I came across a magnificent, mature white pine tree laying across the ground in the woods, from the look of it, freshly fallen. it must have come down during super-storm Sandy. I harvested needles and twigs to honor its life and death by making a delicious, medicinal infusion.
On my way out of the woods by a familiar path, I stopped when I saw that two tall sassafras trees that had formerly flanked the trail entrance were also laying on the ground. Their roots were exposed to the cold afternoon air. Giving thanks for their gifts, I broke off some small roots to dry for infusions....
We take herbs to help us heal our bodies. And consciously or subconsciously, we are drawn to herbs because they help us reconnect to ourselves, and the Earth. But we’re usually not present in our own bodies. We live more often in our minds. This limits us. The mind wants to grasp everything first, but full aliveness happens as you learn to be present and feel, heal, and fully inhabit your body, learning through your senses. This quiets and focuses the mind, and improves its functioning. In my experience, the Body is the direct gateway to Spirit.
This free tele-seminar...
From: Green Treasures, Herbal Medicines from Mother Earth, my newest book, to be published in 2013.
“The only heart that can’t be broken is the heart that is already completely open.”
I understand sorrow, believe me...it is here to be felt, to be cried, to be expressed physically and emotionally, and to be released so that our natural joy (that is always alive even under the sorrow) can be felt again. When death comes suddenly, it leaves those of us “left behind” shocked and reeling...
It's nearing the end of goldenrod season so if you haven't yet
gathered any of this abundant plant, this is a great time to
Gather the flowering stalks of any species of goldenrod
(Solidago species). Pick the sunniest yellow flowers you can
I gather the upper third or so of the stalk, and include the
leaves, stalks and flowers in all my medicinal preparations, as
well as for my dried goldenrod. I like to dry some for winter
teas that help in healing the flu. I steep this tea for about 20
minutes and it is helpful with fever and aches and pains. I also
make goldenrod tincture, honey, vinegar and oil with it. In any
of these forms goldenrod is down-right miraculous for helping
the symptoms of pollen allergies like ragweed in fall and oak
flowers in spring. Used the season before your allergies, it can
actually help heal them, used along with other wise woman
ways such as spending more time outdoors and tending to
your food choices wisely.
Today's project is infused goldenrod oil...
I haven’t been blogging for a long time and I miss communicating with people via the blog, miss sharing thoughts and feelings and stories about plants and trees, or offering counsel and questions about what I see and feel happening on the earth around me.
However, I have been focused and spending most of my writing time completing my new herbal healing book, Green Treasures – Herbal Medicines from Mother Earth. It’s subtitled: How to live a vibrantly healthy life with the help of Healing Plants.,,
Happy Spring! I love spring so much (even when it has arrived unusually early, after a winter that didn’t provide much of a rest for the land). And yet, I know many nature-loving people associate the spring season more with miserable allergy symptoms like relentless
sneezing and itchy and dry or watery eyes, than with daffodils, crocuses, and tulips, oh my! Herbs used during the season of your allergies will help the underlying condition but are mostly
helpful for symptom relief. If you want to strengthen your system for long-term healing, start your herbs the season before your allergies kick in.
Here are some helpful tips especially for you:
Herbal Remedies for Spring Allergies...
It’s hard to even remember now what came first, the hurricane called Irene or the freaky winter snowstorm at the end of October. Like most people, herbalists do all the usual things like make sure we have water and candles on hand and extra flashlight batteries, but we are often running around before and after a storm to see what plants or plant parts or branches can be salvaged for medicine or food.
Oh yes, Irene was a late summer storm she gathered steam I was out in the garden gathering sage leaves in the rain, to cook up with butter and into the wild mushrooms my partner harvested earlier in the week...
Photo by Lee Ann Monat
Wishing everyone the courage to
Be Who You Came Here to Be
Your Beautiful Self.
As we move into the new year we call 2012,
may you know peace, beauty, love,
and Evergreen Blessings of Health and Joy
The Times We’re Living In
On the other side of all this deathing
An intensive labor is going on
It is easy to see the deathing,
But not so easy to see what is birthing
Beneath the surface of the world,
Getting ready to emerge
Like a newborn crowning.
On the other side of all this deathing
As old ways of domination and violation
Fight to hold sway,
A great birthing has begun,
The birth of a new way of being in the world
A way of re-connection and shared power,
A way of cooperation and love.
Those of us who see it
Must hold the vision
And speak it,
Not only to those we know
But to those with whom we have casual encounters,
Our cab driver, neighbor, or waitress at the cafe,
The friend of a friend we meet at a party.
Reading the news, surfing the net, watching T.V.
It may seem impossible to imagine
That a world based in love is in the process of being born.
And it is in the imagining
When new possibilities are perceived,
That new realities can be conceived.
We are in labor with our own rebirth and
We are midwives guiding the world’s rebirth
It is a long and hard labor
And sometimes it’s frightening
Until we remember we are birthing our full humanity,
And our humaneness
We are flowering out of the mud of our darkest time of separation
Evolving from the time of me to the time of we
This time is difficult, yes, but it is also juicy and joyous.
It is not easy to soar through mud
But mud is rich and fertile
And out of mud
The lotus blooms.
© Robin Rose Bennett 2011
Remember to try the simple things for they often work well. Folk medicine holds a rich repository of gentle and effective herbal wisdom.
The wondrous Wild carrot (Daucus carota), ancestor of our domestic carrot, is a member of the Apiaceae family and is an esteemed herbal medicine. Flowers and seeds have been used in herbal teas for issues ranging from endocrine healing for the thyroid and pituitary glands, to weight loss, to digestive and urinary system health. However, the subject that I’ve been investigating for many years is: Wild Carrot for Natural, Conscious Contraception.
During 2009 and 2010 we invited women between the ages of 18 and 50 to take part in a yearlong research project to explore the reliability of Daucus carota tincture (made from wild carrot flowers and seeds in 100 proof vodka) when used as a woman’s sole method of contraception...
I was the village herbalist at our local farmer’s market last Wednesday. It was fun showing people how easy it is to make great medicines by infusing herbs in honey and vinegar.
Kids, especially, seemed drawn to come by and help with the demonstrations. We made an orange peel honey by breaking up dried peels until they were really small to help release their fragrance and flavor. We filled a jar about 1/3 full of the orange peels, and then poured local wildflower honey to the top of the jar. You can start using it within a day or two, and it gets better the longer it sits. This is so delicious and draws out the rich array of bioflavanoids that are in the white inner peel that is actually the most medicinal part of the citrus fruits. This way, we not only extract them for our health, we can also enjoy every moment of “taking our vitamins!” Spread orange peel honey on toast, or put it in your tea. Try using tangerine peels, too. Yummm.
Later my friend Suzie asked me to watch Zach for her while she shopped. Zach is 9 months old and teething. He helped me make a new herbal discovery.
Plantain leaves are helpful for teething pain. Of course they are!
Their astringent, pain-relieving qualities are perfect for the inflammation and irritation of new teeth coming in. Zach was also very amusing to watch with a long, drool covered, lance-leaf plantain leaf hanging out of his little mouth. Here he found the broad leaf variety.
Most telling of all is that when Suzie tried to replace it with a raspberry ice-pop, Zach cried till we gave him back his plantain leaf. He continues to educate us as to how happy plantain makes him, as you can see.
And look, now he’s learning to pick his own! Smart kid, that Zach!
Plantain, the plant that heals pain is the great, green band-aid plant that you can chew up and put on mosquito bites, bee stings, poison ivy rashes, and more. You can use it that way to draw out stingers, slivers of glass, or a thorn. It helps stop bleeding and pain, is antiseptic, and reduces swelling. Follow the wisdom of this 9 month-old herbalist and go gather some plantain today.
It is a wonderful and busy time out in the garden, so much to harvest, while still planting, and I like to take time to simply sit and be to enjoy the sights and smells. Wild rose has been wafting her exquisite fragrance everywhere reminding me of all that is beautiful in this world.
Here are some of the week’s herbal medicines:
I happened upon an entry from my journal that made me smile. I’d been writing about plants late one night in February and then wrote: “Thinking about all these pink and yellow blossoms in February is so much fun, such a promise of life to come when these mountains of snow melt away. There will be dandelion flowers and cherry blossoms and violet flowers again! To think!
And now the snow is melted, it’s spring, and they’re all here...
Amidst the turmoil and blessings of our changing, evolving world, the sweetness of genuine friendship is one of life’s greatest joys. When we observe and listen to plants, insects and animals they teach us about the mutuality and benefits of symbiotic relationships. And about having fun.
I've had some personal experience with healing from radiation exposure. I used seaweed, herbs and foods to bring my cat and myself back from severe, life threatening illness that I believe we contracted while living almost on top of the Indian Point nuclear power plant in NY 15 years ago. The seaweeds kelp and dulse played a big part in our healing, as did miso paste.
I've done guest posts for other blogs, but never done my own. I'm going to give it a try this year and will orient the blog toward day-to-day happenings
in the gardens and kitchen, medicine making tips, stories I want to share, some poems, and undoubtedly some philosophical musings. Stay tuned!
Today the snow is still melting off the mountain here. The food garden is flooded, but will soon drain thanks to the water catchment swales that were dug last year. (I'll post more about the permaculture designs we use in the gardens another time.) The medicinal gardens are filled with old stalks that I look forward to trimming and plant debris that will soon be cleared.
Buds are swelling on the sassafras and cherry trees and the nettles are peeking up from under the earth bringing big smiles to the humans here. Though I enjoy snow and cold and winter, (yes, even this year's) I'm always happy when the calendar turns from February to March. So, it's March, hooray! Hope you're enjoying the precious moments that make up your life.