Augmenting our lives with the August share!

 

 
 

1)  Pipsissewa   tincture (Chimaphila umbellata)

 

 

 

Taste/Qualities:  sweet   and bitter, astringent, decongesting, restorative

 

 

 

USE:    An old Eclectic kidney alterative, which means it helps support kidney   function so that elimination of waste works more efficiently.  This plant is a sweet indicator of a   healthy forest and ecosystem.  Michael Moore   (the herbalist) describes it as tonic for ‘lingering skin conditions   characterized by dry, flaky inflammation, vague aching in the joints and   frequent urination at night.’ It helps promote detoxification and helps   remove lymph congestion.

 

 

 

DOSAGE:     30 drops 3 x a day as a general support to the kidney.

 

 

 

2)  Yarrow   Vinegar (Achillea millefolium)

 

 

 

TASTE/Qualities:  Bitter,   aromatic, astringent, sour, cooling and warming

 

 

 

USE:   This herb is not only my power plant, but she is also a diaphoretic that aids in fevers and colds.  As a bitter carminative, she helps all different types of indigestion and stomach ailments.  Better yet, in a apple cider vinegar menstrum, the medicinal benefits of this herb are heightened especially in the case of digestion.  ACV (apple cider vinegar) unfiltered and raw are full of delicious digestive enzymes that support proper absorption, but in addition to the bitter and fragrant, volatile oils of yarrow there’s a boost in GI support.

 
 

 

 

Preparation:    Take a shot of it straight from the bottle, if the thought of that   makes you salivate.  Otherwise, drop   some into your water to drink first thing in the morning or before/after a   meal.  You may also mix some into your   favorite salad dressing.

 

 

3)  Arnica tincture (Arnica cordifolia)

Taste/Qualities: Bitter, pungent, restoring

 

USE:  In tincture form?  Yes, please!  For any type of physical trauma, albeit a strain or a bruise or a contusion, your body will do well to have some droplets of our friend diluted in water or used externally.  Specifically indicated for pain on movement and ideally used immediately after an injury.  Peter Holmes also describes it tonifying the heart qi represented by heart palpitations, wheezing, but can also help to stimulate cerebral consciousness!

 

 

 

DOSAGE:  A LOW Dose

After immediate injury, drop some directly on area of impact and drop 5-15 drops  into water to be taken internally.  ‘Delicate, tired’, elderly folks should avoid the internal use.  Avoid in pregnancy.

 

4)  Milky Oats (Avena sativa) & Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum) Ghee

 

TASTE/Qualities:  moisturizing, nourishing, sweet

 

USE:   Ghee mixed in with herbs is nothing new friends.  It’s common practice in Aryuvedic medicine.  Ghee is clarified butter, yet has no lactose or casein so those that cannot have dairy can enjoy the healing benefits with ghee.  Milky oats is a nourishing nervine that helps those whose nervous system is constantly on sympathetic (‘fight or flight’ response) mode.  Tulsi is lovely, aromatic adaptogenic herb that helps our bodies deal with stress balancing our endocrine system via the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis!  This system is in charge of our hormones, metabolism and energy levels.  Tulsi is restorative and relaxing and what better way to have these two herbal buds mixed together with some delicious ghee?

 

 

DOSAGE: Cook with it and use as much as you need!  Spread it on your bread or raw, flaxseed cracker if you can’t have gluten.  Smear it on your face if you’re out of lotion and you’re on a backpacking trip and you only have your Seed and Thistle jar of medicinal ghee.  I use my cottonwood ghee all the time in the winter as a moisturizer.

 
Harvesting Holy Basil! 

Harvesting Holy Basil! 

Posted on August 29, 2013 .

July's bounty!

 

1)  Calendula tincture

 

Calendula officinalis

 

TASTE/Qualities:  Pungent, Sweet, Bitter, Decongesting, Astringing, Warming and Cooling

 

USE:  Calendula has great uses externally and internally for any type of inflammatory, infectious wound and/or ulcerations.  Calendula especially has an affinity to the lymph and indicated for swollen lymph glands.  I’ve used it in a protocol to help heal damaged gut.  It also helps to reduce liver congestion in that it stimulates bile flow as well reduces fevers, and moderates menstruation in which there is early or heavy periods with dull pains.

 

DOSAGE: As an ongoing tonic internally for liver stimulation, uterine support, or gut healing, use 30 drops 1 x a day.  Also apply externally to an infectious wound as needed for acute situation.  For a cold/flu and/or swollen lymph use 30 drops 3 x a day.

 

2)  Mouth rinse

 

Plantain leaf, Oak bark + Spilanthes

 

USE:  To help support a healthy gum line and teeth, not excluding the importance of a healthy diet!  Plantain does a remarkable job of reducing inflammation and promoting detoxification.  Oak bark is a strong astringent that helps to tonify and tighten up the gums.  Spilanthes is a strong antiseptic herb that helps stimulate salivation and helps cleanse the mouth.

 

DOSAGE:  A dropperful in the morning after breakfast and a dropperful at night before bedtime.  Swish around the mouth for at least 30 seconds and spit out afterwards.  Preferably done after having brushed teeth.

 

3)  Sitz bath

 

Epsom salt, Lavender flowers, Yarrow, Raspberry leaf

 

USE:  This sitz bath formula is helpful for general aches and pains in the body with the Epsom salts full of Magnesium.  The herbal preparation is great for promoting relaxation with the Lavender flowers, while the other herbs are supportive to heal any wounds or damaged tissue as well as for colds/flu.

 

Preparation:  For bath use add 1 cup of formula to 2 quarts of boiling water. Remove water from heat and let sit for 20 minutes. Strain and add to a bath and soak for 20 minutes.  Can also have formula in a cloth bag in the pot or just place the bag of formula into the hot bath, but the herbs will not be as heavily extracted or potent.

 

 

4)  St. John’s Wort Oil

 

Hypericum perfolatum

 

USE:  St. John’s wort as an oil is remarkable for its uses topically for muscle tension, cramps, headache, burns, scalds, insect stings and neuralgias.  It can also be indicated for treating viral skin conditions such as herpes, cold sores and shingles.  I use it all Summer for sunburns. 

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Posted on July 26, 2013 .

Not quite summer-May's share

 

1. Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) flowers in brandy!

Crataegus spp.

 

USE: A cooling energetic that works with the heart both physiologically and spiritually.  Very useful nervine that works with hot conditions like allergies (hay fever) to anxiety, and insomnia with irritability.

 

2. Lemon balm tincture (Melissa officinalis)

 

USE:  A warming nervine that is mild and not quite sedative, but relaxant enough to aid in anxiety, nervousness and insomnia. As a carminative, Melissa can also help with indigestion or 'upset' stomach due to nervousness. 

 

3. Spring Nutritious Tea!

Lemon Balm, Violet leaf + flower, Mint, Hawthorne flower + leaf, Nettles, Mullein, + Raspberry leaf

 

USE:  A nourishing tea blend that you can have a cup of every day to get a good dose of minerals and nutrients that are tasty and soothing to the nerves.  Great for the end of the day or before bedtime.

 

4. Wild Cherry Bark Syrup (Prunus serotina)

 

USE:  A tasty anti-spasmotic most suitable for that relentless cough and cold, but can also be used for tension as in the case of menstrual cramps, for example.  It can be drying and astringent, but is balanced with the honey.
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Posted on May 21, 2013 .

Blossoms up: April Herbal Share

1.Nettles and Turkey Tail Mushroom Ghee

Nettles (Urtica diocia) and Trametes Versicolor (Turkey Tail)

 

USE:  Throw into a pan for cooking, sautée as you would butter or cooking oil.

 

Medicinal properties:  Nettles with its nourishing properties can also be draining with the exception of when it is binded with fat or oil.  Ghee itself has been traditionally used medicinally in Aryuveda for its nourishing properties and it doesn’t contain lactose!

 

Turkey tail as a mushroom has endless benefits as an adaptogen, which helps our bodies deal with stress.  It also helps support our immune system.

2.Cedar Salve (Thuja plicata)

Use/Medicinal property:  Apply externally when necessary for skin irritations like eczema or for healing wounds.  Thuja has antiseptic properties but also anti fungal and her smell takes you back to our Cascadian forests.

 

3.Spring Tonic Tincture

Horsetail (Esquisetum arvense ), Nettles (Urtica diocia), and Cleavers (Galium aparine)

 

These three herbal allies grouped together offer a cooling and nourishing overall effect on the lymphatic and urinary systems.  Caution should be used with this axis leaning towards drying a person out since all three can be categorized as diuretics.  In small doses during the allergy season, this tonic can prove to be useful to help reduce and cool inflammation associated with allergy symptoms.  Take as needed, but more importantly examine deeper other possible food allergens that could have your body unable to handle environmental irritants like pollen.

4.Devil’s Club (Oplopanax horridum) tincture

Root bark, fresh 1:2

 

Use:  Traditionally used by natives for respiratory ailments, rheumatoid arthritis and balancing blood sugar levels.  As part of the Araliaceae family, like Siberian Ginseng, Devil’s Club has also been considered an adaptogen to help one’s body cope with stress. Psychospiritually:  Helps with boundaries, ‘awakens energetic/sensory perception’.

 

Dosage:  10-15 drops 3x a day for Adaptogenic properties: 1 x a day, 15 drops. Psychospiritual: 1-20 drops whenever needed
Posted on April 16, 2013 .

The sting and the buds

It’s that time of year again friends!  When we are awoken to the senses of colors, smells, and growth.  Especially for us herbalists and farmers, the tiniest details of changes in the soil and the budding of trees indicate to us the changes and when certain plants are ready to share their medicine.  Buds like Cottonwood of the Populus balsamifera tree provides a fragrant and cleansing resin that we can utilize.  Nettles poking out of the ground also represent to us the promise of longer and warmer days in the not too distant future or so we can hope.  Cleavers, Galium aparine, Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) and Oregon Grape root (Mahonia nervosa) are also a part of this month’s share.

March pickup:

1.  Nettles (Urtica diocia)- dried

As a drying, stimulating, highly nutritious herb, Nettles is most enjoyed as a food or as a tea …in my opinion.  Nettles is mostly known to strengthen, nourish, and also drain.

Preparation: Throw some in a soup because it’s that nutritious and delicious!  For teas, make an infusion (pour hot water over dried tea) and let sit for 10-15 minutes or all day if you really want more potency, but it might make you urinate often.  If you are presenting with dry conditions, be cautious with too much of nettles.   Half of a cup in a 1 Qt jar works well or 2-3 tbsp in 1-1.5 cup of water can work as a smaller alternative.

2.  Cottonwood and Cleavers Salve

A great salve for lymph and minor cuts, aches, and skin irritation.  Cleavers has a special affinity for the lymphatic system.  It has a more gentle approach to supporting your lymph to gently filter out our daily doses of toxins which has a link to the skin.  Applied externally, Cleavers is helpful in situations of psioriasis, wounds, burns, scabs and eczema.  In this salve solution, it joins our friend Cottonwood whose resin are full of antimicrobial and soothing anti-inflammatory properties.

3.  Rosemary syrup

Rosemary!  The many wonders of the plant other than it’s fragrant smell and lovely application to meals, also has other potent uses.  As a medicinal use, Rosemary is most valued to me for its stimulation to the circulatory system.  Just as the sap in trees is running up from the roots to the leaves in Spring, we need to get our stagnant, winter blood pumping and what better way then to do it with the sweetness of raw, organic honey?

4.  Oregon Grape vinegar

Get those digestive juices flowing!  Oregon Grape is one of my revered bitter allies that works with the entire GI spectrum of our bodies, meaning from the mouth down to where it all exits. A bit in your salad dressing or a couple of drops before a meal to initiate our salivary glands into action can do just the trick for a delicious, happily accepted meal into your body.  Oregon Grape is also anti-microbial for any of those unwanted bacterial infections so a little nip before a cold could be helpful.

Posted on March 6, 2013 .