Tuesday, November 20, 2007

blackberries and other fall harvesting

yesterday (and today) we have seen a glorious reprieve to the pending coldness. temperatures in the 70's forced me to schluff off mundane household chores in lieu of playing outside. darn!

it is so much fun to wander around outside, feeling the warm sun on my face as the wind blows. i sing to the herbs i am looking for and harvesting, asking for their gifts of healing, their generosity of themselves, thanking them for allowing me to use them. i like to tell them what i use them for (as if they don't already know!) and tell them of the numerous human lives they have touched and healed. i think everyone needs to know they are an asset in our lives regardless if they are plant or animal.

i plucked the calendula flowers...they tripled overnight in their efforts to get a few more drops of sunshine out of themselves. i delighted in the fact that the chickweed is finally re-sprouting after it's long hiatus of summer. in a week or so, i'll be able to replenish my weedy salve!

i clipped a few wild cherry branches after reading kiva's post about tincturing them fresh and then headed to the blackberry patch, spading fork in hand.

the ground was moist and the roots gave their blessing to be harvested. i was able to harvest a fair amount in a short time while the little ones played nearby. sage got tangled in the briars once and came away with a few nasty scratches on his wrist but he seemed unphased by it.

blackberry root tincture is one of my best sellers. it's most well known for it's diarrhea fighting powers as it is quite astringent but gentle. as a locally harvested/wildcrafted herb, it is one on my list of herbs to study for the next year so i read up on it a bit more in gail faith edwards' book opening our wild hearts to the healing herbs:

because of its astringency, it is also good for treating nosebleeds. 20 drops of tincture under the tongue will constrict blood vessels and halt minor bleeding.

the same amount in a half cup of water and given to a child will help stem blood flow from a cut or scrape.

dried leaf infusion or tincture diluted in water heals bleeding gums and canker sores.

a poultice or infused oil made from fresh blackberry leaves and/or rootbark was used externally to treat long-standing skin problems such as psoriasis and eczema. it is best used in conjunction with two cups of the dried plant infusion being drunk daily.

native americans used blackberry for numerous things including rheumatism and sore throat.

the delicious fruits are beneficial to the entire body. they contain malic acid, citric acid, pectin, albumen, flavonoids and vitamins a and c. the bitter purple-colored flavonoid in blackberry, anthocyanidin, is the compound responsible for much of the fruit's medicinal action. it acts as an antioxidant and free radical scavenger; it also increases peripheral circulation and helps reduce inflammation. anthocyandin is used to treat such conditions as poor night vision, periodontal disease, arthritis and gout.

blackberry flower essence helps one translate thouights into actions and manifest ideas in the physical world. it is also used for overcoming inertia or when feeling stuck.

blackberry leaves are most potent in the spring before flowers emerge, but medicinally active throughout their growing seaons. rootbark is best harvested in early spring or late fall when all the energy is focused underground.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

homeschooling myself

since i don't have the time or daycare for taking college classes at the moment, i've decided to homeschool myself a bit in the medical field. i've found some great books to help with studying that break things down very simply:

medical terminology demystified
anatomy demystified
physiology demystified

even better, they are available through the library. i'm sticking to that route for the terminology but for a & p i bought them. i've also located a great musical concept that i hope to purchase soon:

lyrical life science - volume 3 the human body

since i'm still torn about getting my nursing degree, i think this is a great route to take since i'll be learning at my own pace and still furthering my education.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

tree id

today i escaped from the house sans kids for a few hours of tree id-ing. what a great class! i found out that the watershed (a local conservation park) has slippery elm growing there. i hope to grow some here and seeing that was quite encouraging. i now have 2 more books on my wishlist: north american trees and forest trees of illinois.
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