Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Collecting Elderberries

I have been searching for an elderberry bush for years and years, but have not been successful. 
Finally, I spotted some this summer in full white the back field, about a two minute walk from our sweet little apartment. I didn't pick the flowers; I was waiting for the berries. Yesterday we all walked to the back field and my husband trudged through the prickers till he harvested what was ripe and had not been eaten by the deer & birds...a whole bag full of fresh elder berries. 

Walking to the back field with Mama & Dada

Elderberries freshly cut from the bush

A whole bowl full, ready to be picked

Little hands like to help too!

The final harvest.
Next step: fresh elderberry syrup!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

An afternoon in the woods...



Queen Anne's Lace or Wild Carrot

Wood Sorrel

Some fun in the mud & stream

Friday, August 15, 2014


Decanted tinctures and one oil today!

Fresh dandelion leaf tincture : liver & digestive tonic
Fresh cleaver tincture : my fav remedy for swollen glands

Dried passionflower tincture: the BEST for anxiety, racing mind, headaches, & insomnia

Glowing fresh calendula flower oil : wonderful oil for the skin in salves, lotions, & just by itself

Monday, July 28, 2014

Tincture Making: Fool-Proof

Tincture making is seriously fool-proof medicine making. 
It is so easy to do...I mean, you can make it complicated...but I don't.
It's a great way to start making your own medicine at home if you never have before. Store bought tinctures are SO expensive, so if you do buy them you will be saving yourself a lot of money by making them instead. Making your own tincture is medicine in itself (every time you shake it think good thoughts!) because you are part of the process. 

And I'll add that tinctures are really handy to have...right before bed (instead of a cup of tea that will make you pee) and they are indispensable when traveling.

Now a lot of the time tinctures are used to preserve the fresh plant, but dried plants work well too (sometimes better for some herbs, in my opinion). So don't let that factor stop you--use what you have/can get!

And lastly, if you are avoiding alcohol you can make a glycerin-based tincture instead of an alcohol-based tincture. My personal preference is alcohol-based though.

The process:

   1. Put fresh or dried herb in a clean mason jar
   2. Add 100 proof vodka
3. Label jar with herb name & date
   4. Cap and store it out of the light in a cool dark place
   5. Shake daily, or as often as you can remember, for at least two weeks
   6. Uncap the jar
   7. Pour out the tincture into a bowl or something and squeeze out the wet herbs as best you can
   8. Filter the tincture through clean cheesecloth or something of that nature
9. Put back into clean mason jar and/or put into a small dropper/tincture bottle & label.

You just made medicine!

Passionflower in vodka.

Always label herb name, whether it is fresh or dried, date, and you can add alcohol type.

Passionflower tincture already turning colors after two days.

Quiet Mind Herbal Tea Blend

One of my favorite herbal blends for quieting the mind and relaxing.
If you have an over-active mind at night and just need a big "SHHHHH" in a gentle, natural, and calming way you have to try Passionflower. It's great for a host of other things too including headaches and cramps!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Recently harvested herbs...

Calendula, Pot or Garden Marigold (Calendula officinalis)
Planted in our garden this year. I've been harvesting the flowers and drying them as well as making fresh calendula flower oil.
Chicory (Cichorium intybus)
Growing wild around our garden. Tincturing the flower and possibly harvesting some roots to roast?

St. John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum)
The little plant in our garden is started to flower.

Alfalfa (Medicago sativa)
The back pasture is covered in alfalfa.

Elder flowers (Sambucus)
Ecstatic to have access to elderberries this year.

Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca)
Growing around the yard. I just made a fresh motherwort tincture two days ago.

Red Clover (Trifolium pratense)
Red Clover is everywhere sharing the fields with alfalfa right now.
Picking and drying, picking and drying, picking and drying...
Skullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis)
Once our skullcap plant is in full bloom we'll made a fresh tincture of it.

Queen Anne's Lace, Wild Carrot (Daucus carota)
Wild abundance everywhere. My old friend.

My own salve, made with fresh herbal oils made early this spring.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Electrolyte Replacement Recipe

One of the scariest things about being a parent is seeing your child hurting and feeling helpless. One of the best things about being trained in herbal medicine is having knowledge about plants that have been used for centuries. My herbal education, both formally and informally, has made me feel like I have more power over protecting and caring for my family and myself. I don't have to rely on doctors and modern medicine that I do not necessarily trust all of the time. Holistic health care is something that I really and truly believe in. I have been practicing and using natural home remedies for years and years, but now that I have a child I am given the opportunity to use this knowledge on a little human. That being said, it can be scary to give your child herbal or natural remedies for the first time. I have been reassured by other moms, herbalists, and books and it has given me the confidence to treat my daughter during colds, flu, rashes, vomiting, etc. I cannot recommend enough Naturally Healthy Babies and Children by Aviva Jill Romm. I turn to this book often and it is reassuring to see this information, even if I know it already, from a knowledgeable herbalist.

This week our daughter was vomiting for about 48 hours. We used this Electrolyte Replacement Drink recipe so that she wouldn't get dehydrated. She is finally feeling better and on the road to recovery. I wanted to share this recipe with you, as it is simple to make and uses ingredients that most people have in their kitchen. Maybe this will entice you to buy or borrow this book!

Electrolyte Drink Replacement 
by Aviva Jill Romm
This drink ensures that the body maintains its mineral balance, prevents dehydration, collapse and shock. Do not use honey if your patient is under one year old.
8 ounces water (warm or at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
a pinch of salt
2 tablespoons or more of honey or maple syrup

To prepare: Combine all the ingredients.
To use: You can administer the drink by tablespoon often or by 1/4 to 1/2 cup every half hour or so. 

Monday, June 30, 2014


Wortcunning is the knowledge of the magical or hidden properties of plants and herbs. It is an old word meaning literally "herbal wisdom".

Tinctures, herbal oils, and various dried/drying herbs in our kitchen

Beautiful calendula flowers harvested right from our garden

When I sort of tripped and fell into my profession I had not discovered my OTHER passion...plants and herbal medicine. It's funny how in retrospect everything happened for a reason...without this career I would not have been able to discover in myself nor had the physical time to develop a love for plants . My career allows me to spend two whole months planting, foraging, harvesting, drying, making oils, syrups, salves, tinctures, etc. I feel blessed and excited that summer is here.

Summer Solstice

"If I had to choose a religion, the sun as the universal giver of life would be my god."  --Napoleon Bonaparte

Our Summer Solstice tradition: Harvesting St. John's Wort in our secret spot.

A few small gifts, a celebratory breakfast, and our summer nature table

It wouldn't be summer without a trip to the beach.