nourishment = healing !Jessie Blumberg '09 | March 2, 2009
I recently led an ehaus workshop about “backyard herbal healing” – for people who are interested but couldn’t make it, I copied the handout below!
Some things the Wise Woman Tradition has to say about herbalism:
Herbal healing is about healing holistically, not just treating symptoms! Every herb has many healing properties, in other words, there is no herb that is just good for easing headaches, or just good for helping your body to digest food.
When making your own herbal medicine, it is VERY important that you know which part of the plant to use (root, leaves, flower), when to harvest it (burdock root is harvested in the spring when the ground is still hard…echinacea root is harvested in the fall when the tops have gone to seed, after it has grown for at least 3 years!), how to prepare it (dried or fresh? infusion, tincture, vinegar, or oil?), and how much of it to use (you only need 1 drop of poke root tincture…you can drink up to 4 cups of red clover infusion each day).
Respect the plants you meet, and listen to them, because they have A LOT to teach you.
CAUTION: if you are harvesting your own wild plants, you need to be absolutely certain that you are harvesting the right plant. Herbal medicine saves lives but it can also kill. Two plants can look deceivingly similar… for instance: burdock leaves have been mistaken for deadly nightshade… Queen Anne’s Lace looks a lot like Poison Hemlock. Misidentifying plants is extremely dangerous. (This warning is not meant to scare you away from the magic of wild plants, but I am not a certified herbalist! If you are interested in learning/doing more, please seek guidance from a reputable herbalist.)
What are “nourishing herbal infusions” and how do you make them?
“An infusion is a large amount of herb brewed for a long time…they are full of antioxidant vitamins, minerals, proteins, phytoestrogens, and hundreds of protective phytochemicals. I drink two to four cups of infusion daily, rotating through the different herbs, but mostly nettle, oatstraw, red clover, and comfrey.
1. Choose one herb: nettle, oatstraw, red clover, comfrey leaf, linden flowers, violet leaf, or mullein leaf. You may add a little mint or other seasoning herb, but use only one of the main ones at a time.
2. Place one full ounce, by weight, of any one herb in a quart jar. A canning jar is best.
3. Fill the jar to the top with boiling water. Stir the herb into the water and add more water until the jar is really full.
4. Screw on a tight lid and let it steep for four hours or overnight. 5. Strain the liquid out and refrigerate what you don’t drink.
I drink nourishing herbal infusions over ice, heated up with honey and milk, mixed with other beverages. Enjoy.” (Taken from Susun Weed’s website, www.susunweed.com)
NOTE: Since you need to use huge quantities of dried herb to make infusions, it is most time and cost efficient to order the herb online, in bulk. I order my herbs from an organic wholesale company called Frontier Natural Products – www.frontiercoop.com
And for your viewing pleasure… here are some of my favorite plant allies: (look for them in your backyards, they are even more beautiful in person..)