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Herbal Medicine

22 March 2017

Spring equinox greens

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

Dandelion & nettles are popping up

Are you feeling the stirring of springtime? Sensing the plants calling you? We are now at equinox!

nettle dandy low resIt’s been a challenging winter--recently we've seen nature’s elements freezing back tender plant shoots (or burying them in snow, depending on where you live). The herbs and flowers are looking a bit ruffled, with dead leaves around their shoulders as they are emerging from the underground time of year.

And we may feel the same way, gazing around in wonder at the world beginning to blossom around us. We may also be surprised by our own strength and resilience--like the plants, finding the stamina to survive through challenging times.

Dandelion and nettles are two favorite early spring greens for wise woman herbalists to bring into the kitchen.

06 February 2017

Winter Herbal Kitchen

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

In this winter season when we don’t have the fresh herbs handy, like our foremothers, we rely on herbs that we have preserved for the winter. I drink nettle infusion almost every day, covering a cup of the dried herb with a quart of boiling water in the evenings, to steep overnight and heat up the next day for my warm mugs of infusion.

2017.1 newsletter reishi lo resThis week, I’ve also been enjoying brewing three other dried herbs, each in her own water-based form of extraction--depending on which method optimizes the medicinal properties of that particular herb.

I was delighted to find local reishi mushroom at the food coop in Asheville last week. I am adding a handful of the dried slices to each pot of bone broth, for the adaptogenic and deep immune support that reishi offers.

Similar to making stock, a long slow simmering is the most potent way to extract the medicinal properties of reishi, which adds a rich, deeper flavor to the bone broth. As the name suggests, adaptogens support our bodies and hormonal systems to adapt to a wide range of circumstances and changes, both physically and emotionally.

09 November 2016

Fave stories from the Herbal Conference

Written by Flora, Posted in Herbal Medicine, Sisterhood, Women's Wellness

2016.10 jk 40 600 x 401The 12th annual women's herbal conference in Black Mountain, NC this October, on “Plants as Medicine, Plants as Healers,” received rave reviews, as a joyful weekend of connection, meaning, education, and celebration. According to the survey results, the conference met or exceeded expectations for 98% of you! We've been savoring the sweet stories and love notes that have been pouring in, from teachers, volunteers, vendors, and participants alike.

The following popular classes topped the charts: "Mugwort and Motherwort", "Stones for Power", "Infinite Orgasm", "Cherokee Household Medicine", and "Herbs, Slavery, and the South". And we are hearing that across the board, participants loved the range and quality of the topics covered.

04 October 2016

The Herbal Conference is almost here

Written by Flora, Posted in Announcements, Herbal Medicine, Sisterhood, Women's Wellness

We hope to see you there!

class 2008 10 under trees EDIT low resWe're on our way 12th annual Southeast Wise Women Herbal Conference! On the weekend of October 14-16, we are blessed to have over 50 inspiring and knowledgeable teachers coming to share their wisdom, as well as the hundreds of hardworking volunteers, and all you wonderful women that bring this event to life every year! With over a thousand women registered, we're now in the final stages of preparations, from measuring layouts at the camp, to completing the volunteer schedules.

We hope you'll come join the wise woman tribe that gathers annually in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and see for yourself what the buzz is all about. For up-to-date information on registration and availability, see our FAQ page.

 

30 June 2016

Snacking on Summer Sorrel

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

wood sorrel 2Walking in the woods on a hot afternoon or working in the garden, I often find myself nibbling on wood sorrel for thirst-quenching refreshment. This widespread, wild edible is familiar to many—some call it “sour grass” or refer to the tiny fruits as “sorrel pickles”. Children seem particularly fond of foraging and eating those little “pickles”.

Wood sorrel, or Oxalis spp., is particularly abundant in Appalachia and the lemony flavor of the leaves and fruits make it a wonderful trail-side snack or a tasty addition to your wild salads. Although it resembles clover, the cluster of three, heart-shaped “sweetheart” leaves, five-petal, yellow flowers and tiny, cucumber-like seedpods readily identify wood sorrel.

20 June 2016

St. Johnswort Preparations

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

Make your own bottled sunshine

st johnswort oilThere is no other medicinal herb that bespeaks more of sunshine than St. Johnswort, or St. J’s, as we fondly call it. It loves sunny open places, blooms at the height of summer solstice, soothes the skin after sunburn, and even brings sunshine into our lives through its mood elevating properties. Establish some of this sunny plant in your garden this spring!

The most well known, most widely used species of St. Johnswort is Hypericum perforatum, studied for its uses against depression—especially helpful for the kind of dark moods that come from seasonal affective disorder (SAD). In fact, it is often said that plants grow where they are needed—and St J’s is a prolific “weed” in the Pacific Northwest, where dark and rainy winters contribute to a high number of SAD cases.

02 June 2016

Herbal Oils & Salves

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

Foundations in Medicine Making - Part 5

calendula salveHerbal 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 oil from Ceara Foley's class at the 2016 Herbal Conference.

Infused Oils

Oils are an effective way to introduce herbs directly on and through the skin. I prefer to use olive oil for medicinal purposes due to its healing properties and long shelf life and almond or apricot oil for massage and skin care.

23 May 2016

Syrups & Elixirs

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

Foundations in Medicine Making - Part 4

elderberry syrupHerbal 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 in syrups from Ceara Foley's class at the 2016 Herbal Conference.

Syrups

Syrups are generally made to help with the flavors of herbs, especially for children. I like syrups just for variety’s sake. There are many methods handed down from our ancestors. I have adapted this first one from Rosemary Gladstar’s teachings to include my own experiences and tastes.

13 May 2016

Glycerine & Vinegar Extracts

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

Foundations in Medicine Making - Part 3

dropper bottle pinkHerbal 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.

Glycerine Extracts:

Glycerites can be beneficial for those with alcohol concerns or for children’s remedies. The disadvantage is in not dissolving resinous or oily materials as well as alcohol. There is also a shorter shelf life.

The ratio of glycerin to water varies greatly from 50% to 100%. The only hard and fast rule I know is you always need more glycerin than water to preserve the herbs well. Make the extract as you would with alcohol, chopping, macerating, and straining the herb with the final results being a thick, sweet tasting product.

04 May 2016

Herbal Tinctures

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

Foundations of Medicine Making - Part 2

 

echinacea tincture 438 x 600Herbal 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 alcohol from Ceara Foley's class at the 2016 Herbal Conference.

Tincture Preparations:

Generally, alcohol is a better menstruum than water for the complete extraction of plant constituents. Various ratios of water to alcohol will dissolve most all relevant ingredients of an herb while acting as a preservative. Tinctures can also be made with glycerin or vinegar although not with the best medicinal results for most herbs. I would use the menstruums for nutritional herbs or very mild tonics.

04 May 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.

04 May 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)

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.

11 January 2016

Stimulating Immunity

Written by Flora, Posted in Herbal Medicine

By Jessica Godino

Most 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.

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