Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Immersed in Violets

violet-wreathSpending time outside is something I often crave, especially during the winter months.  Today, the weather was gorgeous so I went out to harvest the most beautiful little violets from under a big oak tree that grows on our property. As I was picking the delicate little heart shaped leaves, I was joined by a bumble bee who excitedly buzzed from flower to flower gathering nectar.  What crossed my mind while sitting under that big oak tree. surrounded by those violets growing in the rich black soil, is how important it is for me to take care of this land that I harvest from.  I made sure that I left plenty of flowers so that the bees had their share and picked the leaves and not the whole plant so that the plant continues to flourish.

There are roughly 500 species of Violets (Viola spp.) that grow throughout the United States.  In my area of North Florida, I know of five different species, but only use two of those medicinally and as a food source (V. sororia, V. villosa).  It is important if you are going to harvest any plant that you make sure you have properly identified the correct genus and species.

0124171135a

Another thing that occurred to me as I picked and nibbled on the flowers (leaves and flowers are edible), is how fortunate I am to have Violets growing this time of year.  During the winter, I get really dried out from the indoor heat and violet is a moistening plant which helps to counter that dryness.  Violets are a “mucilaginous” plant, which basically means when crushed or infused in cool water, it becomes slimy and gooey.   Since I’ve written about mucilaginous herbs before, I’ll just quote myself here;

“When used externally a mucilaginous herb is called an emollient and helps to soothe inflamed and irritated tissue.  When taken internally a mucilaginous herb is called a demulcent.  Either internally or externally that gooey substance will soothe irritation, help to reduce inflammation and help to stimulate the innate immune response.

If you think about conditions that are hot, inflamed, irritated and dry you can apply this action just by knowing about the benefits of mucilaginous plants.  Some examples of plants with this mucilaginous quality include Plantain, Mallow’s, some Elm species, Cinnamon (to some extent), Violets, Mullein, Okra and Comfrey.”

viola-spp-feb-2011-mb-flaViolet is a wonderful herb to use to help reduce inflammation and to soothe irritation in a host of different conditions such as constipation (lubricates the bowels), sore throats, dry coughs, red and angry looking skin conditions, etc.  As a lymphatic herb, it can help to reduce swollen glands, abscesses and has also been used topically for mastitis and fibrocystic breasts. (though I’ve not tried it for the latter two conditions).

As I mentioned, the leaves and flowers are edible and can be added to salads, vinegar, as a thickener, candied, etc.  Steeping the leaves and flowers over night helps to extract the vitamins and minerals from the plant as well as creating a tea rich in soluble fiber.  Soluble fiber has numerous benefits to include:

  • bulking up stool, increasing peristalsis and helping to ease constipation
  • slows the absorption of sugar which may benefit those with diabetes
  • creates a sense of fullness which may aid in weight loss
  • is a prebiotic food source which helps to balance out friendly flora in the gut
  • traps lipids (fats) and therefore may help to improve cholesterol levels and lipid metabolism

0124171134b

One of my favorite winter tea’s is a recipe I like to call, “Violet Immersion Tea”.  Not only is this tea moistening, but it really has a great flavor which makes me enjoy drinking it throughout the winter.

Violet Immersion Tea

3 cups water

3 – 5 tbsp Violet leaves (Viola spp.) dried

1 tbsp Plantain leaves (Plantago spp.) dried

1 tbsp Hibiscus flowers (Hibiscus sabdariffa) dried

½ tbsp. Spearmint leaves (Mentha spicata) dried

Combine all herbs and pour boiling water on top.  Steep covered for 20 – 30 minutes.  You may leave this to steep longer to develop more of the mucilage which makes it even more moistening. You could also leave this until it cools completely to drink it cool or warm it back up.  Strain and enjoy.  May add a little honey for sweetness.

Another thing is that you can adjust the amount of the herbs to suit your taste. Experiment with this recipe and make it your own.

References and Additional Info:

Blankespoor, J. – http://chestnutherbs.com/violets-edible-and-medicinal-uses/

Mcdonald, J. – http://www.herbalremediesadvice.org/violet-herb.html

Vaughn, K. –  http://www.henriettes-herb.com/articles/viola.html

Vickery, N. – https://thefamilyherbalist.wordpress.com/2011/03/11/celebrating-spring-with-violets/

A Modern Herbal – http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/v/vioswe12.html#med

Edible Recipes using Violets:

Violet Jelly – http://www.healthygreenkitchen.com/violet-jelly.html

Candied Violets – http://userealbutter.com/2014/05/04/candied-violets-recipe/

Violet Lemonade – http://kitchenlane.com/2014/05/wild-violets-make-violet-lemonade.html

Old Fashioned Sweet Violet Syrup – http://www.lavenderandlovage.com/2012/02/old-fashioned-sweet-violet-syrup-for-easter-mothering-sunday-cakes-bakes.html

Advertisements

dog-breathImagine how mortified I was this past year when someone very close to me  revealed that I had developed bad breath…and… THAT IT HAD BEEN THAT WAY FOR QUITE A WHILE….”OMG…WHY DIDN’T YOU SAY SOMETHING”, I asked???  Seriously, I know its a difficult subject to broach, but really folks….friends don’t let friends walk around with funky breath without saying something.

Honestly, I had no idea.  I tried that trick where you cup your hands over your mouth and nose and then breath out through your mouth and then in through your nose….nothing…I just wasn’t picking up on the funky smell that was apparently obvious to others.

First thing I did was to schedule an appointment with my dentist and regretfully found out that I had an infection developing under a crown, as well as a few pockets in my gums.  I have to admit that I haven’t always been the poster girl for flossing, but I do brush my teeth regularly and figured that would suffice.

Instead of accepting the dentists offer for very expensive topical antibiotic treatments on my gums, I decided to take a more natural approach and put together this herbal rinse.  I also went out and purchased a water pic which made a huge difference in cleaning out trapped debris from around my teeth.

After using the water pic and the rinse for 6 months, I followed up with my dentist who was just amazed.  Not only had the infection disappeared, but the gums were much healthier and the pockets had receded.  Success!!!

Now keep in mind that bad breath can occur because of other factors not associated with dental problems.  If you develop bad breath, (and you are actually aware of it because someone is kind enough to tell you) have your teeth checked to rule out dental issues.  If all is well in that department, consider that it could be associated with sinus issues such as an infection, other respiratory issues, medications, dry mouth, heavy garlic usage and even digestive issues.

The moral of this story is….as difficult as it may seem….friends….don’t let friends walk around with funky breath without saying something.

Herbal Mouth Rinse

6 ml (or 2 1/4 tsp) (Plantain tincture  (Plantago lanceolata) –  Vulnerary, demulcent, anti-inflammatory, astringent, antimicrobial

6 ml Beebalm  (Monarda fistula) – antiseptic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, stimulant, styptic

6 ml  Peppermint tincture (Mentha piperita) – flavor enhancement, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, analgesic

6 ml Oregon Grape root tincture  (Mahonia aquifolium) – antimicrobial

6 ml  Chamomile tincture (Matricaria recutita) – anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, vulnerary and flavor enhancer

Combine all tinctures together in a 30 ml dark brown glass bottle.  To use, place 5 – 8 drops into a 1 oz shot glass which is filled with water.  Rinse the mouth vigorously after brushing and at least 3 times per day.

 

insulin-relationship

Are you having a difficult time losing weight, dealing with hypertension, high cholesterol, fibroid’s or other metabolic irregularities?

Come join me for this class where we will be discussing the physiology behind Insulin Resistance and its relationship to a host of conditions including High Blood Pressure, Thrombosis, Obesity, Diabetes, Heart disease, infertility, PCOS and more.  Also, we will discuss, in detail, steps for identifying and reversing Insulin Resistance which in turn can help to resolve many of these underlying metabolic irregularities.

WHEN:  October 7th, 2016 (10 am – 2 pm)

Where:  Black Creek Center for Herbal Studies (Middleburg, Fla.)

Who:  Anyone/No Herbal Experience Necessary

(Space Limited)

Cost:  $60.00

(REGISTER NOW)

Assessment Skills

When:  September 15th, 2016 (10 am – 2 pm)

Where:  Black Creek Center for Herbal Studies (Middleburg, Fla.)

Who:  Intermediate to Advanced Herbal Students

Cost:  $60.00

As herbalists, our senses are crucial in assessing the states of disharmony within someone we are working with and determining the appropriate remedy(s). When working with others, the herbalist must engage their senses as an aid to determining underlying imbalances. We observe the client and note the subtleties of their complexion and expressions, we feel the speed of their pulse, the texture and temperature of the skin, observe the tongue and we listen to and hear their stories.

Come out and join me to gain insight into the various assessment skills that herbalists use in uncovering the root cause or contributing factors that lead to imbalances.

Discussions will include:

  • Looking for Patterns
  • Client Intake Form
  • Tissue States
  • Assessment of the Nails
  • Assessing the Tongue
  • Reading the Pulse
  • Nutritional Screening
  • Drugs and Side Effects
  • Case Review
  • Looking for “Red Flags”

(Register Now)

Pocket PoulticeFor those of you who enjoy camping, hiking, walking in the woods or just the great outdoors in general, you know that sometimes accidents happen.  I always like to carry along a few first aid items whenever I am “off the grid”.

An application that is often used in first aid situations is called a Poultice.  A Poultice or Cataplasm as it is also referred to is basically a moistened mass of plant or food materials that is applied to various areas of the body in order to impart it’s medicinal benefits and to provide relief.  There are various ways to create a poultice using either fresh or dried herbs.

One of my favorite items to carry along in my first aid pouch is what I like to call the, “Herbal Wound Healing Pocket Poultice”.  If something like this exists on the market, I am not aware of it and so therefore I created my own.  This is great if you are in an area where you are not familiar with the local plants.

Continue Reading »

Black Creek Center LogoRegistration is now open for my 2016 – 2017 Herbal Programs.  This year I have made a few changes which I hope will appeal to many of you.  The program that I have been teaching for the past 4 years is 9 months long, begins with the basics and moves right into intermediate and some advanced herbal studies.  The program formerly known as “Fundamentals of Herbalism and The Foundations of Health”, is suitable for the family herbalist, but also includes information for those who plan to work as a community herbalist and also further their career as an herbalists.

Because there are those of you who don’t necessarily want to make a career out of herbalism, or can’t really commit to 9 months, I am now offering a “Family Herbalist” program.  This 3 month course offers basically the same foundational information you would get in the nine month program along with giving you the confidence you need to help keep your family healthy and tend to acute conditions when they do arise.

Another thing I have added this year are options for Work/Trade/Barter to offset tuition costs.  Simply fill out the Work/Trade/Barter form, submit it, and see if you qualify.  There will only be 2 students per class eligible for the work program.  However, based on my needs I may be able to workout an arrangement for Trade or Barter.

There is a discount for early registration which runs through August 15th, 2016 so don’t wait.  Registration closes on September 2nd, 2016.

To learn more about my upcoming classes or to register:

FAMILY HERBALIST PROGRAM (3 Months/Beginner)

COMMUNITY HERBALIST CERTIFICATE PROGRAM (9 months/Beginner/Intermediate)

MedMaking2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Come join me on April 16th , 2016 from 10 am – 4 pm to learn how to make your own herbal preparations and how to use them safely and effectively for both acute and chronic conditions.

 

This class is a hands on intensive where each student has the opportunity to make their own herbal preparations which they will then get to take home.  These remedies will include the foundations for beginning your own herbal first aid kit.

In this class we will we discuss the safety of herbs, the benefits of using herbs as well as learning how to prepare the following:

  • – Herbal Tinctures
  • – Herbal Teas and Decoctions
  • – Infused Herbal Oils
  • – Herbal Elixirs
  • – Herbal Oxymels
  • – Herbal Healing Salve
  • – Herbal Syrups/Honey

Students will receive handouts of all the material that is covered in class.

Coffee, Tea and Snacks will be provided, but students are encouraged to bring a bag lunch.

COST:  $65.00 (includes material costs/non-refundable)

LOCATION:  4170 Dowling Rd., Middleburg, Fla. 32068

CONTACT:  Natalie Vickery (904)613-2738/family_herbalist@yahoo.com

REGISTRATION CLOSED