2016-05-09 Garden Pictures

Grabbed the camera and went for a walk around my beautiful gardens and snapped pictures of what grabbed my eye. I just love how our place is creatively evolving ❤

 

 

Gram’s Garden: Raised Beds using Tractor Tires

Here is our progress on Gram’s Garden so far. We have some time yet to finish filling the bed with our constant flow of rabbit manure, goat manure and compost before the weather is ripe for planting.

Herbs for Sciatica pain

Comfrey

Comfrey

IMG_6044 (800x600)

Peppermint

Catnip

Catnip

Late April I tweaked my back really bad while loading wood chips into our trailer with a pitchfork. We think I actually hurt it the day before while trying to start our generator, and then forking the chips into the trailer just put it over the edge into full out tweaked. I haven’t been the same since. My sciatica has been inflamed and hurting so badly ever since. Which has made walking, bending over, squatting down, sitting, standing or even laying down unbearably painful, it drives me crazy. Catnip, peppermint, lemon balm and comfrey are my saving grace. I make a strong tea out of them, and drink a cup of it every few hours just so I can move more normally. It doesn’t make me pain free but is sure helps to soothe the nerves so I can do what I need to do with less pain. Thinking of maybe doing acupucture, or maybe get a massage 🙂 lol

Getting Adjusted with Goats

This is what I get to enjoy everyday now, they are the CUTEST! All are eating well, and growing fast. I was so nervous in the days before we brought them home, hoping the transition would go smoothly, hoping that changing from the milk and  milk-replacer they were getting at their original home to the milk I was going to give them would be an easy switch and wouldn’t cause health issues. Luckily the breeder I bought them from was kind enough to give us 3 quarts of her goat milk to make the transition easier. So thankful, as I feel that helped greatly smooth the transition from her milk-replacer to the milk-replacer I got.

For the first days feeding, the youngest goat (Dos) I fed strait goat milk, 1/2 the milk I got from my breeder, and 1/2 of the goat milk I bought from our grocery store, then I switched him to what the other two were getting.  The other two (Basil & Milkyway) got 1/2 replacer, 1/4 breeder goat milk, 1/4 store bought goat milk. I would also add in a generous splash of milk kefir. I gave kefir to add in some healthy probiotics to help their guts be colonized by good bacteria.

For the first few days they all had a soft poo, which indicated slight diarrhea, and I didn’t want to see this get worse so I went to my herbs. I made an infusion of dry Echinacea (I foraged last summer) and dry catnip (harvested from my herb garden last summer)- Put a good size handful of each dry herb in a 2 quart jar, and then filled the jar with just boiling water. Then I let it sit out on my counter overnight. I poured off the herbs and the resulting tea is what I used to mix the replacer with instead of plain water.

Echinacea makes a wonderful immunity boost, and my go-to herb for darn near everything.

Echinacea in the Ozarks

Catnip is a wonderful herb for diarrhea and cramps and I felt would work well here.

Catnip

I would have used Blackberry leaves or even Raspberry leaves but didn’t have enough in stores, so I’m glad I had so much Catnip on hand.

So after a few days on this they are doing super fantastic! They are poo’ing perfect healthy little goat berries, and are growing well. I’m so happy they are thriving! So far so good 🙂

Fire Cider

Fire Cider

Fire Cider

For for the past week or so my foot has been in such flaming pain! Yesterday was REALLY bad, by the end of the day I could hardly walk at all. My oldest son, Paul had an eye ache, kinda looked like pink eye coming on. So we did the Fire Cider challenge. 1 tablespoon of Fire Cider, mixed into 1 cup water with 1 teaspoon of baking soda. It tasted very pungent and potent, but good too, super garlicky and hot. This morning Paul’s eye is back to normal and my foot feels SO MUCH better! I am in awe!

My Fire Cider Recipe:

1/2 cup shredded ginger
1/2 cup shredded horseradish
1/2 cup shredded turmeric
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup crushed garlic
3 cherry bomb peppers
3 habanaro peppers
1 lg sliced lemon with rind
1/2 cup crushed calendula flowers
1 handful of chopped sage
2 sprigs rosemary (4″ long)
Raw Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar

Put all the ingredients into a large jar, pour ACV over all of it, cover about an inch or so above food, cover with a plastic lid, or put a ziplock bag over the top before screwing on a metal lid, vinegar is corrosive to metal. Set in a place where you remember to shake the jar every day or so. After about 4 weeks strain it out, compost the chunks and enjoy the vinegar! Use it as a tonic, salad dressing, or in recipes. This stuff is delish!

Mullein Magik!

I’m officially in love with Mullein! I’ve been reading about it for months, and was blessed with finding a few plants here and there. Our friend from down the road, Christel had one growing in her yard and pulled the whole thing roots and all and gave it to me. So thankful for such generous neighbors!

Yesterday on our way out to Osage Beach (to pick up items needed to complete our grey water system), I saw so many Mullein plants and expressed a wish to Tim to let me pick some on the way home. Well, I found a patch on the way home of HUGE Mullein plants and pulled 3 of them out by their roots and brought them home. I feel SO BLESSED! Now it’s time to dry all my treasures and prepare them to be made into salves, oils, tinctures, vinegars and infusions! 

beautiful first year rosette of the sacred, beloved Mullein Plant!

 

http://www.naturalnews.com/033990_mullein_medicinal_herbs.html

http://www.herbcraft.org/mullein.html

http://www.makeitmissoula.com/2011/08/mullein-heals-the-earth/

http://www.motherearthliving.com/plant-profile/herb-to-know-mullein-verbascum-thapsus.aspx#axzz2VMGjN9QB

Boys Gone Fishin’ – Girls Day Foraging

Lovely day 🙂 The boys are out fishing so it’s just us girls at our cozy trailer this cool rainy day.. holy moley, it’s QUIET here! lol! The girls and I went for a walk around the RV park and did a bit of foraging. We found a bunch of Spring Plantain greens… we walked nice and slow as I was hoping to spot a Morel. My goodness I am obsessed with Morels! I can’t just have one, now my body craves them full time! Morels, lead me to you!!! ❤ I sure hope the boys catch a bunch of Crappies, so we can have a uber nummy fish fry dinner!

Tomorrow we are moving our travel trailer onto the land! We are so excited to be finally living on our beautiful land, the place Tim and I will live till we croak, and we plan to be buried there 🙂

I LOVE my life!

::Trees:: The Foundation & Cornerstone of our Farm

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Tilia americana-spring image-flowers

I’m compiling a list of Trees I would like to include in our designing process…. Trees are the centerpiece of the farm, the rest of the farm spirals out from the needs and generosity of the trees.

  • Linden (apparently Missouri is covered in Linden Trees! YES!)
  • Apples
  • Greengage Plums
  • Italian Plums
  • Almond
  • Peach
  • Avocado
  • Lemon/Orange/Citrus Tree

Other plants/herbs/shrubs:

  • Nettle
  • Oat Straw
  • Clover (red and white)
  • Chickweed
  • Comfrey
  • Allums
  • Cabbage Family
  • Raspberries (red and gold)
  • Burdock
  • Dandelion
  • Violet

Homemade Tumeric Raw Honey Salve

Tumeric Honey Salve

A few weeks back I made a beautiful batch of healing salves, that work better than anything store bought I’ve ever used, and I know it’s safe because I know what I put in it.

I didn’t measure out each of the ingredients. I just melted down a big chunk of Shea Butter and intuitively added the other ingredients to create the desired consistency.

Also I didn’t add the honey to the heated oils to maintain the living enzymes and qualities of the Raw Honey. I just add a glob of honey to the finished salve, mix it in and it usually gets used within a few weeks. The honey changes the consistency and makes the oil salve a bit stickier, but the healing effects is unmatched! Way worth the “inconvenience” of the stickiness.

Materials needed:

  • Double boiler
  • dishes or tins to pour the finished oil mixture

Ingredients:

  • Olive Oil
  • FairTrade Raw Shea Butter
  • Coconut Oil
  • RoseHip Infused GrapeSeed Oil
  • Tumeric Powder
  • Raw Honey

First I melted down the Shea Butter in the double boiler, then added the rest of the ingredients except the honey. Stirred it all together and poured them in the tins. Waited for the oils to cool and set, and then with one of them put in about a teaspoon of raw honey and mixed. Raw honey is a powerful topical healer, with natural anti-fungal and anti-viral properties as well as so many more health and healing benefits. Those bees are incredible!

How To Make a Cayenne Salve: HerbMentor.com

Please click this link to see the article I found the below information as well as the pictures. HerbMentor is a great learning herbs site with a wealth of info on this and other incredible healing foods!

I’m going to make some, but instead of using Bees wax as the recipe calls for, I’m going to use Fair Trade Raw Shea Butter, because that is what I have on hand 🙂

Cayenne for Pain

Cayenne is famous for reducing many types of pain. It works by effecting your nervous system. Substance P is a neurotransmitter that relays information and results in what we call pain. Capsaicin, a major constituent of cayenne peppers, blocks substance P and therefore reduces pain.

When cayenne is used topically it can relieve many different types of pain, from diabetic neuropathy, shingles, migraine headaches, back aches, arthritis, menstrual cramps and bruises.

Cayenne Salve

so easy to do it yourself!

Cayenne Salve

Today’s recipe is a super simple salve that can be made up very quickly and bring big-time pain relief.

For this recipe you’ll need…

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Two heaping teaspoons of cayenne powder (or 15 grams).
    (Just pick this up at the market if you don’t have any.)
  • 1/2 ounce of beeswax
    (Available at Mountain Rose Herbs, along with cayenne)
  • Double boiler
    (Don’t have one? Try a local thirft store.)
  • Cheesecloth
    (Available in supermarkets.)

Begin by infusing the cayenne into the olive oil over a double burner.

I heat the oil and cayenne until it is warm, turn off the heat and let it sit (warmly) for about 20 minutes, then turn the heat on again.

I do this for at least one hour to a couple of hours, you could do it for 24 hours if desired.

Once the cayenne and olive oil have been infused, strain off the powder through a cheesecloth. Reserve the infused oil.

Heat the beeswax until it is melted. Stir in the infused oil until the beeswax and oil have been thoroughly melted together and combined.

Immediately pour this mixture into jars or tins. (Makes roughly 4 ounces).

Let it cool and then label it.

beautiful!

Using your cayenne salve

This cayenne salve can be used on aches and pains, from sore muscles and joints to bruises and even nerve pain.

It is best for closed wounds and may sting a bit on open wounds. Even on closed skin you may feel a bit of burning or heat in the area where it is used. It should be applied externally only and used within 6 months for the best results.

If using it for arthritic pain it may take up to a week or two to see results. In this case you want to use it daily to decrease chronic pain.

Caution: When cayenne comes in contact with your mucosal membranes or eyes it will burn! Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after touching cayenne or use gloves to apply the salve to the desired area. If you are using the cayenne salve on your hands, consider applying it at night and then sleeping with gloves on.

We’d Love to Hear From You!

Do you use cayenne for pain relief?

I do use Cayenne, I normally put it in rice, or in lemon tea, but LOVE this idea for using it topically! I love making homemade salves, so this one will be a great one to add to my collection. Thank you HerbMentor for sharing this treasure!

I ♥ Beaverton Farmers Market!

What a wonderful Saturday adventure! After a yummy french toast breakfast, Timmy and I took the kids for a walk to the beautiful Beaverton Farmers Market, as we are blessed to have it right down the road from our house. We got some baby plants to add beauty and benefits to our already amazing garden. We got ourselves some catnip which I planted with the squash/melon bed. After giving a little leaf to our kitty, which she rewarded me for by licking it off my fingers 🙂 Cute kitty! We also bought some Stevia, that I planted in our Strawberry Mint bed. We also got two beautiful Basil plants that I planted in with the Tomatoes. We got, dark opal basil and African blue basil. We remembered to get a cherry/grape tomato plant that I put in on of the bales with our pepper plants in the greenhouse. We also got chamomile that I planted in with the cucumbers. And I already planted our new lavender, & rosemary babies under our plum and pear trees. I’m so excited to see how our yard does this year, especially since this is our first year going totally no-till. We also got the famous Humdinger Flavored PopCorn that has become tradition for us whenever we go to the Market. Heck a few times last year that is all we went there for, lol! The Farmers Market was PACKED with people as usual on Saturdays. But the energy there was refreshing and fun as usual. So thankful for Farmers Markets!

Herb Fairies!

Until May 5th, http://www.learningherbs.com is selling an incredible product! A book series containing 13 books, about Children helping the Plant & Fairy world bring the Plant Magic back to humanity. We were excited to add this set to our home-school curriculum. It is incredibly important to me to guide my children to learn about the natural world, and how to forage for wild edibles and medicinals. To me this is essential to leading an empowered life, fuller life. This wonderful story helps the kids learn and understand how to identify herbs, and how to use them to add vibrant health and wellness to their own bodies. I am enjoying reading it, and am also learning a bunch! I love using my imagination to learn about my passions, this series is adding fun and magic to an already delightful passion! Thank you, Kimberly & John Gallagher for your vision, creativity and shining example!

 

go here to get yours before it’s too late! After May 5th, these materials won’t be available again till sometime in 2013!

 

Dandelion Blossom Vinegar & BlackBerry Leaf Infusion… mmmmm!

I would like to share my appreciation of the amazing awe-inspiring beauty, abundance and prosperity that only Mother Nature so willingly provides! Thank you Spring for bringing back the life and the nourishing powers to our Garden!

I’m thankful for the overwhelming abundance of happy yellow faces of the dandelion blossoms, and their amazing delicious health benefits! I foraged in my neighbor’s yard (with their permission of course) and plucked enough to pack a 2 quart jar full to create a yummy health giving vinegar infusion! Yum! Now my family will enjoy the health giving Love of Mother Earth for months to come when I use this vinegar (in 2 to 4 weeks to allow the vinegar to draw out all the healthy goodness from the blossoms) in salad dressings and other delicious dishes.

I’m thankful for the abundance of blackberry and red raspberry leaves that are coming back with vigor and vimm, for me to pluck and make delicious herbal infusions to nourish my beautiful family for free!

I’m thankful for all the garlic grass, wild leeks, wild lemon balm, clover, chickweed, comfrey, dandelion greens, and so many more amazing herbal allies that grow abundantly in my area for me to find and enjoy! I’m so thankful for how the Earth offers her abundance freely to those who take the time to get to know Her and all that she wants to give.

In the picture I attached you see on the left is the Dandelion Blossoms infusing in Apple Cider Vinegar. And on the right is my jar of Red Raspberry and Blackberry Leaves infusing in water, a lovely nourishing infusion we drank with lunch 🙂 mmmmm!

**disclaimer**
Please do your own research into identifying and consuming wild herbs, we are each 100% responsible for what we choose to put into our bodies.

::{lamium purpureum}:: Purple Dead Nettle- Herbal Ally

This tasty Winter Green has popped up in abundance in last years Broccoli Bed. I love getting to know my local herbs, and have been curious about it since it began sprouting in early January. I felt like it was a food green, and felt like I wanted to eat those juicy stems and leaves… I tasted before finding out what it was, and it has a very subtle mild flavor, I feel would be delicious in a salad. Much like chickweed, except it has a mellow mushroom/dirt/potato flavor. I was calling it my Winter Green of mystery, but have since been tipped off to it’s name and history 🙂

I’m excited to find out that this abundant free food is a Sister Mint, Sister Nettle- a fellow nourisher and herbal ally 🙂 ((Lamium Purpureum))- Red DeadNettle, Purple Dead Nettle, aka by many other names. Since moving the busy city suburb, I’ve been sad to believe there was no nettle growing around here, as I have walked and walked around the area and barely find any “weeds”…. frikken chemical manicured yards 😦 So finding Stinging Nettle’s Gentle Sister in my own yard is a great blessing 🙂 ♥

http://www.livestrong.com/article/485502-purple-dead-nettle-and-allergies/

Purple dead nettle is a medicinal plant used in folk medicine in Europe and North America as a complementary treatment option for controlling and reducing allergies. Also known as lamium purpureum, purple dead nettle is a nonstinging species of nettle that can be eaten, or dried and made into a tea or percolated into a tincture. Consult your health care provider before combining purple dead nettle with prescription medications.

Anti-Inflammatory

Purple dead nettles are significantly anti-inflammatory, according to a study published in the “Journal of Ethnopharmacology” by Gazi University in 2008. Researchers tested different varieties of nettles, including purple dead nettle, and found all of them possessed anti-inflammatory and pain-reducing properties. Purple dead nettle works through inhibiting the release of the hormone prostaglandin-2, the principle mediator for inflammation in allergies and chronic inflammatory conditions.

Antimicrobial

During a study published in the “Hacettepe University Journal of the Faculty of Pharmacy” in 2007, researchers discovered purple dead nettle had a wide range of antimicrobial and antifungal properties. Extracts of purple dead nettle fought many microorganisms, including staphylococcus, enterococcus, e.coli, pseudomonas and candida. Purple dead nettle is a rich source of antibacterial essential oils, such as germacrene D, which explains its action against these organisms. Taking purple dead nettle when you suffer from allergies will help protect against these pathogens and prevent secondary infections of the sinuses, throat and lower respiratory tract.

Flavonoids

Purple dead nettle is a natural source of flavonoid chemicals such as quercetin and vitamin C, which can help improve immune system performance, reduce sensitivity to allergens and inhibit inflammation. According to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, the anti-allergy properties of flavonoids like quercetin come from their ability to reduce the release of histamine and other immune chemicals in the body. This makes the quercetin found in purple dead nettle both anti-allergy and anti-inflammatory when its taken internally.

Antioxidant

Classification:
Lamium purpureum L.

Click on a scientific name below to expand it in the PLANTS Classification Report.

Kingdom Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass Asteridae
Order Lamiales
Family Lamiaceae – Mint family
Genus Lamium L. – deadnettle
Species Lamium purpureum L. – purple deadnettle

http://www.paghat.com/red-dead-nettle.html

**Update**

I am in love with these delicious little plants! My mouth waters in anticipation for their Earthy mild flavor, almost mushroom-like taste, but with the juiciness of the stems, along with a slightly fuzzy and dry texture of the leaves. These are delicious added to my salad covered in my favorite Italian Dressing. I plan to have another Purple/Red Dead Nettle Salad today! Mmmm! I’ll take some pictures of them when I go out to pick later today, they are abundant and a beautiful green and purple sight 🙂 ♥

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Dandelions!!

delicious Spring greens! I found this adorable site the other day, that re-inspired my craving for fresh Spring greens that grow free and abundantly all over this beautiful Planet. Including in great dense patches out by our neighbors fence! My 2 1/2 year old and I picked a bunch of greens and munched them down. I love instilling my kids with a friendship/kinship with the wild herbs, passing down to them ancient wisdom of the abundance of free food that grows everywhere. Let Thy Food Be Thy Medicine ♥

Below is from http://www.herbalrootszine.com/ May 2009 issue all about the benefits of Dandelion.

“Dandelion, one of the world’s most nutritious plants, has such a bad rap! 1 cup of dandelion leaves contains 1 1 / 2 times the recommended USDA daily requirements for vitamin A alone! It also contains vitamins B-1, B-2, B-5, B-6, B-12, C, E, P, and D plus biotin, inositol, iron, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and zinc. It’s like taking a multi-vitamin every time you eat a salad full of dandelion greens! It is a shame so many people fight so hard to remove it from their lawns, isn’t it?
Harvest as many leaves as you can right now and dry them. Once they are dry, crumble them and store them in a canning jar. (Don’t forget to label them!) They are a great addition for winter food: soups, meats, mashed potatoes, etc. will all benefit from a natural boost of vitamins. In his dried form, dandelion doesn’t add any flavor to your food but will add all those wonderful vitamins and minerals! He tastes great as a tea too! Dandelion grows all over the world. Herbalists in China, India and Europe have used him for centuries. He is such a great healer; his Latin name reflects reverence by ending with officinalis. Dandelion is great for treating so many things, from  eczema, acne, rashes and chicken pox to measles, digestion and constipation. Drinking a tea made from the root will aid in all of these ailments. Roasting the dried root adds a wonderful flavor that is often used with other herbs as a coffee substitute.  Adding a little honey will enhance the flavor as well. See the recipe section for a delicious chai recipe using roasted dandelion root. Dandelion roots also cleanse the liver. Drinking a couple cups of the tea each day will help cleanse and purify the liver and blood as well as cool off the liver. Dandelion is known as a diuretic and does so without depleting potassium from the body. Dandelion roots and/or leaves can also be used in tincture form although, because dandelion is so plentiful, tincture is often not necessary since the herb himself can be found so readily for the majority of the seasonal year. However, harvesting and storing some dried root and leaf is worthwhile for use during the winter months when the fresh herb is not available. Dandelion is a great example of eating your medicine! He is so delicious as a tea or sprinkled dry on food that you will find it hard to believe you are taking your medicine! In fact, all my ‘medicinal’ recipes this month are in food form! There are not that many herbs you can say that about! The flowers can be used in many ways as well. They can be dipped in a batter and fried and are delicious dipped in ranch or bleucheese dressing! They can be made into syrup, mead, soda, sprinkled on salads and much more. The buds are great sautéed in butter. In fact, every part of dandelion is edible except the stem! But, that doesn’t mean the stem isn’t useful. The sap can be rubbed on warts and moles to help remove them. This must be done many times a day to be effective. As you can see, dandelion truly is one of nature’s best gifts to us. Go harvest some dandelion and start experiencing some of his many joys! ” ~Kristine Brown of “Herbal Roots”

Happy Spring Equinox!

Today is a special day, Spring Equinox, first official day of Spring. This day marks the Days officially being longer than the nights, all the trees and bushes pushing out new buds, getting ready to bloom! I love watching the Green Nation come alive, which is why Spring is my favorite season. I also read that along with this already special day, there is another astrological phenomenon that adds complex magic to this day for me! There is an amazing Astrological Trine within the Earth Signs! Mars in Virgo trines Jupiter and Venus in Taurus, and Pluto in Capricorn. Love the Earth Energy! Bliss Be!

Yesterday to celebrate today I gathered up about a quart of little Blackberry Shoots, baby leaves and their sweetness, and made a powerful Spring Infusion! Also today, a yummy batch of Kombucha is ready. I am excited to taste it! ❤

Teaching Herbs to Kids by Kristine Brown

Green blessings to you,

Susun Weed
www.susunweed.com

http://wisewomanherbalezine.com/wordpress/2012/02/20/february-20-2012/#Article20

Teaching Herbs to Kids by Kristine Brown

“We must take our children into the wild, introduce them to the plants, and teach them of their connection to the earth. In instilling in our children a respect for plant medicine, we not only care for their tender bodies but help pass along the seeds of a tradition that is as old as human life itself.”  
– Rosemary Gladstar

Kids are the Future, Teach Them Well

Children are one third of our population and all of our future.   -Select Panel for the Promotion of Child Health, 1981

Children are the best students when it comes to plants. They have no prejudice against any of them (except for what we teach them), no preconceived notions of how a plant should work or how its medicine should heal. Just as we can accept an orange has lots of vitamin C, a banana is high in potassium and beans contain protein, they can accept that peppermint is soothing to the stomach and comfrey can heal wounds and scars. And why not? They are all plants after all. Certainly if garden ‘vegetables’ can be nutritious and keep us healthy, so can herbs, weeds and other plants. As adults we tend to be narrow minded when it comes to our food sources but if we allow ourselves to open up, we can realize that this wonderful world we live on has given us an abundance of nutrition and healing through the plants and didn’t just reserve it for a select few. All plants have importance and value. We herbalists, scientists and the like just have yet to discover them all.

Children and Herbs 1

Nurture this attribute in children and reserve your opinions. Encourage them to keep an open mind as they grow to all the possibilities plants offer us. Let them learn for themselves. Teach them to trust their instincts. This doesn’t mean to let them eat anything, especially when it comes to fungi, however, when teaching them the difference between poke and elderberry, or hemlock and queen anne’s lace, teach them respect of the plant and reverence for the medicine each plant offers whether it is mild (chickweed, lemon balm, plantain) or overly strong (foxglove, hemlock, etc.). Time will teach the appropriate use and application of each variance.

Giving a good herbal foundation will stay with children for their lifetime. Knowledge is power and empowering. Even though the majority will not choose this calling as their lifework, they will have a solid foundation of herbal knowledge which will stay with them for their life and they will one day be able to pass the information along to their friends, family, community and children of their own. They will have the ability to take control of their own health and teach others to do the same. There is nothing more empowering than knowing you have the ability to take charge of your own healthcare.

Here are 10 ways to incorporate herbal learning into your everyday activities:

1. Start a notebook of the plants in your yard. Head outside with a notebook and make a list of each plant you have, starting with the common name and adding the latin name if you know it or later when you can look it up. Have your child(ren) look around and tell you what they see first. Don’t forget the trees! Even if you don’t think a plant has medicinal uses, write it down anyway. You’ll be surprised at the number of plants that are ‘just weeds’ really are medicinal. Remember, all plants have value, some are just yet undiscovered.

2. Make some medicine. You might start with a few simple items such as making a salve to replace the Neosporin and perhaps a tincture of Meadowsweet or Willow Bark to replace the aspirin. As your child(ren)’s knowledge grows, they may wish to make a salve for general wounds, a salve for skin afflictions, a drawing salve and a muscle salve. Likewise, they may add tinctures for various types of headaches: skullcap, wood betony, dandelion, feverfew and so on. The key is to start simply and have them build on that knowledge.

3. Assemble a home herbal medicine kit. Begin by making a list of all the over the counter medications you currently use. Then study your list of plants growing in your back yard and cross reference…ask your child(ren): which medications can be substituted with herbs? As they learn about the herbs that are growing in your yard, they can begin making medicines to replace them with.

4. Start a herb garden in your back yard or in containers. Begin with a few simple herbs such as chamomile, mint, basil, rosemary, lemon balm. Let your child decide on 10 or so herbs that they would like to become familiar with. Have them help create the garden, pot the plants, weed the garden and water regularly. Encourage them to work with the plants and observe them as they grow. Make sure they taste each plant regularly and record how the flavors change as the plant grows. Mint becomes extremely strong when he flowers; Dandelion leaves become bitter as they mature. Be sure to have them record all this information (see journalling below).

Giving your children a part of the garden to grow their own plants is very empowering and also teaches them responsibility. They will take pride in growing their own medicine and when it comes time to use it, they will be more receptive to using it as it is something they themselves planted, grew, harvested and created medicine from.

5. Explore the herbs. As you work with the herbs, talk with them about the latin names and the family they come from. Discuss characteristics of each family and similarities between plants. Have your child(ren) sample the herbs and state how that taste makes them feel (puckered, dry mouth, thirsty, etc) and what they think the plant may be useful for. Have them write down these ideas and put their theory to work the next time they have need to. If they are having trouble getting started, try offering them mint and say something like ‘this is good for upset stomaches. When you eat it, what else do you think it would be helpful for?’ (freshen breath, pick me up, etc.).

Encourage them to discover medicinal uses through their own intuition. Never discourage them. If they say lemon balm would be good to stop bleeding on a cut, let them try the theory out the next time they get cut. If it doesn’t work out, offer some suggestions of plants that may be more suited (something more astringent such as yarrow or plantain) or ask what they think might be more suitable. Teach the

6. Keep a journal of experiences. Have your child(ren) regularly sketch drawings of the plants progression over the course of the growing season, keep notes on the changes such as when they bloom, when they go to seed, etc. They can write down harvest information and any remedies you and they make with the herbs.

7. Have a herbal ally. Once your kids get more familiar with herbs, encourage them to pick one herb to learn about for 3 – 6 months to a year depending on their age. Have them focus on one herb and use it as much as possible, making as many remedies as possible from it and really getting to know it. Encourage them to be immersed in the plant, writing songs, stories and poems about their ally. They should also be making as many medicines as possible with their herbal ally: salves, tinctures, vinegars, elixirs, oils, poultices, compresses and so on. Even if it doesn’t seem to make sense doing this with a plant, have them try it anyway, even if it’s just a few ounces.

8. Use the herbs in every way possible. This seems like a given but a lot of people overlook this. Incorporate herbs with your everyday living. Experiment with dyeing clothing with plants. Use them in floral arrangements, crafts, nature tables and other seasonal decorations. Eat them. Make them be an integral part of your life.

9. Play games. Wildcraft! from Learning Herbs is an excellent cooperative board game that will teach children about herbs. Other games such as Walk in the Woods can also be a good teaching tool. Look into getting knowledge cards from Pomegranate such as Herbs and Medicinal Plants, Darcy Williamson’s Medicinal Flower Cards or Linda Runyon’s Wild Cards. Also, although not Herbal Based, it is a great tool for teaching plant families: Shanleya’s Quest book and card game.

10. Start a Medicinal Herbal Library. Offering a variety of books to children is a great way to let them explore herbs on their own. There are a few children’s books available and a wealth of adult herbals that are kid appropriate. For a complete list of books to stock your library with go to: http://www.herbalrootszine.com/herbal-learning-resources/.

Remember, No Matter What, They Are Always Learning

Above all, be open to experiences and allow your child(ren) to participate in all your herbal endeavors. Weave a tapestry of herbal love and knowledge into your child(ren)’s lives by letting them observe and help. Even the smallest child can add the oil to the double boiler to make an oil or help strip herbs from stems. And when they grow tired of the task, let them move on to another while you finish up what you are working on. In time, they will naturally start helping longer and eventually take over some of the tasks of medicine making in the home, creating their own recipes as their knowledge grows. Always gently nurture this and remind them to keep records of their experiences.

“Can we teach children to look at a flower and see all the things it represents: beauty, the health of an ecosystem, and the potential for healing?”
-Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder

Kristine Brownhas taught classes on herbalism since 2003 and has danced  with the plants for over 17 years. In 2009, she began writing and  illustrating Herbal Roots zine, a monthly publication for children. She offers a monthly herbal study group, presentations for adults and summertime workshops for kids.

Her focus is on local plants which are easy to access and identify, allowing her community to empower themselves by harvesting their own plants for medicine.

Free Wild Food List

::Wild Edibles::

If you follow the above link, it will tell you about some wild foragible free food, and has a few great pictures of these delicious herbs 🙂 I love the beginning of Spring! Explore your world and discover all that this amazing Planet is offering us, with Reverence and Kindness for All ♥