Gathering Your Herbs For Preparations

Each herP1000827b and its wonderful properties must be brought out in different way.

So, the first question I had was, does it really make a difference whether I prepare something when the moon is full, or not? Is it an old wives tale, or is there truth to it?

When615x200-ehow-images-a06-tb-0q-keep-fence-posts-straight-800x800 I was on a trip back east one time, a friend of ours who owns a small farm was driving us through the countryside. I mentioned that some of the fence posts on certain farms were straight and others were nearly falling over. Imagine my surprise when she told us that if the post weren’t put in near the full moon, then as the moon waxed, the gravity effect would begin to pull the fence posts with those tiny bits of iron in the wood, sideways, causing them to lean. Who knew?

So as I began learning about herbs and preparing them back in the late ‘80’s, I found similar things to hold true for plants.

Gathering

  • New Moon to Full Moon (Waxing):Copyright Tibbles Photography, Hannah De Warrene

When you are gathering flowers and herbs that you will be using the portions above the ground, this is the best time for gathering them. Think of low tide as the moon is pulling it away from the earth, so in plants. The internal constituents and elements are being pulled away from the earth, making what is above ground the most potent at this time.

  • Full Moon to New Moon (Waning):

Attachment-1During this time, gravity is pressing down towards the earth, and in plants, especially those with bulbs and rhizomes, all that energy is pressing down to the root. It’s a perfect timing for digging and storing them.

The waning moon is also the best time for storing herbs.

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The information presented at Herbs and Wildcrafting is for informational purposes only. No statement has been evaluated by any federal agency, medical expert, nutritionist or even the town gossip.  Remember to do your  research.

DISCLAIMER:

All information and resources found on Herbs and Wildcrafting are based on the opinions of the author and are meant for educational purposes only, I hope to motivate readers to make their own nutrition and health decisions after consulting with their health care provider.

Please consult a doctor before making any health changes, especially any changes related to a specific diagnosis or condition.

No information on this site should be relied upon to determine diet, make a medical diagnosis or determine a treatment for a medical condition.

The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice.

No information on this site should be used to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition.

By reading this website, you acknowledge that you are responsible for your own health decisions.

Do not take anything from any website, including this one, and try it without proper research and medical supervision. To put it bluntly,

“If you take anything you read from any web site, including this one, at face value, and then go off and try something you read about, without having appropriate safeguards and/or medical supervision and knowledge, you mayget what’s coming to you, which could include, but is not limited to: death, permanent disabilities, damage, headache, bad breath, or worse.” –Dave Asprey

I encourage you to do your own research.  Learn everything you can on any given herb or medicine, and in doing so, you will be coming from a point of knowledge rather than hoping someone else is right.  It’s always better to learn from two or three good sources, and more if you have the inclination and time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Passionflower: Fibromyalgia and Pain Relief

[fAfter a nearly two decades of suffering with a Fibromyalgia, a chronic illness, I decided it was time to go back to my roots (no pun intended:) ) and begin to put my house in order as I should have done in the first place!

I grew tired of the pharmaceutical route; mistakenly thinking it was the only answer for this crazy wall in my life that suddenly loomed in my path and refused to move. I tried it all. Believe me. Instead of helping, it seemed to make my life worse. My blood pressure continued to skyrocket with the newest fibro medicine, followed by more medicines, and eventually the need for oxygen. Even though I maintained the same prescription for pain for six years, it made me sluggish and even more exhausted and yet strangely, I wasn’t sleeping. I felt like I was eighty years old, literally. I remember thinking one day, “I am dying a slow death…” It was time to regroup.

When you begin taking any pain meds, your body’s own oxytocin (your natural pain reliever) will begin to take a back seat, and let the prescription medicines do the work until your body is no longer is producing much, if any, oxytocin. So now, all pain relief has to come externally.

Eventually, you are unknowingly, back where you started, in pain. This cycle continues and you are always back to square one. You find yourself wondering how you can ever go back to no pain meds, if you are taking “this much” and it’s not helping. But, there is hope.

Over time, as you make small incremental steps, your body will resume its job of making oxytocin again, and you may be shocked to find, as I was, that I am in less pain off the meds, than I was on. Of course, that didn’t mean the original problem had disappeared, but it gave me hope for the future.

It began for me with taking charge of my own health. I remember in college, in my psychology class, learning a really great truth, that I trusted would see me through the interim. It was this, if you live by a busy road, at first you were overwhelmed by the noise. But your mind after a while, will tell your ears, “Hey, we don’t need to worry about that road.” And off goes the constant notice of it.

In a sense it drops below the line of consciousness, and unless something extraordinary happens, it stays that way.

How about those women who love their perfume? You smell it when it wafts in, but after awhile, it fades to the background. Same thing.

Pain follows this rule. At times, something may reinjure you, or rain may bring your notice of it back above that line, but to some degree, you can reach the point of your own body making up a sizable chunk of the difference between noticing pain and being on the road to a better life in less pain.

Still, our bodies can’t fix everything. We know this. So, for me, the direction I head for my “go-to” pain relief is Passionflower(Passiflora incarnate.)

It’s a simple beginning, but at you continue forward, learning all that you can about your condition or illness, and getting your immune system back in order, things can be better. Starting small enables you to retain and sustain the changes you make long term.passionflower2

Passionflower, first of all, is calming. It settles the mind and can help with anxiety. When our nerves become overly stimulated they send out a distress call that may be the cause of chronic pain, anxiousness, or even exhaustion of the endocrine system.

It was used by the Native Americans as a sedative, although it would require a larger dose than what I might take on a daily basis, but still, be careful in your dosage, see how your body reacts to it, and increase it by small amounts until you know how it affects you.

I like the powdered herb, and I put it in two size “0” capsules, and take it whenever my fibro becomes overwhelming, or I think it’s getting there. It is also believed to be a nerve toner, and it can strengthen your immune system as well.

As a pain reliever, Passionflower offers a healthy dose of good nutrition, strengthening the immune system and gently nudging it back into balance. It can also help with narcotic withdrawal symptoms, as can California Poppy. (Please talk with your Doctor concerning any changes in your medicines, and when adding herbs to the mix, especially if you are pregnant or on blood thinners.)

The leaves, stem and flowers (above the ground) are the useful and medicinal parts of this plant. Here in Utah, we have to grow it as a houseplant, but it can very likely be grown in those parts of the US and world, that are hot and humid. (I hear cheers coming from the Deep South!)

Some of the other things that Passionflower is a good candidate for is Shingles, menopausal symptoms, and yeast infections. Do your research on dosage for these things, and know what you are taking, as well as any side effects. The generally accepted dosage for an adult (Passionflower for children is not recommended) is:

  • Tea: Steep 0.5 – 2 g (about 1 tsp.) of dried herb in 1 cup boiling water for 10 minutes; strain and cool. For anxiety, drink 3 – 4 cups per day. For insomnia, drink one cup an hour before going to bed.
  • Tincture (1:5 in 45% alcohol): 10 – 45 drops, 3 times a day
  • Capsules: containing ¼ to ½ t, 2-3 times daily.

Common Side Effects:

  • It can cause drowsiness.
  • Pregnancy Dangers: It can stimulate contractions, and is best left alone if you are pregnant.
  • If you are on blood thinners, it can decrease your blood’s ability to clot, magnifying a blood thinners effect.
  • It could possibly depress breathing with a high enough dose, interfering with your oxygen saturation. Again, do your research or talk with your Doctor before taking it.
  • There may be other side effects, although it has been well researched, and the above seem to be the lion’s share of them.

Be sure and let us know about your own experiences with Passionflower!

 

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­ Any statements or claims about the possible health benefits conferred by any foods or supplements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration, healthcare professional, or even the town gossip.

They are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Herbs and Wildcrafting is for educational purposes only.

DISCLAIMER:

All information and resources found on Herbs and Wildcrafting are based on the opinions of the author and are meant for educational purposes only, I hope to motivate readers to make their own nutrition and health decisions after consulting with their health care provider.

Please consult a doctor before making any health changes, especially any changes related to a specific diagnosis or condition.

No information on this site should be relied upon to determine diet, make a medical diagnosis or determine a treatment for a medical condition.

The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice.

No information on this site should be used to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition.

By reading this website, you acknowledge that you are responsible for your own health decisions.

Do not take anything from any website, including this one, and try it without proper research and medical supervision. To put it bluntly,

“If you take anything you read from any web site, including this one, at face value, and then go off and try something you read about, without having appropriate safeguards and/or medical supervision and knowledge, you may get what’s coming to you, which could include, but is not limited to: death, permanent disabilities, damage, headache, bad breath, or worse.” –Dave Asprey

I encourage you to do your own research.  Learn everything you can on any given herb or medicine, and in doing so, you will be coming from a point of knowledge rather than hoping someone else is right.  It’s always better to learn from two or three good sources, and more if you have the inclination and time.

Shepherd’s Purse: Hemmoraging and Bleeding

It’s not thesheperds purse-fruit-big most beautiful plant I know, but Shepherd’s Purse, although named for it’s tiny purse like blossoms and leaves, carries within it help for emergency hemorrhaging and bleeding.

In looks, it’s often mistaken for a a dandelion, although they’re prettier, but it does the job of vascular constriction well; it reliably stops bleeding, and when given as a tea, begins to replace the fluids lost from bleeding.

shep_purse1You can easily distinguish Shepherds Purse from Dandelion, in one of two ways.

If you pull a leaf from a Dandelion, you get a milky white sap. And the leaves on a Dandelion face the center of the plant.

On a Shepherds Purse plant, the leaves face upward and outward, away from the center of the plant.  Almost as  if it were looking for something outside of itself to help. shepherds purse 2

The flower, leaves, and seeds are all edible with Shepherds Purse. The leaves, in fact, can be eaten raw or cooked.

You can harvest the leaves throughout the year, but if you’re thinking of eating them (say…in a salad…) you really want the leaves that are showing up in the spring, and before this little plant from the Mustard Family, blooms.

For hemorrhaging concerns, heavy bleeding, fibroid tumors, and other events of a similar nature, Shepherds purse is a great herb to have on hand.

None of us ever knows when an emergency might happen.  By learning about and gathering herbs, we prepare for the future.  As I always say (yes, I always say it ad infinitum), “If something happens, you are ready…and if nothing happens, you are still ready…”  It’s a win, no matter what happens.  So why not prepare?

To digress slightly, as the Russian economy is failing right now,  those most unaffected by it, are those men and women, who’ve learned to grow what they need, and gathered what is available in their area.

I truly believe, that whatever herb you need in an emergency, there probably exists in your area, another herb that can do the same job of an herb that grows locally for me, like Shepherds Purse.

Although, Shepherds Purse is found all over the world in many sparse, and barren areas, I find it most commonly in between the cracks in cement, and just randomly popping up all over the yard.sheperds purse

Today, I focused on the plants in the Central Utah area of North America, but I hope you will accept the challenge of learning what the herbs in your area can do.

Here’s my recipe for a simple extract, it’s easy to make, and I love it.  Just think what fun this spring will be as you go out and explore your yard, your neighborhood, your world!

Shepherd’s Purse Fluid Extract (Use this recipe generally for an infusion mix)

  • 1 and 1/2c Nearly boiling water (you don’t want boiling, but just before that stage, as boiling water can damage the oil content or even destroy your herb.)
  • 1 ounce Dried Herb
  • Reduce liquid in pan until you are left with about 1/2 cup of liquid (keep stirring), and then strain.
  • Place in well covered mason jar or pitcher.   It may be dosed either hot or cold.  I keep mine in the refrigerator.
  • 1/2 t to 1 t, added to water, or by itself, every hour or two, and thereafter as the bleeding slows or stops, up to 3 times daily.
  • You may sweeten this with honey.

Discontinue use upon cessation of bleeding, but can be taken for short periods of time (5-7 days), but remember that Shepherds Purse like any other medicinal remedy  has alkaloids that can build up the body, since it contains Bursine, which is similar to strychnine, but on a far less dangerous scale.

You can tincture this herb easily, (See Making Your Own Tincture), and take 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon at a time – up to 1 teaspoonful – three or four times a day before your menstrual period is due and during the period to reduce heavy bleeding.  Or as your healthcare provider directs.

Avoid use during pregnancy because of its ability to cause uterine contraction.

Another word of caution, don’t take this with other medicines until you have spoken with your Doctor.  While there has been a great deal of positive research on Shepherds Purse, it’s possible with any herb to have interactions with other medications, so play it safe and check with your MD.

Also, since Shepherd’s Purse constricts the blood vessels, it is not recommended for those with high blood pressure.

This is always why I encourage you to do your own research.  Learn everything you can on any given herb or medicine, and in doing so, you will be coming from a point of knowlege rather than hoping someone else is right.  It’s always better to learn from two or three good sources, and more if you have the inclination and time.

Has anyone had experience with this herb as well?  I would love your feedback!

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Any statements or claims about the possible health benefits conferred by any foods or supplements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration, healthcare professional, or even the town gossip.
They are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Herbs and Wildcrafting is for educational purposes only.

Is Black Elderberry The Best Antiviral Herb We Know?

No one ever likes to get the flu. I’m a baby about the nausea which accompanies it, and after having hyperemesis in all four of my pregnancies, and figuring that I’ve spent the better part of two years in bed with morning sickness, I will do whatever it takes to avoid it again.  Enter Elderberries!

800px-Sambucus-berriesI loved them as a kid, when here in Sanpete County, Utah, we gathered as a big extended family every year to harvest them and made syrup with them.

Sparkling bottles of it covered the counters and tabletops ready to go downstairs for storage.  It was made even better when we got pancakes the next morning!  Elderberry syrup was my absolute favorite!Screen-shot-2014-09-03-at-9.44.09-PM

Who knew that I would rediscover this little black berry again, during the cold and flu season?

Most of us, when we start getting sick, make a beeline to the Doctors office, and wonder why we even got the flu?  Didn’t we get our flu shot?  Hmm…

We’re hanging over our knees in the waiting room in all our sickened glory,  for a prescription of the latest, greatest flu fighter, which is not as great as we’ve been told.   (For myself, I’ve chosen not to get a flu shot, because of the ingredients, and of course, the fact that I always get the flu, every time, just a week or two after my shot.  No thanks.)  So the question becomes, “Tamiflu, Elderberry, or ride it out?

Let’s begin with side effects of Tamiflu.  They are severe enough that it’s been banned in Japan after the death of 18 youths associated with it.  Another 10,000 reported unusual behavior,  some as severe as attempted suicide. At it’s best, one of the most common side effects of it is nausea and vomiting.  Um…isn’t that what I’m here for?

  • At the beginning of the year, Dr. David Jockers, wrote an article for Natural News on elderberries, he said, “With a cold, flu or any other virus, drugs only have the ability to mask or treat symptoms, but they cannot eliminate the virus itself. Only the immune system can do that.” 

Our bodies are built to mount up a defense, and do a great job of it, if they have been given the proper building blocks to do it.   Adding Elderberry gives our immune system a giant boost. It’s high in in vitamin A, contains a greater amount of Vitamin C than an orange.

It has high amounts of Quercetin, an antioxidant “used for treating conditions of the heart and blood vessels,  including hardening of the arteries, high cholesterol, heart disease, and circulation problems.

It is also used for diabetes, cataracts, hay fever, peptic ulcer, schizophrenia, inflammation, asthma, gout, viral infections, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), preventing cancer, and for treating chronic infections of the prostate.

Quercetin is also used to increase endurance and improve athletic performance.”

It is also an anti-inflammatory.  And it only gets better with research.

  • The 2001 study published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine stated that elderberry extracts are “natural remedies with antiviral properties, especially against different strains of influenza virus.”
  • Another 2004 study published in the NLM commented on reduced duration of flu symptoms when using elderberry: “Symptoms were relieved on average four days earlier and use of rescue medication was significantly less in those receiving elderberry extract compared with placebo.”
  • University of Maryland Medial Center writes “Elderberry may have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and anticancer properties” and “one study suggested that elderberry could kill the H1N1 virus.”
  • Clinical trials on patients displaying full-blown flu symptoms took place in Israel in the middle of a flu epidemic in 1992-93. Half were given the Sambucol black elderberry extract and half a placebo.  Within 48 hours 75% of patients who had been given Sambucol had clearly improved and within 72 hours 90% were symptom-free. Only 16% of patients on placebos had shown any improvement after two days, and the rest took at least six days to recover.

When I start to feel a twinge of a cold or flu, I head for the, always open, elderberry syrup and make a cup of steaming hot tea.  Some people prefer to just take a tablespoon.  It’s really good on pancakes too…I’m just sayin’….

Elderberry Syrup

  • 2/3 cup dried elderberries
  • 3 1/2 cups of water
  • 2 T ginger (Optional)
  • 1 t cinnamon powder (Optional)
  • 1/2 tsp cloves (Optional)
  • 1 cup raw honey

Add the elderberries to the water, and bring to a boil.  Gently simmer for about 30 minutes, or until it is as thick as you would like it.  Then add the spices (if desired), simmer for 10 more minutes.  Finally add the entire pan to the honey, bottle and  store.

  • It can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.

For canning:

  • Sterilize four 8 oz. jars, keep hot.
  • Heat lids and rings in hot water, keep warm but not boiling.
  • Fill water bath canner and bring to boil.
  • Pour hot syrup into sterilized jars leaving 1/4″ headspace.
  • Wipe rims clean and screw on lids.
  • Process for 10 minutes in water bath canner (add 1 minute for every 1,000 feet above sea level).

Yield: About 4 pints syrup