“Emerging at the other end, we will not be the same as we were; we will have become more humble, more connected to the natural world, fitter, leaner more skilled and, ultimately wiser.”
Rob Hopkins, originator of the Transition Town Movement
We are not in Japan, Egypt or Libya or even Wisconsin. For this I have Gratitude. Even better we live in a small town full of like-minded people. More reason for gratitude. A huge portion of the food we eat is locally grown by farmers we call friends. The general mindset is one of DIY, fix it, and help your neighbors. Still like so many others these economic times have hit us hard in a little over a month we have to move, leave our home of 11 years and we have still not found a place we can afford.
Recently I got to thinking (again) about sustainability and ways of becoming more self reliant (next step chickens and beekeeping). Sticking point is still reliance on my vehicle! This time I got to thinking about sustainable medicine, how so much as been said about growing/preserving your own food, eating local, seed saving, there has been less emphasis on locally grown/manufactured DIY medicine. Thinking of your families health care as a skill that can be learnt as opposed to relying on professionals. While we have talked about the benefit of using plants that are local and part of our home ecosystem, every step in the process of herbal medicine making from growing and gathering, to tincturing, to family care can be taken on as part of the family homestead whether urban or rural. It can is a project that the whole family can participate in, at the same time gaining skills in personal health promotion. Herbal medicines are not only a source for treating disease they are also a source for promoting health for your family and community health by reducing the number of trips to a family practice, travel time, energy consumption, pharmaceutical company support.
“Annually, about 7,000 children ages 11 and younger require a hospital emergency room visit because of an adverse reaction to one of these substances.” U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In solidarity with the sustainable farming movement, it is important that we begin to make local choices regarding our family health-care. Despite the cost, the commitment to grow or make our medicines or purchase locally and organically grown herbs is an investment in the health of the planet. Remember Herbal medicine is the medicine if the People practical thrifty and fun, over 80% of the worlds population still uses herbs as their primary means of healthcare.
Here is where I see my role as a community herbalist to teach people the art of herbal medicine, and to encourage the practice of community based herbalism. For this reason I am offering my new distance learning program at an affordable rate with the hope that families will jump on board and begin their journey to sustainable family health-care.
Books that I am loving (in other words heavy rotation from the library):
Love this Homemade Living Series....I highly recommend it, great detailed starter info.
Backyard Sugarin': A Complete How-To Guide by Rick Mann and Daniel Wolf
for families and professionals
Are you and your family on the path to becoming more sustainable? Keeping chickens, bees...then sustainable health /sustainable medicine is the next step for your family. Imagine growing and processing your own medicine. Competent and confident to treat your children when they are under-the-weather, here at Blazing Star we like to empower individuals to make informed choices about their own families day-to-day health and wellbeing.
Starting at the beginning with pre-conceptive health-care & continuing throughout childhood, we will explore how to raise healthy, confident children .
This Course covers:
Materia Medica: Detailed profiles of 20 common herbs in Children's Medicine
Common Childhood Disorders: Learn about chronic and acute childhood illnesses, become comfortable with symptoms, etiology, contagiousness, and treatments for common bacterial and viral disorders. Understand the reason for fever and create treatment plans you can refer to as needed.
Growing, Harvesting, Drying, and Storing: Discover what to grow for your families basic medicine chest, how to wildcraft responsibly, proper techniques for harvesting, how to dry your herbs, and best practices for storage.
Medicine Making: Discover creative and fun methods of medicine, and methods of administration that children will enjoy. Learn important techniques for combining herbs into formulas for maximum synergy and effectiveness. Become comfortable with appropriate dosages for children
Home Remedies and First Aid: Discover the herbal remedies found in your kitchen cabinet and backyard. Learn to compile an herbal first aid kit for home use or travel.
Nutritional Preparations: Learn how to make tasty nourishing condiments and meals that allow for easier delivery to children even those picky eaters! Many great recipes for soups, candies, syrup, and oxymels to support mineral rich diets.
Topical Preparations: Learn how to make healing herbal preparations to soothe and heal skin, draw out toxins, and support wounds. Discover hands-on infused oils, salves, fomentations, liniments, essential oils and more.
Create Rituals and Provide Emotional Support for your family: Become familiar with Flower Essence therapy, Smudging, Prayer, Aromatherapy, Bathing and Gratitude as tools for creating family ritual Deepen your families relationship with the healing plants. Learn how to live more deeply, with the intention of increasing your families health. Practical exercises will immerse you in the spirit of the green, for a greater understanding of your plant allies and the world around you.
This course provides students with a strong, comprehensive herbal education, covering individual herbs, herb cultivation, alternative health modalities, nutrition, formulation, and a wide spectrum of herbal preparations with a focus on Herbal Pediatrics.
This course may be the greatest investment you will ever make in the long-term health of you an your family.
The course is divided into 20 modules. You can work at your own pace. It is recommended that you check in at least every 2 weeks in order to receive optimum support.
Sliding Scale $200-$300
*** The first 5 people to sign up will received a free copy ***
A curriculum choke full (125 plus pages) of activities, recipes, games and stories based on teaching children about the healing herbs and medicinal herb gardening.
...practical, thrifty and fun!
Spring Tonics and Wild Foods
Traditional Spring Tonics (Homemade Roots Beers)
Herbal Vinegars, Honeys and Syrups
A Wild Edibles Calendar
Remedies that support Liver Health
- 4 weeks of Reading, Assignments, and hands on Medicine Making.
This is the second course in a series of 3. Each course can be taken individually or as a group of three.
Registration period March 1st -20th, 2011
Course Begins March 21, 2011
Spring Tonics and Wild Foods
Here is a letter that my friend and sister herbalist Dori Midnight recently moved to the Valley from San Francisco wrote to her West Coast friends.
Hi West coast friends,
We are living in some intense times- the earthquake and nuclear failings in Japan is just part of it. This is not my usual full moon letter (it's not the full moon!), but a just little peep about things you can do to help support your body (and spirits) right now. As you've probably heard, there may be some radiation moving across the pacific in the next weeks heading towards the west coast from Japan. To keep going, be alive, and not shut down, we need courage, nourishment, and support- make a pot of soup! (and can I be a grandma for a minute and say if you haven't made an emergency kit, please do?)
I will be posting more recipes and some herbal first aid/community healing basics on my blog this week. If you have friends or family in Japan or Hawaii, you can pass this along to them too.
1. SEAWEED: eat nori, put wakame, kombu, and hijiki in your soups and stews. The iodine in kelp helps draw out the radiation and protect your thyroid from radioactive uptake.
2. MISO: good medicine full of live cultures, amino acids, minerals, and protein. I'd recommend making a big pot this week, having a bowl everyday and feeding it to all your friends- recipe follows.
3. MUSHROOMS: strengthen your immune system with some shitake mushrooms, sauteed or in soups.
4. Eat vegetables, especially DAIKON radishes and BURDOCK root- stick them in your soup too or make a shredded salad (recipe below). Daikon has been used for drawing out radiation, post nuclear fall out- it's cooling and detoxifying.
5. BATHS in epsom salt and baking soda (1 lb of salt, with a bit of baking soda 2x week)
6. DRINK lots of WATER
7. IMMUNE support: do the things you know boost your immune system- sleep well, eat garlic and Vitamin C rich foods, and go easy on the sugar.
8. LOVE: send prayers, love, healing thoughts for those who need it most. Instead of freaking out or shutting down, let your anger, fear, and grief flow- it's what makes us human and feel connected to what's going on in the world right now. Crying is a potent way to detox, friends.
9. HERBS: if you want to get herbal, some great allies are nettle tea, cilantro (eat a lot of it or take a tincture- it helps draw heavy metals out ), and milk thistle (helps your liver process toxins). Also Yarrow Environmental Essence from FES is a beautiful formula to support the body in environmental disasters.
Magical Medicinal Miso Soup
Saute one onion, sliced thin, til translucent. Add water, seaweed of choice (I like Kombu and Wakame), shitake mushrooms (dried or fresh), burdock root, carrots, and any other hearty roots you like. Simmer for 25 minutes.
I like to add shredded or sliced ginger near the end, so it's strong, and some garlic, which I like really strong. You can also add greens, like kale or spinach. Simmer another 5 minutes.
Because you don't want to boil your miso, I usually put a large dollop of miso paste in my bowl and then pour the broth on top to dissolve it.
Drink and offer bowls to all your loved ones and neighbors, kiddos and pets, family and friends.
Get your Daikon
Easy Shredded Salad
Shred carrot and daikon radish (2-3 roots)
Mix with sesame oil and a little umeboshi vinegar (also a great medicine!), sesame seeds, whatever fresh herbs you've got on hand (I love mint or cilantro), and a little tamari. Eat and feel alive and well thanks to the plants, the sun, the water and the farmers.
Take good care, my lovely friends!
This is an older article and a lot of the facts are dated however there is still a lot of wisdom here and really sets the scene well for students who are starting down the road as practitioners.
Paul Bergner, Medical herbalist, clinical nutritionist is the Director of the North American Institute of Medical Herbalism and the Editor of the Medical Herbalism Journal and author of several popular herb books. I have always loved
The New American Patient
The Liver Means Life.
The “Live-r” is not called that lightly. The Chinese call it the "house of the soul". In fact, the liver is the central processing unit of our bodies. It performs over 500 known metabolic functions. Our liver processes and stores excess carbohydrates, fat, protein, vitamins and minerals. It manufactures blood clotting chemicals and bile salts necessary for digestion as well as glycogen needed by our brains and muscles. The liver balances hormones and breaks down the toxic substances that we eat, drink and breathe.
Our modern environment is full of such stressful chemicals such as lead, countless food additives, preservatives, pesticides, herbicides, and many more, hundreds of new ones are produced every year. Alcohol and recreational drug use is another common liver stressor in the USA. The liver is the largest and most complex gland in the body.
When the liver functioning well the whole body is benefits and optimal health can be achieved, the skin, the kidneys, the heart, the glands, and the immune system all function with added vibrancy!
A few times a year a like to give my liver a little added attention. Simple ways that I can nourish my liver without causing additional stress. Here are a few simple ways that you can support your liver as we turn this seasonal corner and welcome a new season.
You have probably seen milk thistle by the side of the road. Just another obnoxious weed you may think. The leaves look like someone poured milk over them. The seeds of milk thistle have been used for over 2,000 years. Extensive research on the herb began in the 1960’s and firmly supports the use of milk thistle in the treatment of liver disease.
Eating milk thistle protects the liver against damage from pharmaceutical drugs (from steroids to Tylenol), alcohol, environmental toxins, be it Big Macs or chocolate eclairs. Besides stimulating the liver after a long winter, milk thistle is also used for serious problems such as hepatitis, cirrhosis and mushroom poisoning.
You can eat the leaves in the spring after cutting off the vicious spines. The roots can be roasted or boiled. The seeds can be ground and stirred into water and drunk, or roasted before grinding and sprinkled over oatmeal. You can simply toast the seeds in a hot frying pan, use salt or tamari or soy sauce and eat as a snack. Have at much as you like, no need to worry about contraindications or side effects.
Actions: liver regenerator, liver tonifying, anti-inflammatory for both liver and spleen, immune system stimulant.
1/2 cup nettle seeds
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup milk thistle seeds
1/2 cup kelp or dulse
1/4 sea salt
1/3 cup hemp seeds
Increase your intake of Tumeric another superstar of liver nourishment.
Actions: of Alterative, analgesic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, anti-allergic, antioxidant, antiseptic, antispasmodic, appetizer, astringent, cardiovascular, carminative, cholagogue, digestive, diuretic, stimulant, and vulnerary.
Try a few of these recipes below, Share a favorite Tumeric recipe if you have one!
A favorite recipe in our house is turmeric milk, (traditionally in India given when someone is coming down with a sore throat) simple as adding a spoonful of your turmeric honey to warm milk but especially tasty a grated teaspoon of fresh ginger and a dash of freshly ground black pepper. Steep for 10 minutes. Optional but you could add some maple syrup, a cinnamon stick, 4 cardamoms, and 4 cloves. (sometimes I even add chaga)
A Few Fun ways of adding Tumeric to your diet:
- Add turmeric to egg salad to give it an even bolder yellow color.
- Mix brown rice with raisins and cashews and season with turmeric, cumin and coriander.
- Add to sautéed apples, and steamed cauliflower and onions.
-Add turmeric to complement recipes that feature lentils.
- Add to salad dressings an orange-yellow hue by adding some turmeric powder to them.
Finally start and end the day with a glass of lemon water!
The challenge for the month of March is to add 1-2 liver nourishing support to your self care protocol! And please let us know how it goes.
It is not too late to join this year long health challenge . I am happy to send you the Health Challenge button if you are interested in joining us. Here is the link to the first month and the second month. In order to participate comment by saying! "I am on the road to better health!" and begin the challenge. At the end of the month let us know if you have experienced and health changes and start on the next months challenge and so on. At the end of 12 months I will put all monthly participants name in a hat and draw a prize! So the more months you participate in the better your chance of winning. Prize yet to be decided!
Monthly Health Challenge 2011
January 2011 - 30 days of Nettle Infusion
February 2011- Bitters (Digestion)