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calm down!
posted on Monday, December 14th 2009 11:58 pm

i noticed that i was very testy and irritable today so after facebooking my mood and intent to self medicate with lemon balm and motherwort, a few friends gave me their own formulas for the same experience: catnip and borage.

borage! i had forgotten i tinctured up a half gallon of it a few months back. i decided to whip up 2 oz. with: borage, catnip, lemon balm and motherwort. when i poured off the borage i had to play with it as the color was an amazing jewel green. i would have taken a picture but the lighting was bad due to our (seemingly) permanently placed cloud cover. i’ll try again tomorrow if the clouds decide to shift away from the sun.

premilinary reports from this mama: feeling better! what did i name this lovely mixture? why, calm down! of course. i think my kids will be happy that i’m taking it tomorrow.

ayla’s herbs
posted on Tuesday, October 20th 2009 12:33 pm

anyone a fan of the earth’s children series by jean m. auel? someone has compiled a list of all the herbs used in this series. pretty cool!

dandy dandelions
posted on Thursday, April 17th 2008 9:23 pm

today we harvested the glorious dandelion flowers to start making our dandelion goodness…jelly, syrup, wine, fritters, burgers…the variations never end! you can never have too much of a good thing and one thing i could use a lot of is dandelions tonic power right now! but, even so, it’s fun to play with your herbs too!

we started by harvesting 8 cups of flowers. why is it the biggest ones grew in the vacant lot next to us, in the sub division (an area that has never been sprayed or used. during the summer, after they mow, we harvest the dried grass to feed our goats. it’s full of clovers and alfalfa and other goodness that they love. i’m sure the folks that watch us think we’ve gone mad!).here’s the fun part, cutting the yellow petals away from the green stems (which will make your goodies bitter if left in).

8 cups of flowers yields about 4 cups of petals. at this point, i ran out of time so i stuffed them in a qt. jar and tossed them in the freezer. we’ll harvest many more before we’re done.
jaden proudly displays the finished product. she helped a lot with the picking and a bit with the separating. she is quite the little helper and i take every chance i can to teach her about herbs.

it would be so easy to turn dandelions alone into a unit study:

here’s a page all about dandelions. and, there are always plenty of dandelion coloring pages. with the blossoms alone, one can make: dandelion jelly, dandy fritters, dandelion mead*, dandelion syrup (also great when made into dandelion soda (2 oz syrup: 8 oz seltzer water). be sure to always remove the green parts from the flower or it will be bitter. here’s a new one for us to try: dandelion burgers!

that’s just with the blossoms. imagine what you could do with the rest of the plant (i have lots of links for those as well but i’m too tired to add them tonight…maybe another time!)

*i have a mead recipe somewhere but i can’t find it at the moment. we are still drinking our brew from last year.

blackberries and other fall harvesting
posted on Tuesday, November 20th 2007 2:13 pm

yesterday (and today) we have seen a glorious reprieve to the pending coldness. temperatures in the 70’s forced me to schluff off mundane household chores in lieu of playing outside. darn!

it is so much fun to wander around outside, feeling the warm sun on my face as the wind blows. i sing to the herbs i am looking for and harvesting, asking for their gifts of healing, their generosity of themselves, thanking them for allowing me to use them. i like to tell them what i use them for (as if they don’t already know!) and tell them of the numerous human lives they have touched and healed. i think everyone needs to know they are an asset in our lives regardless if they are plant or animal.

i plucked the calendula flowers…they tripled overnight in their efforts to get a few more drops of sunshine out of themselves. i delighted in the fact that the chickweed is finally re-sprouting after it’s long hiatus of summer. in a week or so, i’ll be able to replenish my weedy salve!

i clipped a few wild cherry branches after reading kiva‘s post about tincturing them fresh and then headed to the blackberry patch, spading fork in hand.

the ground was moist and the roots gave their blessing to be harvested. i was able to harvest a fair amount in a short time while the little ones played nearby. sage got tangled in the briars once and came away with a few nasty scratches on his wrist but he seemed unphased by it.

blackberry root tincture is one of my best sellers. it’s most well known for it’s diarrhea fighting powers as it is quite astringent but gentle. as a locally harvested/wildcrafted herb, it is one on my list of herbs to study for the next year so i read up on it a bit more in gail faith edwards’ book opening our wild hearts to the healing herbs:

because of its astringency, it is also good for treating nosebleeds. 20 drops of tincture under the tongue will constrict blood vessels and halt minor bleeding.

the same amount in a half cup of water and given to a child will help stem blood flow from a cut or scrape.

dried leaf infusion or tincture diluted in water heals bleeding gums and canker sores.

a poultice or infused oil made from fresh blackberry leaves and/or rootbark was used externally to treat long-standing skin problems such as psoriasis and eczema. it is best used in conjunction with two cups of the dried plant infusion being drunk daily.

native americans used blackberry for numerous things including rheumatism and sore throat.

the delicious fruits are beneficial to the entire body. they contain malic acid, citric acid, pectin, albumen, flavonoids and vitamins a and c. the bitter purple-colored flavonoid in blackberry, anthocyanidin, is the compound responsible for much of the fruit’s medicinal action. it acts as an antioxidant and free radical scavenger; it also increases peripheral circulation and helps reduce inflammation. anthocyandin is used to treat such conditions as poor night vision, periodontal disease, arthritis and gout.

blackberry flower essence helps one translate thouights into actions and manifest ideas in the physical world. it is also used for overcoming inertia or when feeling stuck.

blackberry leaves are most potent in the spring before flowers emerge, but medicinally active throughout their growing seaons. rootbark is best harvested in early spring or late fall when all the energy is focused underground.