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Local Plants

28 August 2020

Tuck a little lemon balm into your mask!

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

lemon balm in mask I’m excited to share one of my latest inspirations with you! Recently as I was heading to town, I snatched a few leaves from my lemon balm plants which overflow their doorstep planter. Known as a calmative and mood elevator, she always seems to give me a lift.

As I drove, I gratefully inhaled the delicious aroma of the lemon balm leaves wafting around me.

When I parked and grabbed my mask, I realized that I was loathe to leave my herbal ally behind–so I tucked her just inside my mask.

20 April 2020

Stinging nettles on my mother's birthday

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Herbal Medicine, Local Plants, Nourishing Foods, Women's Wellness

In the midst of the pandemic

nettle loresIn early April, our dogwoods bloom. I harvest wild nettles for my soup pot. And we celebrate my mother’s birthday. 

This year, her birthday fell during the onset of stay-at-home orders in North Carolina. Fortunately, she lives nearby and loves long walks out in the fresh air–among our permitted outdoor activities. And at that point, groups under ten were still allowed to gather in our county.

We carefully planned a socially distant Sunday walk,  followed by a socially distant open-air picnic, each with our own personal cooler of food. 

03 April 2020

Bringing Chickweed into Your Backyard

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Herbal Medicine, Local Plants, Nourishing Foods, Self Love, Women's Wellness

chickweed in planterLike many of you, I am cultivating my strategies for staying calm and nourished in my body amidst all that is happening in today's landscape. The current stay-at-home status here in the mountains of North Carolina includes the freedom to get outside and move. I'm finding that my favorite days are those a walk, bike ride, or gardening . . . often keeping an eye out for wild foods to harvest along the way!

My beloved wild edible ally, chickweed, loves the cool, wet weather of the spring and the fall. Studying botany in college many years ago, I challenged myself to replace my grocery store veggies with wild greens. Chickweed quickly became a staple!

31 January 2020

Tulsi at this snowy Imbolc

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Herbal Medicine, Local Plants, Nourishing Foods, Self Love, Women's Wellness

The first snow of the year came at last to the mountains of North Carolina today, just in time for Imbolc! Also known as Candlemas, Imbolc is the seasonal marker at the halfway point between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox.  

Gazing out the window in wonder at the huge snowflakes falling, I stopped to admire once again my tulsi "houseplant." Also known as holy basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum), she is one of my herbal beloveds. I have a whole stash of holy basil pesto in my freezer, tincture in my cupboard, and dried leaves for infusion. This is the first year I discovered that I could bring one of my pots of tulsi in from my porch, and enjoy her all winter long!

tulsi snow

21 November 2019

Digging burdock root

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Herbal Medicine, Local Plants, Nourishing Foods, Women's Wellness

2019.11 burdock roots loresLast week we had the first hard frost of the winter season, earlier than usual in these mountains. That's a marker because it means the perennial and biennial plants send their energy down below the ground to store over the winter. Delighted, I got out my shovel this week to harvest burdock root!

As the moon wanes toward dark, the plants concentrate more on developing their roots underground. So this waning/dark moon and the next – which falls over winter solstice – are especially potent times to harvest herbal roots for medicines.

28 October 2019

Savoring the 15th Anniversary

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Herbal Medicine, Local Plants, Nourishing Foods, Sisterhood, Women's Wellness

ladder wise woman hall square lowresThe 15th anniversary conference was indeed an extravaganza! Over a thousand women delighted in coming together for our 15th year of this strong, supportive sisterhood honoring ourselves, the plants, and the Earth. For the 15th anniversary, many women whose friends had been encouraging them to come for years, joined us for the first time. Others who have been with us for one or more conferences over the years, returned to immerse themselves once again in this unique experience of woman-centered learning and connection. 

Watching the conference build on Thursday, through the hard work of the volunteers and staff, is empowering. Sails, stage lights, and the dancing women backdrop were raised in Wise Woman Hall, Maple Tree Center was transformed into a thriving hub, parking lots were mapped out, and signs posted.

06 September 2019

Healing Yourself With Herbs

Posted in Herbal Medicine, Local Plants, Women's Wellness

by Karen Rose
Excerpted from "Learning How to Heal Yourself with Herbs" lecture by Karen Rose

Karen RoseOn herbalism and ancestral plant medicine
Healing the spiritual and physical dimension has always been connected for me. There is no separation between the emotional well-being, the spiritual well-being and the physical well-being. They are all deeply connected. I feel very fortunate to be raised in that legacy. I honor my ancestors each day for all the teachings they brought forward in me today to be able to stand in my power.

It seems so difficult to create medicines for yourself, but the first time you create medicines for yourself, you will say “I can’t believe that was it!" It is so easy to create medicine for yourself, to take plants as medicine for yourself!

Plants talk to us, they tell us who they are and they tell us how they should be used.

18 July 2019

Marvelous mints make hydrating herbal summer coolers

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

peppermint tea 450x600While I do sometimes still reach for a tall glass of water on a sunny day, I've found that drinking plain water can actually leave me thirsty, especially in the heat of the summer. I have come to realize that when we drink mineral-rich herbal infusions or other nutrient dense liquids, our bodies can more effectively absorb the water and quench our thirst.

During long summer days, a cold herbal infusion hits the spot–iced oatstraw infusion is one favorite around here. Steeping the oatstraw (or another favorite herb) overnight allows the nutrients to come out into solution for a strong, medicinal tea. And of course, drinking herbal brews is much more nutritious than the sodas and fruit juices that are so widely available.

05 June 2019

Making Herbal Vinegars

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

bowl of red cloverThis is the time of year I love to stock up my kitchen cabinet with herbal vinegars. Not only are they tasty, they are also rich with minerals. Homemade wild herb vinegars are delicious in salad dressing, on cooked greens, in marinades, or in sauces.

My most recent harvest for herbal vinegar making, is a big beautiful bowl of red clover blossoms, volunteering in great abundance in my garden paths . . .

27 March 2019

Favorite Wild and Weedy Spring Greens

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

The fruit trees are blooming, the sun is rising earlier each day, and it's time to start clearing a space for this year's garden. I'm always delighted to see that the edible weeds are already up, ready to harvest for the salad bowl!

violet and ground ivyLike mine, your yard may blossom purple in March, with some combination of two common wild weedy edibles: violet and ground ivy. I love making salad with the violet leaves and flowers, adding small bits of leaves from the aromatic ground ivy, daughter of the mint family. 

I also pick dandelion leaves for my stir fries and wild salads, breaking up the young leaves to distribute their strong flavor. Keep an eye out for the dandelion flowers which are just beginning to bloom, to top off dishes with her sweet flower heads.

21 January 2019

Menopausal Herbal Allies

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

Recently EagleSong Gardner taught Menopause: A Second Spring at the women's herbal conference.  Here is some of what she shared.

A woman’s journey is one continuous change, deepening her connection with herself and her own unique life. Understanding the different demands and tasks of each stage and calling and engaging allies, green and otherwise, is at the heart of this class. Just as a butterfly emerges from a cocoon, this extraordinary rite of passage, the metamorphosis of menopause, becomes your second spring. Staying nourished with cool and juicy herbs is where we’re heading! Having herbal allies to call on when you need support in challenging times, too! And, life enhancing practices to keep you movin’ and groovin’ whilst living your years to the fullest! 

Enjoy the following herbal allies, interludes and practices that fit you and ease into the smooth transformation menopause is meant to be...

Crone’s Time Away: While in the getting ready phase of menopause in your life, make time for yourself a practice. This will look different for each woman. You know what you need, make space for it in your life. Or life will make space for it for you...

stinging nettleNettle: Urtica dioica Nourishing herbal infusion brings strength, stamina and endurance to every day life. Mineral and protein rich, nettle with miso is a quick meal in itself. Nourishing herbal infusion, soup, herbal vinegar. Nourish, strengthen, rebuild kidneys. Rehydrate dry tissue. Leaves.

22 October 2018

We loved Kanuga Lake!~

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Herbal Medicine, Local Plants, Nourishing Foods, Self Love, Sisterhood, Women's Wellness

Herbal Conference 2018

land 2018 KS lake tents loresI'm savoring the herbal conference weekend with the web of women gathering, connecting, and celebrating. Seeing over a thousand women moving about the land, I fell in love with Kanuga even more! As the women arrived on Friday, the sight of the land coming to life with their colorful tents popping up in the grassy field and along the lovely lake shores, brought tears to my eyes.

Women gathered in nooks everywhere, from cottage porches to laying down to soak in the sun on the grass beside the glorious lake. Maple Tree Center was truly the center of the community--some women browsing the teacher resources and scholarship raffle, while others played the piano in the center of the room!

27 September 2018

Dandelion for women's health

Written by Flora, Posted in Herbal Medicine, Local Plants, Women's Wellness

05 01 052 RsmGladstarThis article excerpted from the materia medica of Rosemary Gladstar's Herbal Healing for Women, who we're delighted to be welcoming back to the Herbal Conference again this year!

Dandelion
Taraxacum officinale
Compositae
Parts used: root, leaf, and flowers

Though not generally considered an herb specifically for women’s problems, dandelion is high in plant estrogens and is utilized in many formulas for women. It is one of the outstanding healing herbs, and like comfrey, has been lauded through the centuries by every great herbalist.

The root is considered the herb par excellence for the liver and is used for all liver disorders, digestive upsets, and gallbladder problems. As a specific herb for the liver, it also benefits the female reproductive system by helping to regulate and normalize hormone production.

05 September 2018

Forest Bathing

Written by Flora, Posted in Local Plants, Women's Wellness

Holli Richey offered a forest bathing class at the 2017 Herbal Conference, here's some of what she had to share.

2014 06 15 waterfall 450x600FOREST BATHING is a  mindful practice of opening  the senses to become more aware while walking in the forest. The  practice originated in 1982 in Japan  where it is called shinrin-­‐yoku; however, the practice of Forest Bathing borrows from ancient Shinto and Buddhist practices of being  present with nature and mindfulness meditation. Continued scientific research is proving the therapeutic benefits of Forest Bathing through its impact on biomarkers associated with stress—reduction  of heartrate, blood pressure, cortisol, sympathetic nervous system activity and blood glucose, and increase in parasympathetic nervous system activity and  natural killer immune cells—and even its improvement of individual and social well‐being  measures, such as empathy, depression and anxiety.

Mindfulness is the practice of intentionally paying attention without judgment.

Direct your awareness to how you are right now in the moment, noticing your ordinary awareness—how you’re standing, where your mind is, what expectations you might  have about this practice, what physical sensations you notice. Bring your attention to your breath, and then escort  your attention to your feet touching the ground. Take a moment to center yourself in your awareness of your breath as you stand firmly on the earth.

03 July 2018

Anise hyssop ~ a family favorite

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

2016.8 annise hyssop planter lo resI wish I could insert a “scratch and sniff” here . . one fragrant whiff, and you would swoon! Outside the Southeast Wise Women offices, the purple double-lipped flowers of anise hyssop are blooming this June. She belongs in the mint family, with the characteristic square stem with opposite leaves. I love to pick a leaf for visitors to taste and wait for their exclamation of surprise that an herb can be so delicious! As the name suggests, her leaves are aromatic, with the sweet flavor of anise.

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