Three Autumn Medicinal Herbs to Harvest Now

20170929_113435This year I was able to harvest over thirty different medicinal herbs from my gardens.  There are three of them right now that would serve you well for the winter if you can find them, and if not, plant some next year!

20170929_114035The first one is Burdock.  There are three kinds of docks; yellow dock that grows in the marshes and on the sides of roads.  Curly dock is the same, it loves willow trees.  I have some popping up in my yard unexpectedly.  Then there is burdock.  They will all work the same.  Burdock has those annoying round burrs.  I harvested mine before their growth.  I planted seeds in the spring and had a beautiful crop.  The roots won’t let you pull them completely which assures that you will have some more next year.  Perennials are a beautiful thing and this perennial could save your life.

Docks have pretty amazing blood cleansing abilities.  They are used to detoxify the body and to kill cancer.  Their long tap roots are eaten in many cultures.  Just chop them up like carrots or parsnips.  They are also available in the health food store at times in the produce section.

The leaves of the burdock are green which tells us that it is specific to organs as well.  They are very nutritious and will make a lovely tea to help cleanse the liver, gallbladder, and kidneys as well as the entire lymphatic system.  I dried mine in a large box because they were so huge.

You can add both leaves and roots to a canning jar with rum, vodka, brandy, etc. and let brew for four weeks but don’t strain it as you want it as strong as possible.  Put one teaspoon in a shot glass of orange juice to take in the mornings as an immunity booster and preventative.  Enjoy the tea with other green herbs like mint and lemon verbena.

20171017_171507Rose Hips contain the highest amount of Vitamin C of any fruit and are specific to Arthritis and as an anti-inflammatory.  They contain anthocyanins for heart health and the prevention of cancers.  We harvested a lot of roses off of nearly-hundred-year old bushes during the year.  I always leave some of the roses.  One, they look beautiful, and two, they will produce hips which contain their seeds and are a delicious fruit.  These can be dried in paper bags and used in extracts or teas.  Or for fun they make a lovely jelly or liqueur.  They take down swelling quickly and taste delicious.

The third medicinal plant is the humble onion.  The onion contains over 150 phytochemicals, quercetin (anti-inflammatory and pain reliever), and saponin (soap to help clean the organs and blood) and is anti-viral, anti-biotic, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-yeast, and kills the flu quick.  Forget chicken soup, if the household is coming down with colds or flu make French onion soup with lots of onions and garlic!

These three autumn plants will keep you healthy, strong, and feeling your best to take on the winter days ahead.

If you prefer to use plant medicines already made you can do so by ordering from my website http://whitewolfherbs.com.  My daughter and I handcraft powerful medicines that we know will work!  You can find the burdock in our Detox and rose hips in our Arthritis.  Thanks for supporting traditional herbalists!

How to Make this Season’s Strongest Antibiotic

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I often tell my students that the most frustrating, the most difficult part of being an herbalist is not being asked for help.  I see on Facebook cousins who are always sick, cousins going in for surgery, people in pain, friends under some constant barrage of bacterial infection.  With bottles of incredibly effective medicines at the ready, I wait.  And wait.  People just don’t know how amazing real plant medicine made by real herbalists can be.  I may not be able to help everyone but I can teach you how to help yourself.  What if I told you that this winter you would be blissfully cold and flu free?  Bacterial infections cannot stand up against this antibiotic either so it is a really great medicine to keep in your cupboard!

There are lots of places you can purchase the herbs.  I highly recommend that you plant what you can.  We would be wise to be more sustainable as herbalists.  Until then you can purchase dried, ready to go herbs from reputable companies such as Mountain Rose Herbs, Starwest Botanicals, Penn Herb Company, Frontier Herbs and many others online.

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In a canning jar combine 3 Tablespoons of Oregon Grape Root, 2 Tablespoons of Echinacea, 1 clove of garlic (just one, trust me), 2 Tablespoons of Mint, 1 Tablespoon of Juniper Berries, 1 teaspoon of pepper, 1 teaspoon of turmeric.  Everything but the garlic is dried in this recipe.  Fill 3/4 full with vodka.  Add a few dried apples or plums for flavor and more cold fighting antioxidants then fill rest of jar with honey.  Place in sunny spot for a month.  Shake the jar when you notice it.  Do not strain.

Take 1 teaspoon if you feel like you are getting sick.  Take 1-2 teaspoons 4x a day for a full blown infection or illness.  Halve the dosage for children.  Omit the juniper berries if you are in the early part of your pregnancy. This concoction’s shelf life is forever.

Now that we know we won’t be wasting any time getting sick this season, we can start planning things we want to do, like weaving and cheese making and candle making, and soap making, and…

(If you don’t make your own you can always order some of our incredibly effective White Wolf Medicine Antibiotic at http://whitewolfherbs.com.  Thanks for supporting your working herbalists!)

 

Hibiscus as Medicine

 

hibiscusHibiscus is a lovely house plant as well as prolific grower in the garden.  There are varieties for less than tropical environments.  It gives a nice Hawaiian feel to the window during a snowy day if you keep it in a pot.  You may be familiar with hibiscus tea.  Hibiscus is added to many a tea blend and imbues a rosy hue to the finished drink.  But, hibiscus is not just a tasty, tart tea.  It is, in fact, medicine.

Hibiscus is one of the most potent medicines in the health of the kidneys and blood.  It will help regulate blood pressure in minutes.  It’s good friend, Mistletoe leaves, helps it work in ten minutes or less to return blood pressure to its desired numbers.

Because blood pressure is regulated by the kidneys, it is an obvious conclusion that  kidney function and detoxification must be assisted in order to remedy blood pressure.  The kidneys filter a quarter of the blood every two minutes.  We can safely assume that hibiscus assists in kidney function as well.

I use a lot of traditional spirit medicine in my practice, since you cannot reasonably separate the mind and body from the spirit.  Hibiscus is used to help heartache, anxiety, or the sadness from loss.  Not as an anti-anxiety, but as a beautiful plant who assists in healing the spirit.  Incidentally, the circulatory system is affected by heartbreak.  Hibiscus is used for blood…so that means the circulatory system…which is a connected with the heart.  Fascinating, isn’t it?

Once the flower folds back up, snip it from its stem and dry it in a paper bag for a few weeks.  Cut up and store in a sandwich bag or jar.  Use 1 teaspoon per 1 cup of boiling water and let steep 5 minutes.  It is quite sour so a bit of honey or maple is nice.  Perhaps add combination of roses, lavender, hawthorn berries, yarrow, and/or dandelion for a lovely effect on the kidneys, blood pressure, and on the spirit.

Farmgirl School; Homesteading 101 (now available on Amazon!)

Homestead 101 Cover

I never guessed back in 2012 what this would become.  I set out to chronicle our adventures in homesteading.  To create a template and how-to that we wish we had.  We weren’t able to find information on how to farm high altitude, or how to bottle feed a goat, or how to do any of the hundreds of things we did by trial and error on Pumpkin Hollow Farm.

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Those years on the homestead were some of the best times of our lives.  Re-reading the manuscript was like reading about an old friend.  I laughed and recollected.  I finished the book with a smile.  As if I had read it for the first time.

Our Lady of the Goats

This book is priceless, I tell you, it has everything a new homesteader could possibly need to get started on their journey.  Organic gardening, high altitude farming, canning, dehydrating, root cellaring, freezing produce, back yard chickens, bottle feeding goats, taking care of ducks, candle making, soap making, herbal remedies, recipes, homemade gifts….goodness, the list goes on.  The textbook we needed, but in a humorous storytelling method.

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I am so excited to see this book in print!  It is now available on Amazon in paperback and for Kindle.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/152077494X?ref_=pe_870760_150889320

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Wishing you many blessings on your homesteading journey.  See you ’round the farm!

Become a Plant Medicine Healer Today

 

sacred-owl-cards-june-2015I have a great love of plants and plant medicines, as you know if you have been reading my blog or know me.  I have been teaching these arts for many years.  I am no longer teaching the three month course from my shop but I am still teaching through my correspondence course.

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I have written the text book so that it is easy to comprehend, retain, and organize the information and use it in your day to day work.  It helps you understand the complete world of herbalism, from wild crafting, to extracting, to compounding, and knowing what to do for any ailment.  It is a life changer, folks, that is all I can say.  When you are empowered with the knowledge of herbs and their healing powers, fear slips away.  A broken bone?  Two weeks healed.  Cancer?  One to six months with plants.  Really?  Yes.  Strep throat?  Twelve hours.

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My book takes you step by step and makes you a Certified Herbalist, ready and armed with knowledge to heal yourself and your community.  Is this the year you take on that gift?  If so, I am running a special on my course.  Only $250 and you will receive the entire Certified Herbalist Correspondence Course, plus two free gifts.  You will receive the starter herbs to make your first assignment and a free Spiritual Plant Medicine class.

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http://whitewolfherbs.com/products/correspondence-course to order.  I would be honored for you to study with me.

Tree Medicine (how to decoct pain medicine)

My husband and I are reading Outlander by Diana Gabaldon together.  It has been recommended to me no less than a dozen times.  With our love of history, Celts, and plant medicines, it is no wonder.  We are enjoying it immensely.  However, I did find an error on page 116.

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It states that willow bark has salicylic acid in it which aspirin contains.  Wrong.  Willow bark contains salicin.  There’s not a smidge of willow left in aspirin.  When a plant cannot be patented (therefore not much money made) researchers, scientists, and the like take it to a lab to isolate the constituent that they feel is the reason it works.  Once you isolate a derivative you have a lab created version of the plant.  This happens in about every case of pharmaceuticals.  I know we have romanticized the idea of taking plants from the rainforest for their cancer fighting abilities.  You see, the problem is though, that if you change the constituent, you change the entire identity and spirit of the plant.  In short, you get side effects.  The plant in its natural state is the only way to obtain complete healing.  Salicylic acid is the lab created version of willow.  It causes stomach problems and bleeding issues but salicin does not.  There are no side effects to willow or the other trees that contain salicin. They are perfect medicine.

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Anyways, off my podium.  We were hiking around beautiful lagoons yesterday.  My goodness it was a lovely day.  Not a soul around.  The sky blue like autumn, no clouds, the sea was a color that I have never seen.  Much like the Caribbean sea but with deep hints of celadon.  The breeze was warm and inviting as we crossed the shale to the water.  There in the water stood, with their feet gaily drenched, cottonwoods enjoying the warm day.  A branch had just recently been sawed off, for the pulp shavings of the branch were still fresh and I gathered them into my sweater.  Cottonwood is also an analgesic, like its friends the willow and poplar.

cottonwood

When gathering wood for medicine a downed branch is always nice because you are not affecting the tree at all.  Simply pull the outer layer off with a knife until you get to the pulp.  Shave this onto a blanket.  You will reach the impenetrable core which can be used as firewood.  The shavings can be prepared fresh or dried in a paper bag until need arises.

You will decoct tree medicines.  Simmer for 20 minutes.  A handful per quart or a full pinch per cup if it is quite fine and then only boil 5 minutes or so.  The salicin content makes it taste a bit chalky.  You can add 1 part chamomile, poppies, St. John’s Wort, lemon balm, or mint to strengthen or make tastier your medicine.

We have beautiful medicines at our shop and online at http://WhiteWolfHerbs.com should you like a lovely blend of our quite potent medicines.

Trees are such lovely creatures.  I am thankful for their medicine.

 

One’s Daily Tea

JpegCould a simple cup of tea help you keep your New Year’s Resolutions?  Can a simple cup of tea act as medicine?

I drink four cups of tea with herbs in it daily.  Each batch is slightly different.  I will make a month’s worth of tea at a time.  This month’s tea is made up of many herbs that help with the lymphatic system, essentially boosting immunity since I work in a busy apothecary with lots of folks with colds!  I also added plenty of herbs for circulatory and heart health.  A bit of wild yam for progesterone.  And some chai tea to make it all taste amazing (which is also for the circulatory system).

I love this thermos I got from Teavana.  It has the tea strainer built into the top.  I can also easily add ginger, or orange, and honey to my mixture.  I drink more fluids if I have it with me.  Here are some additions to your daily tea, green or black, that will help you achieve your physical goals.

If you want to increase focus and memory so you can get organized– Add 1 part rosemary and/or sage to 3 parts loose black or green tea.

If you want to lose weight– Dry your citrus peels in a paper bag for three weeks then store in a sealed container or freezer bag. Or just purchase dried orange peel.  1 part citrus peels to 3 parts green tea with a little cinnamon added will help metabolism and detoxing.

If you want to help your heart and circulatory system be stronger– Add 1/2 part each; ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and cardamom to 3 parts black tea like earl grey or even chai.

To decrease inflammation and boost immunity- Add one part basil to 1/4 part turmeric and 1/8 part pepper to green tea.

If you want to find more inner peace and calm– Combine 1 part each chamomile and lemon balm with 1/2 part roses and lavender with 3 parts Earl Grey.  Delightful.

Simple kitchen herbs and teas can be powerful, safe, and delicious medicine!

 

Make Your Own Cough Syrup and Chest Rub

Folks are hustling and bustling through our shop doors each day, the sniffles, the Strep, the cough, the infection, the crud.  My medicines are absolutely the best on the market, and I stand by that.  You can always order online at WhiteWolfHerbs.com so that you have plenty of stock in your medicine cupboard and be at the ready.  But today I want to teach you how to make a delicious and effective cough syrup and chest rub.

elderberry

Elderberry Mint Cough Syrup

1 Tablespoon of dried Elderberries

1 Tablespoon of dried Echinacea (leaves are best, roots are okay)

1 Tablespoon of dried Peppermint

(Herbs can be purchased online or in the bulk section of a health food store.)

1 cup of honey

Place ingredients in a small saucepan and very gradually infuse over medium low heat.  Swirl the pan often to keep from burning.  After 20 minutes or so the honey should be quite liquefied, the purple color infused, and the smell of mint should meet you.  Let cool for a minute and then pour in 1/4-1/2 cup of brandy, bourbon, or the like.  If you prefer not to use alcohol, use apple cider vinegar.  Stir, heating slightly to liquefy if needed, then strain into a pint canning jar.  Dosage is 1 teaspoon for children, 2 for adults.  Stays good indefinitely.

mint

Chest Rub

Vapor Rub is petroleum based and really not safe for children.  This is a quick remedy that you can use anytime to help breathing.  In 2 Tablespoons of sunflower or olive oil add 3 drops each pine, eucalyptus, and peppermint essential oils.  Rub onto chest, bottom of feet, and along cheek bones.

Wishing you a season without the crud!  But at least you will be ready if it comes knocking on your door!

 

How to Respectfully Wildcraft (and the enchantment of medicinal plants)

 

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It is wild crafting time.  We have a very short growing season here and a year’s worth of herbs to gather in a short time, sustainably, and respectfully.

I love wild crafting.  I am in my element when outdoors.  Even now, I am on my balcony surrounded by plants.  I am outside every moment I can and being around plants is even better.  I gather wherever I go, friends’ houses, great aunt’s house, sides of barely trodden roads.  (Never in polluted areas and never on private property without permission.)

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There is a special way to properly wild craft.  When I was younger I foolishly thought that you could just gather what was in the yard and put them in alcohol and make a medicine.  There is so much more to that including the plants choosing to help you, full moon cycles, various transports, and intuition.  Wild crafting requires patience, quiet, and listening.

One must approach the plant humbly.  Ask permission of the plant spirits.  If a twig or leaf or root or flower will not come off easily it is saying no.  You can also see parts of the plants moving.  That is where they are agreeing to be taken.  It is really quite enchanting and I am afraid that we have been lost in our modern world and have forgotten these things.  We do not take roots if we do not need to.  The Oregon Grape Root, dalonigei, has a large underground network of roots and will be alright if one harvests the roots.  Echinacea, sochani, is not so easy or prolific and the leaves and flowers contain as much of the medicine within them as the root.  Always leave tobacco to thank the plant spirits.

Only take a third.  A third each for nature, for regrowth, and for your medicine.  It should look as if the area has been undisturbed.  No one should notice that you have wild crafted there.  Having gratitude for the plants and the availability of the medicines is important and humbly taking only what you need is to be remembered.

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There are few true medicine keepers today and it is imperative for the average herbalist (and large herb companies) to understand the importance of maintaining a respectful and ceremonial way of gathering in order to get the plants’ help in making medicines as well as keeping the energy of the medicine.

These things really cannot be adequately explained in print but it should be noted so that we can take care of our natural medicines (including dandelions!) and Mother Earth, Etsia Eloheno.

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Today I was blessed to gather sumac, spruce, cedar, mullein, calendula, Echinacea, and Oregon grape root from Aunt Donna’s.  Yesterday I gathered maple and dandelion from Rodney and Pat’s.  Tomorrow I gather roses, yucca, purslane, and lady sage.  I do love this time of year.

The Sun and Moon Meet (so what does a full moon on solstice mean?)

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The moon was full a few hours ago.  The first time that the moon has been full on the summer solstice since 1948.  The large moon meets the strongest day for the sun.  This is more significant than one would think.

At my shop the tops of the canning jars holding hundreds of jars of medicine are popping.  The herbs move.  The fluid they are suspended in changes colors.  The medicine will be ready.  The medicines that go out into the full moon of June are always the most brilliantly colored and generally the strongest medicine I will make all year.  The full moon changes the frequency of the medicine (remember everything is energy) making it match our bodies unique energy level.  The moon cycles control the ocean, women’s cycles, and have a great influence on farming, and on medicine making.

All my medicines go through the sun as well.  This often surprises people since the little dark bottles at the health food store take such good care to not show their faces to the great sun.  Think sun tea.  It infuses the herbs.  The sun is our ally.  It detoxifies the skin, creates natural vitamin D, controls our moods, and sets our internal clocks.  The sun is as powerful as the moon for my medicines.  (I do not cut my medicines like common tinctures so I never worry about loss of energy or mold.)

So here today we have the longest day for the sun, the change of season is upon us, and the moon is there to greet the sun.  This will have a powerful influence not just on medicines and plants, but on us as well.

This is a time to become your strongest self.  The frequency is right, the season is new, it is time to be renewed.  Change is swirling all around us and it is time to really look inward and focus on our utmost important intentions.  Not your intentions for anyone else, just you.  Time to release all that is past.  Release anything not adding to your life.  Release any habits, jobs, relationships, old ideas, anything that may have been there for too long keeping you stagnant.

Focus intently on new ideas, jobs, relationships, place of living, creative ideas, and passions.  It is time to manifest the place we want to be.  To be the person we want to be.

I know I have allowed myself to become too busy.  The things I have done over the years were done with Doug but without his help I have taken on too much.  Too much time working in the shop, teaching others, volunteering for things, trying to do everything at home, at work, and for others.  I need to scale back a smidge.  My medicines and my peace of mind will suffer.  I will think today on how I can make changes to make my work and my personal life lead to the most balance.  What are my priorities?  What are yours?

I really need a bonfire to be dancing around in the moonlight tonight to bring it all to being but I guess my oil lamp and a journal will do.  Happy Solstice!  Summer is here!