Wise Woman Herbal Ezine

Click here to read the Ezine Archives

  • Wednesday, May 24, 2017 2:53 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    Hops Asparagus

    Hops shares a family with Cannabis, and like its sister, has separate male and female vines. Herbalists use the unfertilized female flowers, which are loaded with resin. No matter what your hops vine is though, the shoots are edible, and taste a lot like asparagus. I can usually harvest enough new shoots for a tasty treat every two weeks throughout May and June.

    Here is a nice bundle of hops shoots. I have harvested them by breaking them off the stalk. Like asparagus, the tough stalk is too fibrous for my taste. I just like to eat the tender growing tip, about 3-5 inches.

    Poisonous plants can grow in among the edible ones, so keep your eyes open. Here are several shoots of bind weed (wild morning glory) mixed in with the hops.  It wouldn’t kill me to eat bind weed but it wouldn’t be pleasant.

    I saute the hops shoots in half butter and half olive oil for about ten minutes or until tender, adding a splash of tamari as I serve them.

    ~ Daylily ~

  • Wednesday, May 24, 2017 2:48 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    Cattail Side Dish

    Part, 2

    Then slice the white center into thin rounds. The green parts of the leaves that are tender are edible and may be included.

    Heat a fat of your choice – bacon fat, butter, olive oil – in a skillet. Add the cattail slices when the fat is hot and lower the heat.

    When the slices are soft and some are a little brown, they are ready to eat.

     Serve your cattail slices as a side dish over rice or beans or any vegetable. Although they look a lot like onion, they don’t taste spicy at all. The taste is rather bland and a little sweet. And very easy to enjoy.

    ~ Hops Asparagus ~

  • Wednesday, May 24, 2017 2:42 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

     Cattail Side Dish

    Part 1

    One of the oldest surviving family of plants is the Typhaceae, the cattails. Euell Gibbons dubbed them the “natural supermarket.” The Boy Scouts claim to be able to make “anything” from cattails. Though tough and fibrous, all parts of the plant are edible. And the leaves can be woven into bags, baskets, and mats, which can be used for clothing and shelter. 

    If you look online, you will find dozens of recipes for cattail dishes, many focusing on the roots, which are starchy and potato-like. Because there is far less cattail in my area than there was even twenty years ago, I treat it like a mildly endangered plant and avoid disturbing or harvesting the root.

    Instead, I pull the shoot, leaving the firmly-anchored root in place. Here is a bunch of cattail shoots ready to be prepared for our meal.

    The first step is to cut off most of the leaves. Then treat the cattail shoot like a leek, slitting the heavy green layers so they can be peeled away leaving the sweet white center.

    ~ Cattails, part 2 ~

  • Wednesday, May 24, 2017 2:35 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    Green greetings to you all.

    It’s almost the end of the merry month of May, the month when the fairies come out to play. The moment the fairy gate opened, the fairies beckoned to the leaf buds, and the leaves unfurled. Then the fairies stirred the roots, and shoots shot up. The fairies danced, and mushroomed bulged from the earth. The fairies sang, and flowers in all the colors of the rainbow bloomed.

    Late May is a great time for adding wild plants to your salad. There’s lots of chickweed and dandelion, garlic mustard and violet leaves, five-finger ivy and wild mint to bring green blessing to your salad bowl.

    It’s a wonderful time to experiment with new wild foods, too. I believe that eating wild foods is vital to optimum health. Wild foods give us healthy doses of soil bacteria and other micro-organisms that make the gut optimally healthy, and this translates into less diabetes and fewer chronic diseases. Wild foods are usually richer in minerals and anti-oxidants, reducing muscular and skeletal aches and pains and protecting us against cancer. Wild foods make our cells fall in love again. We are re-wilded when we eat wild food, even one bite. And we are rewired into the Earth matrix when we eat wild food regularly.

    Here are some shoots of early summer – cattail, daylily, hops, and poke – to experiment with.

    Have reservations about eating wild foods on your own? Join us for the Green Witch Holiday.  We pick wild salad every day, and eat lots of other wild things, including mushrooms. In addition, we spend an entire day making herbal remedies at Herb Hill with Gretchen Gould, purveyor of fine infused oils. Do join us.

    Green blessings are everywhere, and many of them are delicious.


    ~ Cattails, part 1 ~

  • Thursday, April 20, 2017 10:06 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    Steven Foster and Susun Weed 2017

    Friends in the green for forty years. I love you Steven.

    Our First Wild Salad of 2017

    With the help of the live-in apprentices, the live-out apprentices made their first wild salad Easter weekend. It contains lettuce, garlic mustard leaves, cronewort shoots including rhizomes, creeping jenny in bloom, wild chives, wild madder tender tips, dandelion leaves cut finely, periwinkle blossoms (no more than 2 per person per day), and forsythia flowers.

  • Thursday, April 20, 2017 9:46 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    Goat Walk

    The fence protects my baby hawthorn (Thank you Eagle Song!) from the depredations of the goats (and the deer). That is why it is twice as big this year as last year. Way to grow hawthorn! (To be continued.) Meanwhile, I am swooning over the fresh hawthorn berry vinegar Rebecca gave me (Thank you Rebecca) and anticipate the day when I will have fresh hawthorn berries of my own.

    Looking down into the mullein mandala is a favorite meditation. I find the pattern soothing, like mullein is soothing to respiratory tissues. Find mullein mandalas by looking for the dead stalks of last years plants sticking up (or falling over in some cases). There is still time to make tincture of the leaves to counter coughs next winter.

    This basket of dandelions greeted me when I got to FireOmEarth the beginning of April. Lorna whipped up a simple pesto of the leaves with garlic, olive oil, and salt. Delicious. We soaked the stalks in cold water to make a digestive remedy. And we washed up the roots and made them into a delicious spring tonic: Dandelion Root Vinegar.

  • Thursday, April 20, 2017 7:03 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    Flower Parade

    Here are the flowers that were blooming Easter morning at Laughing Rock Farm.

    Wild Tulips
    Unlike the big Holland tulips, these little wild ladies are true perennials. This patch is 25 years old.  In fact, they will even expand their territory if they are happy. I adore that red stripe on the back of the sepal. When the bud is closed they look like they will be red tulips. Then they open, and surprise! Tulip petals of all sorts are yummy in salads.

    Narcissus are the perfect spring flower in areas overrun with deer. They are poisonous to deer (and humans), and they are long-lived perennials which naturalize and spread easily. The plain yellow ones are the most likely to survive, I find, though the all whites have done well for me, too. Do not eat any part of any daffodil.

    Star of Holland
    This little bulb outdoes herself every spring, expanding and multiplying with abandon, and always eliciting a gasp of pleasure the day her flowers flash open and carpet the ground with lapis blue. Although I suspect her flowers could be eaten in moderation, I have never tried it. Some members of the Liliaceae are edible – like ramps – and some are poisonous – like daffodils – so caution is recommended.

    Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis)
    Not to be outdone is the wild bloodroot which has spread for one plant in one place to fifty plants in about ten patches. The white flowers glow as though lit from within, then drop their petals and unfurl one of nature’s most unusual leaves. I dig one or two rhizomes every spring to tincture and use sparingly as part of my oral health program.

  • Thursday, April 20, 2017 5:42 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    Green greetings!

    Whoosh! A flood of sunlight has unfolded all the sleeping bulbs and buds. Flowers below, flowers above. It’s a Flower Parade. Tulips, daffodils, drifts of Delft blue, maples, pines, birch, wafts of yellow pollen. Now is the time to celebrate re-birth. I wish you a very merry re-birthday.

    Here are a few beauties from my Easter garden. Re-birth from underground.

    And a few other plants that caught my eye as I was out with the goats. Re-birth in abundance.

    Summer is nearly upon us; breathing down our necks, in fact. Summer begins on May Day, the first of May, the day the fey return. The fairies go underground, into their hills, for the winter every year on November 1, the Day of the Dead. And return to insure the fertility of the crops with the festivities of May Day. Re-birth of Ancient Wisdom.

    The beautiful violet fairy that graces this issue of the ezine was created by Rae D’Jur. She, more than any other person, is responsible for pushing me into teaching herbal medicine. We met in the early 1970’s. I encouraged her in her interest in using the wild plants around us as food and medicine, and she encouraged mine. When she couldn’t make it back home for her class at a local community college, she convinced me to teach it for her. Little did I realize I would still be doing it forty years later. Last month, after Rae’s death, her oldest daughter sent me her mom’s class notes for those first classes. Life spirals around and around, through death and back again. Our younger selves reach out to us from images and words, evoking stirrings and melodies half remembered, unforgettable, savory, satisfying. Re-birth follows death.

    Around the same time – well, exactly forty years ago, according to him – I met Steven Foster, now noted herbalist and author Steven Foster. I used his book Herbal Emissaries (co-authored with Yue Chongxi, whose family were herbalists to the emperors for over three hundred years) to help prepare for my video course on adaptogens.  And I reach for his book Peterson’s Field Guide to Medicinal Plants (co-authored with our beloved James Duke) when I want to know how Steven relates to a plant that is new to me.  I feel doubly blessed to have found a teaching home at FireOmEarth in Eureka Springs, because it is Steven’s hometown and we get to spend time together. Life is good. Re-birth opens the heart.

    And here come the apprentices of 2017. After just a few days, they have received their first assignments and have learned how to harvest and prepare a variety of wild plants to create delicious salads.  What’s in your wild salad this week? Re-birth is a barefooted dance.
    We’ll be making more wild salads this weekend at both of my classes. Join us and re-birth your taste buds.
    Green blessings are everywhere.

  • Tuesday, March 21, 2017 8:42 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    A witch is a woman whose life is her Art.

    A witch works magic.

    A witch creates spells.

    A witch makes potions. 

    A witch has a familiar.

    A witch can be solitary, but she is always sought out.

    A witch can be a grandmother; yet witches are known to eat children.

    (A book of Inuit stories that I read one winter told tale after tale of grandmother secretly cooking the children for supper when father came home empty-handed from the hunt and blizzard winds blew.)

    A witch is the representative of the Earth.

  • Tuesday, March 21, 2017 8:39 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    A priestess serves the holy space for the community. She tends it, guards it, beautifies it, maintains it, repairs it. She is in service to the ritual and the ritual objects. Statues are dressed and undressed, washed, moved, displayed, paraded. Icons are lit, washed, filled, emptied, dusted, polished. Flowers and incense, water and fire, the priestess is responsible for the elements within the temple. She brings music and song to the ceremony. 

    A priestess can have real power, or she can be “just for show.” It may be hard to tell the difference, for there is a lot of show even in real power. Look for her athame (her magical knife) or her staff of power. (And do be careful not to touch her ritual tools.) Ask who initiated her. Be aware of how she directs the energy of the ceremony. The Priestess, especially the High Priestess, is the one who gives the ritual its presence. She creates a clear beginning, middle, and end and a specific focus for each sacred ceremony.

    Once you become sensitive, you can feel the power that comes when a woman sets aside her personal ego and takes responsibility for the good of all.  A Priestess is the representative of the Goddess.

    ~ Witch ~

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software