are unfamiliar with mead, it is an alcoholic beverage made from fermented honey. It can be infused with plant matter and used as medicine.

Some basics about honey

  • Humans have been gathering honey a very long time ~ rich symbiotic relationship ~ (a coevolution) of flowering plants, humans, and honey bees
  • Nectar of the flower of plants, stored in the stomach of the bee (predigested) and then regurgitated during a process called “food share” which adds enzymes to the nectar and then inserted into hive cells; they then fan their wings until nectar reaches 18.6% moisture content; cap and store honey
  • Bees change sucrose into glucose & fructose
  • 2 million visits to flower = 1 lb of honey
  • Honey bees travel from up to 3-5 miles to collect nectar, pollen, and resin

10 June 2015

Vitex: For Every Cycle of a Woman's Life

Written by Flora, Posted in Do It Yourself, Herbal Medicine, Women's Wellness

vitex bushby Jessica Godino

Outside my window a lovely little shrub with silvery leaves and clusters of purple flowers is just beginning to bloom. Not only is this plant one of the most beautiful in the garden, it is also one of the most valuable herbs in my medicine chest.

Vitex, also known as Chasteberry or Monk’s Pepper, has an ancient reputation as an an-aphrodisiac for men. The leaves were strewn at the feet of novices as they entered the monastery. However neither modern science nor practical experience supports this particular use of the plant.

05 June 2015

Edible Flowers

Written by Flora, Posted in Herbal Medicine, Local Plants, Nourishing Foods

roseMost people are now familiar with the high flavonoids content of berries, but did you know that edible flowers are also good sources of dietary flavonoids? It may be challenging to ingest enough flowers to contribute a substantial amount of flavonoids in the diet, but some edible flowers are quite large and tasty. Examples are daylily, rose of Sharon, and roselle hibiscus. Plus, who doesn’t want to engage in fleuravory every day?

Edible flowers:
day-lily-1Calendula (Calendula officinalis, Asteraceae)
• Daylily (Hemerocallis fulva, Xanthorrhoeaceae)
• Rose (Rosa spp., Rosaceae)
• Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus, Malvaceae)
• Roselle hibiscus (Hibiscus sabdariffa, Malvaceae)
• Pineapple Sage (Salvia elegans, Lamiaceae)
• Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale, Asteraceae)
• Chives (Allium schoenoprasum, Amaryllidaceae)
• Bee Balm (Monarda didyma and other species, Lamiaceae)
• Squash (Cucurbita pepo, Cucurbitaceae)
• Pansy (Viola, various species and hybrids, Violaceae)
• Nasturtium (Tropaeolum, several species, Tropaeolaceae)

28 May 2015

Fermentation Basics: Lacto-Fermented Apple Chutney

Written by Flora, Posted in Do It Yourself, Nourishing Foods, Women's Wellness

Lindsay Wilson brought so many yummy fermentation recipes to her class at the Fall Conference 2014. We're going to post them here in a series, so come back and look for more! For our last installment, here's a sweet tangy favorite.

Lacto-Fermented Apple Chutney
Makes 1 quart

3 cups fresh cut apples
1/2 cup water
grated rind of 2 lemons
juice of 2 lemons
1/8 cup of rapadura, sucanat
2 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup whey (separated from curds in raw, whole milk ideally)
1/4 cup sunflower seeds or chopped pistachios
1/2 cup dark raisins
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp coriander seed
1 tsp fennel seed

Mix all the ingredients except apples. Add the cut apples and mix well.

Pour into glass quart jar. Cover with a little filtered water if they apples are not covered fully. Make sure there is at least 1 inch of space between top of apples and the lid.

21 May 2015

Fermentation Basics: Lacto-Fermented Pickles

Written by Flora, Posted in Do It Yourself, Nourishing Foods, Women's Wellness

Lindsay Wilson brought so many yummy fermentation recipes to her class at the Fall Conference 2014. We're going to post them here in a series, so come back and look for more! Our fourth installment: Pickles!

“Health and homeostasis require the humans coexist with microorganisms.” ~ Sandor Katz

Lacto-Fermented Pickles
Makes about a quart

4-5 cucumbers (small/medium-sized)
2-3 cloves of garlic
2 Tbsp fresh dill or 1 Tbsp dill seeds
1 Tbsp sea salt
1-2 cups of spring/filtered water (or more if needed)
4 Tbsp whey
couple grape or oak leaves

If you don’t have whey, use one more tbsp of sea salt. I definitely prefer whey when I make my ferments, though.

Place the leaves (tannins in the leaves keep the pickles nice and crisp), garlic, and dill into the jar.

Pack the jar snug with quartered cucumbers (or smaller sections).

19 May 2015

Comfrey: Symphytum officinale

Written by Flora, Posted in Herbal Medicine, Local Plants

2015 3 comfreys flowering

We grow comfrey in every spare nook. This deep-rooted perennial comes from Europe but has naturalized here, and it is one of the first plants to come up vigorously in the spring. Its leaves are large and dark green, and the plant also boasts purple or blue flowers which nod over in clusters. It flowers from May to August and will produce four cuttings through the season.

14 May 2015

Fermentation Basics: Ginger-Garlic Sauerkraut

Written by Flora, Posted in Do It Yourself, Nourishing Foods, Women's Wellness

Lindsay Wilson brought so many yummy fermentation recipes to her class at the Fall Conference 2014. We're going to post them here in a series, so come back and look for more! For our third installment, here's a standard favorite with a twist:

Ginger-garlic Sauerkraut Recipe
Makes 1-2 quarts

1 medium cabbage head, cored and shredded
2” chunk grated ginger
2-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 T sea salt
4 T whey (if not available, 1 more T sea salt)

In a bowl, mix cabbage, garlic, ginger, sea salt and whey. Squeeze with hands for about 10 min to release juices.

Place in a quart-sized, wide-mouth mason jar and press down firmly you’re your fist (or a wooden pounder) until juices come to the top of the cabbage (add a little water if needed).The top of the cabbage should be at least 1 inch below the top of the jar.

12 May 2015

Make a Wild Salad

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Do It Yourself, Herbal Medicine, Local Plants, Nourishing Foods

2015.4.3 corinna nettles - med cropI know many of you have already been getting out into the garden and woods to harvest the edible wild plants this spring. With so many abundant edible “weeds,” making a wild salad can be a simple, quick dish that delights the eye as well as the palette.

To make an easy wild salad, I usually pick one mild-tasting, wild edible herb for the foundation -- like chickweed, violet, or lambsquarters. Of course, it's fine to mix in some fresh, local spinach or lettuce leaves to get you started.

Then throw in smaller quantities of dandelion leaves, ox-eye daisy leaves, and/or other strong-flavored wild edibles that you’re familiar with. If you have violet or dandelion blossoms blooming nearby, by all means, garnish your salad with those beautiful blossoms!

07 May 2015

Fermentation Basics: Hibiscus Whey Cooler

Written by Flora, Posted in Do It Yourself, Nourishing Foods, Women's Wellness

Lindsay Wilson brought so many yummy fermentation recipes to her class at the Fall Conference 2014. We're going to post them here in a series, so come back and look for more! For our second installment, here's a fizzy, refreshing treat: Hibiscus Whey Cooler

In all traditional cultures, brews and natural sodas were easy and effective ways to get the nourishment and medicinal properties of plants into the community’s bellies.

Make sure to use filtered or spring water when making your preparations, sing to your ferments or dance while making them, and be patient...magic is happening!

Whey Cooler Recipe
Makes 2 Quarts

1/4 cup dried hibiscus petals (or 1/2 cup of chamomile, nettles, mint, etc)
1/2 cup liquid whey 
Juice of one lime or lemon (optional for extra tartness)
2 quarts filtered or spring water
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar

04 May 2015

Cleavers: Galium aparine

Written by Flora, Posted in Herbal Medicine, Local Plants

cleavers flowerAs children (and adults) we love to make garlands, fairy crowns and corsages out of the abundant, and local Galium aparine, aka Cleavers. The fine hairs of the leaves, stems, and seeds tipped with tiny hooks, allow this lovely plant to attach - or cleave - to clothes, fur, hair and more.

cleavers on wristCleavers is an herbaceous annual with long stems that climbs and sprawls over the ground and other plants. The lanceolate leaves are simple and borne in whorls of six to eight, and the white to greenish flowers are 2-3 mm across with four petals. It flowers in early spring to summer, and each seed is 4-6 mm in diameter. The peak potency for harvesting is when both flower and seeds are present.

 

29 April 2015

Fermentation Basics: Kombucha

Written by Flora, Posted in Do It Yourself, Nourishing Foods, Women's Wellness

Lindsay Wilson brought so many yummy fermentation recipes to her class at the Fall Conference 2014. We're going to post them here in a series, so come back and look for more! We'll start with a well-known favorite: Kombucha!

In all traditional cultures, brews and natural sodas were easy and effective ways to get the nourishment and medicinal properties of plants into the community’s bellies.

Make sure to use filtered or spring water when making your preparations, sing to your ferments or dance while making them, and be patient...magic is happening!

Kombucha Recipe
Makes 1 gallon

3 3⁄4 - 4 quarts filtered water (or spring water)
1 1/4 cups of sugar
1 Kombucha culture
3 tablespoons or 7-8 bags black tea
1/2 cup Kombucha from previous culture

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