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The Magic of Mother Earth

The abundance and beauty of the Earth at this time of the year in the Peace Country is amazing. I encourage you to bring some of the magic of Mother Earth into your home by adding the wild greens to your food, preparing a cup of tea with fresh plants or harvesting and drying herbs for later use. Goldenrod is one of those amazing herbs you can see everywhere right now.

Goldenrod is a fairly tall plant with beautiful, vibrant golden-yellow flowers. You will find it in dry woodlands, forest clearings and roadsides.

The Latin name Solidago originates from “solidus” & “ago,” Solidus, meaning “healthy and strong,” and ago meaning “to make whole.” Both of these terms refer to the plant’s ability to heal wounds.

Some common names for Goldenrod from various cultures also give an indication for its medicinal use as a wound healing herb, for example in Germany the herb is often called “Fastening Herb”. In fact in ancient German history Goldenrod was gathered as a wound herb before engaging in battle, just in case it was needed.

However, the focus today for its use has shifted from a wound healing aid, to a very reliable herb to support the kidneys. It promotes the elimination of urine and is applied for acute as well as chronic conditions of the kidneys and bladder including inflammation. In addition, it has been found to support the body during times of upper respiratory infections, especially when dealing with a chronic situation.

For medicinal purposes the leaves and flowers (early flowering stage) are being harvested and may be used fresh or dried. The fresh leaves and flowers can be used for wound healing or made into a tea, which can also be used as a wound wash. The dried herb may be used in the form of a tea as well but also as a tincture. A tincture is an alcoholic extract of a plant and is more concentrated than an herbal tea. The “crafty” person might want to try to use the flowers as a natural dye.

This summer Goldenrod has been brightening up the landscape in so many places and the quality of it has been superb. Many times you will find it being “infested” with many small bugs, but this year the only insects I have watched enjoying the bright, yellow flowers are butterflies and bees!

If you are not sure how to prepare the herbs, remember that the DVD Herbal Pharmacy for Everyone provides clear and easy to follow instructions, teaching a great variety of herbal preparations. Check my website www.herbalinstructions.com for more information.

Disclaimer

This information is not intended for the use of diagnosing any disease, condition or prescribing any treatment whatsoever. The use of any of the herbs and preparations is the sole responsibility of each individual and does not replace the services and advice of a medical practitioner and qualified healthcare provider. Consult a qualified healthcare professional before making medical decisions or if you have questions about your individual medical situation. No responsibility is assumed should the information be used in place of a licensed medical practitioner’s services.

WEEDS FOR WELLNESS – A GUIDE TO YOUR BACKYARD PHARMACY

Insect Bites

Biting insects including wasps and hornets are plentiful this year and can take some of the joy out of summer for some of us. Spit poultices from Plantain or Fireweed leaves can be a life saving tool. When neither one is available you could simply use mud (add water to dirt to make a paste). The mud applied to a nasty insect bite right after I got stung while filming the DVD, brought instant relief (see picture). It also helped to avert an allergic reaction. See more on the DVD at www.herbalinstructions.com.

Carrying a small spray bottle with (apple cider) vinegar while out and about may also prove to be helpful. When applied directly to a mosquito bite it will prevent the swelling and itchiness. I have no personal experience how it might work for other insect bites, but it would definitely be worth a try.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Some people respond with an over-sensitivity to even minor mosquito bites. If this is your situation, I suggest you look at your diet and eliminate all foods you suspect you are allergic/sensitive to. In my practice I have seen people who, almost miraculously, have stopped reacting to mosquito bites after changing their diet, for example taking out all gluten. Prior to this they were not able to leave the house without certain medications because even a simple mosquito bite triggered an enormous reaction such as huge swelling that would last for days. This makes total sense to me.

Happy herballing and green blessings,

Gudrun

WEEDS FOR WELLNESS – A GUIDE TO YOUR BACKYARD PHARMACY FIREWEED

Epilobium/Chamerion Angustifolium

The pale purple, pinkish flowers of Fireweed are lavishly decorating our landscape right now. You can watch bees swarming around the plants, they love the flowers. Fireweed is apparently the only plant in the world that has purple pollen. It is the first plant to grow after a fire, preparing the soil for other plants and trees to follow. Fireweed provides both food and medicine for us. Hippocrates said: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” How true this is.

The FLOWERS, UNOPENED BUDS and YOUNG LEAVES of Fireweed make a great addition to any salad, and of course, I add any of them to my Jungle Juice. The young shoots can be prepared like asparagus. A tea made from the LEAVES may simply be enjoyed as a beverage or used for medicinal purposes in cases of enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia – BPH). Note: Some sources suggest that Fireweed tea has a slight laxative effect whereas others say it is being used for certain forms of diarrhea. Therefore, be your own judge and enjoy the tea in moderation until you know how it affects you – this, of course, holds true for anything you ingest or put on your skin.

As mentioned in an earlier post, a SPIT POULTICE made from the leaves, just like Plantain, will provide great relief from insect bites – numbing the pain as well as reducing swelling and allergic reactions. I have heard from numerous people this year who have made use of this knowledge and were able to avoid hospital trips while watching the magic of the plant world unfold in front of their eyes. The gifts of nature are all around us. The poultice can also be used to minimize bruising and help draw slivers.

The FLOWERS, some sources include the leaves as well, provide effective relief for hemorrhoids. For this purpose, make an infused oil which can be used as is or made into suppositories. It is advisable to look at diet, lifestyle and liver function when dealing with hemorrhoids.

A decoction made from the WHOLE HERB, including the ROOT, has traditionally been used as an anti-spasmodic in the treatment of (whooping) cough and asthma. The preparation was allowed to cool before taken internally.

Fireweed can be considered a survival food with anti-inflammatory properties. It is relatively high in nutrients including vitamin C, beta-carotenes, calcium and magnesium. Always remember though, that the nutrient content (and flavour) of a plant varies greatly with the soil it is grown in.

RECIPE SUGGESTIONS

1. Add leaves, flowers and/or buds in any salad
2. Slightly steam young shoots until just tender. Melt butter, add lime juice, pour over Fireweed. Sprinkle with seeds/and or nuts on top (almonds, hemp hearts…)
Adjust proportions to your own liking. Remember, I consider myself a “free-flowing cook”. No recipe will ever turn out the same.

RESOURCE – QUESTION: Not sure how to prepare infusions, decoctions, infused oils etc? You find all these and many more preparations in my instructional DVD (over three hours of hands-on instructions): Herbal Pharmacy for Everyone – A Practical Guide to Creating Your Own Herbal Preparations. www.herbalinstructions.com. Subtitles in English, German, French and Spanish included as well as an appendix with all the recipes – just like a book.

“NATURE’S MEDICINES”

The perks of summer: bountiful harvest of nature’s medicines! I already made my first batch of the ointment, my clients call the “miracle magic cream”.

Remember that spending time in nature has many health benefits, many of which are being proven scientifically now. More on this one another day.

REMEMBER the post on PLANTAIN and its use as a spit poultice for insect bites. Sometimes Plantain is not around but you can use another plant that is abundant at this time of the year – the leaves of FIREWEED can also be chewed and applied to insect bites including wasp and hornet stings.

Green blessings,

Gudrun

COOLING OFF WITH DELICIOUS HOMEMADE POPSICLES

The heat of this summer has many people reaching for ice cream and popsicles. Unfortunately most of what is commercially available is full of chemicals and sugar. Here is a recipe that should do the trick. Be creative and adjust it according to your own taste buds.

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 peach/nectarine, cut into chunks
  • 1 cup frozen berries of your choice
  • 1 banana, cut into chunks
  • 1⁄2 tbsp ginger root, finely grated
  • 13 1⁄2 oz full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 – 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1/4 – 1⁄2 cup real maple syrup or coconut syrup
INSTRUCTIONS

Combine all the ingredients in a blender, blend until smooth. Pour into container or popsicle moulds and freeze.

ENJOY!

Sunscreen – yes or no?

Summer is here and with it for many of us the question: sunscreen – yes or no?

What causes more harm: the sun or the reaction of the chemicals of sunscreen with our body?
If yes to sunscreen, how to pick the right one?

Following are some interesting facts and answers. Please share freely with as many people as possible.

http://herbalinstructions.com/SunscreenGuide.pdf

GENERATION ZAPPED – SAVE THE DATE!

October 29, 2018 @ 7:30pm; Grande Prairie Live Theatre

I am excited to invite you to a special screening of GENERATION ZAPPED, an eye-opening documentary about the true cost of living in the wireless age.

GENERATION ZAPPED investigates the potential dangers of prolonged exposure to Radio Frequencies (RF) from wireless technology. The film reveals evidence of the health risks from our ubiquitous use of cell phones and digital devices and the prevalence of wireless radiation. Children and teens are especially susceptible, yet they have some of the highest daily exposure.

Apart from the addictive nature of digital devices, I am alarmed when I see pregnant women, (breast feeding) mothers, infants, toddlers, children and young teenagers being exposed indiscriminately to digital devices. The lack of awareness around this topic is surprising.

Documentary films have a unique power to raise awareness and spark action on topics like this one. Through interviews with experts in science and public health, along with people who suffer from high sensitivity to wireless radiation, the film provides important information on ways to reduce your exposure and how to protect yourselves and your family.

This film should be seen by everyone but especially anyone who is involved with raising and educating children. It will lead to a vital discussion about our wireless lives.

To watch the TRAILER click here,

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7R4gKs8ViI

GENERATION ZAPPED  – October 29, 2018, 7:30pm at Grande Prairie Live Theatre

PURCHASE YOUR TICKETS NOW at www.gplt.ca or call 780.538.1616 (Adults $17.00; Students and Seniors $15.00)

Hosted by Rainbow Healing/Gudrun Penselin – Followed by a Q & A discussion

Hope to see you there!

WILD ROSE – My Favourite Recipes for this time of the year…

Have you noticed the abundance and colour variations of the Wild Rose flowers this year?

They are so bountiful and a delight to all of our senses. You might have noticed that a lot of different insects use the flowers as their home or resting place.

Wild Rose is also a Bach Flower essence, opening the heart and bringing joy into a person’s life.

Here are two of my all time favorite recipes.

1. WILD ROSE FLOWER WATER

Pick some flower petals and put them in a glass filled with spring water. Let sit in the sun to allow the essence of the flower to infuse into the water. Let sit for 1/2 hour to several hours depending on your taste preference.

Enjoy as is or with some ice. If you wish, you may eat the flower petals.

2. WILD ROSE FLOWER HONEY

Pick the flower petals and place on the honey. Honey that has not been processed is typically hard so you need to soften it slowly at low temperature. You can soften it first and then mix the petals into it, or what I do, I add the petals and let them do “their job” while the honey is softening.

Once the honey is soft, I like to stir the petals in with a wooden chop stick only to watch them come up to the surface again after a while. You can pick out the flower petals if you wish but you can also leave them in the honey.

Enjoy as a spread on a rice cake, on pancakes or with ice cream, or just straight from the spoon – whatever your heart desires.

WEEDS FOR WELLNESS – A GUIDE TO YOUR BACKYARD PHARMACY

PLANTAIN – PLANTAGO MAJOR

Plantain is one of the most versatile herbal medicines. We can use the leaves, seeds and roots but I will focus on the use of the leaves in the post. Most of you will have come across it. Most commonly around here we find broad-leaved Plantain (Plantago major). The plant grows along waysides, in gardens, lawns, pastures, meadows and cultivated fields. The leaves are very broad ovate and surround the stem in a basal rosette.

Plantain, just like so many other so-called weeds, is rich with nutrients including vitamins A, C, K, zinc, iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and silicic acid. Remember that the nutritional value of any (edible) plant depends greatly on the soil it is growing in. Silica promotes tissue repair, in this case specifically in the lungs. Zinc enhances immune system function. Plantain also contains mucilage. Mucilage has a soothing effect on any tissue.

Internally Plantain is primarily used for any respiratory tract challenges, it restores the lungs and helps to expel mucous. It is helpful in conditions such as coughs including nervous cough, bronchitis, lung infections, allergic asthma and any other congestion incl. sinus and ear infections. I always have a jar of dried leaves on hand in the winter for my grand children. As a tea it can also be useful in cases of urinary tract infections or simple irritation.

Internally and externally it is a great wound healer for sores, cuts, scratches, dog bites, ulcers and burns. Applied as a poultice it provides instant relief from insect bites. Chew on a few leaves to get the juice from the plant flowing and apply directly to the irritated area(s). It is amazing how good this feels.

Plantain has many more usages but these are the most common ones.

As food you can add some leaves to the Jungle Juice or salad, use as spinach (cook only for a few minutes) or as a potherb. The younger leaves are preferable to older ones. And of course, you can make an herbal tea from the leaves as well.

I highly recommend that you get out there, harvest this miracle herb and add it to some of your dishes. But not only this, make sure you dry some for use in fall and winter in case a nasty cough gets hold of you.

Happy herballing and green blessings,

Gudrun

Happy Father’s Day to all the wonderful Dads out there ; )