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Herbal Medicine

13 September 2017

Hawthorn Recipes & Remedies - Part 2

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

EagleSong Evans Gardner, community herbalist, taught Hawthorn Remedies and Recipes at the 2016 Southeast Wise Women Herbal Conference. Here is some of her wisdom about the plant and it's uses.

hawthorn berriesRead Part 1 for a brief overview of the properties of hawthorn as well as some delicious water-based preparations.

Fresh Hawthorn Tincture

Fill any size jar (start small) with fresh or frozen mashed hawthorn berries or whole leaves and
flowers. Add 100 proof vodka to cover, cap tightly, shake daily for 1 week, continue to macerate
for several more weeks shaking weekly. Finally, strain and bottle for future use as a tonic.

Dried Hawthorn Berry Tincture

Fill any size jar half full with dried haws. Fill jar with 100 proof vodka. Cap tightly. Shake daily
for one week. Let macerate for several weeks shaking weekly. Strain when ready. Use as a tonic.

Hawthorn Vinegar

Follow tincture directions using apple cider vinegar instead of vodka. Different menstruums used
for extraction add more options, expanding the basic staples in your culinary herbal repertoire for tending health!

04 September 2017

Standing strong with mullein

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

mullein mountainDriving in the mountains to the Blue Ridge Parkway the other day, my heart jumped at the sight of stand of mullein flowering out of a rocky cliff.

I thought of all you women and of the strength of community when we gather . . . In these times when the problems of patriarchy fill the newscasts, we continue to stand strong as a community of powerful, intelligent women, thriving individually and collectively.

Have you seen mullein, along the fence line or on the roadsides? This is the time we notice her, while in bloom, with her tall yellow flowering stalks. We find her everywhere, from abandoned lots to mountaintops.

28 August 2017

Women's Professional Training Course with Dr. Aviva Romm

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

As you may know, we are very proud to bring Dr. Aviva Romm to the herbal conference this year.  Throughout our mothering years, our staff have personally relied on Aviva’s work, including classics such as The Natural Pregnancy Book and Naturally Healthy Babies & Children. She is also the author of one of the leading natural medicine textbooks for women, Botanical Medicine for Women’s Health.

Aviva ad for newsletter smallAfter over two decades as a herbalist and home birth midwife, Aviva was called to go to Yale medical school to build upon that Wise Woman foundation.  Now, after years in medical practice, she is equipped to change the way women’s health is being approached in modern medicine. 

If you are a practitioner of women’s health, you may be interested in a new extensive professional training that Aviva is offering.  She has created an in-depth program for health professionals that synthesizes traditional women’s healing wisdom with the best of what conventional medicine has to offer.  This professional training presents her wealth of knowledge and experience to us as health practitioners who want to also help women take back their health - wisely, effectively, safely - and transformationally.

16 August 2017

Hawthorn Recipes & Remedies - Part 1

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

EagleSong Evans Gardner, community herbalist, taught Hawthorn Remedies and Recipes at the 2016 Southeast Wise Women Herbal Conference. Here is some of her wisdom about the plant and it's uses.

hawthorn branchHawthorn, Crataegus spp. is the epitome of a common plant, proliferating around planet Earth in the temperate northern latitudes. A member of the congenial Rosaceae family, this small to medium tree takes her place in rough environments with grace and even charm. Growing 16’-­50’ with small pome fruits, haws, and often sharp, thorny branches, Crataegus are used as specimen trees in gardens, as a foundation tree in countryside hedges and as a gnarly free agent in neglected landscapes providing shelter and food for innumerable insects, birds, amphibians, small mammals and, occasionally, humans! Just for fun, check out www.theplantlist.org where you’ll find 2718 plant names for Crataegus sp. found around the world!

The name hawthorn is an old English term for hedgethorn. Crataegus oxycantha or monogyna predominate as a shrubby tree used in European hedges along with its counter part the black thorn, sloe or trnka plum! An exceptionally vigorous and adaptive tree, Crataegus occasionally resort to apomixis, a form of asexual reproduction not requiring cross fertilization to create entirely new species. Two other commonly used herbs with this capacity are Taraxacum and Alchemilla, our friends and allies, dandelion and Lady's mantle. Somehow, this just tickles my fancy!

Generally recognized as a food with special properties wherever it grows, hawthorn preparations include haw candies, juice, wine, herbal medicines, and is used fresh and dried in soups, teas, punches, jams, butters, chutneys and relishes. Although, not universally accepted as beneficial, at least one county in WA state has listed the Hawthorn as an invasive species...since this is the county where I harvest all the haw used in my practice and heart health is a major concern in our communities, the mark is being missed in engaging an ally by some!

07 August 2017

Evergreen Medicine in Summer

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

hemlock 450x600At the height of summer, it seems the whole world is lush and verdant. This is a good time to think about evergreens. Yes, evergreens. We tend to pay attention to them only during the winter, as we decorate our homes for the holidays. But evergreens are year-round allies; they are edible and can be used for medicine.

It may sound odd that you can eat your Christmas tree, but you actually can. The idea of eating evergreens may also sound odd because the hemlock tree is an evergreen, and most of us have heard of “poison hemlock”. This is one of those instances where the common name is misleading; the two are completely unrelated botanically.

27 July 2017

Abundant Tulsi

Written by Flora, Posted in Herbal Medicine, Local Plants

2016.7 tulsi 600x450Are you feeling the overwhelming abundance of midsummer?

Sometimes it can feel a little too much to take in, and, we'll be so grateful for everything we harvested when we get to the darker leaner times in winter! One of our staff favorites is holy basil, also known as tulsi (Ocimum tenuiflorum), now in peak flower!

How do we love tulsi? Let us count the ways!

  • Brewing overnight infusions
  • Pesto!
  • Rubbing her fragrance on the skin
  • Adding a few leaves to a warm bath
  • Falling asleep with some of her leaves and flowers under your pillow 

Have you too been smitten by this lovely lady? Oh, let's not forget to dry or tincture some to have for the rest of the year!

19 June 2017

Plant Spirit Meditation

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

The "Language" of Plants

Suki Roth taught a Plant Spirit Communication class at the 2016 Herbal Conference. She has created these easy to follow guidelines for getting in touch with our green growing friends, and as she says "if you listen, they will ​teach y​ou​".

imm out 2014 5 woman writing plants

Feeling Vibrational Fields

Plant communication strengthens our connection to the plants on a spirit-to-spirit level… We are literally in their energetic field, open to their vibrations, messages and effects. Each one of us has a fingerprint uniquely our own. Each plant species has a specific frequency or vibration unique to that species. Sensitive people can feel and sometimes see these vibrations. Ancient peoples used this skill of observation and receptivity to develop a greater understanding of an individual plant’s attributes.

Exercise To Enhance Sensitivity to Plant’s Energy Fields

  • Rub your hands together briskly till palms feel warm.
  • Now blow on them and feel the effect of your breath.
  • Repeat .. your hands are now more sensitized.
  • When ready slowly pass them over the tops of your plant.
  • Do this several times and observe the feelings on your hands.
  • Next try a different species nearby; a tree, a rock, a person, or a body of water.
  • What do you notice? What physical sensations do you feel?
  • If you practice this exercise frequently you will become much more sensitive to vibrational frequencies.

Use the following ​suggestions to make your experience more successful and intimate.

10 May 2017

Making Motherwort Tincture

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

Motherwort goddess 450x600Open up a Wise Woman medicine chest and chances are, you will find motherwort tincture.

Easy to grow in a garden, motherwort often finds her way into the paths and new beds. She is is in the mint family—relax, though, she’s not like peppermint. Motherwort spreads by seed, and not by creeping roots.

Like all plants in the mint family, motherwort has square stems, opposite leaves and double lipped flowers. Motherwort's leaves, though, are maple shaped. And unlike most other mints, Motherwort is not aromatic and is quite bitter to the taste—some say it tastes like chocolate!

Botanically Motherwort is known as Leonurus Cardiaca which translates to lion-hearted! She is well known as an ally for the heart and circulatory system.

28 April 2017

Rich Russian Nettle Tonic

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

nettle tonic on squash 500xI first fell in love with nettles after discovering a lush patch near my house when I was in college studying plants and eating wild greens.

During that time, I cooked nettles in as many ways as I could imagine. One year before apprenticing with Susun Weed, I read her book, Healing Wise, and found my all-time favorite nettle recipe, Rich Russian Nettle Tonic. These days I have a constant supply since it is the peak time of year to harvest nettles.

Is nettles one of your favorites too? Have you felt her sting when reaching for her? If you have nettles near you, it takes just a few minutes (feel free to get your gloves!) to snip a basket of nettle tops. Bring them into the kitchen and then cook down—which removes the sting—for this delicious, nutritious dish . . .

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.

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