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Articles tagged with: diy herbal medicine

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 . . .

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.

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.

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

clover blossoms 600x450Most 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.

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.

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!

21 November 2015

Grandmother's Wisdom about Poke

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

2015.10 moonmilk sun lower wide 2pokeberriesGrowing up in the Northeast, I loved playing with the purple pokeberries, painting designs on my skin. My parents allowed this, though they made it clear that I shouldn’t eat the berries of this “poisonous, invasive weed.” The huge poke plants were such a bane in their garden that they would actually tie a rope around the roots and use a Jeep to pull them out!

09 November 2015

Immune Tonic Tea

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

As the cold weather sets in, getting a refresher in immune enhancing and supporting herbs can help us all prepare for winter colds and flus. Here are some resources from Juliet Blankespoor's immunity class from the 2014 Herbal Conference. This is part 3 of 3, see also Part 1: Immunostimulating Herbs and Part 2: Immunomodulating Herbs

Immune Tonic Tea Recipe

Ingredients:mushroom tea
8 cups water

3 dried Shitake mushrooms cut into smaller pieces
1 Tablespoon Licorice root (cut and sifted)
1 Tablespoon Chaga mushroom powder
2 Tablespoons Eleuthero (Siberian Ginseng) root (cut and sifted)
1 Tablespoon Astragalus root (cut and sifted)
1 teaspoon Cinnamon powder
1⁄2 teaspoon Cardamom powder

16 October 2015

Mother Nature showed up at the Herbal Conference!

Written by Corinna Wood

land 2015 10 bridge to island lo res 2For nearly a year, we had planned and prepared. Class lists, teachers, tents, audio, electrical, food, entertainment, registration, lodging, parking; everything under control. After all, we’d done this for ten years. More than a thousand women were once again, on the way to Lake Eden to take part in the 11th annual Southeast Wise Women’s Herbal Conference. We were ready.

And then we had a last-minute registrant: Mother Nature showed up . . . in a big way. She was packing a wallop and bearing some unexpected teachings about resilience, resourcefulness and community. She brought rain in abundance—from showers to downpours. As the conference weekend approached, we followed the weather predictions and storm warnings with a mixture of concern and amazement. While setting up the workshop tents and preparing the campus under sodden skies, the staff wondered, “Will this dampen the spirit of the event?"

13 October 2015

Calendula: Golden Drops of Sunshine

Written by Flora, Posted in Herbal Medicine, Local Plants

By Jessica Godino

Calendula BasketAlthough we haven't had a frost yet, we have had several really cold nights. Many of the plants in the garden are turning yellow and dying back. But my Calendula patch looks happier than ever. In fact, the plants have put out a whole new set of blossoms since I last picked them just a few days ago. These Calendula plants will live well into the fall, surviving until the very deepest of frosts. And although I will miss them when they die, I know in spring babies from some of the flowers I wasn't quick enough to pick will sprout all over the garden, ensuring another years supply.

Calendula is native to Europe but because of its beauty and adaptability gardeners have spread it around the world. The flowers range in color from mild yellow to deep orange, and because of their intensity have been called "golden drops of sunshine."

05 October 2015

2015 Herbal Conference PHOTOS!

Written by Flora, Posted in Sisterhood

Lena Eastes, the Soil Sisters leader, lighting the hearth fire with her bow drill kit.

por 2015 10 lena starting fire

02 September 2015

Radical Self-Care

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

2015.4 c basket woods Life is very full these days -- preparing for the Southeast Women's Herbal Conference, harvesting, parenting my son -- just to name a few. Like most women, I wear many hats. To sustain the energy levels that my life requires, without the use of caffeine or other stimulants, I have learned that I need to practice radical self-care.

Radical self-care includes proper nourishment for the body -- good water; local, organic produce; fermented foods (like yogurt and kimchi); and healthy fats (like organic butter and coconut oil). Another important daily practice is herbal infusions -- strong, medicinal teas brewed with herbs such as nettles and oatstraw that help nourish the body with needed minerals and vitamins.

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