Wise Woman Herbal Ezine

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  • Monday, June 23, 2014 6:20 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)
    Solstice passes. And now the green begins to ebb, to wane. Ever so slightly.  The sun has reached its peak and so has the green. They grow and die together. Now the light begins to ebb.

    The green has feed its own roots and are now food for others. I eat you and you eat me. Notice the holes in the leaves where insects have feasted. Whole leaves sometimes eaten to the bare outline, shadow of dissolution coming. Fungus, smut, mold, mildew, rot take their turn at the table, to feast on the green. Leaves shrink as flower stalks emerge, wither as fruits ripen.

    Too late to harvest any more nettle to dry for infusion, though the soup patch is still providing our monthly kettle of nettle soup. Some of what we didn’t get to cut to dry (because it was too rainy too many days in a row) will go to seed. Nettle seed is a medicine as well as a “grain,” so I don’t chide myself if I don’t harvest as much for infusion as I’d hoped to.

    The new live-in apprentice is harvesting 25 red clover blossoms every day (that is sunny). (Me too.) A little every day really adds up. My daughter Justine got the jump on the weather with her harvesting. She already had lots of lovely red clover laid out to dry before it started raining . . . and raining, and, yes . . . raining.

    A past live-out apprentice participated in the Summer Solstice Great Remedies class this weekend. She said she knows she can’t pick enough herb to make her daily quart of infusion, but she harvests what she can anyway. She puts a little of her own harvested herb in with the purchased herb when she makes her infusions. She envisions that handful of herb she has harvested herself will communicate with the commercial herb; she knows that it will deepen her connection with the infusion when she drinks it. Speaking of infusions, she has been giving them to her elderly mother, who is now off all but one prescribed drug. Ah, I love nourishing herbal infusions.

    And speaking of the Summer Solstice Great Remedies class, we had an amazing day. We made nettle soup, went on a weed walk, harvested cronewort, garlic mustard, giant chickweed, five-finger ivy, red clover and white clover blossoms, creeping jenny/ground ivy in flower, violet leaves, shiso, and wild oregano for our salad, and to top it off, we make motherwort tincture, lemon balm vinegar, catnip vinegar, St. Joan’s wort tincture and oil, and plantain oil. Green blessings were everwhere we looked.

    I am happy to bow to requests for pictures of the baby goats. Here they are. Enjoy the warm weather. And all the green blessings that abound.


    ~ Baby Goats ~

  • Tuesday, June 10, 2014 12:01 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    My neighbor, farmer John, says his wife, the RN, read an article about using mullein against breast cancer. While I know that mullein is a multi-faceted plant, with so many uses that it boggles the mind, I’ve never heard of this one. Have you?

    Learn more about harvesting mullein and
    using yummy mullein infusions!

    Mentor Students - Click Here for Core Material Work


    Interested in becoming a mentor student? Learn more here.

  • Monday, June 09, 2014 10:37 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)
    The Recipe Box
    Welcome-to-Summer-Solstice Salad

    Here’s what was in our salad tonight, the first week of June:

    Tender tops of Glechoma hederacea (creeping jenny, ground ivy), whole

    First-year leaves of Alliaria officinalis (garlic mustard), torn in thirds

    Leaves of Viola (violet), torn in quarters

    Tender tops of Artemisia vulgaris (cronewort, mugwort), finely minced

    Tops of Stelleria pubera (giant chickweed), whole

    Non-flowering tops of Gallium mollugo (wild madder)

    Leaves of Rumex acetosella (sheep sorrel, whalewort), whole

    Leaves of Taraxacum off. (dandelion), cut small

    Leaves of Parthenocissus quinqifolia (Virginia creeper, five-finger ivy), whole

    Leaves of Sisymbrium officinale (hedge mustard), whole or torn in half

    Leaves of Daucus carota (wild carrot), leaves removed from midrib and use whole

    Leaves of Melissa off. (lemon balm), minced

    Flowers of Hesperis matronalis (dame’s rocket, Queen of the night)

    Flowers of cultivated chives, torn into individual florets

    Petals of Paeonia (peony) flowers

    Petals of Rosa (rose) flowers

    Arugula from the garden

  • Monday, June 09, 2014 9:50 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    Robin Rose Bennett, one of my first apprentices (I have graduated more than 300 apprentices – more than 400 if you count live-out apprentices and those in the Germany and Florida apprentice groups –  to date and Robin Rose was number seven) just celebrated the publication of her second book!

    The Gift of Healing Herbs joins a growing genre of herbals written by practicing herbalists – as opposed to the previous generations’ herbals, which were mostly compilations of herbal remedies collected from oral sources and, of course, books, but not written by those actually using the herbs.

    I am so proud of her, and love her subtitle: Plant Medicines and Home Remedies for a Vibrantly Healthy Life. I hope to get her permission to share one or more of the 180 recipes included in this big book of green blessings. You can order The Gift of Healing Herbs at the Wise Woman Bookshop online or at your favorite bookseller.

  • Monday, June 09, 2014 9:29 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)
    Weed Walk – June – Clovers

    Here are three common clovers. And several uses for each. The clovers are part of the pea and bean family; they are legumes. Legumes bring fertility to the soil by fixing nitrogen out the air and making it available to the plants. Chemical fertilizers break a bond in ammonia to free nitrogen to give to the plants.

    Red clover (Trifolium pretense) is the clover we love best.  Try the fresh blossoms in salads. Make an oil from the fresh flowers. Or try your hand at red clover wine. (Use the dandelion flower wine recipe, or my rose wine recipe.) Tincture of red clover is sometimes used as a cancer treatment, alone or with drugs. Red clover infusion is my hedge against cancer.

    White clover (Trifolium repens) is the native clover. The leaves have the chevron, just like red clover. White clover can be used in exactly the same ways as red clover: in salads, as a softening oil, as a delicious vinegar, as a wonderful wine, tinctured as a medicine, or dried to use as infusion.

    Yellow sweet clover (Mellilotus officinalis) is the tallest of these three clovers. It is taller than Monica Jean. The sweetly-scented flowers are marvelous in potpourri. They make a heavenly oil that smells delicious. The root can be used, with caution, as a tincture to replace vanilla extract. All clovers contain blood-thinning compounds; but sweet clover has lots of coumadin. Great to help prevent strokes and heart attack, but problematic in quantity.

  • Monday, June 09, 2014 8:30 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)
    Green greetings to you all.

    And isn’t it green?!

    As the days lengthen toward summer solstice, the leaves do their utmost to take in as much solar energy and light as they can. Where we could see blue sky but a few weeks ago is now totally covered over with leafy tree canopies.

    Isn’t it green?

    The meadow that was easily walked through last month is now teeming with plants, especially clovers. Meet three of my favorites – red clover, white clover, and yellow sweet clover – on this week’s weed walk. And a dozen more of my favorites in this week’s recipe: Welcome-to-Summer-Solstice Salad.

    Isn’t it greener than green?

    We are hustling to harvest the last of the nettle to dry for infusion before it goes to flower. Mentored students receive the first chapter of my Step-by-Step, Start-to-Finish, Making Nettle Infusion Photo Essay this week: Harvesting Nettle Barehanded. In weeks to come, they will read about and see photos of: Harvesting Nettle to Dry for Infusion, Hanging Nettle to Dry for Infusion, Storing Dried Nettle for Infusion, Cutting Dried Nettle for Infusion, Buying Dried Nettle for Infusion, Making Nettle Infusion in a Quart Jar, Making Nettle Infusion in a Pan, Using Nettle Infusion.

    OOOOOh! Isn’t it green?

    Join me for our upcoming Father’s Day work exchange weekend June 14-15 or for my lushest classes of the year: The Great Remedies, Hands-on on Saturday June 21, and Talking with Plants on Sunday. Wishing you a Blissful Summer Solstice !!

    Green blessings are everywhere.

  • Tuesday, May 27, 2014 12:15 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)
    Shamanic Skills Corner: Self-esteem

    Self-esteem is created within myself.

    Self esteem is not a prize that someone confers on me.

    I pay attention to what others think of me, listening carefully to their feedback, but others’ opinions of me neither feed nor impair my self-esteem.

    Self-esteem comes from keeping my word, every time.

    Self-esteem comes from doing my best, every time, in every situation, small as well as large.

    Self-esteem comes from taking responsibility for my words and my actions. No excuses.

    Among shamans, self-esteem is based on impeccability.

    I strive for impeccability in every aspect of my life.

    Mentor Students - Click Here for Core Material Work


    Interested in becoming a mentor student? Learn more here.

  • Tuesday, May 27, 2014 11:56 AM | Wise Woman (Administrator)
    Don’t want to have a bone scan to see how dense your bones are?

    Look in the mirror instead. The deeper the wrinkles on your face, the more bone mass you have lost. Collagen holds bone and skin together, so there is a correlation between the two.

    Don’t like what you see? Comfrey infusion nourishes the production of collagen, strengthening bones and reducing wrinkles! It will bring a smile to your face.

    Learn how to make Comfrey Infusion - watch the video for hands-on instructions how-to...

  • Tuesday, May 27, 2014 11:23 AM | Wise Woman (Administrator)
    Dandelion Wine
    In words and photos

    On a bright, sunny day, when the bees are flying about and gathering nectar and the fields and lawns are golden, pick 4-5 quarts/liters of fresh dandelion flowers.

    Go home as soon as you are done picking and put your flowers immediately into a large non-metal container (crock, ceramic-lined pan, plastic bucket). This is your fermentation vessel.   Boil 5 quarts/liters of water and pour it over the flowers.

    Put a clean kitchen towel over the top of your fermentation vessel, fastening it with a large rubber band. For the next three days, remove the cover once a day, and stir well.

    On the fourth day, strain the blossoms from the liquid through a plastic colander, collecting the liquid in a large ceramic-lined pan. Put flowers in the compost or throw them outside.

    Add 3 pounds/1.5 kg white sugar and 6-8 pieces dried organic lemon and orange rinds. (Fine to use fresh if available.) Bring to a boil; turn heat down low and simmer for 30-60 minutes. Pour back into your fermentation vessel. Add 2-4 tablespoons organic lemon juice. Cover.

    While your brew cools, toast a piece of whole wheat bread. (It will take many hours to cool, so find something else to do as well.) When the brew reaches about 98-100 degrees F (28-29 C), or blood temperature, soften 1 tablespoon dry yeast in a little of the warm dandelion liquid and spread on your toast. Float this, yeast side up, in the brew. Cover. Observe your wine while it works, at least once a day for the next few days. Just how long it takes to work depends on a great many factors. Be patient.

    When the bubbles are very small and not making much noise, the dandelion wine is done working and is ready for the next step. Big bubbles and lots of small pops mean the wine is still working and not ready to go into bottles yet.

    Strain the citrus peels and yeasty bread from the dandelion brew through a plastic colander, collecting the liquid in a non-metal container. Return the liquid to your fermentation vessel. Allow to settle for 12-24 hours.

    Wash 6-8 wine bottles of various sizes with hot water and unscented soap. A bottle brush is incredibly helpful. Fill the bottles just up to where the shoulder meets the neck, not all the way to the top. Put a balloon over the neck. Label.

    The balloons will inflate as secondary fermentation continues its work. When the balloons deflate, pull them off, one by one and replace with corks. (Soften corks by soaking in hot water for a few hours.)

    Store in a dark cool place for at least six months. It is traditional to open a bottle to celebrate winter solstice, but dandelion wine ages very well. I have a bottle, given to me ten years ago, labeled “25 year-old dandelion wine.” Wonder how old it will be when we finally open it?


  • Tuesday, May 27, 2014 10:49 AM | Wise Woman (Administrator)
    Green greetings from the baby goats and from me!

    I’m the one with dirty hands kneeling in the garden. I’m the one stretching my neck up to take a hands-free bite of the fresh tender growth of the spruce. I’m the one watching the bluebirds bring beetles to their brood hidden in the standing dead tree. I’m the one rolling in the grass and breathing in the scent of lilac and honeysuckle. I’m the one giggling and laughing my way into sleep each night. I’m the one with the glass of iced nourishing herbal infusion at her side.

    Which one are you? Are you the one wondering about herbs and where to start? Are you the one who thinks the plants are talking to her? Are you the one who’s planning a fairy garden? Are you the one adding weeds to your family’s salad? Are you the one who’s confounding the doctors with the rapid resolution of your incurable problem? Are you the one looking for sage advice? Are you the one who wants more green blessings in your life?

    Let’s journey together. Let’s delight our palates with herbal recipes. Let’s keep ourselves healthy with simple, safe herbal remedies and nourishing herbal infusions. Let’s connect the physical and the metaphysical and remember that our bodies are sacred. Let’s relearn our place on the earth, remember the joy of existence, and reweave the healing cloak of the Ancients. . . together.

    Come with me. Green blessings are everywhere.

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