Thursday, December 20, 2012

Winter Solstice

The Solstice brings celebration and keen awareness of our surroundings...of light and dark. Our little family will eat homemade pizza by candlelight and embrace the darkness that surrounds us on this night. Perhaps we will light a fire, smudge dried cedar bundles, read together, sing and dance. In the morning we'll awaken with the sun--thankful it has risen once again over our little part of this land and that it will continue to grace us with its presence for longer and longer stretches. We'll enjoy breakfast together, open a few small gifts, and then spend time outdoors walking, feeding birds & small animals with seeds, collecting pine branches to adorn our home. The winter solstice is my time for deep reflection, pausing, resting. Nourishing my body, mind, and soul. Happy Winter Solstice!

Silent night, solstice night.
Quiet rest, dim the light.
Turning ever the rolling wheel
Brings the winter to comfort and heal.
Rest your spirit in peace.
Rest your spirit in peace.

Silent night, solstice night
All is calm, all is right.
Nature slumbers in forest and glen
Filling streams as she wakens again
Sleeping spirits grow strong.
Sleeping spirits grow strong.

Silent night, solstice night.
Silver moon, shining bright
Snowfall blankets the slumbering earth,
Yule fires welcome the sun's rebirth.
Hark the light is reborn!
Hark the light is reborn!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Wild Carrot--Daucus carota

Encountering a very tall Wild Carrot/Queen Anne's Lace plant on our walk.
There has been an abundance of QAL this year.

Read more about this amazing plant here:

Friday, June 22, 2012

Summer Solstice

I love the summer solstice! It means the fields and woods are filled with plants in bloom just begging to be harvested. They actually call you to collect them (it's true--ask any herbalist/plant-lover). 
We've been busy communing with some of our favorites: red clover, st. john's wort, nettle, yarrow, and plantain. All are abundant in this area at this time of the year. 

We celebrated the power of the sun on the solstice by collecting St. John's Wort (we go to the same spot every year), making hibiscus-rosehip sun tea, and making various tinctures with fresh herbs that we had collected that day.

 sun tea & st. john's wort tincture

left to right: 
red clover, ground ivy, chickweed, yarrow, indian pipe, & st john's wort tinctures

We have never harvested indian pipe before. 
Last summer we saw it in abundance and wanted to collect it, but never did. 
On the solstice we were taking a walk through the woods and saw a bunch of indian pipe. We crouched down to take a closer look and found the ground was almost covered with clusters of indian pipe popping up out of the dead leaves. We felt it was the right time and took one little stalk home with us. 
The tincture is beautiful is turning an eerie purple-blue. 
I will have to do some reading/research as I don't know a ton about indian pipe. I believe it looks scarier than it is and if I'm not mistaken my memory tells me that this plant was used as a sedative and nervine. I will have to look more into it though when I have time. 

Happy Summer Solstice everyone!


Saturday, April 7, 2012


 First harvest of edible, young stinging nettle tops!
This small batch went into soup. 
We will continue to harvest for our yearly supply of tinctures, vinegar, & dried for tea.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

10 Steps to Reducing Your Allergies

1) Stay hydrated
Drinking enough water is a foundational aspect of any allergy elimination program. It is important to drink ½ your weight in water. If you weigh 120 pounds, drink 60 oz water. To make sure you drink enough water, measure it out first thing in the morning. Be familiar with how many ounces your water container holds and set aside your day’s worth of water before your day begins. If you don’t drink enough water then the body creates more mucus to counteract the dryness. Getting enough water is the first step upon which you can build other changes to reduce your allergic symptoms and susceptibility.

2) Eliminate poor quality fats from your diet
The fat that you eat helps make up every cell wall in your body. Eating poor quality fat compromises the integrity of the structure of your cells and they become more susceptible to inflammation and damage. Inflamed cells are more reactive and can increase allergy symptoms. Read all of your food labels and watch out for Trans Fats. Don’t eat hydrogenated oils, partially hydrogenated oils, margarine, shortening, deep fried food, fast food and cotton seed oil

3) Eat high quality fats
Good fats include olive oil, avocados, coconut oil, ghee and palm oil. Take an Essential Fatty Acid supplement that is high in Omega 3 oils. In the supplements section of my website I recommend several good EFA supplements including my favorite one Frutol by Pharmax. High quality fats build healthy cells that aren’t as susceptible to becoming inflamed.

4) Eliminate inflammatory promoting foods
Again read your labels and let go of any foods that have ingredients that increase inflammation in the body. Eliminate nitrates, sulfites, MSG, dies, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, genetically engineered foods, preservatives and pesticides. All of these substances can increase your susceptibility to being more inflamed and allergic. Take a look at all the foods in your pantry and just throw the things away that have these ingredients.

5) Take medicinal mushrooms
Build your immune system and reduce inflammation by taking a regular dose of medicinal mushrooms. On my website I have a link to all of my favorite medicinal mushrooms. Reishi is one of the best mushrooms that can be taken in capsule or tincture form long term to reduce systemic inflammation and allergic reactions.

6) Nourish your beneficial bacteria
The beneficial bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract play an important role in your inflammatory response. You can reduce the severity of allergic reactions by increasing the integrity of your gastrointestinal tract. Take a high quality probiotic (probiotic is the general name for a beneficial bacteria supplement) especially if you have a lifestyle that compromises your beneficial bacteria. Beneficial bacteria are destroyed by anti-biotics, medications, stress, birth control pills, chlorine and excess coffee and sugar consumption.
Another way to nourish the beneficial bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract is to eat fermented foods such as raw sauerkraut, kim chee, whey, whole plain kefir and whole plain yogurt. Don’t be fooled by the high sugar yogurts like Danon and Yoplait. Healhty yogurt is plain and has a little bit of a sour taste.
These foods contain the beneficial bacteria that feed your gut. Half of the immune cells in your body are found in the digestive tract. Keeping your immune system strong and your allergic reactions to a minimum require a strong digestive system full of healthy beneficial bacteria.

7) Love your liver
Your liver helps to mediate the inflammatory response to whatever you are allergic to. The liver has more than 600 different jobs; including figuring out what to do with any chemicals and pesticides you put in your body. If the liver is backed up and bogged down with daily toxic exposures, it is less able to help you with your allergic reactions.
Don’t underestimate the negative effects of accumulated exposure to daily chemicals in your household. Everything adds up and gives the liver extra work to do. Read the labels on all of your body care products, you will be shocked at how many chemicals you are putting on your body. Make a commitment to using all natural body care items. I am talking about detergents, the soap you wash with in the shower, your shampoo, shaving cream, lotions; make up, hair care products, etc. The personal care industry is unregulated and many of products contain known cancer causing ingredients. If you have allergies, don’t stress out the liver by using body care products with chemicals.

8) Drink nettles
A couple of months before your allergies usually begin, start drinking nettles infusions.

Nettles Infusion
1 quart room temperature water
4 tablespoons dried nettles
Let the nettles and water sit over night in a quart glass mason jar. In the morning strain the herb out and drink the quart of nettles infusion over the next two days. Especially in warm weather the infusion can go bad so it is important to keep it refrigerated. When you are ready to drink it take it out of the fridge and warm it up. Normally a nettles infusion is good for two days if not left out in the heat.
You can drink 1 to 3 cups of nettles infusion a day for several months. Over the years I have watched many of my clients eliminate their spring allergies following the above protocols along with drinking nettles for about two months prior to allergy season and then continuing to drink it throughout the time they would normally have allergies.

9) Use herbal remedies
Two of my favorite herbal remedies for allergies are:

Turmeric honey
In a clean glass jar put 6 tablespoons uncooked honey and 6 tablespoons powdered turmeric. Stir until the turmeric is well mixed into the honey. When you feel your allergy symptoms coming on, you can eat one teaspoon of this honey 4 or 5 times a day. It will help to reduce your inflammatory reaction.

Elderflower tea
3 cups water
3 tablespoons dried elder flowers
Let steep for two hours. Strain out the flowers, re-heat and drink 3 cups a day. Drink this throughout allergy season and it will help to reduce your symptoms

10) Use saline nasal rinse
If you already have allergy symptoms do saline nasal rinses to tighten and tone your mucus membrane and help to reduce the inflammation

Saline nasal rinse
1 cup warm water
¼ teaspoon salt
Mix the salt and warm water together and then put it into a Neti pot or nasal rinse plastic container that you can purchase at any drug store. Let the warm water go all the way back into one side of your nose through your nostril and let it drain out of the other side. Do this on both sides. If you have never done this or cannot visualize what I am talking about, read the directions on the box and ask around to see if you know someone that can show you how to do it. This simple technique is a life saver if you have acute allergy symptoms; you can do this one to three times a day. I often put 30 drops of golden seal tincture in the warm water and salt mixture to help get rid of acute allergy symptoms


Thursday, March 29, 2012