Sunday, May 10, 2009

All In A Day's Work!

I love playing with herbs. Here are today's "confusions" (as my wise-guy
daughters like to say).

Make both of these at the same time:

To soothe the heart and mind, while sparking the spirit.

3 tablespoons lavender buds
1 cinnamon stick
1 pint boiling water

Place together in a 1 pint Mason Jar. Let steep for 45 min. Strain the herbs from the liquid. Add warm milk or honey to taste, or take that potent flavor as is.

Sip this one while you wait for the next one to finish ....

Woman's Soothing and Replenishing Infusion with a touch of Wisdom

1/2 oz. Oat Tops (Avena sativa)
1/2 oz. Nettle Leaf (Urtica dioica)
1 oz. Red Clover Herb (Trifolium pratense)
1 sprinkle of Sage (Salvia officinalis)
1 qt Boiling Water

Place herbs in a 1 Quart Mason Jar. Fill jar with the hot water. Let sit for 4-8 hours. Strain and drink.

Also: Today was floor cleaning day.


1/2 gallon of very warm water in a bowl

a squeeze of Tea Tree Liquid Castille soap
2 drops Rosemary essential oil
1 drop Orange
1 drop Sweet Basil

For me, Rosemary offers the zest of bright spirit, cleanliness and clarity, Orange graces us with good cheer, and Sweet Basil offers tranquility. Feel free to substitute other essential oils for the above according to your mood and intent.

Now, scrub away!

Monday, May 4, 2009

A Huge Apology To My Subscribers!!!!

I'm so sorry. I was goofing around with some background program for this blog, and I think it ended up creating a bunch of senseless posts. Forgive me! I've learned my lesson! I'll keep this blog its simple self. Please don't give up on this blog ....


Friday, May 1, 2009

Violet - Viola odorata

One of the few plants that are blooming right now here in our corner of the world is Violet - Viola odorata. She grows in little bunches beneath a still leafless fruit tree, with friendly grape-scented (it seems to me!) petals.

I have been sitting with her, just soaking in what I can learn from her presence. Here are my impressions.

Violet is a graceful ally, soothing to the mind, the heart.

Yes, with properties for shrinking abnormal growths (I consider the ganglian cyst on my finger!). Seemingly vulnerable and delicate, yet here she is, in eager clusters at the base of the plum tree, leafed and in bloom! In fact, she is the first to bloom in this yard and neighborhood, except for robust and rambunctious Dandelion. So her small sweet nature belies the fact that she is a herald of spring. One of the first to bloom despite the continued spurts of winter here.

Violet speaks of a sweet open nature and of boldness. She says: Don't be afraid to cluster around giants--it is safe here! I offer a balm to the spirit, vigor, and the gift of promise: of spring, of new growth, and warmth.

I am a wild heart! I am Violet!

From Herbalpedia - 2007 edition

Violet Soup

1 8-oz can of chicken and rice soup
1 cup violet blossoms
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Prepare the soup according to can directions. Bring to a simmer. Add the violets; simmer 1 minute. Ladle into bowls; sprinkle with cinnamon. (A Kitchen Witch's Cookbook)

A Kitchen Witch's Cookbook, Patricia Telesco,
Llewellyn, 1994; ISBN: 1-56718-707-2

Violet Omelet

4 eggs
4 tsp milk
12 violet leaves
12 violet blossoms
1 tsp butter

Wash violet leaves and blossoms and crisp in refrigerator. Beat eggs with fork or whisk until light yellow. Add milk. Sprinkle with salt and add freshly ground pepper (about three turns of the grinder). Melt butter in skillet. Pour egg mixture in and, using spatula, cut around edges of pan and across egg mixture until top of mixture is frothy and bubbly. Meanwhile chop violet leaves and sprinkle on top of egg mixture. Turn omelet by folding over and cook further until desired degree of doneness. Serve on hot plate. Sprinkle or garnish with violet blossoms. (Cooking with Flowers)
Cooking with Flowers, Jenny Leggatt, Fawcett,
1987; ISBN 0-449-90252-8

Violet-Watercress Greens

6 cups violet greens
3 cups watercress
6 slices bacon
3 hard-cooked eggs, sliced
cup onion, finely minced
Saute bacon until crisp. Crumble and set aside. Saute greens in cup bacon
drippings for 10 minutes. Remove vegetables to platter and top with bacon, eggs and onion. Serve immediately. (How to Prepare Common
Wild Foods)

Violet Mushroom Caps

Saute 24 medium-sized mushroom caps in butter and drain on paper toweling.
3/4 cup sour cream
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp cognac (optional)
2 tsp chopped chives
2 tsp chopped violets
Fill mushroom caps with above mixture and garnish each with a violet. You can also combine 1 teaspoon each cognac and lemon

juice and dip in a violet to use as a garnish on each stuffed mushroom cap. Serve chilled. (The Forgotten Art of Flower Cookery)
The Forgotten Art of Flower Cookery, Leona
Woodring Smith, Pelican; 1973; ISBN: 0-

Ginkgo biloba

The Ginkgo tree is a "living fossil", belonging to a family that dates back to dinosaur times--more than 200 million years! Gingko seeds have been used in Chinese medicine to help asthma. Lately, Gingko leaves have been getting good press for perhaps helping improve memory function. The leaves have several compounds that may help in this regard, as well as have an anti-oxidant effect in the body, and an anti-allergic effect on asthma.

(source: Herbs: A Color Guide to Herbs And Herbal Healing by Jennie Harding.)

My parents have a gingko tree in their front yard. My mom sent me a bunch of new leaves. I considered making a tincture from them, or an infusion (or decoction), but held back, deciding to research gingko leaf herbal preparations. I don't know anyone personally who works with gingko leaves, and my question on the forum has so far not yielded any results. My mom sent me some links to some articles she discovered on the internet:

I'm a bit puzzled why they harvest leaves in autumn and not in spring.
Usually when working with leaves, you harvest them when they are in their
young/new growth, and not when the energy of the tree or plant is being put to other uses (making flowers, seeds/fruit, going into the roots ...).

So, hmm. I did try nibbling on a leaf, and felt fine. I just want to be sure that no extra process is involved with using Gingko than just treating it in the usual way for infusions or tinctures--and that there isn't anything I need to worry about when using Gingko. The book above did indicate that it shouldn't be taken while pregnant, breastfeeding, or in infancy, or if you are epileptic or taking any kind of anticoagulant medication, or if you are older.

I suppose if the herb is listed in this book, it should be safe to use, except for as listed above. But perhaps it's time to reread this intro to this books to get a sense of the practical nature of its contents, in terms of home preparation.