Living and thriving through regenerative practices and a sustainable worldview.

Posts tagged “herbs

Making Gumweed (Grindelia) Tincture

Last year I planted some Grindelia, and they never grew. I tried not to be disappointed, as I know sometimes that’s just the luck of the germination draw.

But, like so many of my perennials, they popped up this year as a pleasant surprise in my garden (yay!).
So, what was Grindelia supposed to be good for again? As it turns out I think I’ll be using its gifts mostly in the autumn and winter. It seems that it’s good for a dry, unproductive, sticky cough, which happens sometimes when the air gets colder.

Gumweed (Grindelia) ready for harvest

Gumweed (Grindelia) ready for harvest

Gumweed is a stimulating expectorant and antispasmodic, which will help “unclog” anything rolling around in the lungs and  promptly escort it out the door, and also keep a spastic cough from becoming a drain. I don’t know about you, but I just hate those coughs that make your ribs sore and your lungs raw from all the hacking.
I’ve also heard from folks that this is a great remedy specifically for a dry cough associated with dust inhalation, or the cough that lingers after a cold.

Grindelia is also a urinary tract disinfectant, so if you have issues with that, you might want to add a few drops of gumweed tincture to your cranberry juice.

So, on to the HOW:

I waited until the Gumweed buds were JUST about to bloom. It’s ok if some are already in bloom,  but the buds are full of gum and have not opened up to allow the gum to dry out yet, so they’re the best.

I chopped the buds off  into a jar, and then rinsed off all the critters and debris and strained them. Then I cut the buds in half, and the flowers into quarters with a scissors and mushed them up a little.

Next, I filled up a small mason jar about a third of the way with buds, and the rest of the way with grain alcohol and a little vodka (I was getting low on grain, and both alcohols have alcohol-to-water ratios that are suitable for tincturing).

Gumweed (Grindelia) Tincture

Gumweed (Grindelia) Tincture

Then the usual tincturing practices – shake it up, put it in a dark cabinet, shake it once every two days or so, and leave in there for about 6 weeks.

Once 6 weeks are up, strain the tincture and bottle it in dark glass or put it in a mason jar and store in the dark (this keeps the sun from breaking it down faster).

There is little info on tincture dosage, but I never take more than half a dropperful (MAX!) of anything when first testing out.

Ryan Drum has experimented quite a bit with Grindelia, and suggests using ”5 drops tincture under the tongue or in strong hot steeped yarrow tea.”
So, I would start off with 5 drops and see how that works for you.


Spring Wild Edibles – Chickweed pesto!

It’s May and there are a lot of wild edibles and medicinals to be found!So far I’ve found violets, trout lily, nettles, fiddleheads, daylilies, oxalis(sourgrass), and mayapple (not edible until later in the summer).
Also… I helped clean out someone’s yard and scored more chickweed than I could have ever imagined!

I quickly made up a jar of tincture, and the rest became a beautiful green pesto.Here, I slathered a huge spoonful of pesto onto a hemp & greens burger.

I’m not a food porn type of person, as I think it’s a rather gluttonous fad, but damn, that pesto made the meal when paired with some sweet potato fries and a dollop of spicy dipping mustard. Mmmm!

Chickweed pesto
My Chickweed Pesto “recipe”:

  • Throw some chickweed into a food processor with a little bit of olive oil and pulse until it starts to blend into a kind of “paste”.
  • Add some pine nuts, or in my case, all I had on hand were some raw pumpkin seeds, aka “pepitos” and some sunflower seeds. Add more olive oil and maybe a little water to get the right consistency.
  • Pulse again.
  • Add a clove or two of garlic, depending on your penchant for garlic. (mine is fierce)
  • Taste, and add salt and little lemon juice to taste.
  • If it’s too thick, add a little more water and oil until it reaches the proper consistency. If it’s too watery, add some more nuts or seeds (you may have to add more of other ingredients to even out the flavor).

YUM!!

Trout lily

Trout lily

Chickweed ID

Chickweed ID – see that little one line of hairs on the stem?


The New 2013 Herbal Roots Calendar

Do you have kids who love learning about plants, herbs, or foraging?
Are you a kid at heart yourself? (I certainly am!)

Then you might just dig the new 2013 Herbal Roots Calendar, from the kids’ magazine “Herbal Roots”.
You can purchase a pre-made calendar HERE, or print it out for free HERE.

(The ‘zine is pretty cool too, check it out!)

Herbal Roots Calendar 2013

Herbal Roots Calendar 2013

From Mountain Rose Herbs:
“This delightful and educational calendar, beautifully illustrated by Herbal Roots zine creator Kristine Brown, is not only visually stunning, but is also a treasure trove of herbal education. Each month, you’ll enjoy an intricate illustration of a different herb, such as blackberry, vanilla, milk thistle, and more. Each illustration is accompanied by general information for the botanical including Latin name and common uses.”

I am personally a sucker for the occasional dose of *~*whimsy*~*,  but my practical side often wins. Lucky for me, this calendar has both! Check out some sample illustrations:


DIY Herb Dryer

Old window screen attached to picture frames and some chain.
Brilliant!I think you could also use old stockings instead of window screen, as long as the weave was large enough to let air through.

Here’s a tutorial!

 


Wildflower Coloring Pages!

From:  http://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/kids/coloring/index.shtmlWelcome to Celebrating Wildflowers Coloring Pages!

Get out your crayons and get ready to color! Celebrating Wildflowers has pages and coloring books you can color while learning more about wildflowers.

We also have some noxious weeds to color. You can learn how they can threaten public health, agriculture, recreation, wildlife, property, and our native plants.

Color Wildflowers Pages Color Wildflowers

Color Wildflowers are wildflowers you can color! Each coloring page includes a wildflower and facts about the flower.

Color of Flowers Sheets Color of Flowers

Color of Flowers are color-by-number pages. Each Color of Flowers page includes four wildflowers. The parts of the wildflowers are numbered. A color is listed for each of the numbers in a table at the bottom of each Color of Flowers sheet.

Coloring Books Covers Coloring Books

Coloring Books are entire wildflower coloring books you can color! Each coloring book includes information about the wildflowers and drawings you can color. You can print the entire coloring book or just the pages you want to color.

You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to open and print these coloring books.

Color Noxious Weeds Pages Color Noxious Weeds

Color Noxious Weeds are weeds you can color! Each noxious weed coloring page includes information about the noxious weed and a drawing you can color.


A Practical Guide to Making Herbal Tinctures

http://www.herbcompanion.com/herbal-living/practical-guide-to-making-herbal-tinctures.aspx

0tincture1
All tinctures are extracts, but not all extracts are tinctures

“…Tinctures are concentrated herbal extracts that have alcohol as the solvent. If you are using water, vinegar, glycerin, or any menstruum (solvent) other than alcohol, your preparation is an extract—not a tincture. Although, there are exceptions to every rule and sometimes an acetum is defined as “a vinegar tincture” in the tomes.

 The Folk Method

Making tinctures is easy. I learned to make tinctures deep in the coniferous woods along green river banks that glitter throughout the Oregon Cascades. Unless you have some sort of handy-dandy collapsible scale contraption that fits in your pack, using the folk method is the way to go when making medicine in the forest! Simple, practical and efficient, this method allows you to estimate your herb measurements by eye. Here are a few important tincturing tips I learned during those years, while apprenticing with the Columbines School of Botanical Studies.

Fresh Herb

• Finely chop or grind clean herb to release juice and expose surface area.
• Fill jar 2/3 to 3/4 with herb. ~ OR ~ Fill jar 1/4 to 1/2 w…

Read the full article : http://www.herbcompanion.com/herbal-living/practical-guide-to-making-herbal-tinctures.aspx


Some Mid-Atlantic wild edibles…

Wild Edibles Common to Philadelphia Area
by Lynn Landes, organizer of Wild Foodies of Philly – wild edibles enthusiast, not expert!

http://www.learnstuff.us/CommonWildEdibles.htm


Added: Herbal Materia Medica (download)

Added Herbal Materia Medica – 5th edition by Michael Moore to herbs section of this website.
Download a brief outline of major medicinal plants, giving preferred media, strengths, and common dosage ranges.
Click here to check it out.


Make Your Own Lotion Bars for Gift-Giving!

Taking a break from being so serious for a moment.

Check it out:
http://www.learningherbs.com/news_issue_73.html


Free Ebook : HERBAL MANUAL

HERBAL MANUAL
The Medicinal, Toilet, Culinary and other Uses of 130 of the most Commonly Used Herbs
By HAROLD WARD
The Southwest School of Botanical Medicine

DOWNLOAD HERE:
http://www.soilandhealth.org/04.medical.library/0401.herbalmedicine/040139.Ward-Herbal_Manual.pdf