Monday, April 27, 2009

Learning Your Herbs Online and Journal

I stumbled upon Angie' Goodloe and her online Herbalist 101 course, and thought, what the heck! I have a lot of herbal resources available to me, and have been plunging along with nourishing my family and self with herbs, as well as creating remedies. But I'm after that extra something to catalyze me to gather my adventuring into a more coherent medicine bundle. As I've mentioned in the previous post, I engage in plant spirit medicine already, in my healing arts practice. But I long to go deeper and more knowledgeably on all levels in my relationship with herbs. I'm on Lesson One, and love the course--and Angie--already!

Part of the coursework is keeping a journal. So that is what I will do here in a harper's garden: journal my experiences with herbs and my questions. And eventually record the answers to those questions. My aim is to write up my adventures with you, dear reader, in mind, so it's not just me jotting down lists that have meaning only to me.

A few words on my herbal study. I am also a member of and find that to be an incredible resource. It has several fabulous e-courses and audio courses, and an abundance of information that includes videos, interviews, articles, and a lively informative community forum. If you
are interested in herbs, I cannot recommend this resource highly enough. It is worth far, far more than the yearly membership fee. If you're new to the idea of working with herbs (and even if you aren't) do visit their sister site Learning Herbs, which features a monthly herbal project and its free seven-day Supermarket Herbalism e-course.

I'm also entranced and enchanted by Kiva Rose and her blog The Medicine Woman Roots and The Anima Medicine Woman Tradition website, and intend to take her Medicine Woman Herbalist course(s) in time.

Okay. How I used herbs today:

Nourishing Infusion

In a quart size Mason jar, the following dried herbs:

Red Clover (about 3/4 oz), Oat Tops (1/4 oz), peppermint (a sprinkle), lavender (a sprinkle) and rose petals (to cover the top of the herbs in the jar).

Poured boiling water over all, covered, and let sit for about four hours. I chose the Red Clover for its anti-tumor/anti-cancer properties (I have a lump on one of my fingers--not cancerous or a tumor--but which I'm experimenting with dissolving by means of herbs and other "alternative" means). Oat Tops--as a "comfort" herb, and the rest mostly for flavor and a hint of these qualities: Peppermint (sparkle), lavender (soothing), rose petals (grace). Usually I drink my infusions as a single herb or just two herbs, but I thought I might share it at a gathering today that didn't end up happening.

After setting up the infusion I discovered that flowers should only be infused 1 hour maximum. (from a Brewing Table in Healing Wise by Susun Weed) Oops!

In this gathering I'd planned to introduce some simple herbal medicine making. I'd detail my "lesson plan" in another post!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Garden Calls!

This is a picture from four years ago. My daughters are collecting dandelions for making dandelion fritters. Yum!

I'm immersing myself in a lot of herbal study and experience right now, and also reading up on plant spirit medicine--which I realize is what I have been practicing when I offer nourishing herbs to my clients or invoke the quality or 'spirit' (to me) of a particular herb during a healing session. Lovely.

In the former (herbal study) I've been making infusions and syrups, and applying them to self and my family (as needed). Currently my older daughter  has been suffering from a flu. So, I peered through some recipes and the colds-and-flu ebook on, and have been trying a various remedies on her. After mixing a too-complex tea of peppermint (for her headache) and rose (for gentleness) with elderberry syrup (this decoction with its own spices sent the tea over the top!), I finally got the message that less is more with her. The little bundle I made of dried peppermint and rose petals to scent the air around her is probably enough! And if I venture into teas with her tomorrow it will be with a single green ally .... She's been a pretty good sport with my experimentation, all things considered!

I do long for my herb garden. It would be lovely to pick some lavender, chamomile and calendula, just to put near my dear daughter, to lighten and soothe her spirits. And a sprig of mint for encouraging a banishment of her headache! I've been enjoying adventuring with the dried herbs I've had to purchase in lieu of my garden, but so much more is invoked, evoked, conveyed with a single flower.

I do believe I've resumed a harper's garden! Thank you for continuing to join me here, dear readers!