As our website name eludes to, we work hard toward putting ourselves in a position where we are completely self sufficient. For regular readers of this site, I know you all have heard me say that a billion times already. I’m sorry about that! 🙂 Anyway, of our self sufficiency efforts, fruit trees are a valuable (and enjoyable) piece because they provide food, medicine (peach tree leaves can be used as mild histamine blocker) and a source for making cider and vinegar that have a whole other separate list of uses.
Making vinegar is not very hard, as a jar of raw apple cider will eventually turn on its own, but it takes considerable time. A “Mother” makes it much more expedient and once you have one in your possession, so to speak, you step into a new level of self sufficiency. Several years ago we made Read More
In the winter months there is nothing quite like the smell of conifers. As the light of spring and summer shifts to the darker, dormant months, so does our need to focus on these fragrant and readily available resources. The evergreen nature of conifers gives us a bounty of medicine in their greenery, bark and even their inner resin. Some refer to this as “sap” but technically pitch and resin are the two correct descriptors. Needles of several pine varieties make a tasty tea that is high in vitamin C and is useful as an immune system booster and cold fighter, but the inner resin, or pitch, is the real wonder medicine of the conifer. One our favorite uses for the resin is as a salve. This salve has a warming, stimulating/moving action that does wonders for drawing out splinters and it’s warming, stimulating nature makes it a sought after Read More
Growing your own Ginger and Turmeric is actually quite easy. We’ve been growing and replanting “child” sprouts from our ONE original Ginger root for about 5 years now and this year decided to give Turmeric a try. Ginger and Turmeric have such a wide array of uses, both medicinal and culinary, we felt like they were something we didn’t want to have to do without or depend on the grocery store for. It’s so easy that I’ve just laid out the quick and dirty for you below, nothing fancy. There are probably a billion other methods, but this is the way we do it, and with very good success. Read More
Before there were store bought medicines, our ancestors knew which plants grew around them and how to use them to remedy their ailments. One big example of this is Willow Bark, which can be used for many types of pain including headaches, menstrual discomfort, muscle pain and arthritis. The active ingredient, salicin, found in the bark of Willow trees, also acts as an anti-inflammatory and is present in varying Read More
Often, the things I write about are driven by our own needs and experiences out here. This one is no exception. Many years ago, Passionflower tea became one of my favorite herbal allies. I suffered from what I came to refer to as my nightly 3am conference call in my head. I would wake between 2 and 3am Read More
Making maple syrup from one of our Southern Red (Swamp) Maples is probably the most interesting and enlightening thing I’ve done in a while. Interesting to the point of being an epiphany. That sounds overly dramatic, but if you stick with me, I’ll explain. Read More
Beautiful Yarrow – Achillea millefolium – is good for so many things and one of them is as a styptic powder to stop bleeding. Yarrow styptic powder is safe for both humans and animals and can be used on everything from skin cuts to nails accidentally cut or torn down to the “quick”. I recently gouged a chunk out of my index finger while tapping one of our maple trees and pressure alone wasn’t enough to stop the bleeding. The yarrow stopped it almost immediately. I’ve also used it on our dog when I clipped one of her toenails too short. It does a great job and isn’t toxic when they decide to start licking it, which they will! (I didn’t lick mine… just for the record…) Simply dry the herb, grind it in a mortar and pestle or coffee/seed mill and store it in a lidded jar for when you need it in an emergency. If you’re putting together an herbal first aid kit, this is definitely one to include. The preferred Read More
Technically, not all of these are weeds, but of the five home remedies listed below, four are considered just that by most people. One of my all time favorite quotes is by A.A. Milne: “Weeds are flowers, too, once you get to know them.” This is true for plants as medicine also. Always make sure you’ve correctly identified what you’re using from the wild and then get ready for an eye opening experience. There are lots of other herbs that can be used for the same purposes that I’ve outlined below, but we try to focus on the plants that are native or naturalized to our area. That way, we’re not dependent on ordering from an online source. If we have to order our herbs that we need for medicine, we might as well just go to the CVS pharmacy down the street, we’re not self-sufficient.
Ok, here is the “thing” that needs to be said: herbal medicine Read More
These really yummy popsicles are full of soothing Hibiscus and Chamomile with the added benefits of local raw honey for a boost to the immune system. You’ll also be getting valuable Read More
It’s cold and flu season! One of our favorite homemade medicines is infused honey for coughs and congestion. It’s ridiculously easy to make and tastes so much better than bought cough syrup. Homemade cough syrup can be made with any number of herbs but my all Read More
Three of the most common herbal preparations are Teas, Infusions and Decoctions. An infusion is really just a very strongly brewed tea. A decoction is when you Read More