What to plant this spring? Here are some MUST haves for the budding Herbalist.

 

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An old herb garden looking alive and potent.

 

When I first started learning about herbal medicine, I had NO idea about how much medicine we have at our fingertips. I also had no idea how medicinal our food could be if we ate things that weren’t necessarily found on our grocers shelves. Trying to incorporate a little bit of herbalism into your every day, or even better – into your kitchen, helps your body to stay healed and grow stronger as you age. Eventually, your body will be chock full of vitamins, minerals and virus fighting medicines without much effort at all.

Of course, not all plant types are going to be found or thrive in every environment SO take some time to get to know these easy growing fellows below. If you find them to be easy to care for, spread your wings and try growing your own at home.

It’s only February BUT looking forward to spring and looking into my seed stores gets me excited to start planting and reaping the benefits of home-grown medicine. I look forward to adding nettles to my ferments, drying herbs in my dehydrator and making skin salves to pass out to my friends and family. I certainly miss all of the classes and students I had in Vancouver, I might have time to squeeze some teaching in again this spring in Calgary.

As always, when using any type of medication, make sure that you consult with your GP and do your research before ingesting unconsciously. Your body deserves a little curious research before undertaking a new regime.

 

Aloe Vera

You can purchase this plant at nearly every home garden supply store. Even Home Depot. Because you aren’t going to be ingesting this plant I feel that you are ok to be a little less questioning of it’s origin.

Why do you want to keep Aloe Vera around? Simply, there are so many topical benefits that there isn’t a reason NOT to. Snap a sample of a well-grown leaf off and you are on your way to healing cuts, wounds, burns, eczema and inflammation.

Marsh Mallow

You can find seeds or starters for this plant at select growers. I order my seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom seeds or Vesey’s. These are pretty hardy plants – but watch out for wet feet!

There are a number of great uses for marshmallow both inside and out. You can take the root internally to help treat inflammation and UT irritations, gastritis or peptic ulcers. Topically, you can use a poultice, salve or cream to treat bruises, sprains, muscle aches, insect bites, slivers or skin inflammation.

Fun food fact: The leaves of the marshmallow plant are edible! Add to salads, boil or fry.

Pot Marigold

These hardy ladies will grown in almost any soil condition. Use a tea consisting of marigold petals to increase circulation and ease varicose viens. A poultice of marigold stems will aid in removing corns and warts.

Camomile

You probably know this as a great fruity tea! Camomile works well in aiding digestive issues and also has a soothing effect in its aroma. This helps reduce stress and induce sleep.

Echinacea

 If you’re living without it, you probably shouldn’t be. This beautiful flower has amazing antibiotic properties that relieve allergies and help prevent viral and bacterial infections. The roots, beneficial in treating sores, wounds and burns when applied as a poultice, salve or cream. She grows well in well-drained soil with a lot of sunlight.

Lemon Balm

By far, the easiest herb I have ever unintentionally grown. The leaves give off a lovely lemony mint scent that cannot be mistaken. Crushed leaves used as a poultice help relieve pain from herpes, sores, gout and bug bites. The leaves infused with hot water can treat colds, fevers, indigestion, depression, headaches and insomnia.

I grew this herb for years in the wet wet wetness that is Vancouver BC!

Peppermint

Nearly another weed, as easy to grown and impossible to kill as Lemon Balm. peppermint is high in manganese, vitamin A and vitamin C. Leaves ground into a salve or cream help to sooth and relax muscles.

Sage

Another herb that is nearly impossible to kill is Sage. When consumed it can help to ease indigestion, flatulence, anxiety and excessive sweating.

 

Here’s to spring, and happy plantings. Stay tuned for my inevitable posts containing the trials and tribulations of trying to sustain plant life in the Rocky Mountains.

 

Sasha

 

 

 

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My love affair with my pantry

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Last year we moved into a house that actually has a pantry. Everywhere else I have owned or rented has had the obligatory kitchen cupboard that could only house plates, cups and kitchen appliances at best. If you love to cook, you end up having a large collection of gadgets, appliances, pots, pans, ramekins, specialty dishes you name it. My dishwasher, oven and microwave have at one time or another become additional cupboard space. There was never a quest to find a home with a pantry. On the contrary, the wish list exists below. Amazingly enough, we were able to manifest all of this goodness:

 

Manifested 100%

Manifested 100%

 

We were presented with a relatively small kitchen with a relatively large pantry. At first, I had no idea what to do with it. There were so many shelves and I knew then that pre-packaged food would seldom-if-never grace those shelves, canned goods are also a novelty in my food world, that only left me with one option….herbs and spices.

Ahhhh spices and herbs. Never have I had such an open and torrid love affair with so many things at once, and publicly. Romances that span this continent and cross oceans and seas to find L’Amour in exotic lands. Weekly. I feel like I should be blushing in openly sharing all of this with you, but I can assure you I am not.

Each time I turn the light on inside and the glass door illuminates, I can see the shadows of reds, blacks, whites, greens and oranges through the frosting. I am immediately excited to adventure into territory unknown, and sometimes territory well-known and loved, with the herb and spice path to heaven inside.

Once the door is fully ajar, sometimes I stand back and marvel at the glorious glass collection containing the aromatic treasures of far off places. I’ll look each one over, examining its contents and deciding whether it should be replenished in the near future or not. I lift and sort all the jars separating the various salts and peppers, flours, beans, teas and spices by colour or ethnicity. Sometimes opening a jar here and there to see if (without looking at the label) I can accurately identify the inhabitant inside by smell alone.

I carefully lift each glass bottle of oil, checking to see if I have enough to cook with as well as enough to use in salves and infusions. Hopping over to the smaller experimental bottles to shake or smell or taste progress on each of my newest tinctures. Smiling in delight when success is achieved, grumbling inconsolably when mould or rot has appeared.

I spend hours each week peering in and making lists, wish lists of new and amazing spices I’ve heard of in my travels and while studying new recipes. There is a great feeling of overwhelming delight each time I bring home a new salt or pepper from a great vacation, I carefully give the new arrival its own new home and label and a place on the shelf.

Soon spring will be here and foraging and collecting wild edibles will once again have the dehydrator inside humming away and drying out new herbal medicinals and teas to try……if only the snow would melt.

 

Hair removal hazards – Comfrey Salve

Ok, so we all need to do a little hair removal now and then…or not. That’s actually totally up to you. I, however, like to get waxed. Usually by a professional, my fave in Vancouver (ask for Kitty and tell her I sent you) and my fave in Calgary * if you’re interested.

Sometimes I get cheap, or inspired or a bit of both, I dunno. But today, was not the day for this because it was to be full of things getting done – NOT half-baked attempts at writing, yoga, cleaning and life in general.

Long story short- I burned the hell out of my hands and am still the vision of a distant relative to the wookie. No shit.

I made you a video on what to do after you burn yourself – naturally of course.

Enjoy,

eek ouch eeewwwww

Sasha

THE UPDATE – a few days in. Well kids, it’s Thursday. I have a few shots of the daily “recovery” here for ya.

CHEWSDAY – note large blisters starting to form. Called Nurse Kat, she advised me to leave the blisters as is. Applying salve 2 times per day only. Man, that nailpolish looks haggard.

WEDNESDAY – Same application timing, blisters popped while putting on my shoe. Disgusting.

THURSDAY – Shot forthcoming – I band-aided her up today as I was doing a lot of running around, and am now off to Dance rehearsal……will be posting soon. ❤

FRIDAY – note I have put nothing on the wound as of noon today. It’s crispy.

SATURDAY- * 1 application of Comfrey & Vitamin E Salve
SUNDAY * 2 applications of Comfrey & Vitamin E Salve
MONDAY