My Herbs Blog
Great book! This is a great book! As are all the "Nourishing Traditions" books. I actually bought this one by accident, meaning to buy a copy of the regular Nourishing Traditions book, which I had given away. When this book arrived, I was disappointed, but sometimes the Universe has a way of turning our mistakes into blessings. I thought- I don't need this anymore, I am past the baby stage. However- the truths, and lessons in this book for making babies, and early childhood nutrition are still applicable, and I will be a grandmother someday!
If you have not studied this book, or any of Weston Price's information he gathered from studying native peoples around the world, you will be in for a surprise for what he discovered. Weston's research and book were written ages ago, it seem.... back in the 1940's. I wish my parents would have read it before having me! What he discovered was that in small pockets around the world, in untouched areas people were living off the land, with diets rich in fat soluble foods found from full-fat grass fed animals, and fresh water fish, as well as raw, dairy from grass fed animals; imagine butter so full of nutrients it is almost orange in color!
When people are conceived by mothers and fathers, but especially mothers, who have diets with high in fat soluble vitamins A, D, and K2, like those who live off of a hunter/ gatherer lifestyle, their babies are happy, robust, healthy, and with strong bones. They develop properly and easily, without illness, and disease, and they teeth are straight and well developed without cavities, despite the fact that they do not brush, floss, and use mouthwash. To me this is astounding, because it goes against everything we have been taught in the Western Culture.
And- oh if I could go back and tell my mother, this information. I have been one of those people, like many Americans born with skin issues, allergies, crooked teeth, and other COMMON maladies to our country and dietary lifestyle. Life has been hard, and is hard when you are fighting against all the deficiencies that we were never meant to have. Even depression, moodiness, PMS, and argumentative, misbehaving children- all these commons in modern culture were absent in these pockets of people Price studied. They were Eskimo peoples, Gallic Fishermen, hunter/ gatherers in Canada, the Everglades, Amazon, Australia and Africa, as well as the Andean Indians.
As an Anthropology student in college, I learned that these "so called backwards people" were really anything but backwards. They may life more simply, or less developed but in so many ways, especially when it comes to nutrition and life satisfaction, they are so much further ahead of us. Sadly though many of these pockets of people are no longer. I honestly do not know of the corners of the world that have not been modernized. If I had to guess pretty much everywhere has been touched by modern culture, technology and civilization. It is sad to see these peoples and rich culture disappear. With them, the knowledge our ancient ancestors took for granted.
What if you are getting into the game, late?? It is the last quarter, and few minutes left, or even half-time. You may want to despair. You like me, got into the game late. You may feel like what is the use? I didn't have this growing up. My parents definitely did not eat in a nutrient dense way, so my condition is hopeless.
I urge you to get in the game anyway! Wherever you are in life. At whatever stage in life, you can always make changes, and these changes will improve the quality of your life. An added benefit will be more enjoyment and and happiness as eating foods high in nutritive vitamins will make you feel so much better. You may not be able to change your height or teeth, or facial structure if you are already an adult (and I do not recommend surgery), but I believe in inherent Divine intervention and wisdom. You never know what can happen when you move forward in steps of faith.
This post is much more than herbs, although intuition combined with herbal practice is highly effective. I want to focus on intuition, or spirit. Is your spirit awakened? Do you know you are spirit? You are not really your physical body, but a spiritual being in a physical body. We are here temporarily but our spirit is permanent and long lasting to eternity. The bible tells us to care for our "house," because it is the home of God. Our bodies are important and are vehicles that take us where we want to go in life. God asks us to care and many scriptures refer to that care of the physical, but I want to remind you that you are not just what you see with your eyes.
There can be a lot of answers in the still, quiet moments of life when you ask God and the Universe to show you the answers you seek. In the business of daily living, it is near impossible to get the answers you seek. You must stop and slow down and sometimes unload a little before the answers come. I am going to give you three tips that I implement to get the answers I often need to keep me on track and moving towards the goals and plans for my life.
Sometimes the first step is to unload a little. I am not supportive on long complaining sessions, and rehashing issues over and over, or dwelling on past hurts. I am for writing some of your thoughts down, even some ugly ones so as to not suppress your feelings. Then, you must quickly turn from those thoughts. Often times I erase them, or throw them away, or even burn the paper I wrote them on. I believe more firmly in writing down positive thoughts, but you can not just bottle up some of the negatives. If you are upset about something. Write it down. Sometimes the answer comes by releasing it.
Go outside, and spend time alone in nature. Nature is my favorite teacher. I have learned so much from my time spent outside. The key though is to be quiet and alone. Cutting the grass, playing games, or spending active time with others, can be great exercise but it is in the quiet moments with God and nature that answers often come. This may be difficult to arrange. I know it is for me. When I was young, pre-kids, I would go on long walks communing with nature, crossing streams, listening to the trees and plants. Now it is difficult to carve out 20 minutes of that precious time. I make an intention though to find it almost every day.
Tip 3: Although I do not advocate staying up late in the night, there may be times when you go through some restless nights where spirit may be trying to communicate with you. Instead of tossing and turning, or putting on an electronic device, open your mind to what the Universe may be saying. I think more than receiving answers in nature, most of the answers I have sought came in dreams at night or when I wake up, unable to fall back to sleep. Instead of fighting with myself, I will go somewhere quiet, and read, or write, or look up at the moon, and pray and the things I have been questions, or fears I have let set in my mind- are erased in the special moments with God.
Those are my 3 main tips for allowing your intuition to take over. Intuition is nothing more than learning how to hear from the Universe and from what your body is telling you. This ability is sharpened, through practice. See if you can implement some of these tips today. Blessings to you.
Are dandelions really humble? I think so. They are not flashy and temperamental like Roses. They are low to the earth, and unapologetic. They do not mind growing in the most lowly places, and are never the center piece of any bouquet. They lack the delicious fragrance of Honeysuckle or the gorgeous purple Wisteria. In fact they have very little scent at all. Dandelions are accused of being weeds, and sprayed and pulled up in force. Yet they keep growing, reseeding and beautifying any space where they are allowed to grow.
I love the Dandelion- Taraxacum officinale. All parts of the plant are used. I even pick the flower tops and dry them to add to my tea blends in the winter. It adds a bit of Spring sunshine to a wintery day. The leaves are delicious in salad greens, and high in Vitamins A, as well as Iron. The roots are where the real magic happens. Dandelion root is very tonifying and strengthening to the liver. After a long, and perhaps sluggish winter, I find it so delightful that God has given us Dandelion to lighten our steps, and spring us into spring. Just as you clean your house and air it out after months of indoor heat, the dandelion leaves and roots will clean up your own "house,"- your physical body.
My favorite method of utilizing the roots, is to dig them up from the garden. If you let your dandelions seed naturally, you will find them in the garden, which is the best place to find them. You should have rich, nourished soil, to produce the best dandelions. I wash the roots, and let them air dry for an hour or two. Then I cut the roots into small pieces, about 1/2 inch long. They can be dried even further by placing them in paper bags for at least 2 weeks, or you can make tea with them right away.
To make dandelion tea, you will place all of your root pieces in a large pot. (Assuming you have collected a lot). So for numerical purposes, for every 1/2 cup of root pieces, use 2 cups water in a pot. Turn your burner on low/ medium heat and bring to a simmer. Keep the temperature at a simmer for 30 minutes. The water should turn a brown color as the properties of the dandelion roots are pulled into the water.
You can add other roots if you have them. I like burdock root especially with dandelion root. Or make it just as it is- the unapologetic dandelion. After the roots have finished simmering. Put a lid on your pot and steep for 15-30 more minutes. Serve in ceramic mugs with a little milk and honey. Delicious!
**From The Lost Book of Herbal Remedies p. 69
"Dandelion contains antioxidants, phytonutrients, and essential fatty acids that reduce inflammation in the body. This relieves swelling and related pain in the body. Inflammation is the root cause of many diseases, suich as arthritis."
See my video below on harvesting Dandelion roots:
Black Walnut, Eastern- Juglans nigra. This wonderful plant is a deciduous tree in the Juglandaceae (Walnut) family. Black walnut trees grow everywhere in the Northeast US. If you go to the country and ask 10 people if they have a Black walnut on their property, I guarantee 9 times out of 10 you will here- YES! You will also hear how they find the tree to be annoying because it drops (if it is healthy), hundreds of walnut hulls all over the ground. These hulls can be as large as a softball, but are usually more like something between a golf ball and a softball in size. At first they are just a bumpy nuisance for the lawn mower, but as they break down they are a messy black nuisance, that is unless you have learned to harness the beauty of this plant.
Everywhere country home we have lived at had at least one black walnut tree. I have been amazed at where I find the inner shells, nestled in the ground, far from the tree- ready to burst forth with new life. I imagine that squirrels and other woodland creatures carry them hither and thither around the earth moving them, stacking them, dropping them and replanting this marvelous tree.
One year my husband and I decided to gather the hulls not only for the medicinal qualities in the green hull, but for the walnut inside. (I make at least a gallon of tincture every single year. See my video on making Black Walnut Tincture below.) I will never forget that exercise. First we gathered all the green hulls and placed them in our driveway/ parking area. We had a big Black Walnut tree right over a stone parking area at the back of our property. The hulls were conveniently close and nearly dropping on our cars. We made big piles of the the hulls and ran them over with our vehicles to help remove the green part.
Then we raked them aside and let them dry in the grass. Mind you everything under the green hull turns black and dies because of the juglone and tannins in the hull, which is the exact part you want for your fungal remedy. Anyway, I believe we let them dry out for about a week, and then we gathered them in big buckets and took them to our basement. Here my husband washed each hull and scrubbed them with a wire brush. This was a time consuming process, needless to say. We then continued to dry them, on some sort of rack or screen; I can not quite remember, but I know that we left them alone for a month or two. They were collected around September and we ate them around the holidays.
After all that effort, there is even more effort needed to get to the meat. You need a large, flat board and a hammer to crack open the shell that protects the walnut. These nuts do not crack with your normal nutcracker. The center though is so worth it. The prize is so delicious, almost a delicacy, and packed with flavor. I never tasted a nut that was so tasty. I am actually not a big fan of black walnuts, or walnuts in general but the ones we collected and opened with love and care were the best by far I have ever eaten.
As for the topic of this blog post... I have mentioned that the hulls are used for fungal issues, and boy do they ever work for this problem. I have had skin issues my whole life, not so much anymore as I have gotten to a lot of the root problems, which would consist of another post another time. When I have a flare up of eczema- which from my research and understanding is really a bacterial, fungal storm, I have found no cream, lotion, potion or anything that works as effectively as the juice from the black walnut hulls (the green hulls).
If you go to the video below, and see my Sheep Hill Herbs You Tube page, I also have a video on freezing slices of black walnut hulls. In the fall- I use the hulls fresh as long as they last. I will even store them in the refrigerator for a few months. If I have any skin itchiness, or flare, I cut the hull and rub the juice right on the spot. Most of my eczema has been on my hands, in-between my fingers. The juice stings if you have any skin problem, like ring-worm, or other creepy crawly thing going on. If your skin is healthy, it will stain with no feeling whatsoever. Usually a few applications, over a few days is enough to stop the microorganisms in their tracks and then "it" whatever that it is, fungus, bacteria, e
It is a new week. I am grateful that you are reading this post. I am so happy to share my passion of herbs and the art of life with you!
A lot is happening in the our household right now. I am constantly trying to make sure that I am aligning my life with my life goal. My goal or mission statement is: "I want to inspire millions of people worldwide to restore, mind, body and spirit with herbs, art and nature."
I love this quote from Paul Harrison in a paper written on the Native American Indians. "The old Lakota was wise. He knew that man's heart away from nature becomes hard; he knew that lack of respect for growing, living things soon led to lack of respect for humans, too. So he kept his youth close to its softening influence."
I am sad at the state of affairs in the world. The many many efforts to bring us into a technological future of science-based everything. Rather than focus on the "evils" of the world and what evil men are doing, I need to stay focused on the beauty and the hope in the world.
I do not think that the above quote could be better stated. A true journey of healing, requires a reconnection to the earth and plants, and elements that make up our glorious planet. I do not think healing is separate from nature. It is nature. Our bodies will eventually fail and there is no amount of herbs or chemical medicine that can stop that inevitability. Our spirit/ soul lives on and I do believe our spirit the condition of our spirit has an unbreakable tie to how we treat our fellow human beings and other life on earth- including plants and animals. "A lack of respect or growing, living things soon led to lack of respect for humans, too..."
This all brings me back to my belief that healing is found in the respect, the notice, the care of the living plants and animals in our own personal environment. Where ever you are, you have plants growing. They are so tenacious and unstoppable. A sidewalk, a pavement, a roadside, all gives way to the growth of plants. Trees are amazing, just walk around the edges of your yard and notice. I am amazed at where I see little trees blooming. Their seeds fall and sprout just about anywhere.
The earth is teeming with plants and seeds that can be guided and grown into lovely medicine to heal and refresh the mind, body and spirit.
-Infused oils are an ancient way to extract the principle elements, and scent from plants and preserve them. My favorite, and most herbalist's favorite oil base is Olive Oil. When I say olive oil, I mean extra virgin, 1st Cold Press- ONLY! The first press, with cold extraction is pressed from the oil, usually with an ancient wooden pressure press that squeezes the oil from the olive fruit. This is this the most pure and energy filled oil you can use to make infused herbal oils.
".....I like them all, but especially the olive. For what it symbolizes, first of all- peace with its leaves and joy with its golden oil."
"The olive tree is surely the richest gift of Heaven."
There are other vegetable oils that can be used, and they are apricot kernel oil, almond oil, and grape seed oil. I just personally prefer Olive Oil and that is what I choose to use just about every time I make an infused oil, or ointment/ salve.
When you make your infused oils- you will want to use dried herbs or "fresh" wilted herbs and flowers. To wilt- pick fresh and place on a paper towel on your counter for a few hours. Some of the water will evaporate, making the herbs more stable for infusing. When they contain too much moisture content, there is risk of spoilage. I love how Rosemary Gladstar explains the proportions when making infused oils. She recommend the "simpler's method," whereby you put the desired amount of herb in a jar, and cover it completely with oil, making sure you leave 2-3 inches of oil over the top of the herb.
The herbs must be covered with the olive oil, because any portion that is not- can spoil, especially if you are using fresh wilted herbs. After covering the plant material, cover the jar tightly with a lid and place it in a warm sunny spot. (This method is called solar infusion, because you will be using the sun's heat and energy to extract the essences of the plant, rose, in this instance.) I love this method much more than heating my oil and herbs with the stove, or a crock pot.
and shake, or agitate your jar of rose petal oil at least once a day. This actually makes a big difference in the quality of the finished oil. I agitate about 4 or 5 times by gently turning my hand back and forth with the jar. The typical amount of time that you can let your oils sit, is two weeks. If you want the rose oil to be stronger you have a few options, 1. let the petals sit in the oil an extra week, or 2. strain off all the oil, compost the rose petals and then put a new batch of petals in the oil and start again.
When you strain the oil from the petals, use cheese cloth, so you can really squeeze the essence from the petals. To store your homemade rose oil, it is more preferable to use brown, glass bottles. I have used clear glass, but only when I am storing in a dark cabinet to keep the light and heat from affected the made oil. It is kind of strange that the oil needs to sit in the sun when you are making it, but when it is finished, you need to keep the new oil in a dark, dry storage space.
Do not forget to label your herbal product with the ingredients, the date, and I sometimes even write down the plant source, and the type of oil I used. Your new rose oil will not have a super strong scent of rose, but can be made more prominent by double and triple infusing the petals, or by adding a drop of pure rose essential oil to the finished product. For heart issues, and issue of sadness, grief or a feeling of apathy, gently massage the rose oil over your heart one to two times a day. Enjoy and God bless!
photo credit is to www.unsplash.com (except for first pic of the olive oil container.)
,Lately, and because it is summer and the plants are blooming, and fresh every day, I usually wake up and pick something fresh for my morning tea. Today though, it is rainy and I am not feeling like going out to pick my herbs. I do think it is important, however to spend time outside in all types of weather. We just returned home from vacation where we I had much opportunity to really connect with nature. The home where we were staying was so natural... I felt the earth permeating the whole house.
Our vacation stay was at an old farmhouse in Maine. I have always been attracted to old homes. I even grew up in a one rooms school house (which had been converted and added upon), but there was a definite feel and a wisdom to that home. When I look at all the places I have lived, when I had the express option, I chose homes with that age, and natural feel that reminded me of where I was raised.
Somehow along the way of getting married, and having children, I lost a lot of myself. I want to say that this is normal. I do believe this happens to people, especially women when they have children. Our needs kind of get displaced by the immediate needs of the little ones. It was during my years of child bearing that I found a lot of healing physically, but emotionally and spiritually, I just did not have the time to focus on myself.
I bring this up because healing- or living a life of harmony has more to do with plants that we eat. It has a lot to do with them, but also it is in the way we live. As I write this, I remember a museum I worked at in Vermont- callled Rokeby Museum. I loved working there. It permeated with history. The museum was actually a homestead of a Vermont family. It was rich with the writings, possessions, stories, and art from a few generations of the Robinson family. It is a true treasure because of the consistent amount of preserved history from this particular family over a few generations. It allowed the visitors and employees to really step back in time, and feel the past.
Where am I going with all this? I am heading to this place. I currently live in a newer home. My home has very little of the features that I know in my soul that I am attracted to. I do not have hardwood floors, it has a lot of carpeting, there are a number of natural materials in some stone flooring, and a stone fireplace, and with natural wood beams, but this home has never felt like "home" to me. I have worked on it, reworked it, changed things, moved things, painted rooms, decorated, added artwork, incorporated plants, pretty much everything one can do, besides a full remodel. Yet this home does not feel like home.
I have never understood the reason until now. I understand because I have gotten closer to who I am as a person. This investigation to who I am, as revealed to me a number of characteristics I need to feel at peace or at "one" with my environment. I've denied them to myself. I have felt irritated on a daily basis, and did not understand why I felt so out of tune or like I was missing something. These realizations are good for me. They are good because when we deny our own truth on a regular basis, it does something to our physical bodies. It often brings upon illness or "dis-ease" when we deny who we are, what we know to be true in our deep inner most self.
Where do I go from here? Well- we have been talking about moving for a while now, and I have been looking at homes. Again I have found myself having a really difficult time staying true to myself as I look for a home. I here the voices in my head telling me that "my husband would like this," or "my friends might think that," or "so and so might have this opinion." This is crazy! I can't believe that the thoughts of others are affecting how I live and what type of house I have.
All of this is turning into a bit of a ramble, but it is what I am going through right now. I am determining, or finding out what I want in a home. I am nearly 40 and I know what I want. I have known. I think back on all the homes I have visited, and places I have stayed, and I have recorded those thoughts into my mind. Yet- I have not really executed those thoughts or voiced them and made it a reality in my life. I believe this is important. I believe it is important to one's health to voice and state and make happen those hidden likes and desires. If I don't it is like living with my truth buried, and the body will manifest that discontentedness.
So today, I will take a small step towards making my home a place I can really enjoy. Today I will put forward what efforts I can, one small step at a time to creating change in my life. I will not look at the whole picture as something overwhelming, but will take little bits and try to make those little bits add up to one big piece over time. Step by step, inch by inch, I will let my truth out. I will also continue to look for a new house, and keep in mind that my truth is a home with history, natural materials, and wisdom permeating its beams.
I have been studying herbs for a long time. It will be 20 years this September. I have been fully incorporating herbs in my life almost as long. I think it was after my first son was born, 13 years ago that I really dived into integrating herbs in my life in a total and complete way. Life is dependent on plants. Do you know that at one time in history- that is how all peoples lived. Everything was obtained from the land, and made from the land. Plants have sustained us, provided for us and given life for thousands of years. Man has of course depended on animal sources for food, but it is the earth, the trees, the plants, the herbs that have made life possible. Thank you Lord!
beThis brings me to St. John's Wort- Hypericum perforatum. I of course know this plant and of this plant and have used dried St. John's Wort in preparations. However, you do not really get to know a plant until you search for it. Find it in the wild. Know it's habitat, and pick it and feel it and smell the blossoms, dry it and prepare it for medicine. I believe that an herbalist becomes an Herbalist when spending ample and concentrated time with the plants where they grow.
This year was the first year that I got to know Hypericum perforatum. This was the first year where I searched for it in the wild. I was happy to find it growing many places near my property and where we vacationed in Maine. Once you see a plant, and know it by sight, it stands out wherever you go. As we drove the 500 miles to the North coast of ME- I spotted it everywhere, as I did dozens of other plants that I have become very intimately aware of.
I think the most interesting aspect of St. John's Wort is that the oil from the petals turns red. In Desk Reference to Nature's Medicine (p. 338)... it states that St. John's Wort was named after St. John the Baptist and the herb is said to bloom on the saints birthday, June 24th and to bleed red oil from its flowers on August 29, the day that John the Baptist was beheaded. It also states that for centuries, St. John's wort was credited with the power to drive away devils. I personally think this refers to the known and tested uses of this plant as one of nature's best anti-depressants.
I am currently making St. John's wort oil from the flowers and parts of the leaves. Before I left on vacation I had dried some of the herb and began soaking it in olive oil. I did this however pretty early in the season, and I noticed my oil was not turning red as it should be. I think (according to my research)... that I picked the flowers a little too soon to really extract the red oil from the petals. It is now about 2 weeks since I first picked the flowers and I am on vacation. Every day I have been making herbal tea from the St. John's wort plant. In the morning I go outside and pick some fresh herbs for the day. I have been concentrating on taking St. John's wort by itself to really get a good feel for the plant.
When I pick this herb, I cut off about 3-4 inches total from the top of the flowers down the stem. I boil my water on the stove and when it has boiled, I put what would be about the equivalent of 2 Tablespoons of the fresh herb into the pot, remove from heat and cover with a lid. I wait 10 minutes and when I return, the tea is a beautiful red color. So, I know that the red oil is present, but I think it will keep increasing in strength as the month continues. I will need to keep experimenting with harvest time.
The tea has been quite delicious. It is hard to define a new taste. I can't really say it tastes like another flavor- for now that I have tasted it fresh from the ground, I would say it tastes like St. John's wort, but to someone who has no reference that is hard to define. It is herby and earthy- with a slight pine or citrus scent. I think that is the closest description I can come to at this time. 😊
As for the effects. I really think that this is the type of herb that needs to be consistently enjoyed to see reap the emotional or spiritual benefits. I must say though- that I have been sleeping very well since we have been on vacation and I have been drinking an infusion of St. John's wort. I do struggle with sound sleep, and I am not sure if it is a number of factors, such as the relaxing bedroom... (my home bedroom needs some more balance), the sea air, the quiet of nature, or the tea). More than likely it is all of these, and what I have learned from this trip, is that I need to create an air of vacation at home. My home should feel like I am on vacation. I want to live my life, as a healer should be one where I am filled up so I can pour out on others.
As I learn more about this intricate, beautiful plant- I will post again.
Not sure if there is a more beautiful sight than a blooming field of Queen Anne's Lace flowers. It is truly a picture to behold. There are of course many rivaling sights to be seen on God's beautiful planet, but it is one of those marvels. Fortunately you can see this pretty plant bloom almost everywhere, as it has often been considered an invasive weed. Perhaps it seems that way, before the flowers bloom. I know I am often tempted to weed them out of my garden beds, but I hold off. I wait- because I know when the blooms come it will be worth the vision.
Gorgeous! Isn't it? The best time of year to witness these blooms is the end of July into August, and they bloom rather long before turning to seed. So you can't really miss it. The story behind the name of this plant is that "Queen Anne of England (who died in 1714) pricking her finger—drawing a drop of blood—while sewing lace." (https://www.motherearthliving.com/gardening/herb-to-know-queen-annes-lace)
If you look closely at some of my pictures below you will see the little red dot (dark red) in the center of some of the flowers. I love the name. I love the story. I love the unique red center of this plant. The uses of Queen Anne's Lace are also quite extraordinary. The modern day carrot is derived from this plant. If you dig up the roots, they are not as pretty and "carrot-shaped," but they definitely smell of carrot. You can wash the roots and chew them. They are a little tough, but the flavor is unique. Or you can wash and dry and boil in a decoction.
To decoct the roots. You will want to use one, 2-3 inch root per cup of water. Place the clean roots in a pot for boiling/ simmering. Cover with the appropriate amount of water. Turn the heat to a medium temperature, and bring to a low boil/ simmer. Continue to "cook" the roots for 30 minutes, while you have a lid on the pan. When the time has elapsed, remove from heat and let sit for another hour. You can then drink hot- and store the rest in the refrigerator for probably a week before it would spoil.
The decoction of wild carrot is known to help with low energy in the gall bladder, and kidneys. It reinvigorates these organs bringing about a cleansing effect to the system. I recommend drinking the decoction with just the Queen Anne's Lace first. Anytime trying a new herb. I do not recommend combining with other plants. You want to get a real feel, and taste for the herb by itself before mixing in other herbs. Companion plant you may want to blend with Queen Anne's Lace are fennel seeds, a touch of lavender, and a bit of chamomile. I like to mix more earthy tasting plants with floral flavors.
There is some interesting history about the use of wild carrot seeds as a natural contraceptive. I am not going to go into the details on how to accomplish this, but will share my own personal trial with this herb, in this way. You can read more on this here (https://herbalisl.blogspot.com/2009/11/queen-annes-lace-conscious-choice-for.html). I would recommend cross referencing a few sources before attempting this method. For me personally I do not believe in taking any "drug" or hormone related birth control substance. I also do not believe in getting "fixed" and changing the body through surgery, unless there is an absolute need or emergency. I believe in doing things naturally. I also believe in a God that provides natural solutions- if we look for them.
Our Father has given us a monthly cycle with a natural rhythm that we can follow with practice and experience. There is a window of days when we as women are most fertile, and very likely to get pregnant. Thankfully it is a window, because it does allow us some choice over our bodies. To me the choice is something you think about before coming together with your spouse. The choice to end another life is not a choice that is a definite destruction of life begun.
Besides the natural rhythm method also called Natural Family planning, there are herbs that have been used for thousands of years by herbalist to aid the body in pregnancy, child birth, nursing, post partum, pre-pregnancy and even to discourage pregnancy. I believe that wild carrot seed can be a blessing for a mother who is in need of some personal healing time for herself. Although I believe in big families, having many children in a row can be very hard on the mother.
I have collected the seeds in volume in the fall when the heads turn brown. You can just cut them off. Now the first year I did this, I dried the seeds in the umbral. I would not suggest doing this. I plan on collecting this year, and will shake the seeds loose onto trays and then dry further in paper bags. You will need to collect a lot of seeds- because they are tiny, and I believe when drinking as a tea, you will want a teaspoon at a time- so yes that is a lot of seed collection!
Thankfully Queen Anne's Lace grows so abundantly it will be no trial to collect enough flower heads for the seeds. Just remember to collect from areas that are healthy, and not in roadside drainage. If you have access to a field- that is the best place for your collection. During times of intimacy- when I know that I have been close to my fertility time, I will drink the wild carrot tea for a few days. I enjoy the taste quite immensely, and I know that I am benefitting my kidneys and gall bladder as all herbs have many functions, many purposes. That purpose could just be to provide some beauty and joy to what may be a dismal day.
I was on vacation when I took these pictures. Feeling very sad at the recent loss of my dad. The one morning I had decided that that was enough mourning (for now). I need to dwell on the positives. I woke up and watched the sun rise, and then went down to the field of Queen Anne's Lace growing outside my window. I picked a bouquet of the flowers and placed them on the table with Bee balm and Golden rod. Just the act of picking a bouquet is enough to turn around a sad mood. Would love to hear your experiences with this plant below. Thank you for reading this through. 😊
I found an interesting post the other day on Facebook, and it was a picture of an herbal medicine cabinet, and it said something like "this is what a medicine cabinet should look like" and it was filled with all types of herbs and jars, and such. I thought- oh my gosh! That is what my medicine cabinet(s) look like. I must say I do have a typical, pharmacy stocked chest as well with hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, band-aids and gauze and antibacterial creams, as well as a first aid kid. Although I love love love my herbs, there have been times when CVS products have come in super handy, so I would suggest being stocked in both. My herbal chest however is much bigger, and contains many more varieties of remedies. Below are some pictures of my main herbal medicine cabinet, but I have also taken up space in many of my kitchen cabinets, and spaces on my sun porch for other herbal making supplies. It is truly time to upgrade to a second kitchen space for my plants.
I decided to write a list of what I keep on hand and have stocked to give the reader some inspiration for their own herbal supply. Some of the items are tools that are needed to make medicine, tincture, salves, and other herbal products for personal use- as well as to share with friends, family and your community.
1. Eye wash cup, and Dr. Christopher's Herbal Eyewash tincture. (I use to make this from scratch. It contains some wonderful herbs, such as eyebright and cayenne, in an alcohol base, but this is not one I am currently making, and prefer to buy this.)
2. Cheese cloth for straining tinctures.
3. Blood pressure monitor, for personal check-ups.
4. A thermometer when running a fever.
5. Many glass jars, with lids.
6. 1 and 2 oz. amber tincture bottles.
7. Cleaned and sanitized baby food jars to use for salves, herbs, or seed collection.
8. 1 and 2 oz. metal tins for salves and ointments.
9. A size 0 capsule maker.
10. A small 1 pound kitchen scale.
11. Wheat germ oil
12. Extra Virgin Olive oil and beeswax
13. Raw local honey
14. Raw Apple Cider Vinegar, as well as Distilled Apple Cider vinegar. I like the distilled version when I make vinegar tinctures
15. Red wine and White wine (preferably organic to keep on hand to make a cordial type tincture).
16. A bottle of good quality Vodka to make alcohol tinctures.
17. Pure vegetable glycerin to make my glycerites.
18. I also keep food grade plastic bags to put my mixed teas in for friends and family.
19. I have labels to label everything I make.
20. A cabinet full of essential oils. (I use Young Living oils right now, but am thinking of switching to a smaller company with more sustainable plant practices. Suggestions welcome!) I use my essential oils for some aromatherapy purposes, but also in some of my salves, and other refrigerator remedies (like jewel-weed juice), to help with preservation time.
21. All natural cough drops.
22. Homemade garlic oil for earaches.
23. Size 0 and 00 capsules (vegetarian preferably).
24. Aloe juice/ gel kept in the refrigerator
NOW FOR MY HERBS
*I keep a lot of different herbs on hand. I am always changing the amounts because I use some, sell some, and give some away. I am not going to notate the exact ounces of what I have because it fluctuates but I will make a note if the particular herb is one I keep in abundance (like upwards to a pound). I am not going to list my kitchen spices, which is probably a good idea for another post. I do sometimes use my kitchen spices in my herbal mixes, such as turmeric, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
1. Lobelia tincture (homemade with Apple Cider Vinegar and Sage from my garden).
2. No More Sugar Tincture (this is a formula I created for sugar cravings, and it contains herbs like Rose, and Yarrow.)
3. My homemade Valerian, Lavender, Chamomile glycerite.
4. Red wine soaked with Rose, Clove, Cinnamon and raw honey. (I drink less than an ounce if feeling very anxious, to settle in the evening.)
5. Red wine that has been turned into a valerian/ wine tincture. (Again this is for the nerves, and just a tiny thimble full will work).
6. A white wine tincture with fresh horseradish that I keep in the refrigerator for lung and bronchial complaints.
7. Multi-vitamin glycerite made from Dr. Christopher's Vitalerbs powder.
8. Herbal Calcium formula I made from comfrey, peppermint (from my garden), lobelia and horsetail.
9. A Kidney tincture I created with cornsilk and dill seeds. I love this! And so do my kids, because it tastes like pickles. (I used a ACV base).
10. Catnip and ACV tincture.
11. Chaparral powder
12. Chickweed dried from my garden
13. Echinacea leaf and root
15. Red Clover dried from my garden (I usually have close to a pound of this herb).
17. Comfrey (dried from my garden).
18. Lavender flowers (a teeny bit dried from my garden.) I need to plant more lavender!
19. Calendula flowers (partially wild-crafted).
20. Catnip (dried from my garden).
21. Lemon balm or Melissa (dried from my garden).
22. Hops powder
23. Burdock leaf dried from my property.
24. Dandelion root and flowers (some of it wild-crafted, but I usually purchase extra root).
25. Burdock root
26. Marshmallow root (some of it dried from wild-crafting).
27. Licorice root
29. Hibiscus flower
30. Mullein (I dry some from wild-crafting but also purchase because I like to have about 1/2 a pound on hand).
31. Red Raspberry leaf (some years I take the time to collect and dry). I like to have quite a few ounces of this on hand as well.
32. Yarrow (One of my favorite herbs. I usually have a pound on hand, and also I grow and dry a lot of Yarrow).
36. Horseradish root soaked in vinegar (kept in the refrigerator).
37. Wild carrot seeds (wild-crafted)
38. Juniper berries
39. Fennel seeds
40. Mustard seed powder
41. Peppermint (dried from my garden).
42. Spearmint (dried from my garden).
43. Rose petals (I sometimes have this on hand).
44. Golden rod flowers (wild-crafted)
45. Boneset (wild-crafted from my property).
46. Pau D'arco
48. Cayenne pepper powder 90K heat units
50. Sage (partially dried from my garden).
51. St. John's Wort (wild-crafted)
52. Slippery Elm (I always have at least 4 ounces of this).
53. Cedar berries
54. White oak bark powder
55. Lobelia (I like to keep a pound on hand).
56. Mugwort (wild-crafted and dried)
57. Echinacea flowers as well as Black-Eyed Susan flowers dried (from my property).
58. Rosemary (dried from my garden).
59. Oregano (dried from my garden).
60. Dried plantain from my yard
61. Alfalfa powder
**And I am sure there is something I am forgetting.
62. I almost forgot! Black Walnut Tincture. I am almost out! I usually make a gallon in the fall. I am down to my last ounce. LOVE LOVE. I also keep and store the hulls in the freezer. Works so well for skin conditions, and this is the best method I have found to preserve the hull/ juice intact.
63. This year I made Honeysuckle and Dandelion Oxymels. The dandelion is already all gone, but I still have the honeysuckle. It is delicious!
64. Valerian root
SALVES I KEEP ON HAND
1. I love the Dr. Christopher ointments- especially his Black Ointment.
2. I make my own black drawing salve.
3. I usually make a Calendula ointment for skin issues.
4. I have a bone/ muscle/ cartilage salve I make with Comfrey
5. Chickweed ointment
6. Jewel-weed juice I keep in the refrigerator (not a salve, but for the skin).
7. A Cayenne based ointment I make for muscle aches and pains.
8. Plantain ointment
I am not going to list all my other pre-made herbal supplements I buy, but I do have quite a few other tinctures and capsules I purchase, usually Dr. Christopher brand that I keep on hand for daily use. We have a big family of 7 people. I also have a few powder supplements with mushrooms (like shitake). I plan on learning more about this wonderful healing modality and either growing and drying or collecting and drying my own.
1. Peppermint smudge stick (homemade)
2. Mugwort smudge stick (homemade)
That is pretty much what I currently have in my home right now. It does fluctuate sometimes, and I am going to be harvesting/ wild-crafting a great deal over the next few months. I will make an updated blog post perhaps this winter when all of the stocking is updated.