Friday, October 28, 2011

Halloween can be a scary time for your immune system

With Halloween just around the corner and many parties going on this week, it's important to know that viruses and bacteria lurking all around us are ready to jump out and scare you into an illness...metaphorically speaking, of course.  But Halloween can be a scary time for your immune system when you consider that sugar and carbohydrate consumption (large quantites of which are consumed at parties and in Halloween treats) can significantly lower your immune system for 4-5 hours after they are eaten.  Significantly meaning 50 - 90 % depending on the amount!  That is scary. 
I was going to write a bit more about this when I discovered an excellent article here.  Read it and enjoy!  Then take whatever measures you need to to limit weakening your immune system defenses.


Much herbal love,

Herbal Medicine Chest Page Update!

Thanks to a very helpful young man, I've learned some really useful, time saving ways to improve what goes on here at The Woodwife's Journal.  As a result, I've updated the links on the Herbal Medicine Chest Page.  Check it out!

Much herbal love,
 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

What a lovely surprise!

I'm feeling so blessed today because I just discovered that I've been featured as the Website of the Week in the CHEM (Central Homeschool Family Ministries from Wichita. KS) newsletter!  Many thanks to everyone there for the shout out!  Please check out their newletter for lots of ideas and see what activities are going on in their homeschool community! 
Be sure to check out the Pumpkin Whip recipe!
http://chfmnews.org/newsletters/Newsletter%202011-10-26.html
God bless and
much herbal love
from the Woodwife's Journal,
 

Herbal Medicine Chest ~ Clear Head Vapor Ointment #2

It's nice to know that when I'm in a crunch at night, in need of an herbal remedy only to discover that I don't have the one I need on hand, I can whip up an effective treatment in a short amount of time right here in the Woodwife's kitchen.  One of our favorite herbal remedies is Clear Head Vapor Ointment for night time relief of congestion and soothing sore throats.  This works well with Clear Head Vapor Salts for day or night time use.

I needed a batch in a hurry last night so I went to the supply cabinet to gather my herbal ingredients only to remember that I was out of un-petroleum jelly.  But I did have a tub of olive butter so I grabbed that instead.
You could also make this using a basic salve/ointment recipe of olive oil and beeswax.  You can see mine here.

So here's the olive butter alternative to my original.
I filled a 2 oz. jelly jar almost to the top with the olive butter and heated it gently until most of the butter had melted.  Then I removed it from the heat and stirred until all of the butter had melted. 
I added:
5-6 menthol crystals - I should note that I added this ingredient to the original recipe.
1/8 tsp. fir needle EO
1/8 tsp. rosemary EO
1/8 tsp. peppermint EO
1/4 tsp. eucalyptus EO
I mixed it all together and cooled it quickly in a bowl of ice water, stirring until it was "buttery" again.
The aroma was so soothing that I felt relaxed just preparing it.

This remedy is part of Wildcrafting Wednesday.

I'm sharing this remedy with Jo and friends @

Much herbal love,
 

Herbal Medicine Chest ~ Wildcrafting Wednesdays

Hello!
It's been kinda crazy around here and I'm sorry that I missed last week.  But I'm back again and teaming up with
Kathy @ Mind, Body and Soul and
Laurie @ Common Sense Homesteading
to host the 14th edition of Wildcrafting Wednesday ~ while traditional wildcrafting refers to gathering herbs and plants in the wild to use for food and medicine, this is a Blog Hop for gathering your favorite old time, traditional herbal posts and home remedies. It’s a place to gather information on ways to incorporate herbs and old fashioned wisdom in our day-to-day life. It is anything and everything herbal – from crafts to cleaning to tinctures to cooking – it is remedies and natural cures made at home from natural ingredients – it is self-sufficient living and back-to-basics tips to save food, money, and resources – if it involves herbs or traditional methods of homemaking and home healing then we want to read about it!

In other words, this is a “one stop shop” for the past weeks best tips on how to use herbs and simple steps you can take at home to be more healthy and become more self-reliant!

For how-to instructions, or specific articles, run your mouse over the bold words to find links about various topics discussed here.
For example, What is wildcrafting?
 
When wildcrafting, there are some important things to remember, like proper identification and if the area you're gathering from has been exposed to pesticides or herbicides. You can read my guidelines for traditional wildcrafting here.

Today, I'm sharing a bit about myself and why I do what I do with herbs.  So, what is a Woodwife?

I'm also linking up a home remedy for Clear Head Vapor Ointment I whipped up last night to help my daughter deal with congestion and a sore throat.  It's not made from wildcrafted ingredients but I think it's an herbal home remedy that everyone should have on hand for the winter cold season.

Please join us!

Guidelines for Participation:

1. Please link up your blog post using the Linky widget below. If you are posting a recipe, only real food recipes are permitted please. This means no processed food ingredients!

2. Please link the URL of your actual blog post and not your blogs home page. That allows future readers who find this post and go to your link to be able to find what they’re looking for.

3. Please place a link back to this post. That way your readers can benefit from all the ideas too. This also helps out the other participants who are hoping to get more traffic to their blogs. If you’re new to blogging here’s what you do: Copy the URL of Wildcrafting Wednesday from your browser address bar. Then edit your post by adding something like, “This post was shared on Wildcrafting Wednesday at The Woodwife's Journal” at the end of your post. Then highlight “Wildcrafting Wednesday at The Woodwife's Journal”, click the “link” button on your blogging tool bar, and paste the URL into that line. That’s it!

4. Please only link posts that fit the carnival description. Old and archived posts are welcome as long as you post a link back as described above. Please don’t link to giveaways or promotions for affiliates or sponsors. That keeps our links valuable in the future since a link to a giveaway three months old isn’t going to be worth browsing in three months time, but a link to an herbal tip will be.

5. Please leave a comment.

6. Don’t have a blog? We still want to hear from you! Please leave your herbal tip, recipe, or home remedy in the comments.

7. And bloggers, please check out the other posts and leave a comment for them too. I know that we would all love to hear from each other.




Much herbal love,
 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Road Trip

This past weekend, the weather was beautiful here in PA!  I traveled with some friends to the Maas family vineyards and orchards in North East, PA to pick grapes, apples, tomatoes and peppers!  It's a lovely rolling farm that ends on the shores of Lake Erie.  They grow several varieties of wine grapes but of course the largest portion of the vineyards seemed to be blue concord which they also sell to Welch's.
We got to see the harvesting in action as the huge picking machines devoured the rows of grapes leaving behind empty vines.  I had no idea how they worked and it was awesome to see.  We passed up the opportunity to ride the picker so we could start the journey home.
The fall colors are nearly at their peak here in Central PA and we enjoyed the carpets of twead covering the gentle hills we traveled through.  The sugar maples with their flaming, almost glowing, red tops are the most spectacular.  As we got closer to the Lake, the colors were less intense.  Probably due to the milder temps coming off the water. 
I think autumn is my favorite time of year.  There's just something about the crisp evenings and fruity, musky aromas that can only be made better by the smell of a wood fire.

When we got there, here's what we found...


First stop...Concord Grapes!

Here's our truckload!

We watched the harvesting machines "picking" grapes for Welch's.

How beautiful!  The vinyards seem to grow all the way to Lake Erie!

As the machine knocks the clusters from the vine, it shoots them
through a large tube into wooden boxes on a wagon in the next row.

So, now I have my work cut out for me! 

Much herbal love,
 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Herbal Medicine Chest ~ Wildcrafting Wednesday ~ Plantain

Plantain ~ Plantago spp.

One of the most well known lawn weeds is also a very medicinal herb.  Are you familiar with plantain?  The Anglo-Saxons called the broad leaved variety, P. major, waybread.  It was considered to be an important healing herb even in Pliny's day when he claimed that it could aide in rejoining flesh.  The narrow leaved type, P. lanceolata, is the one most often used as an herbal medicine.  Both kinds grow in lawns and fields with abandon.

Today I'm teaming up with Kathy @ Mind, Body and Soul and Laurie @ Common Sense Homesteading to host Wildcrafting Wednesday.

A Blog Hop for old time, traditional and new fangled ways to use plants harvested in the wild...or even in your own back yard!
For how-to instructions, run your mouse over the article to find links about various topics discussed here. 
What is wildcrafting? It's gathering plants from their natural habitat for food and medicinal use.
When wildrafting, there are some important things to remember, like proper identification and if the area you're gathering from has been exposed to pesticides or herbicides.  You can read my guidelines here.

The leaves of Plantain contain mucilage, glycosides, tannins, and starch.  They are expectorant (good for coughs and congestion), astringent (for bleeding and inflammation), anti-inflammatory, diuretic, and anti-microbial.  Plantain is an easily accessible home remedy we should know how to recognise and use.  It's on my list of "trail herbs" that can be used on the spot with little preparation to treat injuries while in the yard or in the wild.
The leaves can be harvested year round and used in the following ways.


Poultice - My favorite use for plantain's soothing and healing properties is one that can be used on the spot.  Simply pick a leaf, chew it slightly and apply to insect, spider and snake bites or inflamed rashes for immediate relief.

Tincture - (P. lanceolata) is slightly astringent making it useful for heavy mucous conditions.  Make from fresh leaves if possible.

Salve and Ointment - Very healing for skin injuries including burns.  The tannins are also soothing when applied to hemorrhoids causing them to shrink.

Infusion - The tannins are helpful in cleansing sores and inflamed skin.  Make an infusion or dilute juice to soothe sore throats and ease coughing.  An infusion made from the Ribwort (P. lanceolata) may soothe urinary tract infections and inflammation while the leaves from the easily recognizable common broad leaved variety seem to work better with gastric issues, like irritable bowel.

Ever wonder where psyllium seeds come from?  They are the mucilaginous seeds of the common yard weeds P.psyllium and P. ovata.  This well known over the counter laxative coats and heals the lining of the intestines with a protective mucilage while the seeds create bulk making them very beneficial for constipation and irritated bowels.  The mucilage is also very healing for wounds and skin infections.

Syrups - made from the juice are great for soothing coughs, especially when accompanied by a sore throat.

As you can see, Plantain is one of those wild, weedy plants most folks already recognise as a common weed.  Little do they know it is a must have in your Herbal Medicine Chest.

Wildcrafting Wednesday is an opportunity to gather and share information about traditional uses for wild plants and how folks harvest, prepare and use plants found in their natural habitat for food, home remedies, and cleaning.  You may be surprised to find some craft ideas or traditional skills and old time wisdom that's been passed down from days of old.

We'd love to have you join Wildcrafting Wednesday share a favorite of your own. 
Guidelines for Participation:


1. Please link up your blog post using the Linky widget below. If you are posting a recipe, only real food recipes are permitted please. This means no processed food ingredients!

2. Please link the URL of your actual blog post and not your blogs home page. That allows future readers who find this post and go to your link to be able to find what they’re looking for.

3. Please place a link back to this post. That way your readers can benefit from all the ideas too. This also helps out the other participants who are hoping to get more traffic to their blogs. If you’re new to blogging here’s what you do: Copy the URL of Wildcrafting Wednesday from your browser address bar. Then edit your post by adding something like, “This post was shared on Wildcrafting Wednesday at Mind Body and Sole” at the end of your post. Then highlight “Wildcrafting Wednesday at Mind Body and Sole”, click the “link” button on your blogging tool bar, and paste the URL into that line. That’s it!

4. Please only link posts that fit the carnival description. Old and archived posts are welcome as long as you post a link back as described above. Please don’t link to giveaways or promotions for affiliates or sponsors. That keeps our links valuable in the future since a link to a giveaway three months old isn’t going to be worth browsing in three months time, but a link to an herbal tip will be.

5. Please leave a comment.

6. Don’t have a blog? We still want to hear from you! Please leave your herbal tip, recipe, or home remedy in the comments.

7. And bloggers, please check out the other posts and leave a comment for them too. I know that we would all love to hear from each other.



Much herbal love,

 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Herbal Medicine Chest ~ My "Mypos Cure"

How many of you watched Perfect Strangers as a kid? Do you remember Larry getting terribly sick and Balki making his famous "Mypos Cure" that made Larry's eyes roll back in his head?

Well, I have my own little version of the "Mypos Cure" that I like to keep on hand for cold and flu season.  I don't think my recipe is quite as unique as Balki's and far more palatable but it does the trick when colds and flu are making you miserable.


Mix the following in a pint jar.
  • 1/4C raw local honey *~ used to promote energy and healing, antiseptic, includes many essential nutrients and vitamins and minerals.
  • 1/4C fresh lemon juice ~ cooling, astringent  and healing, also pH balancing
  • 1/4C water
  • 1tsp. fresh grated ginger ~ stimulates circulation (chills), promotes sweating (break a fever), prevents vomiting, soothes stomach, antispasmodic (for tickling throat and stomach tissue), astringent (cleansing, healing), expectorant (coughing) 
  • 2 large clove of garlic ~ naturally antibiotic, has antihistamine properties (itchy, runny nose), digestive (queasy stomach), expectorant (coughing), warming
  • a generous dash of cayenne pepper ~ antiseptic, antibacterial, warming (no kidding?)
  • 2-3 sticks of astragalus ~ increase production of white bloods cells, strengthens immune response and defense energy, antibacterial
  • Optional - 1/4C spiced rum - I like to use Captain Morgan's. Besides being warming and relaxing, it's a bit of a cough suppressant, soothes sore throats.  
Be sure to add the blend to hot tea to disperse the alcohol if using with children or folks who are sensitive to alcohol.

Shake well.
You can use this right away but if it's possible, allow it to steep for a least a day @ room temp. 
You can strain this if you want but I like to leave the solids in the jar.
Store in the fridge for up to 3 months. 

Dosage: 
Adults 2 Tbsp 2-3 times a day
Teens 1 Tbsp 2-3 times a day
Children 1 tsp 2-3 times a day in hot tea
*Do not give to children less than 1 year of age.

You'll make that funny scrunchy face and do the head shake thing when you take it straight but it's worth it!
Have a favorite natural/herbal remedies that you like to keep on hand for cold and flu season?  Link it up below.
This linky is now closed to new entries...please link up to the current Wildcrafting Wednesday.
  • Add the link to your remedy post (not your homepage).  Please don't link up giveaways or other posts where the info is only good for a limited time.
  • Add a return link to this post in your remedy post.  I'm reserving the right to remove any that don't play fair.  Older archived posts are welcome but please remember to add the return link.
  • Please leave a comment below.
I'm linking up to Wildcrafting Wednesdays


Happy Herbal Healing!

Much herbal love,
 

Pumpkinpalooza! 2011

It's time for Pumpkinpalooza!

Can you believe it's Thanksgiving week already?  My daughter got home from college around midnight last night!  I'm really excited to have her here until the end of the week!  
Here's some of the tried and true pumpkin recipes we enjoy.  We'll be making up most of these this week and throughout the holiday season.  Most of these started out as standard recipes using standard grocery store ingredients but I've tried to change them up a bit to use more traditional, whole foods that make some of the "treats" a little more healthy.  I'd love to hear any ideas you may have to make these recipes more "real."



I'm sharing this post with the folks
@ the Homestead Barn Hop!

I'm sharing this post with the folks 
@ Monday Mania.
Also with the gang @Traditional Tuesdays

Much herbal love,
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The Woodwife's Shop

Preparing small batch natural, additive free products for beauty, health and home right here in our kitchen since 1991 from herbs grown organically in our garden, wild crafted in nearby meadows and woodlands or purchased from reputable, like-minded companies. Dried everlasting wreaths, arrangements and potpourri. Herbal salves, tinctures, soaps, teas and more.