Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Green Greetings Plant Lovers! Welcome to a brand new year of herbal goodness.

We are starting the year with a repeat of the very popular "All About Conifers for Food and Medicine" January 20. 

February 9 is the amazing "Love Medicine Workshop Intensive" just in time for Valentine's Day. We'll be talking about Self love, Heart Love and Sexy Love ~ ooh la la! This will be a make and take workshop and you will leave with a variety of "love medicine" products for your own love personal love fest! Details posted soon.

Amazing Adaptogens ~ offered in February or March. Stay tuned!

In March, we'll be going on a deep dive thru the plant portal as we embark on a nine month Bio Regional Herbal Intensive Certificate program. This program is the first year of a three year Community Herbalist certificate program that has been in the works for several years now. More details, dates and cost posted soon!
In the meantime, we hope to see you at All About Conifers for Food and Medicine. Please click on the Classes 2019 link for more information on classes.

Love and Plants in 2019,


Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Douglas Fir: Sweet and Sensuous...Who Knew!

We're going a little crazy around here these days ~ Conifer crazy that is!

I'm always telling my students "You're only limited by your imagination and creativity as to what you can do with plants". I practice what I preach and I have a very curious mind, so I'm always conjuring up new and simple ways to incorporate plants into my daily routine: as food, medicine, cleaning my home, personal grooming and on and on. Keeping it simple means I have more time to play in the forest.

So, the other week as I was planning my "All About Conifers" class I came up with the ideas to infuse Douglas Fir in milk as the aromatic compounds are soluble in water (as well as oil, alcohol and honey). The experiment exceeded my expectations. The tastes and energetics are very similar to Cardamon...warming, sensuous with hints of citrus, mystery and the wild forest.

It makes a wonderful drink warmed up with a dollop of honey (Fir honey) and like all conifers it is both relaxing and energizing. Milk is a wonderful nourisher for the bronchials and Fir is a great bronchial tonic, anti-microbial.

The Fir milk can be used to replace the liquid portion in baking or cooking.
I'm working on a Fir pound cake with  a Fir syrup glaze.

To make the Fir milk: Heat to scalding (small bubbles will form around the edge of the pan) some good quality high fat organic milk. Add fir tips to saturate the milk and infuse for a couple of hours or overnight. The longer it infuses, the stronger the taste.

Ah yes...what you can do with a curious mind, a bit of creativity, a healthy dose of imagination and plant friends!

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Winter Wellness ~ Colds and Flu: In Praise of Elder and A Good Night's Sleep

Hello Plant Lovers!

I'm getting things ready for our Winter Wellness ~ Colds and Flu class that happens tomorrow, Dec 2. There's still room for a couple of health minded folks!

As a Herbalist, I have a large and varied repertoire of herbal medicines from which to choose, to both create immune and respiratory resilience as well as to prevent and treat the cold and influenza viruses should they deem to take up residence in my respiratory tract. Most, in fact about 90%, of these medicines I've gather myself, from my own bio-region. Some have been ordered from reputable herb companies. It's a hugely satisfying and empowering feeling to know I have the remedies, the knowledge, skills and confidence, to treat a variety of respiratory conditions - all the way from making sure my immune and respiratory systems are nourished and healthy - the best stratagey, to dealing with common cough and cold symptoms like cough, sinus congestion, fever, achey joints and headache to name a few.

Just yesterday, after a long and hectic day "out and about" in "town", I felt a little tired and rundown. I hadn't been sleeping very well for the last couple of days and in fact had just recently had a bout of dealing with an intestinal bug. (Thank you Slippery Elm for helping with that).

It takes a lot of energy to prepare for a class like this and then a lot of energy to deliver the class. So, being a little concerned that I might not be 100%, I grabbed a bag of frozen Elderberries ~ Sambucus cerluea in this case ~ that I had gathered in Sept and brewed them up into a strong decoction and drank down two large mugfuls, each with a generous tablespoon of honey. As I drank down the delicious elixer I was transported back to the  day on which I harvested the berries. It was the perfect temperature - not hot, not cold..just the right temperature, the sky itself was almost the same colour as the berries - cerulean blue - which happens to be one of my favourite colours! The wind was gently blowing through the trees...all in all it was quite magical.

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In just a few minutes, a warming sensation began to flow through my body, spreading out to the periphery and my skin started to flush gently as Elder worked healing magic, gently relaxing and relieving tension. Elder - both berries and flowers - is an effective "relaxing diaphoretic" and exactly what my own constitution prefers and this circumstance warranted. Had I had been feeling chilled and unable to warm up I would have brewed up a concoction of ginger with some fresh lemon and a good Tb of honey - a more warming and "stimulating" diaphoretic. In fact given that it is cold and raining here this morning I'll most likely to just that and sip on some warming, stimulating, energizing ginger, lemon and honey as I prepare for tomorrow's class.

And then, at 8:30 I went to bed and slept soundly until this morning when I woke at 7:30, restored and refreshed!

Here's the thing....even though I have this large and varied herbal apothecary - in fact it takes up one whole room in my house (I like to be prepared, I like to harvest and I like to make medicine and I like to share)...quite often I simply "do nothing",  preferring to allow my body to heal without any intervention from me.

What I have discovered is that first and foremost, if given permission and allowed to do so, is that the Sleep Reflex takes over. Sleep, is in fact the bodies way of healing and to prevent infection - like colds and flu - and there have been innumerable scientific studies to prove just that:
  • "In one of the earliest sleep deprivation studies, mice that were kept awake for two weeks ate more but still lost weight and their body temperatures fluctuated wildly. After two more weeks of sleep deprivation all of the mice dropped dead. Blood samples showed that a massive infection had killed them as common bacteria that their immune systems should have been able to control multiplied rapidly and overwhlemed every organ."
  • "San Diego Veterans Hospital in California discoverd that limiting sleep to 3-4 hrs nightly reduces the number of NK (natural killer) cells and decreases activity of T-cells. NK and T-cells play a crucial role in dealing with respiratory infections like cold and flu. Peole sleeping 9 hrs instead of the usual 7-8 hrs have greater than normal NK activity!"
Scientists have in fact have in fact determined that Sleep is the number one contributor to living a long and healthy life. The beautiful thing is that our bodies know exactly that!

So, it's not too late to join us for our class on Winter Wellness and Colds and Flu. Sip and make some Immune Building tonic - chock full of those cerulean blue Elderberries and more wonderful herbs; create other simple remedies to deal with symptoms of cold and flu and hear about more cool research, discover a myriad of ways and means to stay healthy this Winter and get fed!

Spoiler alert - Herbal jello anyone?

Love and Plants,


Saturday, November 17, 2018

Greetings Plant Lovers!

We have added two new classes to the roster:
All About Conifers for Medicine and Food
Sunday, Nov 25 10 am - 3 pm

"Winter Wellness/Colds and Flu Treatment and Strategies" 
Sunday, Dec 2 10 am - 4 pm
Head on over to the Classes page for all the details.
Register for both classes and receive a discount of $15!

Douglas Fir ~ new Spring growth

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Greetings Plant Lovers!

Oh my green goodness! Where did the summer go? 

I was talking with a friend the other day about the change of season and how much we enjoy the variety of each of the four seasons. I jokingly mentioned that now we actually have 5 seasons - fire season!  My friend replied that we actually have 6 with flood season! 

I always grateful to be a Herbalist and to have the knowledge, skills and confidence to access and utilize plant medicine when need be, wether it be something a few drops of echinacea tincture applied to a hawthorn puncture (note to self and others...tread carefully when walking barefeet beneath the hawthorns) to prevent festering  to the more large and more serious things such as respiratory congestion due to smoke inhalation. Truth is...thanks to regular/daily consumption of nourishing herbal infusions of nettle, red clover, horsetail and a diet supplemented with wild greens, berries, roots and barks and other wise and wild woman ways...I have a very "resilient" respiratory system and thus I  didn't suffer any ill effects from the smoke. In fact, it saddened me to see how many folks really were suffering. That being said, I will be offering a free workshop on creating "Respiratory Resilience" sometime between now and next fire season 2019. 

If any of you feel like your respiratory system has been comprised what I suggest is to increase your intake of foods high in beta carotenes and retinol - Vit A. Vit A is crucial in maintaining the integrity of the epithilial cells that make up the mucous membrane linings of the body including the respiratory mucous membranes. (There are lots of studies out there for you researchy folks.). All the orange, yellow fruits and veggies, dark leafy greens including the wild weeds such as dandelions, nettles, lambsquarters etc. In fact 1/2 cup of Dandelion greens will supply well over the RDA  of Vit A. Butter, eggs, grass fed meat are other good sources of Vit A. are also an excellent remedy to maintain, nourish and repair a comprised respiratory system. I kept a big pot of fir boughs simmering on my stove during the worst of the smoke storm which helped to clean the air as the volatile oils from the fir were released in the steam. So there you go...a few simple things you do for yourself to help maintain and rebuild the respiratory system!

In the meantime, I have a slew of herbal goodness coming up this Fall and Winter 2019. I hope you can join me so you too can experience greater health, wellness and resiliency...for self, community and our planet; and at the same time, meet and make awesome, cool plant friends too!

Coming right up in our Bio Regional Plant Studies:

Rose Hip Plant Study: We'll be discussing botany, ecology, history, lore, ethical wild crafting and the therapeutic and culinary properties and preparation of this local abundant fruit. This is a "make and take" class so participants will make and take away a nourishing mineral rich, immune building Rose Hip vinegar tonic. And...because we firmly believe in "food as medicine" we'll sample some delicious rose hip/apple crisp while sipping spiced Rose Hip infusion. Medicine never tasted so good!
Date: Sunday Sept 9 1 - 4 pm
Cost: $45 includes a detailed Rose Hip monograph with tons of recipes. Pre-registration and pre-payment required via e-transfer, cheque, cash or pay pal.

Also coming up in this series: Elderberry; Fall Roots ~ Dandelions, Burdock, Yellow Dock; Conifers ~ Pine, Cedar, Fir.
Rose Hip Harvest

Coming soon/Sneak Peak:

Medicine Making series:
I'll be offering another weekend medicine making series covering water based preparations, vinegars, tinctures, honeys, oils and salves. Participants will take home a variety or herbal products to start or add to their own herbal apothecary. This class is a must if you are interested in making your own, high quality herbal medicines. And why wouldn't you :)
Date: October (specific date tbd...stay tuned)
Cost for the weekend: $175. Includes Handouts and Make and Take Home remedies.

Wise Women Wellness Intensive Workshop series:
I'll be offering a series of classes specifically tailored to women: Self Care; Bone; Breast; Reproductive; Mental/Nervous system; Skin care. All classes will include lecture and demonstrations with an overview of each system of the systems being studied; wise women ways - nourishment, lifestyle, herbs and foods - for vibrant good health; herbal Materia Medica. Classes will include lunch and make and take home products. I will be offering a discount if take all of the classes. 
Cost: $100 per class. Time: 10:00 - 4:30. All classes include nourishing and delicious lunch, beverages, snacks and a variety or make and take home products and a detailed handout/booklet. Dates still to be determined but will most likely be once or twice a month beginning this Fall.

Winter Wellness & Herbs for Colds and Flu:
This has been one of most popular classes ever! If there is one class and only one class you can take this is it! In this "all inclusive" class  we'll discuss foods, herbs and lifestyle strategies to create immune and respiratory resiliency as well as treatment protocols for dealing with colds, flus - fevers, coughs, sore throat etc. Participants will make and take home a complete "winter wellness" care kit.
Cost: $100. 10 - 4 pm. Includes an Immune Building lunch and a detailed handout/booklet with lots of remedies and recipes. (The remedies you "make and take" home are well over the $100 value of the course itself.)
Date is still to be scheduled this Fall (Oct/Nov) 

Herbal Learning Series:
I plan to offer a variety of Herbal Learning seminars this Winter 2019 covering basic topics such as: Materia Medica (Herbs); Using Herbs Simply and Safely; Actions; Energetics and lots more.

I'll be kicking off this series with a seminar on "Amazing Adaptogens". Adaptogens have become quite "trendy" and are popping up in snacks, drinks (including cocktails) and even restaurants. In this seminar we'll discuss exactly what Adaptogens are and what they aren't; what they can and can't do and how to get the most out of Adaptogen herbs. As always, we'll be tasting, "making and taking". 

I'll be posting more information re: dates and course content soon. You can send me an email or give me a call to let me know what you're interested in.

In the  meantime...hope you can join us for some Rose Hip goodness Sept 9, 1- 4 (See above).