Monday, July 22, 2013

Montana Herb Gathering

The Montana Herb Gathering was in Hot Springs, Montana this year and I am so grateful to be able to go this year.

My favorite class was with Susun Weed who was very informative about estrogen. We learned about the 29 baseline estrogens and about estridiol. She spoke about the different kinds including phyto (plant), xeno (chemical), endogenous (body) and pharmaceutical, and whether they are short path estrogens or long path and what that meant. It's a broad subject and one short class is just going to skim the surface. 
The information that was easier for me to process is regarding gut flora and the importance of taking care of the landscape within. Gut flora is in the small intestine where digestion occurs and the most important things is to avoid to keep happy gut health include:
  • antibiotics (for obvious reasons right?!)
  • chlorine (it's a toxin and it turns into a gas which can be breathed in while in the shower; note that it's a great idea to buy a shower filter; or boil water)
  • food preservatives (prevent and kill bacteria, even the good bacteria)
  • essential oils (also anti-bacterial, Susan keeps far away from essential oils stating that they are anti-bacterial drugs that even on your skin or breathed in are killing good gut bacteria!)
Things that a good for your gut are, not washing the greens and veggies that you eat out of your garden, eating fermented veggies, mold, yeast, mushrooms and avoiding hot peppers.  Eat more lentils (brown, red, black) because lentils repair damaged DNA; make hummus with lentils. Eat red clover, more whole grains and more seeds! 

Eat plants that grow near you in abundance! Eat dandelion, all of it and in any way - you can cook the leaves, freeze them and eat in the winter. Try fenugreek seed tea, flax seeds, green tea, nettle leaf infusion and eating lots of seaweed as a veggie not a seasoning.
Try these herbs sparingly and only when in need; agave, alfalfa, black cohosh, black currant, cramp bark, devil's club, licorice, peony, sage and yarrow.

Yet another elder herbalist suggesting that it's best to take care of your body. It's not about treating with herbs so much as carrying for what you have.

More notes: 
AVOID ever getting mammograms and colonoscopies. 
Try alternating these 5 herbal infusions: oatstraw, nettle, red clover, linden and comfrey. 

I would love to take Susan Weed's apprenticeship program but it's too costly for me. If anyone wants to donate to my education, feel free to hook me up :)

We did a nice breathing exercise visualizing our exhalation breath as a color, the trees taking this breath into their leaves and exchanging the CO2 for oxygen and us breathing in the oxygen given off by the trees. Inhaling and exhaling visualizing this connection with the plants. It is a nice connecting and grounding meditation that can be done any time.

Another favorite class that I went to was Improving Tissue Function by Heather Nic an Fhleisdeir out of Eugene, Oregon.

Questions to ask about tissue function include: where does it hurt? what is it? what is it made of? and what is happening to that tissue. Less concern with how it happened and more focus on how to help it heal. Heather prefer using infusions, decoctions, vinegars (try making your own from apples or rice), and low alcohol tinctures (20%-40%) noting that vitamins and minerals help tissues heal.

Kinds of Tissues:
  • Bones/connective tissue including, skeleton, teeth, gums, sphincters, valves in heart, arteries, veins, bronchi, alveoli, pharynx, larynx, epiglottis, wind pipe, trachea, tendon, ligaments, joints, skull plates, and flat bones of pelvis
    • comfrey, horsetail, milky oats; 1:1:1 for arthritis
    • garden sage for gums ie: receding gums, make a low alcohol mouth wash 
  • Brain/spine/nerve tissue pain
    • eat whole foods; brown rice and greens, make green vinegars (nettle, chickweed, cleavers)
    • B vitamins
    • peppermint infusion, drink during day
    • catnip infusion, drink in evening
  • Muscles: skeletal, smooth (stomach & intestine)
    • blackberry and raspberry leaf (both dried) and other high mineral content herbs
  • Glands: (makes secretions) endocrine system, pineal, pituitary, lymph system, spleen
    • dandelion
    • chickweed and cleavers (fresh, make into a vinegar)
    • calendula (spleen)
    • bitters
  • Mucous Membranes: eyes, ears, nose, throat, digestive tract, vagina, anus
    • comfrey
    • chickweed
    • marshmallow root and leaf (dried infusion)
    • purslane

Another class was called Skin the Forgotten Garden taught by Robyn Klein who states that the body can heal it's self if nudged in the right direction.
Plants have a garden and the skin has a garden which includes bacteria, fungi, and yeast.

Herbs that are beneficial in skin healing include:
  • Plantain (Plantago major or lanleolata)
  • Burdock (Arctium lappa)
  • Lawn Daisy (Bellis perennis)
  • Tamanu (Calophyllum inophyllum)
  • Borage (Borago offinalis)
  • Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
  • Calendula (Calendula offinalis)

I made an infusion for a very special person from plantain, burdock, borage, yarrow, and calendula, which helped immensely with some skin issues. One quart was consumed each day for two weeks. Along with the skin healing some negative emotions where released as well creating a well needed cleanse. Supporting your loved one through times of cleansing and healing can be very important including knowing when to give them some loving space. From my understanding this emotional cleansing can happen when taking cleansing herbs especially burdock.


(note: these are just my notes, please look this stuff up for yourself; BE AWARE, and BE HEALTHY) 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

It's cold time again...

...and I am reminded of herbs that can be really helpful.

In addition to herbs it's a good idea to eat well, sleep well, drink plenty of water, avoid sugar, wash hands, and avoid touching face.

Some favorite cold herbs include:

Thyme and Oregano
  • help immune system
  • clear sinuses
  • anti-microbial

Sage (garden variety)
  • dries wet and drippy colds (put in salt water gargle)
  • anti-microbial
  • use in mouth wash for gum & tooth health
  • astringent

Red Cedar (the Pacific Northwest LOVES Cedar)
  • immune stimulant 
  • anti-microbial
  • respiratory health

Golden Rod
  • mouth health
  • wound care
  • respiratory, lungs & throat

Usnea (this lichen family fungi & agli mix only grows inch per year)
  • anti-microbial
  • UTI

Mullein Leaf
  • respiratory tonic
  • sinus, throat, lungs (strain tea really well due to fluffy hairy leaves)

Cherry Bark (any cherry tree)
  • coughs; the ones that linger & keep up
  • bronchitis
  • also an astringent; may make you hungry

Source: Missy Rohs of Arctos School of Herbal and Botanical Studies