Wise Woman Herbal Ezine

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  • 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.

  • Tuesday, May 06, 2014 4:42 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    Smooth yellow wood violet
    (Viola pensylvanica)

    Common Blue Violet (Viola species)

    I was shocked to hear someone asking how she could rid her lawn of the violets that were growing there. All violets are edible and medicinal. They are beautiful and they make us beautiful. Cherish your weedy violets. Don’t mow the lawn until they bloom. Revel in their joy. Toss the flowers into your salad. Later, harvest leaves to make one of the most potent anti-cancer infusions known.

    Motherwort (Leonurus cardiac
    These tender young motherwort leaves are just the right size to use for motherwort vinegar. As a matter of fact, now is a great time to make my celebrated Triple Goddess Vinegar: equal parts maidenwort, motherwort, and cronewort leaves in pasteurized apple cider vinegar.

    Mother’s Day Greetings to All the Mothers
    Praises to You!

    Mentor Students - Click Here for Core Material Work


    Interested in becoming a mentor student? Learn more here.

  • Tuesday, May 06, 2014 3:34 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)
    First Week of May Weed Walk

    Fruiting bodies of horsetail (Equisetuum arvense)
    Horsetail is an ancient plant, more closely related to ferns and mushrooms than to flowering plants. Like ferns and mushrooms, horsetail reproduces via fruiting bodies which release spores. This is a photo  of one of those fruiting bodies. After releasing its spores, the fruiting body dries out and decomposes. The part of the horsetail used by herbalists is the “leafy” stalk, harvested early, usually no later than the beginning of June.

    Blooming red maple trees (Acer rubram)
    Here they are en mass and up close. The beautiful flowers of the red maples. A favorite food of both the bees and the squirrels. When red maple flowers litter the ground, then summer is here. They are edible, if a bit astringent; try a few in salads if you wish.

    Woodland flowers
    Here are some of common woodland flowers we found blooming this week. We snacked on a violet blossom or two as we walked, since they are not the reproductive flowers. But we left all the other flowers alone so they could set seeds and create more beauty for our walks in the future. Please do the same. Resist that temptation to bring some home. Little woodland flowers do best when left alone.

    Rue anemone (Anemonella thalictroides)

    Trout lily (Erythronium americanum)

  • Monday, May 05, 2014 4:17 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)
    Greetings of greening to you all.

    I love this time of year. Lots of people visit the Catskills in the fall, for the autumn leaf show, but I think the beginning of the leafing is just as beautiful. You just have to look a lot closer.

    Look for the faint sweeps of colors across the hillsides as the trees bloom: blushes of red maple, sweeps of white willow catkins, tiny pine flowers dropping yellow pollen. Then notice the first glimmers of green – lime green, grassy green, budding green, blue-green, vibrant green – as the leaves emerge from their protective winter sheaths.

    And while you are out looking, bend close to the forest floor. Just before the leaves bring shade, the native perennial plants grab the sun and bloom, bloom, bloom. Every walk in the woods this month offers us a fresh delight of wildflowers. I share some of my recent finds with you in our weed walk, following.

    And every day seems to bring new flowering bulbs into the sun. What rich colors! What fascinating shapes. I envision where I want to plant more this fall for more delight next spring.

    It is not too late to join my new Healthy Heart online class. Our first teleclass was yesterday (May 5), but we recorded it, so you can listen at your convenience. Join me as we explore the delicious foods and healing herbs that can give you a healthy heart, prevent strokes and heart attacks, and help you get off (or never take) hypertensive drugs, statins, and blood thinners. What a perfect arena for us to proclaim: Herbal medicine is people’s medicine!

    This new course – a Healthy Heart the Wise Woman Way – contains three units of four lessons each, for a total of twelve lessons. You are free to take one, two or all three units. Each unit includes four lessons, assignments to complete, twelve herbal monographs, recipes, special bonuses, three teleclasses, and access to an interactive forum with me and the other students. I expect it will take most people 8-10 weeks to finish each unit (four lessons); you are free to do the lessons as slowly or quickly as you desire.

    But for now, get up. Go outside. Take a walk in the woods. Visit a nature preserve. Spend some time in your garden or back yard. Go to a park. Take the dog for a walk. Right now. Get up and get outside and enjoy the green blessings that surround you.
    Green blessings are everywhere!


    ~ Weed Walk ~

  • Tuesday, April 22, 2014 2:37 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)
    Weed Walk

    Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis)
    This bold native wildflower has chosen to grow right next to my door and so is well positioned to bring a smile to my heart every year when it blooms. Who could resist smiling when greeted by such a sunny disposition. Every 5-6 years I dig a rhizome in the fall and make a tincture that is deadly to the bacteria that cause gum disease. But not now. Now, let’s enjoy the flowers and the day.

    Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara)
    Seems as though every drainage ditch is rimmed with coltsfoot this year. So many little drops of sunlight sprinkled along the road. Coltsfoot is rich is an alkaloid that may congest the liver, so it is little used these days. Previously, the flowers were put up in honey as a cough remedy, and the leaves were dried and smoked by those dealing with asthma, COPD, and pollen allergies. It is unlikely that the problem alkaloids would be transferred by either of these methods, so you may want to give it a try.

    Nettle (Urtica urens)
    I have promised to show you nettle as it grows this year. Here is the second in our series of nettle throughout the seasons. The leaves are larger, the plant is taller, and this is just right for nettle soup. I use a minimum of one ounce fresh nettle to two cups water for a serving. Boil the water and throw the nettle into the boiling water and cook, simmering, for as long as you can, or at least four hours.
  • Tuesday, April 22, 2014 2:20 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)
    Innana is home! Persephone is back!! Get ready for summer!!

    Innana came home after being killed by her sister Erishkegal and hung on a meathook for three days.

    Persephone came back after being abducted into the underworld by Hades.

    No matter what you call the holiday, no matter how you celebrate it, it is clear: The green has returned. The Mother is home. The daughter is here. The warmth is steady now. Get ready for summer.

    Fawns. Lambs. Kids. The merry-makers are on the scene. Get ready for summer’s fun.

    Dandelion. Violet. Plantain. The helpers are showing up again. Get ready for summer’s salads.

    Yarrow. Motherwort. Hypericum. The great medicines are moving up from their roots. Get ready to be there when they flower.

    Nettle. Wild chives. Garlic mustard. Get ready to get more “wild” into your diet this year.

    Right now it’s time to make nettle soup. Time to make wild chive butter. Time to throw some garlic mustard into your salad. Get ready for summer.

    Get ready. Summer starts next week. Yes, May Day, May 1 is the first day of summer, followed in six weeks by Mid-Summer’s Night, also known as Summer Solstice on June 22. Get ready for summer.

    There are still spaces in this weekend’s workshops if you want to make nettle soup and wild salads with the apprentices and I before doing it on your own.

    And you can begin the live-out apprenticeship any time. Our first weekend together was wonderful. Charming women and we all look forward to our adventure this year becoming greener ourselves and with you.

    Herbal medicine is people’s medicine.

    Green blessings.

    ~ Weed Walk ~
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