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WEEDS FOR WELLNESS – A GUIDE TO YOUR BACKYARD PHARMACY

CHICKWEED – Stellaris media

Chickweed is one of my favorite herbs. You can use all aerial parts of the plant. My husband has gotten into trouble more than once when he got rid of it from garden beds. Chickens and small birds enjoy feeding on Chickweed as well – probably the reason for its name. Chickweed is very nourishing, it contains many minerals and vitamins such as vitamin C, copper, iron, phosphorus and potassium.

My preference is to use Chickweed raw in salads, added to smoothies and the Jungle Juice, and as a garnish on sandwiches and in wraps. The flavour is mild and as with many herbs the younger plants are preferable. Especially when using it raw for salads and toppings, the stems of more mature plants get stringy, so you may only want to us the (flowering) tops. Try mixing it into cream cheese or make a herbal butter by adding chives and chickweed and maybe a bit of flax oil.

You can also add Chickweed to soups and other cooked dishes.  However, you don’t want to cook Chickweed for more than a few minutes; therefore I suggest you add it towards the end after any other vegetables and greens have their required tenderness.

Medicinally Chickweed is very soothing to the skin. I like to use it externally for skin conditions such as eczema and itchy skin. It also has a cooling effect. Apparently the herb is also used as a tea in natural weight loss programs; however, I do not have any personal experience with this application. Less well known is the fact that Chickweed helps to soothe stomach ulcers and other digestive ailments.

Have fun, be creative and I hope you will enjoy Chickweed as much as I do.

Green blessings,

Gudrun

HEALTHY GLUTEN FREE CARROT CAKE

Ingredients (recipe can be doubled)

1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup coconut milk
6 eggs (preferably free range, organic)
1-2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1-2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 cup coconut flour, sifted
1 tsp. baking powder
1-1 1/2 cups grated carrot
1/2 cups finely chopped pecans or walnuts
Optional: raisins

FROSTING

Cream cheese
Lemon
Maple syrup

DIRECTIONS

1. Beat the eggs, add melted butter, coconut milk, and vanilla.
2. In a separate bowl mix together coconut sugar, salt and spices. Adjust spices to personal taste.
3. Add dry mixture (#2) to wet mixture (#1) and mix.
4. Sift coconut flour, add baking powder and add to other ingredients.
5. Mix very well (whisk) until the mixture has no more lumps.
6. Fold in carrots and nuts.

BAKING

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
2. Grease baking dish (approx. 8×4 inches; bread pan)
3. Pour batter into baking dish
4. Bake for about 40-50 minutes. Baking time depends on moisture content. To check if the cake is done, insert fork in the centre; when it comes out clean the cake is done.
5. Take out, let cool and remove from baking pan.

FROSTING (optional)

Choose any frosting you like. I prefer to make it with cream cheese, freshly squeezed lemon and maple syrup. Amounts to taste. You may add pineapple and/or decorate the frosting with walnuts or pecans.

BE CREATIVE – ALL MY MEASUREMENTS ARE APPROXIMATE AND I ADJUST THEM FREELY AS WELL AS SOME OF THE INGREDIENTS.

WEEDS FOR WELLNESS – A GUIDE TO YOUR BACKYARD PHARMACY

In the following weeks I will share information about some of the so-called weeds and how you can add them to your food menu. Many of the “weeds” have a greater nutritional value than cultivated vegetables.

Let’s start with the “pesky” DANDELION that adds so much vibrant yellow to the landscape right now; the blossoms look like little suns reaching up to the sky. Dandelion is a great friend for an ailing digestive system. Medicinally the leaves are used internally as a diuretic and stimulant for the gall bladder; the root provides support for the digestive system especially the liver. The milky juice from the stems is applied externally to warts and skin blemishes.

Dandelion GREENS are more nutritious than spinach; they contain many vitamins (i.e. vitamin A, C and D) and minerals (i.e. calcium, potassium and iron). Another constituent, photosterols support the body by preventing the accumulation of cholesterol.

The greens should be harvested before the flowers appear; either for immediate use or kept in the fridge for up to 5-6 days after they have been rinsed with cold water. You may want to store them in a damp dish towel. Leaves that are lighter in colour have less of a bitter taste as do younger leaves.

FOOD USES: My favorite is to add Dandelion greens to a salad, scrambled eggs or the Jungle Juice (see previous post). You can also add them to smoothies, guacamole or baking such as pancakes, muffins and biscuits.

Dried leaves, stored in an airtight container, can be prepared as an infusion (tea).

FLOWERS: Gather while in full bloom and fully open. Pluck the petals and add to any baking or water to make a cold infusion. Dandelion flowers don’t keep well, therefore they should be used within a few hours of harvesting. You can also make wine or syrup from the flowers.

ENJOY and be creative. Feel free to share your Dandelion experiences and recipes.

Stay tuned for the next weedy post.

Summer has arrived and with it the bountiful harvest of lots of different fresh, green vegetables including rhubarb, spinach, chard, kale and dandelion greens.

I have often been asked why we are being cautioned to limit our intake of some of these vegetables even though they are packed with anti-oxidants, boost the immune system, support the digestive system and much more.

The answer is that these vegetables contain oxalates; oxalates bind to calcium and interfere with the absorption of calcium.

However, unless you eat on overabundance of any of the vegetables containing high amounts of oxalates, have a history of osteoporosis or kidney stones, I personally do not see any reason for concern. Make sure you drink plenty of good water (NOT chlorinated and fluoridated city water) and enjoy a great variety of vegetables.

Green blessings,

Gudrun

Did you know that CORN SILK has medicinal properties?

The “beard” of corn on the cob is called CORN SILK. If you want to use it for medicinal purposes I suggest you only use the silk from organic corn. Corn Silk is easy to dry for later use. Just spread it out on a mosquito screen, in a basket etc. and within a few days it should be well dried. Store it in a sealed glass jar away from the sun for future use in form of a tea or make a tincture.

MEDICINAL USE: As a soothing anti-inflammatory its primary focus is the urinary system. It can be applied in urinary tract infections, kidney stones and bed wetting formulas for children. Some research suggests that corn silk also promotes bile flow.

Celebrating Inspiring Moms Everywhere!

CRAVINGS FOR CHOCOLATE?

Healthy Chocolate Treat – WARNING: ADDICTIVE!

Here is your answer for the times when the cravings for chocolate are overpowering but you do not want to eat junk.

Thank you Crystal for introducing me to the basic recipe! It is so fast and easy to make and absolutely delicious. Be creative, the recipe allows for many variations.

Combine the following ingredients, slowly heat and stir until well mixed:

1/4 cup peanut butter (organic; I like chunky)
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 tbsp. honey

Add the following and simmer mixture for about 5 minutes and take off heat:

1/4 cup organic raw cacao powder
1/4 cup maple syrup, high quality coconut or agave syrup or a combination
1-2 tsp. vanilla extract

Options:

1. Fast and easy (my favorite): pour mixture into a dish lined with parchment paper, or,
2. Pour/spoon into small candy moulds or cup cake paper cups. Place in fridge or freezer.

ENJOY!

Variations:

Add hemp hearts, dried cranberries or cherries, shredded coconut…

Spring appears to have made a come back after all!

It is the time of the year when great herb conferences are in the final planning stages. Check out the Kootenay Herb Conference the first weekend in June. It will be a fun-filled weekend with lots of interesting workshops and people who care about the Earth and leaving a positive foot print.
I will be there for sure, teaching two workshops.

Check it out at: http://kootenayherbconference.com.

Green Blessings,

Gudrun

TROUBLE WITH SEASONAL ALLERGIES

Most of us welcome the arrival of spring, yet for others it means the return of a challenging time because of seasonal allergies.

Suffering may be reduced greatly with natural remedies, many of them available at my office. Call me at 780.532.2464 for information.

A wholesome diet (eliminates food allergens), regular exercise, stress reduction, reflexology and a positive outlook on life are key to our well-being all helping to reduce allergic/sensitivity reactions.

SEASONAL ALLERGIES present as short term, seasonal episodes with the majority of symptoms concentrated in the respiratory system, but can extend to the skin and digestive tract. Reactions may be triggered by air-borne pollens, dander, dust and mold.

COMMON SYMPTOMS include:

  • Sneezing
  • Post nasal drip
  • Sinus and nasal congestion
  • Itchy watery eyes
  • Excessive clear mucous production
  • Laboured breathing
  • Skin irritations or hives

CHART – by Bio Lonreco

Seasonal allergies are lurking just around the corner

NOW is the time to implement a treatment protocol to minimize reactions. Call me to set up a custom tailored approach depending on presenting symptoms.

ALLERGY SCENARIOS

– Chronic seasonal allergies with sinus pain
– Person with seasonal allergies causing acute asthma
– Allergic rhinitis with sinus pain causing eye discharge
– Nasal congestion, headache, sore throat with history of allergic rhinitis
– Allergy conjunctivitis (pink eye)

In addition, a wholesome diet (eliminate food allergens), regular exercise, stress reduction and a positive outlook on life are key to our well-being all helping to reduce allergic/sensitivity reactions.

Allergies, including those stemming from food, fungus, animals, dust, ragweed and pollens, are often a major source of misery. With the rapidly increasing incidence of environmental allergies, asthma, and sinusitis the demand for allergy solutions is at an all time high. Any person affected by allergies understands the importance of finding ways to minimize the effects of allergens in order to regain optimal daily function.

Allergic reactions vary from mild discomfort to severe pain, and, in some cases, potentially deadly anaphylactic reactions. In the case of seasonal allergies, the majority of symptoms are concentrated in the respiratory system, but can extend to the skin and digestive tract. There is a genetic component; children with allergy suffering parents are more likely to be afflicted. Another source is the severe, repeated exposure at a young age. Though genetic vulnerability and exposure to allergens are highly difficult to combat, patients can be helped through the supporting of the immune system, which decreases the severity of the reactions in question. This may include the use of immune tonics, antihistamines, and the very important concept of drainage, to reduce the toxic load on the body and support the rapid elimination of inflammatory toxins.