Entries organized under Herbs

Grow or Pick Your Own

June 27, 2016

Contributed by HarryHarry closeup glasses

Do you need something to do that is both fun and educational (and delicious)?

There is nothing better to teach an appreciation of the source of the food we eat, and the effort it takes to get that food to our table than a visit to a pick-your-own farm, berry patch or orchard.

P1110803We greatly miss the fresh blueberries we used to grow on our farm and have wanted to visit a blueberry farm down the road from us ever since we found out about it. We finally had the time and memory to go during blueberry season.

The berries were big and juicy and tasty. There were also plum, pear, peach and apple trees and currants – though only the currants were ready to harvest.P1110800

There were several varieties growing there. Some varieties ripen early, some later. This allows for a longer harvest and less fruit is likely to go un-harvested if it all ripens at once.

During your picking, ask the farmer how he or she takes care of the crop. Are the crops grown organically? How are the crops fertilized? How are they watered? Does she prune the plants? When and how? What varieties does she grow? Why? What special soil conditions do the crops need? What pests eat his crops and what does he do about it? (Our blueberry grower plays a loud series of bird alarm calls to keep several species of hungry birds away so people can eat them first! It seemed to be working since there were a lot of berries to pick.)P1110808

 

We also visited a local nursery. Not the kind with human babies; the kind with lots of plant babies. They had lots of tiny seedlings just starting and bigger plants ready to plant in a garden or put on a table.

You can learn how to start your own seeds, how to attract butterflies and more by talking to the people that own or work at a nursery.

There is SO much to learn from people who grow our food and help us grow our own food and make our home pretty.

 

Deb, Harry, bee balmNature enthusiasts Harry LeBlanc and Deb Vail are at home in the forest hiking to reach beautiful vistas and searching for native plants in the southern Appalachians. They are co-founders of Grandparents of the Forest, an intimate business offering simple yet meaningful ways for children and their parents to connect to Nature for well-being and healing. They also make Sacred Forest® Flower Essences from the plants they encounter. They are former organic farmers and parents of 5 grown children.

If You Need It…

May 1, 2016

Contributed by NicolasNicolas Graybear

There is a principal in ‘herbology’ that effectively says if you need it, it will appear… even if you don’t realize you need it. We experienced this phenomenon several times on the farm.

P1100242This year, the Ground Ivy (Glechoma hederacea) (also known as Gill-over-the-Ground) has REALLY increased it presence in our lawn and in the field up the hillside behind our home. With its square stem and stereotypical flowers, Ground Ivy is definitely a member of the mint family.

So the obvious question is: Why do we need it? What can it be used to treat?

One thing we knew is it has been used as a treatment for cancer. As far as we know, we are healthy in this respect.

Just last week a post was made on Facebook mentioning it was good for tinnitus.  After verifying this use in other sources, we tried it. (For definitive identity assistance, you might visit the Identify that Plant site.P1100239

Harry has had tinnitus for years… perhaps from hunting as a child with his Dad and Grandpa, perhaps from too many loud rock concerts during his college days… who knows.

Harry’s tinnitus stepped up a notch recently, from the constant high-pitch squeal or whistle to a noise that sounded more like spring peepers chirping… non-stop.

The recommended treatment is to drink a Ground Ivy infusion. An infusion is made by pouring boiling water over an ounce or so of plant material and letting it steep in a sealed container (like a capped Mason jar) for at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight. Then strain the plant matter out and drink a cup or two of the liquid during the day.P1100244

After the first quart of infusion the peepers were silenced.  The squeal remains, but slightly diminished(?).

Here’s hoping for further improvement with more infusion! Luckily, the Ground Ivy will be available all summer.

 

 

 

Deb, Harry, bee balmNature enthusiasts Harry LeBlanc and Deb Vail are at home in the forest hiking to reach beautiful vistas and searching for native plants in the southern Appalachians. They are co-founders of Grandparents of the Forest, an intimate business offering simple yet meaningful ways for children and their parents to connect to Nature for well-being and healing. They also make Sacred Forest® Flower Essences from the plants they encounter. They are former organic farmers and parents of 5 grown children.

Upset tummies

February 26, 2016

Contributed by Deb

Help for your stomach ~

I had a horrible stomach bug this week and as I laid in the bed clutching my belly I thought of all the times my children had stomach cramps, vomiting and nausea and how utterly helpless I felt.  Is there anything much worse than seeing our children suffer and not knowing how to help them?
I thought I’d take a moment and share a few things that relieve some of the discomfort of stomach bugs.  These tips are especially helpful for cramps and vomiting.

A Hot Salt Pack ~

This is a miraculous treatment for vomiting and stomach cramps – and it’s so very easy.  It works by sending heat into the hollow organ of the stomach which aids the cramping.

  • Heat 1/2 cup of natural sea salt in a skillet.  It takes about 5 – 7  minutes to get it very hot – but not burning. Pour the salt into an old sock.  It’s easiest to do this if you have two people – one to pour the salt and the other to hold a funnel that goes directly to the sock.  Then tie it shut.
  • If you need to, wrap the sock in another layer or two of soft fabric to prevent any burning. Make it as warm as possible.  Apply it right on the stomach – not over the whole belly.
  • Keep it on as long as needed.  Hopefully, it will bring enough relief that they’ll miraculously fall asleep.  You can reapply it (reheating the same salt) every thirty minutes.

Keep the salt in a plastic container in the medicine chest along with a sock so it’s ready every time.

Electrolyte Replacement Drink

When children (or any of us) have vomiting and/or diarrhea it’s easy to become dehydrated and lose essential minerals.  It’s very easy to make an electrolyte replacement drink at home with very common kitchen items.

  • 8 ounces of room temperature water
  • 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of honey or maple sugar (if your child is over age 2)

Combine all ingredients and have them take sips or up to 1/3 cup every half an hour or so.

Please note – many years ago, I learned from my Chinese Medical Qi Gong Teacher that it’s necessary to have all beverages be at room temperature – or just slightly warm – when one is vomiting. Cold liquids (and especially ice) actually make the stomach spasm and they worsen the condition.

Home-made Ginger Ale

Who doesn’t like ginger ale when their stomach hurts?  Ginger is an amazing aid for chills, sore throat, flus, low fevers, coughs, nausea, vomiting, cramps, gas and stomach ache ~ making it a valuable ally any time your little one is ill.  Instead of buying ginger ale at the store, make it at home.  This ginger ale has a higher volume of fresh ginger than store bought so it has more medicinal value.

One word of instruction – ginger is warming so if your child has a high fever, it is not the best choice. At that point, you would do better with a cooling herb rather than a warming one. Yes, it’s true, not every herb and food is good for everyone on every occasion. Always trust your instincts and your child’s as well. The road to good health comes from deep knowing and trust in ourselves, first and foremost.

Directions  ~

  • Bring 1 teaspoon of grated fresh ginger and 1 cup of water to boil.  Turn down the heat to low and simmer for no more than 5 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and let sit covered for 10 to 20 minutes.
  • Add 1/2 cup carbonated water.
  • Stir in honey (if your child is over the age of 2) or sugar. Go lightly on the sweetener. Ginger is tasty all by itself.
  • Let cool to room temperature.
  • For illness – drink 1/4 cup every 2 – 3 hours then decrease day by day until the illness is gone. For regular drinking, because this is so medically potent, limit this homemade ginger ale to 1 to 2 cups a day.

Ginger Compress (Or in the Bath)
Ginger can also be used as a compress on sore muscles and body aches. Boil coin sized slices of ginger in a quart of water for about 20 minutes. Let cool to a temperature that is a bit warm, or about room temperature. Put a soft cloth in the water, wring it out and place it on the child wherever she is hurting.

Or if you like, pour the gingered water into a bath and let the child soak in it. It will soothe their aching bodies.

I hope these tips help you next time the ‘bug’ goes around!

Health and love to you ~

Deb

Making Flower Essences

January 21, 2016

Contributed by Deb

Sacred Forest Flower Essences ~ What, Where and How

Each flower, shrub and tree that grows holds sacred gifts for us. When we open our hearts to connect with this mysterious and pristine world, we are healed. Sometimes healing comes from merely being in nature; feeling the sun on our cheeks, listening to the birds’ serenade, feeling spring water caress our feet or absorbing a sunset. When we are in the forest, we take in a multitude of goodness ~ thousands of plants grace us, the air we breathe fills our lungs with the oxygen, aromas and energies they produce. This is our true home and when we open our hearts to this beautiful world, our spirits can rise and our troubles disappear. As we are peaceful and receptive, we heal and return to our own original essence.

Deb&Bachelors

Flower essences aid our ability to receive healing properties from the Living Soul of Nature. Each flower, every tree and every shrub holds a different gift of healing. Each one is uniquely imprinted with its signature, just as we are. The flower of the plant contains the concentrated essence of the plant. By taking the essence of the flower, your soul aligns with the particular gift it offers you.

Harry and I frequently traverse many paths by our Appalachian home and have come to know these flowers as friends.  We know where to look for them, when the plants first appear in spring, when they bloom and when they shed their seed.

We believe that harvesting the few flowers needed to make this sacred medicine is most aligned with right stewardship and relationship with Nature.  Our flower essences are effective because they are made with gentleness, devotion and respect.  We barely disturb the plants.  We ask them if they would like to be made into an offering to us humans.  We wait to sense an answer to this question.  If they agree, we pick them gently and bring them to the clear sunlight where they transfer their energy to spring water.

Next we add a small amount of brandy to the energized water, which now holds their essence to preserve the medicine they have given us.

Finally, the medicine is hand diluted to the proper potency into bottles to make their way to you, dear friend.

Each step is a prayer.  Our intentions are aligned with healing and love for you.  Yes, we make a sacred covenant with each plant we use so you will truly be nourishing yourself with a bit of heaven.

Deb, Harry, bee balmNature enthusiasts Harry LeBlanc and Deb Vail are at home in the forest hiking to reach beautiful vistas and searching for native plants in the southern Appalachians. They are co-founders of Grandparents of the Forest, an intimate business offering simple yet meaningful ways for children and their parents to connect to Nature for well-being and healing. They also make Sacred Forest® Flower Essences from the plants they encounter. They are former organic farmers and parents of 5 grown children.