The White Wolf Medicine Shop

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This is the view facing out from my soon-to-be shop.  I am so looking forward to it.  Our first shop opened October 15, 2010.  It was a lovely little old building from the turn of the century with crooked wooden floors and a view of Main street.  That first summer after Doug had his nervous breakdown and left his job and as we both decided to leave our house we were going to end up losing in 2009 along with a whole lot of other people out there, we were really scared.  We had three teenagers and no work.  We did eight farmers markets a week and really hustled.  That fall we were getting nervous as to how we were going to make it and it was a beautiful sight to see that building come up for rent.  I felt bad for the jeweler that was leaving just as the antique store owner felt bad for me as I was leaving but we were all happy to have that little shop!

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Now the dream begins again.  Doug has a steady job now and our children have grown.  The shop represents a central place for me.  I attempted to be a community herbalist from home but folks don’t always know where I live!  Every day the community will need to retrieve their mail from the post office, grab their cups of coffee, get their dogs groomed, pick up their healthy food, and visit the Mexican restaurant for margaritas.  In that same central location the White Wolf Medicine shop will welcome the community.

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When I was on Main street there was a shop down the street called the Karma Cottage.  The proprietor’s name was Katie, which in a small town did cause a bit of confusion.  Folks came in to my shop to sign up for palm reading classes and into hers for hormone medicine.  She moved to Florida and her shop was missed, just as mine was.  I hope to incorporate a little of both of our shops to meet the needs of the community.  I will be putting together little bags of specially blended smudging herbs that I have harvested for praying and ceremony.  I will invite a few folks in to do readings that I KNOW are not quacks.  No woohoo scams here.  I will have my friend who makes the most beautiful dream catchers and handmade Native inspired jewelry to make his work in the shop.  I would love to have a community artist wall.  I will hold my herbalist classes there.  I will customize every single medicine to the person asking for it.  We will carry Margie and Ursula’s Garden Fairy Apothecary.

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Margie had the brilliant idea for me to have available samples of various herbal tea blends.  So each week I will have a pot of tea that helps with a physical ailment or tonic, one that helps with spiritual needs, like a broken heart, and one that is just for fun, say like Chai.  We need comfy chairs and places to read so that people feel comfortable coming in for a cup of complimentary tea and a visit.

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Each herb will have its English name as well as its Cherokee name.  I want this to be a lesson for homeschoolers as well.  I dream of parents bringing their kids in and see the various plants, how they are made into medicine, let them blend their own teas, see the Cherokee language and how to pronounce the words, color a picture, or sign up for a class.  I truly want to meet the needs of the community here.  And when I say community, I mean anyone that feels the desire to come visit the store.  I have learned from this blog that my community expands pretty far!

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There is an office in back to make products.  There is everything I need.  The medicines will be done October 13th so that will be my first day open.  I will have a huge grand opening party Saturday, October 17th.

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My little shop is without furniture or money for paint or décor.  Anyone that has a bookshelf, small hutch, a dresser, a few comfy chairs, a side table, a counter, a small round table, or long folding tables, or money for paint or time to help me paint will be rewarded with a huge holiday party and dinner thrown in their honor!

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I know this will all come together beautifully.  Every door has just flown open on this venture.  I look forward to sharing a cup of tea with you!

Making Your Own Herbal Medicines (and why they work better than anything pharmaceutical or in the health food store)

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Would you like to improve your health and not have to go to the doctor every time you get sick or injured?  Would you like to take the fear out of becoming ill?  Would you like to not worry about side effects ever again?  This sounds like an infomercial.  But, these are not empty promises.  Once you start working with herbs, it is hard to go back to medicines with warnings that are scarier than a horror movie.  Even the over the counter drugs are deadly.

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Many folks have tried herbal supplements from the store with varying degrees of success.  “I have tried black cohosh, it didn’t work.” or “I tried Gingko but it gave me paralysis in my right leg.”  The biggest part of my job is not making medicines, but educating.  The herbs in the store are half dead, folks.  If you shove three leaves of something with a bunch of additives into a pill, it isn’t going to work, or at least to its full potential.  How old are those herbs?  How long have they been sitting on the shelf?  And herbs cannot hurt you.  The herbs that are used to make medicines cannot hurt you.

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Tinctures in the health food store are made of 20% extract and 80% glycerin and water.  Why?  Because one can get a lot more product from one vat of extract and it improves the taste.  It also lessens the benefit.  Why waste your time and money?  When people try my medicines for the first time, they are amazed.  Just last week a gentleman bought the Diabetes medicine from me, a bit skeptical, but what the heck he says, and it lowered his numbers in twenty minutes.  The reason is because I don’t cut mine with anything.  I brew these things up to their full potential.  Put them in the full moon for maximum frequency change (just like female cycles, ocean waves, biodynamic farming, the moon changes the frequency of the medicines to match our bodies) and I baby the herbs before they started their job.  Each batch is hand made.  And there is no “herbs take two weeks to start working in the body” here.  Same day.  Now, I’d be so happy if you purchased medicines from me (http://gardenfairyherbal.com), however, I would also like to see you all empowered and whipping up remedies for your friends and family and helping to change the idea that herbs are not as strong as pharmaceutical medicines.  Not true.

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The other thing we have to fight against is myths surrounding herbs.  Herbs are very safe, folks.  I am not going to encourage you to wild craft hemlock or poisonous mushrooms.  You will start out by purchasing herbs from a reputable herb grower like Mountain Rose Herbs and they will not sell you something poisonous.  Neither will a reputable herbalist.  We have no reason to poison people!  So, now that we have established that Gingko does not cause paralysis, (I swear, if a person even stubs their toe while taking an herb, they blame the plant.  Herbs do not harm.  They are God’s medicine made specifically for your body.  The pharmaceuticals were not.  They are only in existence for profit.) let’s learn how to make some medicines.

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Infusion

An infusion is tea.  A nice cup of tea.  The recipe for this is 1 teaspoon of dried herbs to 1 cup of boiling water and let brew for 4 minutes.

Infusions are typically made from herbs that are easy to brew.  A thick bark or root would need to be boiled longer, about forty minutes should you need to do so.  Mint leaves, chamomile, and a thin slice of ginger would get rid of heartburn in minutes.  Catnip, chamomile, and skullcap would help someone relax enough to sleep.  St. John’s Wort, borage, and rose petals will help stop a panic attack but also stop the blues.  You could blend herbs and use 1 or 2 (I like mine a little stronger) teaspoons in a tea strainer to make the tea or just use single herbs like lemon verbena or thin shavings of willow bark.

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Extract

An extract is herbs that have had their medicinal benefits extracted in alcohol.  Have you ever made a plum cordial or chokecherry liqueur?  Same concept.  The alcohol takes on the flavors (unfortunately in the case of some herbs!) and medicinal benefits of the plants that are sitting in the booze.  Place 1 part plants (dried or fresh) and 4 parts alcohol (not Everclear!  Use Vodka, Gin, Rum, Brandy or the like) in a canning jar.  Sit this in the window sill for 3 days.  Shake, admire, take pictures, these things are gorgeous!  Sit out of the sun (but not necessarily in the dark).  Then on the full moon put it back in the window sill.  Letting it brew for 4 weeks is great.  It is ready after 2.  A dosage is 1/2 teaspoon for tonics (brain stimulants, energy, heart tonics, daily herbals…) and 1 teaspoon for sleep medicines, mild pain, etc., and upwards of a tablespoon for severe pain.  You don’t have to worry about overdosing and even small children can take this, just halve their dosage.

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Syrup

One could make syrup out of lots of things but let’s do a syrup from honey.  Put 1 part dried herbs to 2 parts honey in a sauce pan and heat over medium-low heat for twenty minutes shaking pan regularly to mix and keep from burning.  When this is done you will see that the herbs are drenched in honey and softened, the color of the honey may have changed, and you can smell the herbs.  Strain.  Now, to make it a syrup, just cut it with a little apple cider vinegar or brandy.  Or leave it the way it is and put in tea.

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You have the ability to heal up your own self and family with the help of medicines that have been around before we were even!  Have faith in what nature has provided.  We have even helped heal broken bones in two weeks, helped get rid of staph infections in one day, helped keep cancer at bay.  Are you interested in becoming an herbalist?  I have a school for those of you that want to take this further.  Correspondence courses are available as well.  But, in the meantime, for all of us, we can simply make a nice cup of tea, an extract, or a syrup with great ease and effectiveness.

Making Extracts (cold medicine and vanilla)

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One for cooking, one for health:

For Health: Garlic and Herb with Echinacea Extract

Feel a cold coming on?  You will only have to start taking your new cold extract and you will feel better in no time!  The herbs in this mixture are anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-biotic, and specific to the lymphatic system and to the upper respiratory system.  And most of the herbs are in your cupboard!

In a pint jar add 1 clove of garlic (whole is fine), 1 Tb of basil, 1/2 ts of rosemary, 1/4 t thyme, pinch of ginger.  If you grow purple coneflower, aka Echinacea, then place 1 Tb of crushed leaves or a big flower in it.  You can get it from the health food store or online if necessary.

Fill jar with vodka, rum, brandy, or apple cider vinegar if you are adverse to alcohol (the alcohol works the fastest though).  Shake daily and keep in window for a week.  Place in cupboard.  After four weeks, strain.  It is ready after a week, however.  Just dip your teaspoon in there.  You can put your teaspoon of ‘maybe not the yummiest concoction you ever made’ into a tablespoon of orange juice to help it go down! This works as cold medicine as well.  Take 1 ts as needed.  You cannot overdose!

For Cooking: Vanilla Extract

This one is much tastier.  In fact I insist that you put a little in your batter and have a thimble yourself.  Delicious! (And helps libido if you wanted it for health reasons!)  When recipes call for a teaspoon of vanilla extract I always double it.  This stuff is too good not to use plenty.  When you get to the store, check out the ingredients of store-bought vanilla extract.  You are making the same thing only fresher and more fabulous and you will save so much money!

In a pint jar place one whole vanilla bean (health food stores, online).  Add 1/4 cup of brown sugar.  Fill with rum or brandy.  Let sit for a week in the cupboard before using it.  Don’t strain it!  When it gets half way down, add another bean, a touch of brown sugar, and top with more alcohol.

Try adding a splash of vanilla extract and orange juice while making scrambled eggs.  We call them “sweet eggs”.  They are very good!