Learn How Bleeding Hearts Calm Nerves and Settle Grief

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Make bleeding heart plant remedies and medicine for calming nerves and settling grief. Not to be mistaken by the popular bright pink ornamental sold in garden nurseries, wild grown bleeding hearts, as pictured above, are the medicinal variety this article is about.

Bleeding Hearts are native to the Pacific Northwest and love to pop up under big fir trees.  Most people know the Bleeding Heart hybrid one can buy at the nursery, which is not the quite the same plant I’m speaking of.  I’m writing about Dicentra formosa.

Bleeding Hearts like acidic soil and shade.

The roots are the most medicinal of the plant, but I tend to use a whole plant when I make medicine.

If you are going to harvest Bleeding Heart, please do so after they have seeded and just before the leaves turn brown in the fall.

Bleeding Heart roots can be dried, or used fresh in tincture.

Healing Properties of Bleeding Heart

Bleeding heart is considered to be a general tonic and good for calming nerves.  I personally have found that it is great medicine to calm overwhelming grief and I’m betting that is where the name originates.  One can use it as a pain remedy and I’ve read it is great for toothaches and mouth ulcers.

I tincture bleeding hearts and sometimes I’ll add it to an infused oil for a calming skin salve.

Next time you see a patch of Bleeding Hearts, take a moment to revel in the power of this simple plant.

Learn more about herbs?
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4 Easy Steps to Salve Making PLUS an Herbalist’s Secret Tip

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How to Make an Herbal Salve

Step 1: First you must have the infused oil ready. (Either hot or cold method is fine, directions below.)

Step 2: On the lowest temperature possible, begin to add beeswax pellets to your heated oil. They should take awhile to melt down and disperse. Slowly add more beeswax and more beeswax until you’ve reached the consistency you prefer for your salve.

Step 3: Then pour in chosen containers and let set up and cool.

Step 4: If you want to add essential oils to your salves, add them after you’ve poured and stir with a popsicle stick or something small. (Heat can disrupt the essential oil’s purpose.)

*Did you know lipbalms are just salves in a lip container? Try it!

~Secret Tip Alert~

Salve Making Freezer Spoon Test

When you are making salves or ointments, before you get started, throw a couple spoons in the freezer, on a plate.

Use these frozen spoons to check the consistency of your salve as you add your beeswax at the melting stage! If you’ve added a few rounds of beeswax and you aren’t sure if you have the right consistency, dip a frozen spoon in, put it back in the freezer. Wait a few moments, and check it. Is it smooth enough? Is it thick enough?

Make the necessary adjustments and test, again. Remember, there is no right or wrong. If it turns out a little too hard, you can reheat and add more oil. Remember to jot down some notes so you know what you prefer best! (This is the best part of making your own medicine!)

Cold Oil Infusion Method

A cold infused oil is simply a carrier oil with plant material in it. The oil extracts the properties of the plant over time, without heat. This is a common method for topical herbal massage oils, the beginning of some salves, and some cooking oils (like flavored olive oils).

The method is simple. You place your herbs in a clean container or jar, pour oil over them, and let them sit for a minimum of 2 weeks out of light.

Always used dried plant material for herbal oils. Fresh plant material contains water, and will cause your oil to mold in a short amount of time. So if you choose to use fresh plant material, know that your oil has a quick expiration date.

Great carrier oil choices: Grapeseed, Avocado Oil, Coconut Oil, Castor Oil, Emu Oil, and just about any other oil that has a stable shelf life.

*Please refrain from using olive oil if you plan on making a salve. Olive oil is not a good solvent when heat is applied. The oil will break down and your herbal remedy will not be nearly as effective.

Warm Oil Infusion Method

A hot infused oil is plant material used in oil, but a low heat is used. This is a common practice for salve making or when you want a specialized cooking oil, like garlic coconut oil for sautéing.

Keep the temperature very low. Many herbalist use a double boiler. I personally do not go to that trouble. I use vision ware (glass pots) on the lowest setting possible. (You may want to use a hot plate with controls if you have gas only to control the heat, or use the double boiler method.)

Do NOT fry your plant material.

Some have successfully used a crock pot. I’ve tried it, but all of my crock pots are run too hot for the proper temp control. I always end up with fried herbs. (YUK)

And if you do fry your plant material… just laugh. It happens to the best of us. Start over. I dare you to take a picture and brag about your herb fry below! Haha.

Carrier Oils for Warm Infusions: I personally only use either coconut or avocado oil. Both oils are stable under heat and can retain the medicinal properties of the plants.

Learn more about herbs?

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Learn to Use Chickweed as an Anti-Inflammatory & Natural Pain Reliever

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Chickweed Herbal Mentoring Lesson: Learn how to use chickweed in simple herbal remedies.

Do you have this tiny green growing near you? This is the one plant I get the most excited about when I see it coming up in both the Spring and Fall. You may want to try it and see why chickens love it so intensely.

Are you going to learn how to use chickweed in simple herbal remedies? Here’s a rundown:

Chickweed (Stellaria media) is a member of the Caryophyllaceae, or carnation, family Chickweed is native to European regions but has long been widely available in the wild and cultivated in other temperate locations.

The Stellaria media or common chickweed belongs to about 25 species including some native varieties in North America, growing abundantly in the wild which are closely related to but lacks the nutritional value and medicinal effectiveness of the common chickweed.

Chickweed is an annual herb, widespread in temperate regions, growing in large, dense patches. Chickweed grows only a few inches from the ground creeping and forming dense mats. The creeping stems have pubescent or hairs only on one side alternating after every node. When the stem is broken it has no milky sap unlike its relatives where the stems are completely covered with hair and has milky sap. The roots are shallow and fibrous. Chickweed leaves are bright green, opposite, simple, broadly oval, about an inch apart in the stem and usually less than 1 inch long. Chickweeds have small, white, 5 petal star shaped flowers that bloom during spring.

Common chickweeds are edible and considered very nutritious. The common name came from the herb’s appeal to chickens. Common chickweed is used as leaf vegetable in salads.

I personally love chickweed so much that I dream about the first crop of chickweed throughout winter. It is one of my absolute favorite greens grown. There is a light cucumber taste and it literally pops in your mouth for incredible savoring. If you ever have an upset stomach due to a heavy meal, chickweed is the remedy you want on hand. A handful of chickweed will calm your digestives and move things right along.

Chickweed is also my personal go to for stinging nettle stings. When you are out harvesting your nettles this Spring, take note of where the chickweed patch is. They are usually not too far apart.

You can make a chickweed tincture (using vodka, everclear, or vinegar of your choice). Some swear that this tincture will help them lose weight. A dropperful per day could do the trick.

Nutritional Value Of Chickweed

Ascorbic-acid, Beta-carotene, Calcium, Coumarins, Genistein, Gamma-linolenic-acid, Flavonoids, Hentriacontanol, Magnesium, Niacin, Oleic-acid, Potassium, Riboflavin, Rutin, Selenium, Triterpenoid saponins, Thiamin, and Zinc.

Other Chemical Constituents

Saponin glycosides, Coumarins and hydroxycoumarins, Flavonoids, Carboxylic acids, Triterpenoids, Vitamin C, about l50-350mg per l00g.

Kidney And Liver Tonic

Common chickweed has long been used in folkloric medicine as tonic to cleanse the kidney and liver. Chickweed can be eaten raw mixed with salad or prepared and taken as a tea infusion.

Treatment Of Skin Problems

Among the many claimed health benefits from chickweed is its ability to heal skin wounds. It is used as a poultice to treat boils, cuts, burns, abscesses and ulcers. Chickweed is also used to treat itchiness associated with eczema and psoriasis. Dry chickweed to make an infused oil, and then a salve for skin problems.

Anti-Inflammatory And Pain Reliever

Another health benefit from Chickweed is it ability to act against inflammation and pain. It is used to treat rheumatism, arthritis and menstrual pain. You’ll want to use fresh, raw chickweed in your salad or dried chickweed in an herbal tea infusion when it is out of season. I keep a tincture on hand of fresh chickweed that I use as an anti-inflammatory when needed in a pinch. It works very quickly. (You can triple this tincture/extract for a more powerful boost.)

Health Benefits For Stomach Problems

Chickweed is also used to treat constipation, upset stomach and to promote digestion. Making an herbal infusion tea will be your best bet.

Chickweed For Lung Problems

Chickweed is also used to treat asthma and other respiratory problems such as couch and colds. It is believed that the vitamin C in Chickweed can help boost body resistance and can even be used to treat scurvy. However, if you have a ragweed allergy, you may want to avoid chickweed. It is part of the ragweed family.

Interactions and Cautions

Chickweed is considered safe for most adults when taken by mouth. If you have a ragweed allergy, you’ll want to avoid. It could worsen symptoms.

No sufficient studies have been made to determine potential side effects.

Use during pregnancy and breast feeding is discouraged.

Learn more about herbs?
Herbal Mentoring
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Free Plant Medicine Method Class
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Earth Day To Do List

Road and sunbeams in strong fog in the forest

Every year, I usually do a plant walk locally to celebrate Earth Day. Teaching local parents and kids about plants is fun for me. Well, anytime I get to talk about plants, I’m having fun.

This year, I haven’t found a spot to do a walk at yet. Since just moving to Southern Georgia, I’m still a bit unfamiliar with all the hot plant spots. (No pun intended, even though it will certainly get Hot later this summer.)

So my Earth Day To Do List is a bit different this year. And I thought I’d share it with you.

The first thing on my To Do list is to watch the rest of Planet Earth II. Did you know there was a new one? There is!! And I’ve seen almost all of it, except the last disc. So far, my favorite part are the bears and the *stripper tree pole* as my daughter so kindly refers to it. In her defense, it does look like the bears are getting all jiggy as they scratch themselves on this one tree. It’s pretty funny. You’ll have to tell me your favorite scene.

Then, I’m going to plant some weeds. Not flowers, not trees (although I may plant a lilac), but weeds. I don’t have a stinging nettle patch here in Georgia and haven’t seen nettles anywhere, so I’m planting some to keep my stock of 3x Stinging Nettle Tincture freshly updated. This will be my favorite (and cheap) Earth Day event. Seeds are only $6 and I can’t wait until I see those little nettles poke up!

Next, more weeds. I just have to get a place ready for them. I’m planting yarrow, calendula, borage, mugwort, wormwood, valerian, St. John’s Wort, chamomile, and comfrey.

So next year, if I haven’t found a natural habitat to do a plant walk, I’ll have created a great space for teaching. (At least begun a space, sigh.)

After I’m wilted and sunburned from planting all day, I’ll take myself into my cozy little house and dig into my new gardening book collection. I just bought these:

The Drunken Botanist: I can’t wait to dig into this and learn some new things about how alcohol is made from varying plants. What a fun read!

Wicked Plants: By the same author as above. This is about plants that have a Bad rap for many reasons. It will be another fun read!

The New Southern Living Garden Book: Now that I live in the South, this is a must have.

Southeast Home Landscaping: Having bought this little piece of property heaven in Georgia, it was a blank canvas upon moving in. Only a few bushes around the house were here. I have been carefully selecting my new plant companions and deciding how I want the layout of my garden spaces to function.

What are you doing to celebrate Earth Day?

Earth Day Read: Beginner’s Guide to Keeping Honey Bees

1280px-Honeybee_landing_on_milkthistle02

Everywhere you look online, people are talking about saving the honeybees. With so many sprays and chemicals that are killing off our honey bee population, have you considered raising bees?

You don’t have to live out in the boondocks. You can raise honeybees in urban areas, too. I’m not the expert at beekeeping, so I’ll let Honey Bees Online break it all down for you.

What a great Earth Day Project! Earth Day April 22nd!

Here is another great guide: The BeeKeeper’s Bible

Honeybee Democracy
Honeybee Biology and Beekeeping

Why Every Gardener Should Grow Alfalfa

Alfalfa-12a

Not only is alfalfa great for animal consumption (my horses can attest to that), but alfalfa is one of the best ingredients for herbal tea! It is so rich in nutrients! Alfalfa is one of the main ingredients for my Herbal Multi-Vitamin Tea!

Ready to plant some?

Then I was poking around and found this article about alfalfa for your gardens. I had no idea! I’ll let Learning and Yearning tell you the rest: 10 Benefits of Using Alfalfa in Your Garden.

April is Stress Awareness Month: Stress Busting Food Tips

Tips to Bust
Did you know that April is Stress Awareness Month?
Try some of these tips to beat everyday stress?
Oatmeal fights anxiety’s negative effects.
Half an avocado a day should do the trick for any stress.
A handful of walnuts is all you need to tame stress.
Spinach and broccoli improves your body’s response to stress.
Eat blueberries to reduce stress.
Eating dark chocolate lowers stress level hormones. (YAY!!) These are my kryptonite, I apologize for introducing you.
Sip your stress away with water.
One glass of wine per day can reduce stress. (YAY!!)
A glass of warm milk is really calming.
The secret anti-stress ingredient to parsley and oranges is Vitamin C.
My personal favorite stress busters:
Take a calming bath with some Epsom salts and bubbles.
Learn pranayama, a deep breathing technique that helps under all circumstances.
Practice Reiki on a daily basis.
Keep a gratitude journal.
What are your favorite stress busters?
Thank you AlcheMystic Arts for the great tips!