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24 April 2016

Infusions

Written by Flora, Posted in Do It Yourself, Herbal Medicine

Foundations of Medicine Making - Part 1

Herbal constituents can be released into and stored in various solutions such as water, oil, vinegar and alcohol. Some liquids (called menstruums in herbal medicine making) facilitate the release of different compounds and can be more or less effective depending on the plant and it's properties. Below are several different techniques for extracting herbs with water from Ceara Foley's class at the 2016 Herbal Conference.

Standard Water Infusions

Nettle tea cupAppropriate for leaves, flowers, green stems and fresh berries where the substances wanted are easily released into the water.

Make tea in a ceramic, glass, or enamel vessel.

Use 1 tsp. dried herb (or 3 tsp. fresh) per 1 cup of water, or 1 oz. herb per pint of water.

Place herb in vessel and pour boiling water over.

Cover. Steep 15 minutes then strain while hot.

It is best to make infusions as needed due to a very short shelf life. Drink 1 cup 3 times daily.

15 April 2016

Nettle Pesto

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

Now's the time to eat those nourishing nettles!

Nettle-Pesto-600 x 400Ingredients:

1 cup raw almonds
10-15 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon mineral salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
4 cups young nettle leaves
3 cups loosely packed arugula leaves
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil, or to preferred consistency
*optional 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
(I prefer it without the parmesan, and serve over goat cheese on toast instead)

08 April 2016

Mystical Mugwort

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

Artemesia vulgaris

2015.3 darrodils 600 x 450Have you spotted her silvery, aromatic leaves emerging this spring? Many of you are probably quite familiar with mugwort (Artemesia vulgaris). As winter releases its grip, she shows up along paths, in the garden…even roadsides. When she’s mature, we appreciate her for her aromatic qualities: dried and placed in sachets and pillows to encourage vivid dreaming, or used as our local smudge for energetic clearing. Mugwort is also used in oriental healing modalities such as moxabustion, when burned as part of acupuncture therapy.

28 March 2016

Violet: Beautiful Blood Cleanser

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

by Jessica Godino

ViolaToday while I was taking a walk with my son, a tiny burst of color caught my eye. I looked more closely and realized joyfully that I had found my first Violet of the season. And not just one, for the ground was covered with dozens of sweetly nodding purple flowers. My son and I happily gathered handfuls of the delicate blossoms and tender green leaves, eating some as we picked and saving the rest for dinner.

17 March 2016

Nature offers the best spring medicine

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

So get outside!

2015.4.3 corinna nettles - med cropWhether you’re pleasantly well rested or suffering from cabin fever, the spring equinox is the time to rediscover all the glories of the natural world!

This March, I've been walking around my community, visiting the sites where we garden--a blessed time, after such a hard winter here in our neck of the woods. Destruction from the winter in the form of downed trees and exposed, muddy areas, are evident everywhere. Yet new growth is also popping up.

As children, we are, bewilderingly, kept away from “dirt” and the wildness of the outdoors. Thus we grow up more as caged creatures than the wilder humans our ancestors were. My son, who has grown up without television, recently commented on people watching the Nature Channel. “Why, Mom” he queried “would they watch squirrels on television when they could look right out the window and wait to see what appears?”

23 February 2016

Peppercress: An early spring edible

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

Have you seen peppercress yet?

2015.3 darrodils 600 x 450The appearance of daffodils and crocus is certainly one of the lovely heralds of spring. Right around this time, my heart also flutters at my first glimpse of peppercress, poking between the cracks in the pavement or peeking out at the edge of my gardens. In the liminal time between the burrowed, reclusive months of winter and the resurgence of the green, peppercress’ tiny white flowers seem so appropriate: fragile, yet determined. I feel hopeful.

Peppercress is one of the first of the wild edibles to reveal herself to us after the dormant season. She’s a member of a very large and distinguished family—brassicacae, formerly known as cruciferae—that includes distant relatives such as kale, cabbage, broccoli, collards and cauliflower, as well as closer kin, like mustard greens.

10 February 2016

Treating anxiety, depression, and stress

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

the Wise Woman Way

So many people are experiencing mood disturbances these days. While the choice to use anti-depressant or anti-anxiety medication is a valid one, the increase in use over the past decade has doubled, along with our stress levels. How can we address this issue in our lives on deeper lifestyle level and create more sustainable solutions? My favorite interpretation of the Wise Woman Tradition, which speaks to the heart of this issue, is to:

Live in your body. Speak your truth. Love yourself.

Butter-curd-yogurt 600 x 402Living in your body is all about nourishment, the foundation of the Wise Woman Tradition. If we’re not deeply nourished, it’s very difficult for us to deal with the situational anxiety and depression that comes our way. Most women suffer from a lack of healthy fats in their diets. Healthy fats, like raw organic butter and coconut oil, contribute to a healthy nervous system unlike anything else. A robust nervous system helps us be less emotionally volatile or prone to extreme bouts of anxiety. Reducing or eliminating stimulants will also help get you off the up and down wheel of anxiety.

27 January 2016

Imbolc: Midwinter Holiday

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner

A simple offering

Empty-book-and-candle 600 x 368February is often cold and dreary. Yet at the same time, small yet steady signs of new life begin to appear: lambs are born, ravens build their nests, days grow softly longer, and the garden soil can be worked again. The fertility of the land is being reborn.

In Celtic Lore, Imbolc is the time of year when Old Woman Winter is transformed into the young maiden of spring - Bridgid, goddess of regeneration and abundance. At this time of year, the ancient weather divinations asked "How much longer will the winter last?" Modern folklore has translated this into Groundhog's Day - watching to see whether the groundhog will emerge from its hole and see its shadow!

11 January 2016

Stimulating Immunity

Written by Flora, Posted in Herbal Medicine

By Jessica Godino

echinacea tincture 438 x 600Most of us rarely think about our immune systems until we get sick. We come down with the latest round of the flu and begin rummaging through our medicine shelf for something, anything, to help us feel better. Luckily there are many herbs that work wonders in acute conditions, and with their help we can soon be back on our feet. Here's a few of my tried and true favorites.

Everyone knows that Echinacea is an immune stimulant. It increases the production of white blood cells and other disease scavenging immune cells. Echinacea can be helpful with all kinds of infections, both viral and bacterial. It is best to begin taking Echinacea at the very first sign of an infection and to continue for at least a week until it is completely cleared up. This herb can also be used preventively; if all of your co-workers are getting sick, for instance, or if you are just feeling extra susceptible.

 

05 January 2016

Herbal Bone Broth Recipe

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

2015.1 three stocksSuper nutrient dense herbal bone broth will cure what ails you, especially in these cold dark months of winter. The following recipe gives weight (scale) and volume (measuring cup) proportions. The weight proportions will be more accurate than the volume, but I listed the volume ratios for those of you who do not have a scale. If you are vegetarian, simply omit the bone broth, and enjoy the herbal broth on it’s own. Making these recipes is an all-day affair, so start early in the morning on a day when you plan on staying home for the entire day. This recipe should yield enough broth for a small family to have on-hand all year, depending on how often it is consumed. Purchase high quality organic bones from local farmers, who often reserve frozen bone pieces on the farm, delivering them to market upon request.

21 December 2015

Sleep, Darkness and Slowing Down

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Self Love, Women's Wellness

2015.10 moonmilk sun lower wide 2Our lives are so full of activities and stimulation of all kinds. It can be hard to focus on the healing and rest we need; yet nothing contributes to health more than nourishing food and SLEEP. I’ve heard it said that 90% of our healing happens during sleep. This is also the place of the dreamtime, where we renew our spirits and create new visions for the future.

Winter Solstice is a time of long nights – deep, dark, and rich for healing. Millennia of our ancestors would be in darkness for 14 hours a night or more. Here are some suggestions for self care during this time:

15 December 2015

Antimicrobial Herbs

Written by Flora, Posted in Do It Yourself, Herbal Medicine

alliumsativumsmallAntimicrobial herbs help the body resist pathogenic bacteria, fungi, viruses, and protozoans. They are a broad class of herbs and function in many ways. It is interesting to note that most traditional culinary herbs demonstrate considerable antimicrobial affects, which protect against food spoilage and enteric pathogens. Having lived in a sub-tropical climate without food refrigeration I can attest to the food preserving qualities of raw garlic, cayenne and oregano. In my experience, non-spiced dishes spoiled days quicker than generously spiced dishes.

09 December 2015

Finding the Light in Winter

Written by Flora, Posted in Do It Yourself, Self Love, Women's Wellness

Staying healthy means staying in harmony with the energy of the season. The Tiajitu – the yin/yang symbol pictured to the right – is a map for this. It shows that as we flow into the watery blue of the yin, we must stay connected to the seed of the fiery red. There is yang in the yin and yin in the yang, just as there is light in the darkness and darkness in the light.

woman outside in winter 600 x 399To stay in harmony during these darker days of the winter solstice and the weeks that follow we invite you to consider the following:

Get outside. See the light of the sun on a daily basis – for at least 30 minutes. This is especially true for those who work inside or who experience Seasonal Affective Disorder. The sun helps increase serotonin levels, the “feel good” neurotransmitter.

03 December 2015

Harvest Dandelion Root

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

And Make a Tincture

2015.10 moonmilk sun lower wide 2When we start to see frosty nights, perennial herbs send their medicine below the ground to store in their roots over the winter—so this time of year, the roots are at peak potency. Time to dig for medicines!~

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is an herb that has been used medicinally for many generations, but has become detested as a weed today. Dandelion is highly nourishing for the liver and, in today’s world, everyone’s liver is challenged by environmental toxins. It’s ironic: we have dandelion offering herself in great abundance in yards and lawns and gardens—where she is largely disposed of or ignored—at a time when we all could use some liver support!

27 November 2015

Embracing the Darkness

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Self Love, Women's Wellness

candle in hands 600 x 417The time of year stretching from Halloween to Winter Solstice is a dark and often intense time, as the seasons of light turn to seasons of dark. The nights are growing longer, and the dark evenings come early. I so treasure the darkness this time of year and the quiet it brings.

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