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Articles tagged with: diy herbal medicine

22 July 2015

Usnea: Immune-Enhancing Lichen

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

UsneaAnyone who has walked through the forests of the southeast has encountered Usnea, but you might not have noticed it. You probably didn’t know that the inconspicuous gray-green fuzzy stuff covering many of the trees is one of the gentlest yet strongest immune tonics in the herb world. Usnea is a lichen; a combination of an algae and a fungus growing together. Also known as Old Man's beard, it grows in little hair-like tufts, with the green algae covering the white string like fungus. The best way to identify Usnea is to pull a string apart and look for this white thread. However, since Usnea is nearly impossible to find in field guides and rarely in herb books, I recommend showing a sample to a knowledgeable person to confirm you've got the right plant.

12 July 2015

Magical Medicinal Herbal Coffee

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

chicory.dandySeveral years ago I was told that coffee has a negative effect on the delicate kidney and adrenal systems. Knowing that this is a major area of support for sexual energy and Qi (life-force energy), I knew that I needed to take immediate action towards better care of this crucial component of my life and body.

I found a basic recipe for an herbal coffee substitute, played around with some roots from my yard, added a little local honey and dark chocolate, and came up with a magic decoction that is not only not harmful but acts as a powerful tonic for the liver, kidneys and heart while building the blood and Qi.

Add a little cream and you have a delicious latte. I hope you enjoy it!

07 July 2015

Garlic Elixir

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

“Garlic and vinegar have been prized for thousands of years for their amazing healing powers. Alone or in combination, these foods are powerful medicine.”

So starts the first chapter of Garlic and Vinegar: Nature’s Healing Twins by Julia Charles. One of our favorite remedies is our Garlic Elixir, a tangy, pungent, yet slightly sweet combination of garlic, apple cider vinegar and honey; a delicious way to nourish and stimulate your immune system. It’s best to buy garlic and honey from local farms to make this tonic for sore throats, sinus congestion, colds and winter blues.

Since the garlic harvest season is fast approaching we’d like to share our Garlic Elixir recipe with you. As you stroll through your local farmer’s market this summer, keep an eye out for garlic and honey to brew up some zesty Garlic Elixir.

alliumsativumsmallGarlic Elixir Recipe
Makes: 1 quart; for smaller batch use same ratio
Prep time: 30 min + 6 weeks brewing time

Ingredients: 
10 oz Garlic
16 oz Apple Cider Vinegar (or other)
5 oz Honey

02 July 2015

Herbs: Fast-acting or Tonic?

Written by Flora, Posted in Herbal Medicine, Local Plants

Herbs are used in two distinct ways. One is in acute situations, providing relief for things like an upset tummy or menstrual cramps. The other is to nourish and regulate organs and systems, revitalizing the body's own ability to maintain overall good health.

plantain 1 600 x 405The first way is fast. The second often takes time. A robust herbal medicine chest contains both types of herbal remedies. Herbs like yarrow, skullcap, plantain, wild lettuce, motherwort, and lemon balm are usually used for acute situations. It is best to take them immediately at the on-set of the issue and at regular intervals to have the most desired effect.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

bee on dandelion 450x600Some 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

 

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.

apple chutney 450x600Lacto-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

pickles 450x600Lacto-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

2009.6 comfreyWe 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.

Comfrey has long been used medicinally and is most renowned for its ability to heal wounds, stings, sprains, and inflammations of all kinds. Known commonly as “knitbone,” it is used for healing broken bones in people and animals. Probably due to its high mineral content and the phytochemical allantoin, it stimulates cell reproduction.

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

hibiscus cooler 400x600In 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.

 

27 April 2015

How to Make an Herbal Infusion

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

An infusion is a potent, powerful, medicinal tea. To make an infusion, the plant material must be steeped for a long time. We find the easiest way to do this is to prepare before going to bed and drink in the morning. Instructions gathered from Susun Weed.
quart infusion

To prepare an infusion:
1. Put one ounce (approximately a cup) of dried herb into a quart jar.
2. Fill with boiling water and cover (this traps the important volatile oils).
3. Steep for 4-10 hours.
4. Strain and drink.
5. Refrigerate the remainder to prevent spoilage.

 

10 April 2015

Wildcrafting Tips

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

imm out 2015 6 536 cropped lo resWildcrafting is fun and exciting, a bit like a treasure hunt. You'll come home with lots of fresh, edible and medicinal treasures from your bioregion. Here are some tips to get you started.

1. Start with a few easily recognized plants, and get to know new plants slowly.

2. Study the poisonous plants that grow in your area, and always know whether the plant you're harvesting has any poisonous look-alikes.

3. Always be sure you have identified a plant correctly, either through the use of a field guide or an experienced harvester.

08 April 2015

Delicious Nettle Recipe

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

The first stinging nettles are starting to pop up! A renowned wild food delicacy, their sting is neutralized by cooking (wear gloves when harvesting!). Here is Corinna's favorite way to bring nettles into her kitchen...

Nettle cream soup 600 x 400Rich Russian Nettle Tonic
from Healing Wise by Susun Weed

4 cups stinging nettle tops
1 cup water
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup sour cream
salt to taste

25 March 2015

Are Standardized Extracts Better?

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

Here’s an excerpt from an article by Nancy and Michael Phillips to help address that question.
Green Blessings ~ Corinna

2012.5 hand with red clover top of pagePhilosophy enters deeply into the debate on standardizing herbal preparations. People oriented towards a scientific point of view feel the need to quantify healing possibilities by knowing the concentration of the chosen active principle (constituent) used to achieve proven results. Others view synergy and spirit as working in ways we may not fully comprehend but have certainly observed with whole plant remedies that embrace healing, often in more ways than one.

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