My Herbal Medicine Healing Story

Years ago, at the onset of my studies in herbal medicine, I was struggling with a lingering illness.  I consulted with a herbalist and the results boosted my confidence in the career path I had chosen.

 

When I was in my early twenties, travelling in India, I got dysentery, which is a debilitating infection of the intestinal system. I’ve never been more ill  and miserable, I thought I would die. I was in bed for three days with fever, delirium, diarrhea, and vomiting, followed by another three days in bed, too weak to get up.

 

The only thing I could consume was peppermint tea. I was unwell for many days after and never fully recovered from the infection. I continued to experience diarrhea, bloating, gas and digestive pain for the duration of my travels and my eventual return to Canada.  

 

By the time I arrived in Vancouver to begin my herbal studies I had been living with a chronic bowel condition for six months.

Healed by Herbal Medicine

Thankfully, I found my way to Gaia Garden Herbals and attended their student training clinic (much like ours at Bloom). I consulted with a herbal practitioner and several herbal medicine students, who created a herbal and dietary protocol to address my digestive health. I took a herbal tea three times daily, a tincture and a paste made from marshmallow root powder.

marshmallow blossomOnce I started taking herbal medicine, my recovery was rapid.

 

Within about one week I had noticeable improvements. By the time I returned for my first follow-up session a month later I was feeling 50% better. After three months following this program I was 95% better, and my condition continued to improve as long as I ate a healthy diet.

 

This was my first personal experience of herbal healing and the launch into my career as a herbal practitioner. It was a truly inspirational start to a twenty-year path of herbal healing.

Holistic Herbal Wellness Course

Discovering herbal medicine has changed my life in a profound way, and I’ve made it my life’s work to share this knowledge with others. That’s why I created the Holistic Herbal Healing course 15 years ago. In this course you’ll learn the value of the healing plants all around you. We’ll go outside and meet the plants in their habitats, learn how to harvest them and make medicines with them. You’ll learn about the systems of your body and how using whole-plant medicines can support your general health year-round, and treat specific conditions when needed.

 

There are healing plants all around you, just waiting to be discovered.

 

Learn more about Holistic Herbal Wellness program here.

Herbal Tonics for Optimal Health

You can What is a tonic?  Is it the same as a remedy? Read on to learn the difference between a herbal tonic and a remedy, and find Savayda’s favourite tonics for each body system for optimal health. 

Remedies and tonics are two different uses of herbal medicines. Some plants are both remedies and tonics, depending on how they’re being used and what they’re combined with. A qualified herbalist can determine how best to use a herb to either boost a bodily system or to treat a specific condition. For example, Hawthorn is a gentle tonic for the cardiovascular system, but can also be used to treat hypertension. Elecampane boosts lung health, but is also an expectorant and can be used to treat bronchitis.

 

Each herb has many phytochemical constituents, which means it has many potential uses, and many could be either a tonic, remedy or both. This whole-herb approach is very different than the allopathic approach, which separates and reduces the plants to single molecules, and aims to match each ailment with a specific constituent.

 

Herbalists are more comfortable with the complexity of both plants and people, and knowing which herbs to use and when, is the art and science of herb combining.

 

Tonics Optimize Health

 

A tonic is a mild approach that is used to restore and strengthen a system of the body or to promote optimal health and well-being. One way that tonics differ from remedies is that a tonic will give improvement even in a healthy state, whereas a remedy is aimed at treating a problem, but doesn’t alter an already-healthy system.

I like to compare herbal tonics to plant foods, we eat a variety of fruits and vegetables to supply us with the nutrients we need for basic healthy function.

 

A herbal tonic is generally thought of as a herb or combination of herbs that are gentle and nourishing, either to the whole body or to specific organs or systems. The mild herbs are used to promote a tonic action, often spread over many weeks or months to restore or support general health. They are used to bring balance to chronic conditions or to support general wellness and prevention of dis-ease.  

 

Herbal tonics can be taken periodically, rotating through different tonics for different systems. You could focus on a different system every month or every season.

 

A tonic may come in the form of a tincture, tea or herbal vinegar.

 

Tinctures are sometimes referred to as a tonic, which they may be in action, but tincture specifically refers to the preparation method of extracting the medicinal properties from herbs using alcohol. The terms tonic and tincture are not interchangeable.

 

Remedies Treat Ailments

 

Herbal tonics complement remedies. They help keep a healthy person healthy and offer support for the body’s systems, while remedies work to correct an imbalance or treat a specific ailment.

 

Like tonics , remedies come in different forms – teas, tinctures, syrups, etc, but the difference is that remedies offer a more direct input to the body’s healing processes.

 

Examples: St. John’s wort is a remedy for depression, calendula is a remedy for wounds, elderberry is a remedy for viral infections, turmeric is a remedy for inflammation.

 

Tonics as Remedies

In some cases, tonics can be an integral part of a remedy, and tonics can also supply a remedial action over the long them. Sometimes the use of general tonics can correct underlying problems, and long term use of tonics is one healing strategy.

 

This gentle strategy of long-term tonic use is ideal for people in weakened states, such as recovering from a major illness or surgery, children or the elderly. In these cases, the herbalist wouldn’t want to over-activate their system with strong herbs, so gentle remedies are better tolerated.

 

As an example, a herbalist might use tonics to support the immune and nervous systems of a patient undergoing chemotherapy or radiation, when their system couldn’t handle the addition of stronger treatments.

 

Savayda’s Favourite Tonics for Optimal Health for Each System

Hawthorn [Crataegus spp.] for the Cardiovascular System

Hawthorn is Savayda’s favourite tree. Named for its intimidating thorns, hawthorn is a very useful plant for heart health. It helps correct both high and low blood pressure, and strengthens veins and arteries. It’s a core herb to use for any cardiovascular conditions.

In addition to the physical heart, hawthorn also offers support for the emotional heart. It is good for protection and resilience when going through emotional difficulty.

Oatseed [Avena sativa] for the Nervous System

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Bonnie Kay (@moonfloweralchemy) on


Oatseed comes from the same plant as the oats commonly used for food in oatcakes and granola, but oatseed refers to the immature green, milky seed, before it matures into cereal oats. Oatseed balances the nervous system from the extremes of anxiety or depression and restores strength and energy to the nervous system when exhausted.

Raspberry Leaf [Rubus ideaus] for the Uterus

Good as a tea or herbal vinegar, raspberry leaf is used as a tonic post-partum or in late pregnancy. It’s also beneficial for women who are having some menstrual difficulties. It gives strength to the uterus so it functions better, and results in fewer menstrual cramps, and faster recovery, restoring tone to the uterus.

Partridge Berry [Mitchella repens] as a Fertility Tonic for Both Men and Women

Traditionally used to improve fertility due to its influence on normalizing endocrine hormones in both males and females.

Damiana [Turnera diffusa] for Prostate Function

Damiana is a mild hormone normalizer and general restorative for men.

Horsetail [Equisetum arvense] for Skin, Hair & Nails

High in silica and other minerals, horsetail is the best tonic for strengthening brittle nails and fine hair. It delivers required nutrients, acting like a food that encourages growth and strength.

Elecampane [Inula helenium] for the Respiratory System

A warming herb that soothes bronchial tube linings and acts as an expectorant for lung cleansing, and has a relaxing effect on smooth tracheal muscle.

Gotu Kola [Centella asiatica] for the Brain

Gingko biloba is often championed as an exceptional herb for the brain, but it is actually more of a remedy than a tonic. While Gingko biloba has direct action by improving blood flow for focus & memory, it is usually taken when there’s a deficit. In contrast, Gotu Kola can be taken in a healthy state, and also improves mental functioning. Gotu Kola is not too stimulating, and is more stabilizing and good for overactive or underactive brains.

Dandelion [Taraxacum officinalis]  for Digestion

Its bitter taste signifies its effect on the digestive system. Bitters tune up and gently stimulate the whole digestive system.

Astragulus [Astragalus propinquus] for Immunity

Astragulus helps to ensure that the body’s white blood cell count is where it should be. Produced in bone marrow, white blood cells are a critical part of the body’s defense system and should be ready to be called into action when needed.

Milk Thistle [Silybum marianum] for the Liver


Milk thistle is like nutritive food for the liver, helping to restore liver cells and protect them from damage.

Blueberry [Vaccinium] for the Eyes

You’re probably aware that blueberries are a powerhouse of antioxidants but did you know they’re also good for your eyes? They contain anthocyanadins that strengthen the blood vessels in the eyes, and can reduce the risk of cataracts and glaucoma.

Nutritive Herbs for the Musculoskeletal System

The best tonic for the musculoskeletal system is proper nutrition, and there are many herbs that can help you make sure you get your vitamins and minerals. Nettle, dandelion leaf, horsetail, and plantain are great spring greens that can be eaten whole, or made into mineral-rich vinegars. You can forage lots of nutritive herbs. Check out our Foraging Guide.

Adaptogens for Your Whole Being

Adaptogens behave like tonics, helping the whole body to resist stressors of all kinds, whether physical, chemical or biological. These herbs and roots have been used for centuries in Chinese and Ayurvedic healing traditions to promote optimize health, and are having a renaissance today. Common adaptogens include eleuthero, withania and schizandra.

 

Conclusion

Tonics are a wonderful first foray into the world of herbal medicine, and a great way to optimize your health. 

Remedies and tonics are not the same thing, but they can complement each other or be used for different purposes. Tonics are more nutritive and balancing, remedies treat specific conditions. Tonic herbs are generally safe for use for self care, but make sure you check for contraindications before taking any new herb. Although they are generally gentle for healthy bodies, the plants can still have strong effects that may interact with other medications or conditions.

 

Wildcrafting Tips & Best Practices

Savayda wildcrafting fireweed in a meadow. | Bloom InstituteWildcrafting is a great way to benefit from herbal medicine without breaking the bank. There’s a wide variety of healing medicinal herbs in Nova Scotia, and every season offers something different to harvest.

Wildcrafting is the practice of harvesting plants from their natural habitat for food or medicinal purposes. (The word “foraging” is often used for food and “wildcrafting” for herbal medicines, but they are interchangeable). Wildcrafted herbs can be used in a variety of medicines like tinctures, herbal salves, and infusions, and when done mindfully, you can reap the benefits of wild herbal medicines without disturbing the ecosystem.

Benefits of Wildcrafting

Wild plants are more potent and nutrient-dense than their monoculture counterparts because they come from richer terrain, often in relatively undisturbed meadows and forests. Commercial farms often have depleted soil, or only feed the plants with isolated nutrients.

It’s also a great way to enjoy the outdoors. You can bring a friend for a relaxing expedition. And when you return home, there are many easy herbal remedies you can make with your harvest of wild plants.

Wildcrafting herbs for food and medicine can support your efforts to:

  • eat nutrient-dense foods
  • reduce dependence on imported food and medicine
  • reduce dependence on Big Agro
  • enjoy nature
  • keep yourself healthy with natural tonics & remedies

You can also bring along family and friends and build community at the same time.

And just how many useful plants are out there? TONS! In one afternoon in northern New Brunswick, I identified 28 useful plants on one property, and there were definitely more I didn’t identify. Once you learn to identify some useful plants, you will see they are everywhere. Many useful plants are so prolific they are also known as weeds.

What to Bring When You Go Wildcrafting

You don’t need many tools to wildcraft, but there are a few essentials that will help your excursion go smoothly. Primarily, you’ll need something to carry your harvest in, and you might need some tools to detach the plants from the forest.

Baskets are great for short trips, and large paper bags are great for longer ones. Don’t store herbs in plastic because they can decompose quickly in the sun.

Depending on what you plan to harvest, you might need something for cutting, digging and snipping. You’ll want a trowel if you’re digging roots, and bring a good knife if you have to cut bark, or roots, and some kitchen shears or scissors for snipping greenery or flowers.

I love this hori hori digging knife for all sorts of wildcrafting and gardening tasks.It has one straight blade and one serrated blade and it is curved so it functions as a knife and a trowel. Another handy tool is a vegetable brush to clean roots with, to minimize the dirt you take with you. If you’re harvesting mushrooms, bring a paintbrush instead of a vegetable brush to avoid damaging them.

If you’re exploring a new area, a great field guide will help you identify useful plants. In my area (Halifax, Nova Scotia) Peterson’s Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs is the standard for medicinal plants, and here is the version for edible plants.  Another good, comprehensive one for this region that includes lots of pictures is Lone Pine’s Edible & Medicinal Plants of Canada. The other nice thing about the Lone Pine guide is that it has both edible and medicinal plants in one volume.

Wildcrafting Packing List

  • baskets, paper bags, cloth bags
  • pruning shears or scissors
  • knife or trowel or both
  • a veggie brush for roots, or paintbrush for mushrooms
  • a field guide
  • camera
  • flower press
  • snacks and water
  • a notebook and/or sketchbook

What to Wear When You Go Wildcrafting

The type of habitat and the weather will impact your clothing choice. Something to think about will be the density of vegetation, and the possibility of muddy ground. It’s a good idea to wear long pants if you’re going into the forest or tall grasses,

Wildcrafting Best Practices

Get to Know Your Plant

Make sure you’re positive of the plant’s identity. When in doubt, leave it. For an introduction to some useful plants, it’s a great idea, and a lot of fun to take a class with a local expert. Bloom Institute’s Holistic Herbal Wellness Program is a year-long program that will immerse you in nature in Atlantic Canada and give you firsthand experience in identifying and using local medicinal plants.

When you’re encountering a new plant, it can tell you a lot about itself if you take the time to get to know it. The smell, texture and colour can sometimes give you clues as to what the plant’s uses are, and often a contemplative taste will also let you intuit what the plant does medicinally. One example is the soothing smell of linden that you might correctly guess is soothing and good for your heart.

wildcrafting dandelions | bloominstitute.ca

Harvest Plant Parts in the Proper Season

As the plants experience the cycle of seasons, different parts of them hold the most nutrients and medicine, and different parts will be available at different times. By harvesting each part in the best season, you’ll get the best yield and most potent medicine for your efforts.

LEAVES: In spring, before the flowers have blossomed, the leaves are at their most tender, clean and relatively untouched by bugs. After flowers appear, the leaves can become tough and tasteless or bitter. Harvest leaves before they fade in colour, wither, or get eaten by insects.

FLOWERS: If you’re after flowers, then obviously you also have a specific window for each flower in which to harvest. Pick buds just before they open, or flowers that have just opened and before the start to wilt. Some flowers start appearing in early spring and some species are still blooming in late fall, but most varieties appear in summer.

ROOTS: Roots are best harvested as late as possible, before the first frost. This is when the energy of the plant subsides into the ground, preparing for winter, but after the first frost, they’re sometimes damaged and spongey. It is especially important when gathering roots that you harvest no more than 10% of the population.

SEEDS: Collect seeds when they are ripe. Leave seeds on the plant to sun-ripen as long as possible, but harvest just before the wind distributes them. You can tell when they’re ready by the little stem that attaches the seed parts to the rest of the plant. If the stem is dry, the seeds are ready. Yellowed leaves can also be an indicator of ripe seeds. Collect them by putting a paper bag over the plant and cutting the stem. Always leave the majority of seeds there for the plant to return next year.

BARK: Harvest bark in spring or fall, ideally from recently fallen branches, not from the main trunk. Never harvest more than 10% of the circumference.

Harvest in the Morning

The best time to harvest is on a sunny morning right after the dew has dried. You don’t want to harvest wet plants on damp days, or in hot sun because the plants will wilt too quickly.

Practice Gratitude

Harvesting your own food and medicine is a great time to notice the abundance of nature, the interconnection of all living things, and to appreciate the importance of maintaining the ecosystem that provides this treasure.  When you find a patch of herb you want to gather, take a moment to attune to the plant and be thankful for the gift of mother nature.

Be A Steward of the Ecosystem

The most important thing is to gather with mindfulness for the continued abundance of the plant and its ecosystem. Never harvest rare and endangered plants. Always leave enough plants that they will replenish. Leave flowers for the bees, seeds and berries for the other critters, and for the plant to continue to thrive. Don’t harvest more than one root out of ten, and re-cover any remaining roots you have disturbed. Only pick what you can process.

Over-harvesting can decimate a plant population in a given area, and depending on what you’re harvesting, you can also disrupt other critters, so you want to be mindful that you’re leaving enough for the forest, the birds & the bees.

Harvest less than 10% of the population in a given area, especially if you are harvesting roots.

Most importantly, if a plant is rare in your area don’t harvest or disturb it. Many medicinal plants are at risk, so it’s good to check which ones are at risk in your area. There’s a list at United Plant Savers. If you’re in Atlantic Canada, check the Atlantic Canada Conservation Data Centre‘s list.

Keep Good Records

One thing you’ll want to do now that will make your foraging easier in the future is to keep a good record of when you saw which plants, so you’ll be able to predict the perfect time to harvest each plant for next season. Each season when the first of each plant pops up, jot it down and next year you’ll be glad you did.

To help you keep great notes, I created a free printable Wildcrafting Log for you. It’s a printable A5 page with space for you to write down the details of your harvest. Its minimal, bullet journal style is just enough guidance to remind you of some things you should write down, but blank enough to let you add your own sketches and style. Sign up at the bottom of this post to download your copy.

Beginner Plants to Wildcraft in Nova Scotia

Coltsfoot

The first flower of spring in Nova Scotia, Coltsfoot can be identified by the unusual fact that the flowers grow on a stem straight out of the ground before any leaves appear. Harvest the flowers in early spring, making sure to leave most of them for the bees.
Coltsfoot honey can be made into a honey for coughs.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Johanne (@johannerov) on

Golden Rod

Goldenrod is a prolific plant found in open areas, such as meadows, prairies, and my backyard. Just tasting a goldenrod leaf can give you a sensation of cooling and freshness in your respiratory system, making it a popular remedy for colds and flu, taken as a tea.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Greenscape Geeks, LLC (@greenscapegeeksllc) on

Ground Ivy

Ground Ivy, also knows as Creeping Charlie, is an invasive weed in the mint family. When infused in vinegar, it makes a beautiful pink potion that is a great addition to salad dressings. Research shows it has anti-inflammatory and diuretic activity.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Elated Earth (@elated_earth) on

Japanese Knotweed

Please harvest knotweed! Knotweed is an invasive species that grows and spreads very quickly. The young spring shoots can be cooked and eaten like asparagus, or pickled. This is one exception to the 10% rule. Knotweed is extremely invasive and not native to Nova Scotia, and it is damaging our native ecosystems, so in this rare case, it is ok to harvest as much as you want.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Lisa Cutcliffe 🍄🌿🍒🐚🌰🌳🐟🌹🦀🍏🔥⛺ (@eduliswildfood) on

These are just a few to get you started, but there are dozens of local herbs to wildcraft here in Nova Scotia. Just remember to respect the habitat that you’re taking from: be thankful and don’t harvest more than 10% of the population.

Pin it:

Savayda wildcrafting herbal medicine | Bloom Institute


Winter Forest Herbal Medicine Remedies

Herbal medicine is available for harvest throughout the year, even here in Nova Scotia. Pine and spruce are abundant. In this video you’ll learn some ways to identify them and use them to keep you healthy in winter.

Transcript:

I’m here in Point Pleasant Park in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and as you can probably see it’s winter here. It’s January. This park has edible and medicinal plants available to us year round, and in the winter we’re looking for the evergreens, some of which can be found at our feet, and we have many evergreen trees. Today we’re going to learn about pine and spruce, both abundant trees here in Nova Scotia.

These trees share many compounds in common, including acids, resins, essential oils, and anti-inflammatory compounds, so they have similar benefits to us. So I’ll start with the pine.

White Pine

This is white pine, and typically here in Nova Scotia, white pine grow to be quite tall and majestic. This is a young one, and you’ll know it’s a white pine because at the stem, they’ll have 5 long needles growing together from a single point. So that’s how you know the white pine from some of the other pine here. And I mentioned acids – ascorbic acid – pine is very high in ascorbic acid, which is Vitamin C. You can extract this by steeping it in apple cider vinegar for a few weeks, and it’ll not only extract the Vitamin C, but many other minerals and medicinal compounds.

Pine is one of my favourites for the urinary system. It’s a diuretic so it increases flow of urine, and will be helpful in cases of uric acid buildup, gout, and bladder infection. It has anti-infective properties for the bladder, also for the respiratory system and the sinuses.

Spruce

Much like its neighbour over here. So next to it we have a small spruce tree, another evergreen common in Nova Scotia. This tree, as you can see, the needles are much smaller, and they are rollable in the fingers, so you can detect the squarish, rollable quality of spruce. And spruce is probably my favourite winter remedy for the sinuses, so it’s very good to clear sinus congestion and inflammation whether that’s from a cold or flu, from allergies, or from a simple sinus infection.

Herbal Medicine Steam

And a herbal steam is a great way to make use of it for that purpose. You simply simmer the spruce tips in some water, put a towel over the head and inhale those fumes deep into the sinuses and also into the lungs if you have a lower respiratory infection. Within minutes you’ll have relief and breathe much better.

Evergreen Herbal Tea & Herbal Bath

Both of these would make a good tea, herbal tea for the respiratory system, and also a bath. During the winter when we’re chilly to the bone, and maybe our spirits are a little low. Both of these have an aroma that’s really uplifting to the senses, and awakening, just to help lift us out of the winter blues. And for that you’d make a very strong — about a litre and a half of tea, using a couple handfuls of each, simmered in the water for about 15 minutes and add it to the bath.

And for making a cup of tea for internal use, you just need a little bit, like one small length of either of the stems in a single cup of tea, simmered for about 10 minutes will do it, and then a half to one cup of tea a day is sufficient. They’re both quite very strong.

So while you’re out enjoying your winter walks, be on the lookout for these, take a few along the way, and enjoy them at home.

Be well. Thank you.

Bunchberry

Savayda finds bunchberry on the forest floor.

Bunchberry is a wild snack that is abundant in Nova Scotia. Learn its health benefits in this video.https://youtu.be/E4HG7nd8GE0

Hello, here we are on the forest floor again.

If your mother was anything like mine, she warned you not to eat the red fruit in the forest – that it might be poisonous. In fact there are many fruits in the forest, like this one here, that are safe to eat and quite delicious.

This one is bunchberry and it’s very popular throughout Nova Scotia and in shady, moist forests throughout Canada. It grows in bunches, so you’ll find bunches of them growing in colonies, and also there are bunches of these yummy berries growing on the stem together.

This red skin indicates that it’s high in antioxidants, in anthocyanadins in particular that help protect cells in our bodies from damage.

They’re also high in pectin, so the fibre in here is very good for digestive function. It lubricates and soothes the bowel and brings bulk to the stool, so it helps to promote regularity to digestive function.

Most importantly, this is just a yummy fruit. While you’re hiking you can just eat bunches of it and you can take some home with you to add to salads and to make a herbal vinegar. You simply steep these berries in apple cider vinegar for a couple of weeks, strain it off, and then you have this beautiful pink, delicious vinegar that’s high in minerals from the forest floor that you can add to your salads.

So, if you’d like to learn more about this plant, just get out there in the woods and just find it and eat it, and join us at the Bloom Institute for workshops and herb walks.

If you’re going out to forage for bunchberry, check out our foraging tips.

Indian Pipe

Transcript

So here we are on the forest floor visiting ghost plant, also known as Indian pipe. You might mistake this for a mushroom on you walk through the forest due to its colour and its strange shape. It is indeed a plant, and this plant doesn’t perform photosynthesis. It derives its nutrition from the trees and the mushrooms it lives with. So the roots of trees exchange nutrition with the roots of mushroom, the mycelia, which are connected with the roots of this plant, and that’s how it will survive. This plant is found throughout Canada, and it is a traditional medicine. It was used for a lot of nervous system-type disorders, although we don’t harvest it for medicine anymore. It is a sensitive plant and endangered in some areas due to its very special habitat requirements, and relationships with certain mushrooms and trees. So we can enjoy this, its beauty and its wonder without harvesting it. If you’d like to learn more about this plant and others, please join me at the Bloom Institute for upcoming courses beginning in September, and otherwise, enjoy your walks, and keep your eyes open for this special and mysterious plant in our forests.

Fireweed

Transcript

Hi, You can see we’ve found a beautiful patch of fireweed, also known as Rosebay Willow. It’s covering the roadsides here in Nova Scotia right now, and it makes a really good summer tea. You just chop the leaves and steep them for about ten minutes and you’ll have a herb to help with mild urinary issues, for skin complaints and it’s generally detoxifying, and it tastes delicious. It’s widespread throughout Canada – it’s a traditional medicine here, and throughout Europe. Just enjoy the pink-ness of it all — the bees are, and I hope you will, too!

Coltsfoot

Transcript:

Hi, I’m out on the last day of March on a walk, early spring, and  I’m delighted to find one of my favourite medicinal blooms, the first medicinal bloom on spring, which is right here – this bright yellow flower, called coltsfoot, which is often mistaken for dandelion. The yellow blooms look like dandelion, in fact they’re closely related, but the main difference here is that coltsfoot produces the flower before leaves, unlike its close relative over here, the dandelion. You can see the greenery appears first like it does with most plants, then later on the stem and the flower appear. So coltsfoot is early this year. It usually appears a week or two into April, and you can see it likes gravel — it will grow through the roughest conditions.
And I’m excited to find coltsfoot because I will use it in a tea or in a herbal honey to help with colds, to help with those lingering coughs and congested lung states. It’s very good to just clear the way – clear winter out of the way and make our way into spring, and we have an early spring this year. I hope you’re enjoying it as much as I am, and enjoy the ever-blossoming events of spring. Bye.

 

April 2016 New beginnings!

Spring greetings! Welcome to my new website and first blog post. T’is the season for new beginnings. I am excited, and I’ll admit, a bit overwhelmed, by the technology at my disposal, yet I am ready to explore its worth – which to me is connecting more closely with you, my fellow herb enthusiasts.

READ MORE