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Do It Yourself

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.

02 June 2016

Herbal Oils & Salves

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

Foundations in Medicine Making - Part 5

calendula salveHerbal 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 oil from Ceara Foley's class at the 2016 Herbal Conference.

Infused Oils

Oils are an effective way to introduce herbs directly on and through the skin. I prefer to use olive oil for medicinal purposes due to its healing properties and long shelf life and almond or apricot oil for massage and skin care.

23 May 2016

Syrups & Elixirs

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

Foundations in Medicine Making - Part 4

elderberry syrupHerbal 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 in syrups from Ceara Foley's class at the 2016 Herbal Conference.

Syrups

Syrups are generally made to help with the flavors of herbs, especially for children. I like syrups just for variety’s sake. There are many methods handed down from our ancestors. I have adapted this first one from Rosemary Gladstar’s teachings to include my own experiences and tastes.

13 May 2016

Glycerine & Vinegar Extracts

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

Foundations in Medicine Making - Part 3

dropper bottle pinkHerbal 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 water from Ceara Foley's class at the 2016 Herbal Conference.

Glycerine Extracts:

Glycerites can be beneficial for those with alcohol concerns or for children’s remedies. The disadvantage is in not dissolving resinous or oily materials as well as alcohol. There is also a shorter shelf life.

The ratio of glycerin to water varies greatly from 50% to 100%. The only hard and fast rule I know is you always need more glycerin than water to preserve the herbs well. Make the extract as you would with alcohol, chopping, macerating, and straining the herb with the final results being a thick, sweet tasting product.

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.

04 May 2016

Infusions

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

Foundations of Medicine Making - Part 1

Herbal 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 water from Ceara Foley's class at the 2016 Herbal Conference.

Standard Water Infusions

Nettle tea cupAppropriate for leaves, flowers, green stems and fresh berries where the substances wanted are easily released into the water.

Make tea in a ceramic, glass, or enamel vessel.

Use 1 tsp. dried herb (or 3 tsp. fresh) per 1 cup of water, or 1 oz. herb per pint of water.

Place herb in vessel and pour boiling water over.

Cover. Steep 15 minutes then strain while hot.

It is best to make infusions as needed due to a very short shelf life. Drink 1 cup 3 times daily.

04 May 2016

Nettle Pesto

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

Now's the time to eat those nourishing nettles!

Nettle-Pesto-600 x 400Ingredients:

1 cup raw almonds
10-15 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon mineral salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
4 cups young nettle leaves
3 cups loosely packed arugula leaves
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil, or to preferred consistency
*optional 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
(I prefer it without the parmesan, and serve over goat cheese on toast instead)

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.

09 December 2015

Finding the Light in Winter

Written by Flora, Posted in Do It Yourself, Self Love, Women's Wellness

storm moon 600x600Staying healthy means staying in harmony with the energy of the season. The Tiajitu – the yin/yang symbol pictured to the right – is a map for this. It shows that as we flow into the watery blue of the yin, we must stay connected to the seed of the fiery red. There is yang in the yin and yin in the yang, just as there is light in the darkness and darkness in the light.

To stay in harmony during these darker days of the winter solstice and the weeks that follow we invite you to consider the following:

Get outside. See the light of the sun on a daily basis – for at least 30 minutes. This is especially true for those who work inside or who experience Seasonal Affective Disorder. The sun helps increase serotonin levels, the “feel good” neurotransmitter.

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

17 September 2015

Preparing and Eating Acorns

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

The first time I tried roasted acorn meal, I was pleasantly surprised by its rich earthy flavor. Being a wild foods forager I had heard and read about processing and eating acorns, but had always been daunted by the seemingly lengthy and difficult task. After being inspired by their taste, I was ready to try processing them on my own. One crisp fall day the abundant and large chestnut oak acorns called out to my palette; I began to stuff them into my backpack, quite pleased with how quickly I could gather a large cache full. Most of us descend from acorn eating cultures. Historically a staple food in Europe, Asia, North Africa, the Mid- East, and North America, acorns made up half of the diet for many of the Native peoples of California.

chestnut oak acornsAcorns have been a “grain from the tree” for so many Native peoples because of their abundance, nutrition, and sustainability. A mature healthy oak forest can produce as much as 6,000 pounds per acre, requires little to no cultivation, and can grow on and stabilize the steep banks so prevalent in our mountainous terrain. Acorns are variable in their nutritional composition – predominately a carbohydrate source with fat percentages reaching 17% and protein percentages around 4%. Surprisingly, they are also a good source of Vitamins A and C.

27 August 2015

Make Your Own Beet Kvass

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

Corinna making kvassI’m a great believer in integrating beverages into a complete nutritional and wellness plan. Rarely do I find myself without a mason jar of nettle or oatstraw infusion close at hand. Lately, however, I have a found a new love: beet kvass.

Amazing Fermentation

Beet kvass is a fermented beverage that’s a traditional part of the Eastern European and Russian diet and it’s considered to be a powerful tonic. There’s good reason for that. Fermented foods provide probiotics that boost gastric health and promote a wholesome environment for beneficial gut flora in the digestive system. This can be very useful for balancing out the effects of antibiotics or helping to combat the invasive tendencies of less welcome bacteria like candida.

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