Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Herbal Ally Challenge # 10 ~ Dandelion Meditation & My Thoughts

March 21 st

Today as I sat with my herbal ally Dandelion .......

The sun was shining brightly and as I closed my eyes to meditate I had an image burn in of the Dandelion I was focusing on . My thoughts right off were of the beautiful bright yellow blossom , reminding me of the sun and warmth. The other image in my mind was the razor sharpness of the leaves , but later as I opened my eyes I realized the top of the leaves have a roundness that softens the look of the leaves. I think Dandelion was telling me to enjoy the warmth of the sun , soak up that vitamin D and warmth after a long cold winter and that the razor sharpness of the leaves represents how abruptly the Dandelion can work with your system to eliminate problems. As I was writing in my journal , a small bee landed on the blossom gathering nectar. What a delightful feeling it was to sit still and watch that small bee at work.

I have to admit I only meditated 3 days , life became hectic , sick grands and lots of rain distracted me and I haven't got back to the challenge. But , I plan to continue this challenge through the year.

~ Dandelion Blessings ~


Monday, March 28, 2011

Downy Rattlesnake Plantain (Goodyera pubescens)

Last night I was on E-bay looking at plants , I would have never thought I would identify a wild plant there. But someone was selling " Downy Rattlesnake Plantain " and it looked like the plant I saw in the woods awhile back , it was described as an woodland plant. I wrote the name down and after leaving Ebay googled " Rattlesnake Plantain " and found lots of pics that confirmed the identification. This plant is also known as Adder's Violet and Rattlesnake Orchid , it produces a stalk of beautiful white blossoms.

Native Americans made a tea from the roots to treat pleurisy and snakebites. Doctors used the leaves soaked in milk as a poultice for tuberculous swelling of the lymph nodes , scrofula. The leaf poultice has also been used for burns and skin ulcers. A tea made from the leaves and a little whiskey was taken to improve appetite , treat common colds , toothaches and kidney ailments.

The plant is considered rare and should not be harvested. I plan to watch it closely , would love to see the blooms. It blooms in the summer , but will probably bloom earlier this year because of the weather.

~ Green Blessings ~


Friday, March 25, 2011

Herbal Ally Challenge # 9 ~ Vinegar Review

I'm enjoying the " Herbal Ally Challenge " more and more each day. Each time I walk outside and see the bright and beautiful blossoms of Dandelion , I feel so Blessed to have her as my ally.

I haven't used my vinegar , other than tasting it until this week.

I've been gathering blossoms and leaves all week. I've fried some Dandelion blossoms for lunch , cooked some Dandelion greens and added dandelion leaves to my pimento cheese sandwich. I picked some newly emerging buds and have plans to pickle them and I've been using the vinegar in most of my dishes.

I topped my Dandelion greens with the vinegar and added the vinegar to my egg salad. I've been pleased with the results , so I'll be making more dandelion blossom vinegar , plan to make a qt or 2 to have on hand throughout the year. I still plan to make vinegar with the leaves also and I'm looking forward to trying those pickled buds. If you're interested in the recipes for the Dandelion greens or the Fried Dandelion Blossoms , here are the links for recipes.
~ Dandelion Blessings ~

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Herbal Ally Challenge # 8 ~ Starting Dandelion Seeds

There's been a few Dandelions blooming around here. I was planning to order some Dandelion seed , then I spotted ..............................

this seed head , so I gathered a couple of these instead of ordering.

I sowed them in an egg carton with some potting soil I had on hand. Then covered them with plastic wrap to keep the moisture in and I have them sitting near a heat vent. I'll be watching them closely to see if any of the seeds sprout. I have a raised bed that is in a semi-shaded area and I've been thinking about buying some seed and sowing that bed with Dandelion. I have Dandelion growing in the yard here and there , but not as much as I would like to have for harvest. So if these seeds sprout , I'll just gather plenty of seed heads and plant them in that bed.

Sunday morning I awoke with an image of this Dandelion Fairy , I'm not sure if I was dreaming about her or if she just came to me upon awaking. I got up , grabbed a pencil and started sketching. She had Dandelion leaf wings and a Dandelion hat that I remember. I'll be adding color to her later and redoing her croooked hands (LOL).
~ Dandelion Blessings ~

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Let's take a Walk on the Wild Herb Side .........................

Awww ... It's not officially Spring , but all the plants are emerging and I'm loving every minute of watching and waiting for their fruits. I found Cleavers peeking out from long ago fallen leaves ..............

And this beautiful patch of Wild Ginger has emerged in my front yard next to an old oak tree. I've never used Wild Ginger , but I think she's speaking to me. Guess I should learn more about her.

The Hairy Bittercress is flowering. I've eaten it a few times in the last 2 weeks , I've enjoyed the flavor raw or cooked.

Chickweed always makes me happy with it's beautiful green color , we had a wild tossed salad last night for supper ......... lots of Chickweed , Dandelion , Hairy Bittercress , Violet leaves and Wild Onions .

On my herb walk I discovered this plant , I've never seen it growing here before. Can anyone identify it by the leaves , I'm going to watch it closely for blooms .............

Click on photos for a close view ...... Please leave me a comment if you know what it is.

Oops ........... More Cleavers

The Purple Dead Nettle has emerged and bloomed. I did find an explanation as to why it is called " Purple Dead Nettle " , it's in the nettle family and since it doesn't sting , it's called dead nettle.

The wild onions have popped up everywhere , I have plans to harvest some this week. I'll be dehydrating them , they're delicious dried , they gain a sweet taste.

The Yellow Dock looks wonderful , I'm planning to try some cooked soon. I've never cooked it , but I have made Yellow Dock root tincture. Speaking of all the things I want to try or do , it's time to make a new " to do list ". It's very easy to get sidetracked this time of year , maybe a list will help me stay focused on my plans.

The Violets have jumped up , can't wait to see those beautiful little flowers appear , need to add Violet syrup to that list I mentioned (LOL).
~ Green Blessings ~

Friday, March 11, 2011

Ode to the First .....................................

Dandelion blossom of the season !!

~ Dandelion Blessings ~


Saturday, March 5, 2011

Herbal Ally Challenge # 6 / Dandelion Root Tincture

I've been really busy the last week or 2 , we're having an early Spring , so there's plenty to do around here. However I did take time this week to work with my herbal ally. I did the drawing a couple of weeks ago , but never posted it. I'll be adding it to my journal , Dandelions are so bright and cheery , can't believe so many people consider them a weed. Speaking of weed ..................................

I ordered Susun Weed's , Healing Wise and Breast Health books a few weeks ago. I'm so grateful that I finally have these books in my herbal library. I've been planning to order the 2 books , it was the perfect time and excuse since I needed them for my herbal study. So I've been reading about Dandelion and tincturing in the " Healing Wise " book.

I strained my Dandelion blossom vinegar yesterday and made the Dandelion root tincture. The vinegar is a beautiful golden color , I took it outside to take a picture so you could see the true color. I couldn't really taste the flavor of the Dandelion , it tasted just like apple cider vinegar to me. But it looks better (LOL) and I know the healing magic is in there. I made the tincture with 100 proof vodka because I had it on hand. I've always made tinctures the Susun Weed way. I plan to try a different type alcohol the next time I make tincture.

Sorry for this awful photo , but I can't believe how big the Dandelion
have grown already this year. So I harvested a bowl of leaves and made .......

this Dandelion pasta dish for lunch Thursday. It was sooo good !

~ Dandelion Blessings ~

Monday, February 21, 2011

Hairy Bittercress ~ Cardamine hirsute

Jeanne over at The Candy Corn Chronicles/ http://wildwoodsartstudio.blogspot.com/ helped properly identify this beautiful little plant. Thank-you so much Jeanne !

I really don't understand why they call it " Hairy Bittercress " , it has a wonderful taste. It's not hairy or bitter to me , I'll be adding the leaves to my salads this Spring. I would encourage you to try it , if it grows in your area. But please make sure you study and properly i.d. any plant before eating.

~ Greenest Blessings ~

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

First Herb Walk in 2011 ......................

I went on a herb walk yesterday , found a couple of plants I haven't been able to identify. Hope someone can help me i.d. the plant above and the one below. I think the plant above is some type of cress , it forms in a rosette , found it growing in the garden and the field. The center is a purplish-red color and it's blooms are white. Could it be spring cress ??

I found this little beauty growing in the woods. I'm not sure what it is , but it's lovely. Please let me know if you can identify this plant.

Yippee , the chickweed is growing. I'll be harvesting some soon.

~ Happy Herbal Blessings ~

Friday, February 11, 2011

Herbal Ally Challenge 5 / Dandelion Vinegar

We were to make a vinegar with our herbal ally this week. Since I've used up my dried dandelion leaves , I took a walk around the yard to see if I could find any early dandelion. I found 1 lonesome plant and foraged the best leaves. I do have frozen dandelion blossoms on hand , so I added the leaves and a few blossoms to make my herbal vinegar. I only made a 8 oz. jar , will make more as soon as the dandelion starts popping up , which should be next month. I've placed it in a dark cabinet and it will stay there for 3 weeks. I also made a dandelion blossom infusion , which I've been drinking the last 2 days. It has a mild pleasant taste alone and is delightful with a taste of honey.
~ Dandelion Blessings ~

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Herbal Ally Challenge 3 and 4

I haven't drawn my dear friend dandelion this week , but I found an older drawing and a few of my favorite pics to share plus another tea recipe.
Dandelion Tea
8 Dandelion flowers
12 oz. boiling water
Honey to taste
Boil water ~ pour over flowers ~ steep 5 to 10 minutes
strain ~ add honey to taste ~ Enjoy !
Dandelion ~ Taraxacum officinale

Diuretic , Tonic , Stomachic , Aperient , Deobstrent

In other words ..........

Beneficial for urinary problems and urinary ulcers , obstructions of the liver , gallbladder and spleen , diseases of the biliary organs , rheumatism , digestive problems , sedative. Skin diseases such as eczema.

Other Uses

Sap from Stems ~ Is used to remove warts

Roots ~ Can be used to make a red dye

Leaves & Roots ~ Liquid Plant Food

Flowers ~ Beer and Wine

I'm looking forward to trying dandelion as a liquid plant food and making the red dye this Spring. I had never heard of using dandelion as a plant food before , found that to be very interesting.

~ Dandelion Blessings ~

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Herbal Ally Challenge 3 ~ Research ~ Eat or Drink your Vitamins

* Dandelion ~ Taraxacum officinale *
Family ~N.O. Compositae
Native To ~ Asia & Europe
The best time for gathering dandelion leaves is early spring before the plants bloom and late fall after the first frost when the leaves are less bitter. The leaves of the dandelion plant contain several vitamins and minerals to promote well-being. Dandelion leaves contain 7000 units of vitamin A per ounce. If you compare that to lettuce which only has 1200 units and carrots which contain 1275 units of vitamin A , dandelion is definitely more nutritious. Dandelion also has more beta-carotene than carrots. The leaves also contain iron, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and zinc, as well as vitamins B-1, B-2, B-5, B-6, B-12, C, D, E, and P.
Since dandelion contains vitamin E, dandelion tea/infusion is great for skin ailments. Vitamin E helps encourage the growth of body issue and protects cells from damage, so it promotes healing and reduces scarring. You can use the dandelion tea/infusion externally to wash acne on your face or for washing cuts/scrapes to help with scarring.

If you prefer just a simple cup of tea , gather 7 dandelion leaves. Tear the leaves into small pieces , add to a jar. Boil 1 cup of water , pour over the leaves and let it seep for 5-10 minutes , strain into your favorite cup. You may want to add a little honey to sweeten before drinking your vitamins.

~ Dandelion Blessings ~

Monday, January 24, 2011

Herbal Ally Challenge 2 ~ Dandelion Infusion

I spoke to soon about not being sick since I had been taking the Dandelion tincture. But in all fairness to Dandelion , I stop taking the Dandelion tincture sometime before Christmas and had planned to start it again afterwards. But I waited to late , I awoke last Wed. with the sniffles and a cough. I don't know if it was a cold , sinus problem or something viral , but it didn't last but a couple of days.
I did try to do part 2 of the " Herbal Ally " challenge. I made a Dandelion infusion , but I only drank a cup. What can I say , it was bitter , bitter and more bitter. Of course my taste buds were off , due to being sick but I just couldn't drink anymore. I'll probably try this part of the challenge again when I'm feeling better.

~ Dandelion Blessings ~

Monday, January 17, 2011

2011 Herbal Ally Challenge / Dandelion

Kristine over at ( Dancing in a Field of Tansy ) has challenged her readers to join her in an herbal study of 1 plant or ally this year. If you're interested , you can read about it here ( http://fieldoftansy.blogspot.com/2010/12/finding-herbal-ally.html ). Our first challenge was to create a journal cover. I used a regular composition book , gessoed the cover , did my favorite toilet paper technique on the background to add texture. I then added a piece of corrugated cardboard , a square of burlap and a Dandelion atc I created a few years ago. I'm not finished with the cover , but thought I would show it anyway. I chose Dandelion as my herbal ally ..................
Dandelion is a well known herb , with many useful benefits. My first experience with Dandelion started in 2006 when my youngest daughter was pregnant , she was diagnosed with a rare liver disease ( Intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy ) that only surfaces when you're pregnant. The liver stops functioning properly , causing bile to build up and poison the body. It causes intense itching over the body from head to toe and can cause the baby to be stillborn. I started researching the itching and knew what we were dealing with before the test came back to confirm it. As I researched , Dandelion kept popping up in the information as a way to help get the bile acids back to normal levels. We talked to her CNP about what I had found on the internet about Dandelion , she had studied herbal medicine before coming a CNP and told us , she couldn't recommend Dandelion , but it was a safe herb to use during pregnancy and it wouldn't hurt a thing if we decided to use it. Since I didn't know much about wild herbs , I headed to the GNC store to buy Dandelion. The ICP started around the end of the 8th month , I think she took the Dandelion about a week before she started leaking fluid and they had to induce labor , which was a Blessing. They usually induce labor early to avoid the baby being stillborn. I'm not sure if the dandelion had time to reduce the bile acids , but it did make us feel better to be doing something. My grandson was born about a month early and he was healthy. My daughter's liver went back to functioning normally after he was born.
The latest walk I've had with dandelion came about a 1 1/2 ago , I was having digestive problems and began researching herbal ways to deal with it. Once again Dandelion reared it's beautiful head. I dug the roots that Fall and made a tincture , started taking the tincture daily. Dandelion helped with my digestive problems and apparently boosted my immune system. I've haven't had a cold , flu or been sick since I started using the dandelion tincture. It's been amazing , since I take care of my Grands while their parents work and I'm constantly wiping noses and dealing with sick kids. Last summer I cooked Dandelion blossoms for the first time , they were delicious. I can't wait for the Dandelion to bloom this Spring. I'm looking forward to cooking and learning more about Dandelion.

~ Dandelion Blessings ~