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Corinna's Corner

17 July 2015

Laying on the Earth

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Women's Wellness

2015.5.2 core bio 2 med res croppedIn the midst of the freedom and fun of summer, we also can find ourselves overwhelmed with all the fullness! One of my favorite “remedies” this time of year, is simply, to lay on the Earth.
As children, we were naturally drawn to run barefoot --to lie in the sweet summer grass, to play amid the autumn leaves, to sit on the ground. As we reclaim that joy, we actually plug in to the vast, free body of healing energy, of the Earth herself.

A large body of research has now verified what ancient people knew about “earthing”—lying on the Earth for guidance and comfort. Even just a few minutes a day of simply lying quietly in the park, in your yard or garden or in the woods benefits physical, emotional, and spiritual health.

29 June 2015

St. Johnswort, Lemon Balm & Motherwort

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

cw in lemon balmLemon Balm, Motherwort, and St Johnswort are three of my favorite herbs to grow. The pleasures of growing these herbs are many. . .

To begin with, in herb gardening, I am partial to perennials and strong self-sowing annuals, which result in more benefit year by year from the original input of labor. Sure, there’s mulching and tending each year but there’s also the advantage that the plants grow bigger and offer more as they grow.

23 June 2015

Lambsquarters Leaves and Seeds

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

cw 2015.5.22  field med res cropped 320 x 346One of my favorite things to do after work on a long, languid afternoon of summer is to gather a fresh, wild salad for the evening meal. I always add plenty of lambsquarters to my basket. Her curvy, velvety leaves create a mild base for other, stronger tasting salad greens like dandelion.

Lambsquarters is abundant during the late spring and summer season. The beguiling, undulating leaves—often tinted with just a touch of magenta—have the appearance of a webbed goosefoot, hence her botanical name, Chenopodium album, which translates as “goose foot powder”. The powder refers to a chalky coating that appears on the underside of the leaves. It’s a good way to identify her and also gives a hint to one of her nutritional benefits; lambsquarters is high in calcium.

chenopodium giganteum2 484 x 324This is a good thing, particularly because lambsquarters is a native ancestor of spinach. She shares many of the same health benefits but, like spinach, contains some oxalic acid. The high level of calcium in lambsquarters helps to neutralize that component. Like spinach, she’s wonderful cooked as well, and her tender leaves make a wonderful dish when sautéed with some garlic and olive oil (to provide healthy fats which increase absorption of the minerals and nutrients).

18 June 2015

Balancing Hormones

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Nourishing Foods, Women's Wellness

2015.5.2 core bio 2 med res croppedSo much of women’s health revolves around our reproductive cycles and the corresponding hormonal cycles. I get countless questions about the estrogen/progesterone balance. Women want to understand more about their PMS, endometriosis, fibroids--or to how to support their fertility, a healthy pregnancy, or menopause.

In these times, many girls and women tend to have high levels of estrogen, or what’s being called “estrogen dominance,” in large part to the xenoestrogens found in pollutants such as plastics, pesticides, and bovine growth hormones, which find their way into our food and water supplies. This estrogen dominance is being found to contribute to many of women’s chronic reproductive system health issues.

Taking steps to balance the hormones is helpful for many reproductive illnesses as well as easing common issues such as PMS or the menopausal transition. Some ideas:

12 May 2015

Make a Wild Salad

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

2015.4.3 corinna nettles - med cropI know many of you have already been getting out into the garden and woods to harvest the edible wild plants this spring. With so many abundant edible “weeds,” making a wild salad can be a simple, quick dish that delights the eye as well as the palette.

To make an easy wild salad, I usually pick one mild-tasting, wild edible herb for the foundation -- like chickweed, violet, or lambsquarters. Of course, it's fine to mix in some fresh, local spinach or lettuce leaves to get you started.

Then throw in smaller quantities of dandelion leaves, ox-eye daisy leaves, and/or other strong-flavored wild edibles that you’re familiar with. If you have violet or dandelion blossoms blooming nearby, by all means, garnish your salad with those beautiful blossoms!

15 April 2015

Honoring Women's Moontime

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Self Love, Sisterhood, Women's Wellness

corinna-ivyDuring menstruation, pregnancy and menopause, our emotions and perceptions are heightened. There is a primal urge to remove ourselves from the daily routine and allow these feelings to move through our bodies and our spirits. We crave the Moon Lodge.

In traditional societies where the natural order of things was revered, the Moon Lodge offered a retreat, or cradle to receive women when they felt most vulnerable. Women gathered there during their bleeding time. Not an exile imposed upon the ‘unclean,’ rather the Moon Lodge offered a sacred space—tangible or otherwise—that enables those who acknowledge and accept it to feel reverence and connection with the spiritual, to be immersed in reflection, to be still and truly be.

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.

03 March 2015

Wild Green Garlic Medicine

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

cw facebook profileHungry for a bite of green medicine? One of the most potent wild edibles of the cool season is actually wild garlic, a common volunteer in lawns and gardens. Wild garlic belongs to the same genus, Allium, as both garlic and onion, known for their medicinal benefits--from boosting immunity to tonifying the heart and circulatory system.

Tromping along my favorite walking path, I usually stop to marvel when I reach the cool spot along the path’s edge where the garden meets the woods--poking up through the dead leaves, are oodles of tangled clumps of wild garlic! I grab some of the savory greens to munch on as I walk. If I have a bag handy, I break off a large handful or two to bring back to the kitchen with me.

24 February 2015

Bone Broths

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Do It Yourself, Nourishing Foods

2013.11 corinna  dylan at linville gorgeIn the winter, I always have some stock simmering on the stove. There’s something so comforting about that the delightful aroma and the simple, flavorful goodness of a hearty broth. It’s such a primal pleasure during these cold, cloistered months. It’s almost magical. My son came down the stairs one chilly morning recently, noted that I had three pots of stock going at once—chicken, beef and fish—and exclaimed, “Great! Let’s make some potato leek soup!”

Anything that can motivate a teen-aged boy to help chop vegetables has some serious mojo, indeed.

09 December 2014

Cooking Greens

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Do It Yourself, Nourishing Foods, Women's Wellness

cw headbandWhen I cook greens, my technique tends towards the traditional Southern style. I use just about any dark, leafy greens, whether they’re cultivated—spinach, collards or kale—or gathered wild—dandelion, lamb’s quarter, yellow dock, sochan or nettle. When I say "Southern style," I mean chopped greens in a long, slow sauté (30 minutes or more) at low heat with olive oil, coconut oil, butter or ghee along with onions, garlic, a generous splash of vinegar and a dash of salt. When I’m feeling really daring, I’ll even add a little fatback. I cook those greens until the leaves are soft and limp (and yummy).

12 September 2014

Black Walnut: Juglans nigra

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

2012.4.5 corinna purThe black walnut (Juglans nigra) can be hard to miss at this time of year—or to mistake for anything else. There are other regional trees with pinnate leaves that have a similar appearance but as we move toward fall, an abundance of yellowish-green “tennis balls”—the fallen fruits—covers the ground around the base of black walnut trees.

green blk walnutsI adore black walnut’s edible nutmeat—it has a richer, more complex flavor than the supermarket variety European walnut. Nutritionally, black walnuts are dense with proteins and essential fatty acids, wonderful for heart health. But the prized meats are nestled deep inside those greenish balls, and it takes a bit of effort to tease out the nut meat.

03 July 2014

Jewelweed

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

jewelweed flower

I just returned from a special journey back to my hometown, introducing my son for the first time to my old stomping grounds. When we went through the local Arboretum up there, I fondly recalled to him how, as a girl, I first met a particularly enchanting plant ally: jewelweed (Impatiens capensis).

In an Arboretum nature walk for children, the leader entranced me by submerging a translucent, serrated-edged jewelweed leaf in water, glistening silver like a mermaid underwater. And then removing it to show how the water droplets beaded up, like little “jewels” glittering in the sun! I still love to catch sight of her shimmering at the edges of ponds and streams after a light summer rain.

Adding to the fun were the distinctively spotted, brilliant orange cornucopia-shaped flowers that come out in the late summer. Turns out, their common name is “touch-me-not”, since the ripe flower seems rather ticklish and will shoot out spirals of seedpods when pinched or prodded—much to our delight!

05 June 2014

Dandelion Dip

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

dandelion flowerHow can you not love dandelion? Friendly and familiar and so very versatile, those cheerful yellow flower heads practically beg “come on, pick me!” This time of year, dandelion is abundant and offers so much nourishment, I’m constantly harvesting her leaves and flowers for my salads.

I enjoy the tangy bite of her flavor, but I do realize that some of you may find her taste rather bitter. While the Western palate isn’t attuned to bitter elements (with the exception of coffee, which we often adjust with sweeteners and dairy), Chinese medicine recognizes the value of bitters in good digestive health and includes them in a well-balanced diet.

02 May 2014

Sweet Ox-eye Daisy

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

cw cropped hatAfter the dormant months of winter, springtime is so sweet—made even sweeter by the appearance of that delightful lady, the oxeye daisy. I feel elated this time of year when I catch sight of her curvy, dark green leaves.

It was her flower — a beautiful, large yellow center surrounded by spreading white petals — that first drew me to her. Then I came to recognize the unique shape of her leaves. Oxeye daisy has toothed leaves like dandelion, but each of the little lobes are distinctly rounded and spoon-shaped.

 

08 April 2014

Sisterhood

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

DSC 7452How I love this time of year, when everything is fresh and green and the world seems full of potential and possibility. Seeing the little shoots push their way up through the earth, reaching toward the sun, I can feel my own spirit renewed, refreshed and reinvigorated. It’s the longing for growth…healing…wholeness…

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