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Buckthorn

I need to update this far more. Things have been very busy as of late for me, so I hope you can forgive me.

I just bought a pack of organic buckthorn while it was on sale for less than a dollar. It’s simply amazing plant from the experiments I’ve been doing.

It’s a blood thinner that’s good for treating internal parasites and gallstones. It’s very good for taking internally after dairy, and meat have been removed from the diet to cure constipation, especially if it’s caused by pharmaceuticals or surgery.

Because it’s such a handy little blood thinner, it can also be used for abortive purposes in a tincture, though it should be coupled with cotton willow bark just so that infection doesn’t happen.

If you make it in to a salve than you can rub it on areas where allergic reactions have happened, especially rashes. You can also use a fomentation of it for bee stings to help with the pain and swelling and wasp stings as well!

It’s also very good for those times when you’re suffering some not so fun aftereffects of last nights alcohol or party drugs. Just an oil infusion of it on your palms or at the base of your neck and drink some water, and everything should be fine in about 30 minutes to an hour.

I’m still experimenting with it, but buckthorn is almost a super herb around the house nowadays. Next experiment is to see if it can be coupled with white willow bark to help with cramps. This is going to be a fun week. ^.^

Roses in the air

Now that spring is arriving (or has arrived depending where you’re from) I thought roses would be a good topic to cover. Roses are good for quite a few things from depression to problems with the urine.

Roses are known in popular culture for being symbols of love, sensuality, mourning of a loved one, and even the new life of a new infant. In older times they were known as the symbol of witches, seeing as how they were magical and able to help with so many ailments. Rose is also known as being an herb of wisdom and divination.

Red rose leafs are good for making jams and jellies that can soothe a cough. Rose jelly also tastes better on toast than Nyquil™ anyday! Red rose leaf tea can also help with urinal tract problems and milky and hot pee when dairy has been removed from diet and hydration has been ruled out as an issue. The fresh leaf of the red rose can also be slightly crushed and applied to small surface wounds, and a salve of it can help with bruises.

Orange rose leaf tea can help with depression after meat and dairy has been removed from diet and appropriate counciling from friends has happened. Orange rose leaf is also good for nasal congestion, put it in food, eat it on it’s own or make a tea out of it to help with congestion. Lentil soup made with potatoes, tomato, vegetable broth, parsley, carrots, sweet peas, a pinch of orange rose leaf, and some tender leafy greens is a good pick-me-up soup that also help clears the bodies of toxins, and you can add a salad with white or pink rose leaf in it to help even everything out.

White and Pink leaf rose tea is amazing for lower abdominal issues and heart-burn after dairy, meat, wheat, and the onion family of spices has been removed from diet. Toss these rose leafs in to a light fruit salad to even out the flavors and improve eyesight and anemia. White rose leaves are good for fever and the flu, when made in to a tea or infusion. A pink rose leaf infusion is great for helping calm the body and helping with the knees. Pink rose leaf is also really good for scars when made in to a salve.

Many other types of roses are good for cough, are helpful during pregnancy, and are a great help for soothing infants stomach pains when dairy has been removed from mom and babies food. A tincture of gently colored rose leafs made with brandy and mixed in with rice milk or in a tea drunk by the breast-feeding mother is good for quieting a child that doesn’t have colic or dairy in their diet.

Roses can be used for a pleathera of things, including seasoning your food and giving you a new taste experience.

The wonders of dandelion

Dandelion is by far my favorite plant in the world. During the early spring it’s tender leaves shoot up from the ground in the melting snow showing the first signs of life. This is the best time to pick the leaves for they’re at their sweetest. The leaves can be added to salads, sandwiches, stir-frys and wherever one would use soft greens such as mustard greens or chickweed. The leaves are nutrient rich and good for anemia, vitamin deficiencies, bone density issues, and nausea. They also taste amazing in green smoothies.

Mid to late spring is when the yellow flowers start to pop up and are at their best for medicinal and taste purposes. Just like the leaves the flowers taste great in salads, especially salads made of local fruits. You can also add them to bowls of soup as a edible garnish and pallet cleanser. Both the flowers and the root can be used in teas to help with digestion problems after diet has been eliminated as the cause (i.e once milk, eggs, meat including fish and poultry, soy, wheat, nuts, garlic and onions, and other common allergies have been taken from the diet and prove to do nothing) and insomnia. The flowers and leaf are also really good for helping with colic in children that are still breastfeeding and whose mothers don’t consume eggs and non-human animal milk (both are the main causes for colic though if neither is being consumed by mother or child than it’s probably something that was caught by the babe when around family or play mates). The mother just needs to consume about three cups of tea a day made from the young leaf or the flowers so that it can be transfered to the child through xyr breast milk.

The root is best harvested before mid summer or it becomes as bitter as the leaves during the late summer, and if you’ve never tried to eat bitter dandelions leaves you’re not missing anything except the opportunity to want to burn you taste buds off. The root can be made in to a tea for liver conditions, fever and toxin build up in the body. Make a salve out of the root to help with skin rashes caused by toxin build up, and mix plantain with it and some dandelion leaves to help with knotted muscles, especially in the shoulders.

When dandelion is made in to a juice it can help with fever, rheumatic conditions, and gout. Mix it in to a green smoothie, drink a small cup on its own, mix it with oat or soy milk, or mix it with a complimentary juice and drink it 1-4 times a day. The whole of the dandelion plant is good for eyesight, and the sniffles. If you mix dandelion oil (either essential or infusion, you’ll just have to find a carrier oil for the essential) with peppermint essential oil it can relieve menstrual cramps when rubbed on the lower abdomen, and when mixed with plantain oil and a spreadable base it helps with dry and cracked skin.

Outside of Coltsfoot, Lavender and yarrow, dandelion is one of the most all purpose herbs out there and is essential for ever home herbal kit in areas in which they grow.

For some amazingly yummy dandelion recipes check out Wild man Steve Brills dandelion recipes I’ll add some of my own recipes in another post, but I would suggest Checking out Brills recipes first since they’re simply amazing.

Preperations

Here are some ways to prepare herbs for medicinal purposes.  Outside of eating them which is the best thing to do of course.

Tinctures

Grind dry herbs to bring out some of the oils and than toss them in to a jar and cover with high grade vodka, rum or grain alcohol.   Let the herbs steep for 21 days (though you can get away with only two weeks) than strain, add some fresh water (preferably spring water, but anything not riddled with cyanide should do) and store in a cool, dark place after sealing.

Poultices

Take fresh herbs, or dry herbs that you’ve rehydrated and mix them with just enough slippery elm or other binding powder to make the poultice stick together. Place the poultice on the afflicted area and wrap with a clean cloth, gauze or large leafs.

Salves

In a pot simmer skin soothing herbs (comfrey, lavender, and plantian are good choices for example) in olive or another carrier oil (I like avocado oil personally) for about 20 minutes.   While the herbs are simmering away melt a few tablespoons of your desired thickener (coca butter, coconut oil, marsh mellow root cream, vegetable waxes, etc…).  Mix both the thickener and herb mixture together and pour in to clean, dry jars and lid tightly.  Add tincture of benzoin to help prevent mold and bacteria.

Fomentations

A fomentation is a concentrated tea in which a cloth (which may be filled with herbs) is soaked in the concentrated tea and placed the affected area.  This especially good for burns and insect bites that creams like salves shouldn’t be used on. Take a large amount of herbs and a small amount of boiling water and steep for 5 minutes.

Syrups

You can make an herbal syrup by simmering herbs in a tree sap syrup (such as maple syrup) agave nectar, or by taking three parts sucanat/raw sugar and one and a half parts water and boiling it until you get a syrupy consistency. Herbal syrups do wonders for sore throats and cough, and getting kids to take their medicine.

Non-oil infusions

Take a one court jar and place about an ounce of herb, by weight, in to it.  Pour boiling water over the herb and and lid it tightly so it can steep for the next 6-10 hours.  Strain the infusion and drink a few cups a day to cure what ails you.  If you have any leftovers pop those in your refrigerator to prevent spoilage.

Oil infusions

Take your herb of choice and cover it with some good quality carrier oil (almond oil infused with yarrow is a favorite).  You can either simmer this for 10-25 minutes on low heat and than strain it, lid it tightly in a dark jar and toss it in the fridge, or you can set it in sunlight for eight hours and allow it to infuse through the suns own warmth than strain it, put it in a dark colored container and slap it in the fridge.

*Looks around* Sorry that I’ve not updated in forever, or even been around period. My wanderlust got the better of me so I up and jumped to Washington. Than everything that could go wrong did, though it’s an adventure that I’m not willing to give up. I’m also writing a free e-book, and getting ready to go to college, I’m looking for work, making what money I can from tarot reading and herbalism, and I’m causing all kinds of havoc with my new friends.

I’ve been busy to say the least. Herbal V should be back up in the next couple of days. I just need to finish writing up the newest post.

Important preparations

Plants can be used to cure anything, but different parts of the plants and different preparations methods can make a big difference. For example essential oils cannot not be used the same way that dried plants can be, nor can they be used the way fresh plants are either. Different methods of preparation mean that you have different uses. Just as a quick example, you can cure a black eye with dried chamomile leaves steeped in warm water, but you can’t take chamomile oil and use it to cure a black eye, at least not effectively.

So chose your herbs carefully and plan through before you make a remedy, it may help more than you think.

Diet as medicine

Herbs and other plants can be used for medicine, they can cure diseases that modern medicine says are untreatable, and of course they also make for a kick-ass dinner. Most everyone eats plants at least 2 to 3 times a day, maybe even more than that, so what’s to say the plants we eat aren’t medicinal? The plant foods we eat are actually some of the best medicine we can have, but only if it’s untainted by animal products, and if it’s not spoiled by cooking it’s even better.

Animal products are harsh and illness causing, so how can eating these poisonous products and putting them in to an ill body possibly be helpful? They can’t, it’s that simple. If you’re ill than you won’t be able heal when you’re constantly having to heal from what you’re eating and what you’re sick from, and if you’re healthy than your body’s defenses are being weakened by constantly having to fight off these harsh foods. Plants on the other hand can provide a human body with all its nutritional needs, it can heal an illness, and strengthen an already healthy body. Plants are just that amazing!

As you can see plants are miracle workers, especially if they’re allowed to stay in their true form, organic and raw, they’re also damn tasty. So try dumping the steak and picking up a watermelon, your body will thank you for it, and so will the animals.