Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Cayenne & Ganoderma

Cayenne (Capsicum frutescens)
  • 55%; Everclear
  • Farmageddon peppers
  • 1oz fresh fruit & seeds
  • 8 ounces


A deep immune builder concentrated tea; long term use to strengthen the immune system.
Completed 48 hour long decoction in the crock pot of dried Ganoderma mushrooms from People’s Food Coop. Made into ice cubes.


Infection !!! RED FLAGS !!! Wounds
  • greater than 104 degree fever
  • blood pressure change (learn and know pulse - check every 5-10 minutes; look for slowing, speeding up or lack of pulse)
  • RED STREAK up arm or leg that is approaching heart (use marker to mark) **you never want this infection to make it to the heart**
  • vomiting or passing blood (may look like coffee grounds) PROBLEM!
  • change in consciousness
  • suddenly acting different
  • increase in pain, persistent pain, or sharp pain
  • loss of consciousness **HOSPITAL**
  • crushing sensation in chest
    • men: jaw or left arm
    • women: shoulder blade or nausea
  • anaphylaxis: swelling, rash, itchy (throat), heat, family history, allergy, (epi-pen) **instant care** Emergency! History: can get worse each time!
Anti-infective herbs: Sage, Oregon Grape, Goldsenseal, Coptis, Usnea
First Aide herbs: Garlic, Yarrow, Oregon Grape, Lavendar

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Lymph system and Infection - Sunday, August 28, 2011

What does the lymph system do anyway?
  • carries nutrients to cells
  • carries waste from cells
  • drains to the heart and dumps
  • lymph is interstitial fluid and has no red blood cells
  • lymph nodes are base camps (neck, armpits, groin)
  • Important: IMMUNE system (learns and creates fighters; new and exciting ways to get ride of things in the body)
  • clear-ish fluid that moves slowly; passively
  • helps move and digest fat
  • the body moves 4-liters of blood per day
  • flows only one way; towards the heart
  • tonsils are lymph material; defenders
  • the appendix may store beneficial bacteria; “safe spot”
The lymph system likes:
  • gentle massage and touch in the direction towards the heart
  • exercise
  • deep and full breathing
  • hydrotherapy
  • drinking lots of water
  • fresh leafy greens
The lymph system dislikes:
  • stagnation
  • sugar (feeds patogens)
  • radiation (kills white blood cells)
  • steroids
  • tranquilzers
  • tight clothes
  • too much fat intake
Amazing lymph herbs include: Clevers, Redroot, Calendula, Echinacea, Pokeroot (LOW DOSE)
Deep immune drivers include: ~*~TAKE WHEN HEALTHY ONLY~*~
  • Astragalus! root from the pea family; a great addition to cooking or tea (boil me!); a good everyday tonic.
  • Ganoderma mushroom for long-term use, not acute; helps protect healthy cells and expel unhealthy cells especially cancer cells. (Shiitake mushroom too! - try face up, drizzle with olive oil and tamari and place in toaster oven)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Flower Essences, Stress, & The Heart - Sunday, August 7, 2011

Flower Essences

Today we each made a flower essences! I chose to make a lavendar flower essence. I sat with the lavendar for a while which felt like a nice hug. After some time and consideration I chose the flower that wanted to be part of my flower essence. Carefully without touch the flower and exchanging energy with it, I picked the flower from the plant and placed it in a glass bowl that contained filtered water. The flower sat in the water near it’s plant for most of the afternoon. Then I took the water and placed it in a tincture bottle of 1:1 Brandy. This is the Mother Flower Essence. The remainder of the lavendar water was sprinkled on me and on the lavendar plant in thanks. The mother can be cut 1:1 with Brandy to make the Stock bottle. The stock can the be cut 1:1 with Brandy to make the dosage bottle. It is important to remember to not touch the dropper when taking the flower essence as it make take up my energy. The flower essence can be dropped under the tongue or drops on the wrist. Taken over time flower essences gradually shift body and energy. 

Example of how people experience stress
  • in back and shoulders
  • short circuit to the brain
  • lack of focus
  • headache
  • communication breakdown
  • deep within chest
  • slouched shallow breathing
  • muscle pain
  • irritability
  • crying easily
  • lack of appetite
  • fidgety
  • chest tightness
  • nausea
  • unstable
  • itchy rashes 
  • fuzzy thinking
  • obsessive thinking
  • agitative
  • can’t think
  • all goes into the gut
  • rapid digestion
Examples of how people reduce stress
  • bath with rose, comfrey and mugwort
  • taking a walk
  • deep breathing
  • wallowing in the stress and not dealing with it
  • going out into nature; barefoot focusing on posture
  • cuddle puddle
  • eating well (nourishing food; good fats)
  • yoga
  • talking with friends; venting and working it out
  • water; showers and bath
  • hugs
  • massages
  • running; biking riding; exercise
  • physical yard work
  • anger release; active energy
  • funny movies; laughter
  • emotional release; throwing a fit &/or crying
  • recap for learning for next time
  • breathing
  • naked time
  • music
  • distraction; tv, facebook, video games
  • beer, etc.
The Heart
The heart is a special muscle that circulates blood by pumping it through the body and the heart helps with waste removal.
The Heart likes:
  • exercise
  • fiber (removes excess fiber)
  • HDL
  • potassium, calcium and magnesium
  • moderate intake of alcohol
  • relaxation, good sleep and deep breathing
  • good oral hygiene (teeth plaque = artery plaque)
The Heart dislikes:
  • stress
  • cigarettes
  • obesity
  • LDL
  • excess sodium
  • lots of alcohol
  • loud noise
  • excess caffeine
#1 heart herb: Hawthorne (Crataegus)
Other amazing heart helping herbs: Borage, Linden, Motherwort, Yarrow, Garlic, Cayenne Pepper, Rosemary, Sage and Peppermint.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Borage - Sunday, July 29, 2011

(Borago officinalis)
Boraginaceae family
Other names: Purple Bee Star, Starflower
“to purge the veins of melancholy” (Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy 1621)
Description: (from my observation)
  • fine & not so pleasant to the touch hairs - cover the entire plant excluding the flowers
  • stem; round
  • leaves; alternating, elliptic, pinnately veined
  • flowers; receme, inflorscence, five petals, blue stars
  • roots; (unknown at this time; did not dig)
Borage grows easily in my garden inviting in the bees with it’s beauty. As I harvest the flowers I ensure to only take some and share the rest with the bees.
Borage leaves and flowers have a mild cucumber flavor.
Habit: Hardy annual with lanceolate, hairy, green leaves and five-petalled, star-shaped blue flowers.
Habitat: Chalky to rich, well-drained soil in full sun
Medicinal uses: The leaves and flowers stimulate the release of adrenaline (epinephrine), the “courage” hormone that gears the body for action under stress.
Borage is said to comfort the heart, dispel melancholy and strengthen resolve.
A borage cough syrup can be made to ease dry cough, or relieve a cold, fever or other signs of respiratory congestion.
Additional uses: Drink borage flowers to lighten the spirits and raise confidence as ancient Romans used to do. The flowers can be used to decorate salads and cakes and are frozen in ice cubes.
Preparations: tea or syrup of leaves, tincture of flowers
Contraindication: eat leaves in moderation
(Bremness, Lesley. The Essential Herbs Handbook, Duncan Baird Publishers 2009)
(Bremness, Lesley. HERBS, United States by DK Publishing, Inc. 2002)
(Linford, Jenny. A Pocket Guide to Herbs, Parragon Publishing Book 2007)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Nervines - Sunday, July 17, 2011

Felt like I was walking on clouds today after class as we experienced so many nervine tinctures. Wow! Nervines are beneficial to the nervous system. 

Top 3 nervines of the day include, St. John’s Wart, Skullcap and Milky Oat. 

Other nervines of the day include, Damiana, Rose, Lavendar, Chamomile, Lemon Balm, Feverfew, Blue Vervain, Pedicularis, California Poppy, Hops, Valerian, Passion Flower and Kava.

We infused St. John’s Wort in extra virgin olive oil. We cut the top 3 or so inches off of the top; flowers, stem and leaf. Garbled and chopped the Hypericum, placed it in a very dry and clean jar, then poured the extra virgin olive oil over the top. I have placed mine in my window with a cheese cloth over the top to sit for the next 8-10 days. The cheese cloth will allow any water to evaporate, which is very important as mold could grow and ruin the medicine. The alternative would be to keep the lid on and remove water with a clean paper towel off of the top twice a day. 
This after noon I also harvested Mugwart, Borage, Calendula and California Poppy to make tinctures.
Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris)
  • 40%; Arctos - Cora House; vodka
  • buds stem, leaves
  • 16 ounces
Borage (Borago officinalis)
  • 40%; Jovial Garden #2; vodka
  • flowers
  • 16 ounces
Calendula (Calendula officinalis)
  • 40%; Jovial Garden; vodka
  • flowers
  • 16 ounces
California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica)
  • 40%; KEV Herb Circle; Everclear & filtered water
  • flowers, stem, leaf
  • 8 ounces

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Mid-Elevation Meadows and Forests - Saturday, July 16, 2011

A wonderful day full of amazing energy today as we drive out Foster through Damascus to Mt. Hood National Forest. I got to drive today and what a delight to drive such a familiar route that I haven’t taken in so long. Filled up the Zipcar with 5 herbies and followed a car of 5 more of us out for adventures in botany.

Today, a bit of wildcrafting:
Western Coltsfoot (Petasites frigidus)
  • 40%; Zigzag River; vodka
  • leaf and stem
  • 8 ounces
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
  • 40%; clear cut near meadow; vodka
  • flowers, stem, leaves
  • 8 ounces
Today during our first stop where we harvested the Petasites it was a drizzle of rain with the sun peaking out every now and a bit. The forest was beautiful and the ground was soft and spongy; everything was green and radiant. The Petasites grew in a flood plane near Alders and Western Hemlock. I harvested one big leaf and stem to place in my paper bag to process upon return to home. I cut the stem off at the bottom near the earth with a pocket knife. At home, I chopped the leaf and the stem into small bits, added to the 8 ounce jar then poured 40% Crater Lake vodka over the top. The Petasites showed it’s mucilaginous properties as I was cutting up the leaf. Petasites smells so very delicious and yummy. Thank you Petasites for coming home with me to be very important medicine. 
Petasites frigidus is found from sea level to about 4000 feet in the mountains. It seems to like boggy and disturbed area including drainage ditches and roadsides. (Gradey)
Our second stop was higher in elevation and we got to enjoy the bright blue sky with the warmth of amazing sunshine. The clear cut where we harvested the Yarrow was dry and dusty with lots of dried out and rotted trees. There were many Yarrow plants growing happily upon this hill of clear cut. I visited many plants determining if each one would like to come home with me. Upon finding willing plants, I cut with a pocket knife above a node taking stem, leaf and flower. I also took some ground leaves, placing everything in a paper bag. Upon returning to my kitchen, I cut the Yarrow into small pieces, placed in an 8 ounce jar, then poured 40% vodka covering the plant. Thank you Yarrow for your amazing and versatile medicine.
Yarrow is in the Compositae or Asteraceae family growing by rhizomes often in large colonies. We have now seen Yarrow growing from the coast to mid-elevation meadows. (Gradey) According to herbalist CoreyPine, Yarrow is a top herb to keep in a first-aid kit. CoreyPine stated Yarrow as a bitter, anti-septic, stanches bleeding, anti-microbial and used to; stimulate late menses, a sore throat gargle, for mild diarrhea and to lower fever. It is a blood mover that stops bleeding. 
According to The Essential Herbs Handbook, the core benefits of Yarrow include: 
  • encourages sweating
  • staunches blood flow
  • aids digestion
The flowering tops yield: 
  • a cleaning tonic
  • a digestive
  • a diuretic used to treat high blood pressure
  • a useful tonic for oily skin
Yarrow’s botanical name (Achillea millefolium) honors the Greek warrior Achilles, who was instructed in a dream to use yarrow leaves to staunch the blood of this soldiers’ wounds.
(Bremness, Lesley. The Essential Herbs Handbook, Duncan Baird Publishers 2009)
According to Michael Moore, Yarrow:
  • Yarrow is a perennial
  • The flowers are highest in aromatic constituents
  • The foliage is higher in tannin constituents
  • The roots hold their aromatics in complex resins
  • beneficial for acute fevers
  • hot infusion or tincture in water stimulates sweating and moderately lowers the temperature
  • an effective hemostatic and sometimes helps bleeding hemorrhoids and nosebleeds
  • stops/slows bleeding from cuts or scraped knees or elbows
  • will help in recovering from gastroenteritis (intestinal flu)
  • as an anti-inflammatory for muscle pain and joint inflammation
(Moore, Michael. Medicinal Plants of the Pacific West, Red Crane Books 2003)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Taking a Nervine - July 2011

Homework includes selecting a nervine herb that I would like to use for one week, three times per day. Research regarding dosing must be done selecting three different book sources.

Common Name: Hops
Latin Name: Humulus lupulus
Plant Family: cannabaceae or hemp family
Dosage suggestions & sources
Per Herb Pharm tincture bottle: two to five times per day take 30-40 drops in a little water.
Per Medicinal Plants of the Pacific West; Michael Moore: 30 to 90 drops as needed.
Form in which I will be taking the herb: Herb Pharm tincture of dried, lupulin-rich strobiles (female flowers) purchased from People’s Coop; certified organically grown.
Notes: According to Rosemary Gladstar’s Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health, Hops is a nerve sedative, which directly relaxes the nervous system and helps reduce pain, ease tension and encourage sleep. Hops gently soothes and nourishes the peripheral nerves and muscle tissue.
Background: Over a week ago I fractured a rib or so it feels that way and the urgent care doctor seemed to think that was the case as well. I have a most constant throb-like irritating pain under my right breast that has radiated into my back directly behind it. This pain is tolerable as long as I do not attempt too much activity. This pain worsen greatly during actions of getting up or laying down, breathing deep, sneezing, coughing, etc. This unfortunate situation isn’t horrible as long as I do not do much or get up and down a lot. I’ve been slowly working yoga back into my days and I’ve been ensuring to breath deeply. Day 11 of broken rib is day one of hops tincture. Otherwise, I have been drinking Nettle, Hawthorne and Comfrey tea. 
Day one: Monday, July 4, 2011: The drops of Hops cloud the water as I drop about 30 drops into my small cup of water. The full dropper is about 30 or 35 drops. Hops makes me very mellow. I took The 2nd dose of the day straight into my mouth without water. This made me nauseous. Then after a bit I took a nap; a very sound and lovely nap. Hops makes my body feel very relaxed.
Day two: I feel like I sedated myself appropriately yesterday.
I drank a few beers throughout the day. Later in the evening I was experiencing anxiety from the loads of fireworks and the smoke. I took some respiratory syrup as I was exposed to toxic smoke. My friend and I drank some kava kava tea, then I topped that off with more hops and some pot. I slept well after that despite the horrible explosions. I am too sensitive for this holiday! I do not believe in all of this madness and disconnection; but that's another story. I awoke feeling like more sleep would be good; not a complete 8 hours-plus received - oh well. I feel good otherwise, my body was still very relaxed and in need of yoga. My hamstrings are awful tight! 
I took a dose in water this morning on a mostly empty stomach which doesn't feel great. Will be eating some oatmeal shortly; mmm oatmeal!
My rib pain is slowly dissipating; thanks to much rest over the three day weekend. I was able to do downward dog during my yoga practice yesterday and going from sitting to lying down and back is much easier. Still taking time from riding my bike. I find it a difficult line between resting to heal and getting back into exercise to heal. I shall feel this out and practice yoga and walk and soon I will feel the need to ride my bike; it's okay to take this resting time. As soon as I am healed I will get back into a exercise routine that helps me strengthen to achieve my summer adventure goals for 2012!
Day three:  Hops is said to sooth the stomach, but not so much upon my mostly empty stomach. I won't eat breakfast until I get to work, so should of probably waited to take tincture. I have some gums bothering me with flossing pain/bleeding, so I held the tincture in my mouth in hopes that it would help with that bother - I think so, gums aren't as irritated.
Yesterday, I took 30 drops three times. If the afternoon I got quite sleepy and nodded off a bit. This happens sometimes due to the monotony of my job and can't be completely contributed to the tincture, though I am sure it helped. 
My rib is healing; pain is less. Mostly what I need now is more and more yoga. I always feel better the more yoga that I practice.
I am a pretty mellow person and I seem to be quite mellow on the hops except for being irritated yesterday. A coworker was especially bothersome to me. Hopefully today I can center and not let him get to me.
Day four: I only took hops once yesterday. I forgot to take it. I will try to remember better today. My days are busy lately with work, classes, plays and dance parties and no complaints! Scheduled rest in 2 days :)
So... I may stop the hops during the day. I think it makes me too sleepy to function appropriately at work. Especially since I am considering coffee. I will take it before bed and see how that goes and I will look into another nervine to try!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Lungs - Sunday, June 26, 2011

The respiratory system takes in oxygen and expels carbon-dioxide. Hooray for Oxygen, CO2 exchange. We want to keep our mucosa happy as it does a lot for us including; lubrication, immunity, removal of dust and pollen, pH balance, moisture removal, etc. 

Mullein is a very important respiratory herb and it is easily grown. !DO NOT confuse with Foxglove! The leaf can be used to make tea or tincture and should be used in all respiratory blends. The leaves are covered with tiny hairs that can be irritating if not strained well when making tea. The flowers are great used in a night-time blend or spasmodic blend. The root can be used along side keggles for bladder toning.
The respiratory system is so important yet so many of us are doing the opposite of helping our lungs, along living in this toxic air polluted world, we are smoking cigarettes! Quitting smoking is different for everyone and one plan to quit isn’t going to work for everyone. Each individual can make a plan that is tailored to his/her needs.
This may be a spiritual process, it may involve going to cold turkey, or changing up daily habits, nicotine replacement, or...? I am unable to write about this very much at this time. If you like to quit smoking, I’d like to try and help.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Beach! - Saturday, June 25, 2011

Today we went to Hug Point State Park and to Neahkahnie Mountain. The weather was perfect today and it felt good to put my feet on the sand and wander in the amazing ocean. 

We learned about the Apiaceae (Umbelliferae) or Carrot Family; with the flowers in umbel or compound umbels, the stems tent to be ribbed and hallow and have sheathing petioles. 
Plants in the Umbel family look much a like and with two of the deadliest plants in our area, Water Hemlock and Poison Hemlock, being in this family. Much further training is required before considering harvest.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I am making tincture - Tuesday, June 21, 2011

St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum)
  • 66%; Jovial Garden; Everclear
  • fresh flowering heads

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Kidneys - Sunday, June 5, 2011

We have two kidneys that are located in the mid-lower back area. The kidneys, unlike the liver, do not regenerate. People have had near death experiences related to the kidneys. Kidney infections can be serious and need medical attention. 
The kidney works with the liver providing balance to fluids, pH, and salt by processing and filtering the blood. It’s important to drink plenty of water and urinate as needed. Eating plenty of seeds including pumpkin and watermelon and eating celery, carrots and asparagus can be helpful.
The kidney’s dislikes include; lack of water, lack of urination, lots of caffeine or alcohol, NSAIDs, chlorine, unbuffered vitamin C, a unhappy liver, excess oxalic acid (spinach and beet greens), or high amounts of essential oils.
It is important to support the kidneys when you treat the liver, after alcohol or NSAID use, after a lot of pool or hot tub use, etc...
Two important herbs in assisting the kidneys include Corn Silk and Marshmallow.
Corn Silk (Zea Mays)  is the silky yellow that surrounds corn. It is a gentle herb that can be used in a tincture or dried and used for tea. Corn Silk is soothing to the urethra, kidneys and bladder.
Use any part of the Marshmallow (Althaea officinalis) plant; the root, leaf or flower. The root is best for the kidneys; the mucilaginous carbohydrate chains are re-concentrated in the urinary tract acting as a topical agent.
Other kidney herbs include: Dandelion leaf, Cleavers, Nettles, Parsley, Horsetail, and Queen of the Meadow. 

Dandelion leaf is a great diuretic used a lot in high blood pressure where the body is keeping too much water. High blood pressure should alway be monitored by a health care professional. Generally diuretics leach potassium but Dandelion actually replenished the body’s potassium.
Cleavers can be juiced into a smoothy and used for ulcerations of the mouth, stomach or topically. Nettles are also a great diuretic. Parsley, an awesome kitchen herb, is a diuretic that contain tons of minerals. Horsetail is a kidney structure tonic, is high in minerals and regenerates connective tissue. (be picky upon harvest; Horsetail absorbs toxin easily)
What is a UTI? UTI stands for urinary tract infection and nobody wants one of these as they accompany urgency, pain, burning and if not treated properly can move up the ureters to the kidneys causing kidney infections which can become a medical emergency.
UTIs are more common in female anatomy due to a shorter urethra. It is important to practice good hygiene including: wiping front to back, wearing cotton/breathable underwear, urinating before and after sex, support good bacteria, not consuming too much protein, consuming less sugar, using organic cotton for menstrual needs, etc.
Some things that may aggravate an UTI include, birth control/hormones, antibiotics, vaginal doosh, perfumes near genital area including scented toilet paper. A note on dooshing, mostly it’s a bad idea but if needed, a better option includes calendula or vinegar doosh. 
Support your urinary system during a UTI!
  • drink lots of water (supports and flushes)
  • unsweetened cranberry juice or blueberry juice
  • eat lightly (less protein which is taxing to the kidneys)
  • support skin secretions
  • soothing tea butt-bath with demulcent herbs including: marshmallow, corn silk, comfrey and oatmeal
  • pour warm water on genitals while urinating
  • no sex (keep clean and use mouthwash to avoid passing UTI on to partner) 
  • no lubricant (lubricant glycerin aggravates UTI and feeds bacteria)
Red Flags! include; fever, back pain, vomiting, kidney bruising, extreme pain. Get medical attention!! A.S.A.P.
Helpful herbs in treating urinary tract issues include: Uva-Ursi (short-term), Pipsissewa (over harvested; do not use), Pyrola, Blueberry, Manzanita, Madrone, Grindelia, and Juniper. Each of these herbs needs to be researched prior to use; I am not familiar with their use.
I am making tincture:
Nettles (Urtica dioica)
  • 50%; People’s Coop bulk; Everclear
  • dried leaves

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Lily Family & Orchid Family - Wednesday, June 1, 2011

  • 3 sepals
  • 3 petals
    • (6 tepals; sepals and petals are identical)
  • 6 stamens (3 may be lacking anthers)
  • superior ovary
Edible members of this family include; onions, garlic, leek (Allium genus) and asparagus. 
(Elpel, Pojar)
  • 3 sepals (one usually modified)
  • 3 petals (lower petal modified into a lip)
    • sometimes with an extending spur
  • inferior ovary
  • 1 to 2 stamens combined with the pistil into a column
Orchids have established an intimate relationship between their roots and the fungi growing in the soil.
The Orchid family is the biggest family of flowering plants.
Vanilla flavoring is extracted from the immature pods of Vanilla planifolia.
(Elpel, Pojar)

Oregon Grape (Mahonia aquifolium, M. nervosa, M. spp. (a.k.a. Berberis spp.), Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Homework includes selecting a liver herb that I would like to use for one week, three times per day. Research regarding dosing must be done selecting three different book sources.
Common Name: Oregon Grape
Latin Name: Mahonia (Berberis) aquifolium
Plant Family: Barberry Family
Dosage suggestions & sources:
Herb Pharm tincture bottle: Two to four times per day take 30 to 40 drops in a little water.
Foundation of Health - Healing with Herbs & Foods: 20 to 40 drops (1 dropperful) morning and evening is a maintenance dose, while a dropperful morning, afternoon and evening is a mild therapeutic dose. (Hobbs)
Herbal Medicine - From the Heart of the Earth: 10 to 60 drops 1-4 times per day. (Tilgner)
Form in which I will be taking the herb: tincture of young lateral roots
Day one: Monday, 5/23/2011; I have diagnosed myself with strep throat, as it hurts too bad to swallow and my tonsils are covered in white nasty. This started on Saturday afternoon, and today I’ve been drinking garlic tea with cayenne and honey. I’ve also been taking Immune Defense Tonic, a compound tincture from Herb Pharm that contains Echinacea root, Astragalus root, Reishi mushroom, Schisandra berry and Prickly Ash bark. 
Starting this morning I have decided to gargle this tincture along with Oregon Grape tincture also from Herb Pharm. This gargling was decided by myself and I have not read about anyone else doing this. The numbing effect is quite nice.
Yesterday I slept most of the day away, did not eat much and mostly drank a tun of tea. Today I stood home from work to continue healing and with wonderful results; 90% of the white on my tonsils has cleared away and the sore throat has dissipated almost completely. 
I will continue taking the Oregon Grape tincture for the next 7 days.
Day two: Tuesday 5/24/2011; My throat is 100% better today. I feel great and full of energy. Also, I have gotten my appetite back.
Day three: Wednesday 5/25/2011; I feel quite good. I haven’t noticed any difference in my digestion. 
Day four: Thursday 5/26/ 2011; I really love Oregon Grape. I am so amazed at how quickly my strep went away and how well I have healed. This is much different from being a kid and getting so sick for at least a week and having to be on anti-biotics. This time I have taken probiotics and I feel so good about this.
Day five: Friday 5/27/2011; My body feels good and I feel like I have plenty of energy.
Day six: Saturday 5/28/2011; I forgot to take my Oregon Grape as often today because I was busy, busy filling my brain at Medic Training. I feel good overall just tired from a late evening.
Day seven: Sunday 5/29/2011; I feel itchy! I’ve felt itchy for days but hadn’t really thought of mentioning it. There doesn’t seem to be a rash; my entire torso itches. It’s a light itch the worsens with scratching.
Day ten: Wednesday 6/1/2011; I am still itchy and haven’t been taking Oregon Grape so luckily it doesn’t seem that I have an allergy to Oregon Grape, Hooray! I have a crazy appetite the last couple of days. Perhaps making up from not eating much while I was sick or maybe something to do with not taking Oregon Grape any longer and my digestion is wonky. Guess time will tell...

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I made tincture - Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Burdock Root (Arctium lappa)
  • 45%; People’s Coop bulk; Everclear

Marshmallow Root (Althea officinalis)
  • 40%; Limbo bulk; Vodka 80p
Tincture will be ready anytime between June 8th and July 6th.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Mustard Family - Sunday, May 22, 2011

Time to learn some plant families starting with Mustard Family.

  • 4 petals
  • 4 sepals
  • 4 tall stamens
  • 2 short stamens
  • arranged X or H
Domesticated mustards include horseradish (Armoracia), watercress (Nasturtium), radish (Raphanus), turnip and mustard (Brassica). (Elpel)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Liver balls and the herbs for the liver

Some of my favorite liver herbs include; Dandelion root, Burdock root, Yellow Dock, Oregon Grape, Tumeric root, Artichoke leaves, Milk Thistle, Chickweed, Violet and Herb Robert.

Today we made liver balls with tahini, honey, powdered herbs, cocoa powder, goji berries and brazil nuts; a recipe inspired by recipes from Rosemary Gladstar’s Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Herman Creek and Ainsworth State Park - Saturday, May 14, 2011

Today we travel to Cascade Locks area to Herman Creek for a walk with the flowers and their leaves. We met Fairybells (Disporum hookeri), Small Solomon's Seal (Smilacina stellata), False Solomon's Seal (Smilacina racemoasa), Poison Oak (Toxicodendron diversilobum), Miners Lettuce (Montia perfoliata), Wild Strawberry (Fragaria sp.), Miners Lettuce (Montia perfoliata), Big-Leaf Maple flowers (Acer macrophyllum), Chocolate Lily (Fritillaria lanceolata), Chickweed Monkey Flower (Mimulus alsinoides), Fairy Slipper (Calypso bulbosa), Wild Ginger (Asarum caudaum), Bracken Fern (Pteridium aquilinum), Larkspur (Delphinium trolliifolium), Bleeding Heart (Dicentra formosa), Nettles (Urtica dioica) among others who have already slipped my memory.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

An evening with herbal elder Cascade Anderson Geller - Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Yet another wonderful opportunity; hearing Cascade Anderson Geller speak at NCNM today. CAG brought some lovely plants to share with us today including, Dandelion, Yellow Dock, Valerian, Cottonwood buds in oil, Chapparral in oil, Fennel seeds, Anise seeds, and St. John’s Wart in oil.

Cascade states the importance of knowing and being connected with the Elements; earth, air, fire and water. These are building blocks that society has been disconnect from. She spoke of fire and how humans are like fire in ways including the need for fuel and oxygen and how we both start young and fragile and grow strong. 
I thoroughly enjoy what Cascade has shared with us herbal students and look forward to expanding my knowledge in these helpful directions. I look forward to connecting with the Elements; respecting and knowing them. 
I am also reminded to eat my greens, which I love and could always experience more of, including Dandelion greens which I tend to over look when making salads.

Monday, May 2, 2011

May Day Wine - Monday, May 2, 2011

Rosemary and Sage infused wine! I purchase two bottles of Green Fin organic white wine from Trader Joe’s, then harvested Rosemary and Sage from my garden. I put the Rosemary in a quart mason jar and the Sage in another and poured one bottle of wine over each. I let the wine and herbs infuse over night and then took the wine to a May Day celebration to share. It was delightful, but not quite as delicious as Meredith’s May Day which had rose petals and strawberries, yum! 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

An evening with Stephen Harrod Buhner - Friday, April 29, 2011

I had the great pleasure of hearing Stephen Harrod Buhner speak at NCNM today. He spoke of the outrageous including trashing maps and invisibles! Herbal elders are so inspirational and helpful in reminding my mind to be out of it’s box and into real life.  SHB encouraged us to reclaim and trust our capacity to feel - anyone can do it; I can do it. The importance of trusting our bodies and our senses; reclaiming our body as a friend. 

I am inspired to look at things differently, as anew, and not be afraid to experience and feel. I shall take the time to listen and feel and try to understand. I will not believe everything that I know to be true. 
One thing that sticks with me is that, the words we use to explain things are not alway accurate. An example would be sunrise and sunset. Does the sun ever rise or set? No, the sun does neither. SHB suggested better terminology being, sun sight and sun eclipse. I like this unlearning, thinking, exploring, understanding, relearning... I hope to be able to look at more things in life and make my own sense of them and not be stuck with what I have known to be true. 
Stephen told stories of experience and personal connection that were really good to hear. Stories of Angelica, Chimpanzees and Dolphins, all creating memorable points. I really enjoyed his talk and wish that I could make it back tomorrow as it seems that he won’t be speaking again in the near future.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Poisonous Plants - Sunday, April 24, 2011

A great place to start learning plants is with the poisonous plants. Always be 100% sure of your identification and NEVER, ever use any plant that you are unsure about.

Poison Control 1-800-222-1222

The most toxic wild plants in our area:

  • Pacific Yew (Taxus brevifolia)
  • Death Camas (Zygadenus venenosus)
  • Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)
  • Larkspurs (Delphinium sp.)
  • Water Hemlock (Cicuta douglasii)
  • Skunk Cabbage (Lysichiton americanum)
  • False Hellebore (Veratrum spp.)
  • Bleeding Heart (Dicentra formosa)
  • Acconite (Aconitum sp.)
  • Baneberry (Actea Rubra)
  • Poison Hemlock (Conium maculatum)
  • Poison Oak (Toxicodendron diversilobum)

I ordered Common Poisonous Plant and Mushrooms of North America by Nancy Turner along with Foundations of Health: Healing with Herbs and Food by Christopher Hobbs. I admit that I am addicted to books; not the worst addiction to have.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Cora House - Sunday, April 17, 2011

We learned about the digestive system and herbs that assist with digestion. First things first, before herbs come into play, it’s important to smell the food, chew the food, enjoy the food. Eat while relaxed and around those whom you enjoy their company. Eat and drink to assist belly flora including fermented food. Stay hydrated and consume fiber. Seventy-percent of your immunity is the digestive system.

Digestion starts with the mind - thinking of food; the nose - smelling the food, then the mouth. Mastication breaks the food into smaller particles and the carbohydrates start breaking down into sugars. Once the food is swallowed, peristalsis forces it down the digestive tube and the esophageal sphincter opens to let the food into the stomach. The esophageal sphincter closes once the stomach has released enough gastric acid. Here the food is partially digested and mixed with the stomach acids becoming chyme. Then the food enters the small intestine where bile made in the liver and stored in the gall bladder further breaks down the food. From here the broken down food enters the large intestine where water and electrolytes are absorbed into the body, forming solid waste that is stored in the rectum until excreted via the anus.

We harvested Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) from the back yard and made Dandelion tincture. We used 66% alcohol (95% Everclear) and 33% filtered water. It will be ready in 2 to 6 weeks, so anywhere from May 1st to May 29th.

When harvesting Dandelion it is good to ensure that the plant is indeed Dandelion which does not have fuzzy leaves. It does have a hallow stem that has white milky juice and only one flower per stem. Dandelion generally has a dark brown tap root. Dandelion is in the Aster (Sunflower) family. (Pojar)

When labeling tincture, always note name (common and latin), date, where herbs where harvested and percentage of menstrum.

We discussed some plant constituents including: tannins, oxalic acid, volatile oils, resins, carbohydrates, alkaloids, coumarins and glycosides.

Digestive herbs discussed today include: Catnip (Nepeta cataria), Wild Yam (Dioscorea villosa), Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium) and Yellow Dock (Rumex crispus & R. obtusifolius)

It’s best to harvest:

  • Leaves - at first leaves before plant flowers
  • flowers - just after opening
  • seeds - fully grown, still green
  • roots - in the cold months
  • bark - fall

Ensure that plant is identifiable!