This is the introduction to my Stinging Nettle Program for Monday night. It's long and I wish you could have been there to have seen all the tinctures, dried plants, etc. but I still wanted to get this information to you. So today you get the Introduction and tomorrow I'll put all the actual Stinging Nettle Information on the blog.
I'm sure I don't have to tell many of you here how terribly "in love" I am with herbs. What most of you probably don't know is that I'm even more fascinated with the wild or natural herbs. I believe that most people think of them as the stepchildren of the herb world. The thing is many of the herbs we now grow in our gardens were once considered merely weeds and were used as a food or a medicinal.
Take for instance the purple coneflower "echinacea". It is great for stimulating the immune system and this plant, for most people, is nothing more than just a pretty flower.(show and explain tincture).
Or let's take the "Jerusalem Artichoke" (show them flower and choke)- it's a pretty wild sunflower but it comes with a tasty root which can be eaten raw like a water chestnut or steamed and roasted.
Or how about the herb of the year "Elderberry" which grows in fields and woods, along the sides of roadways and in ditches.(show them the dried elderberries). This makes one fine flu medicine and for that matter a super jelly, pie or wine.
Have any of you tried "cattail" pollen in your pancakes, or the cattails eaten like a hotdog or perhaps the root? Have you tried "dandelion" greens, dandelion buds which are quite a delicacy, or perhaps the root which may be used as a coffee substitute and is terrific for detoxifying liver(show them jar of roasted dandelion root)? My Dad had more fun in his younger years making Dandelion Wine and watching everybody grin.
How about the simple wild tiger "lily" whose buds and flowers are so delicious. Stir frying day lily buds has become one of my Spring treats and coating the flowers and deep frying them is also another treat as well.
I've made amazing tea from "purple clover" which contains phytoestrogens and is extremely useful for women's health and . . . there's nothing in my humble opinion that rivals "lamb's quarters" for a dish of cooked spring greens. The list of wild herbs is crazy long and I haven't even touched the surface!
This coming year I retire and one of my goals is to identify and use as many wild herbs and plants as I can. I am, needless to say, really excited!!
(Continue On) Here in front of you is dried wild "white yarrow." The tea, or infusion, is short of a miracle worker when it comes to breaking fevers and also has been used as a styptic powder for years. Styptic powder meaning that it can stop the flow of blood. (show them the yarrow, how I dried it and how to make the styptic powder).
Have you ever used Plantain, "Plantago Major", or as the Indians called it, White Man's Foot. Not only did it look a little like a foot, but when the white man came from Europe he brought plantain and it seemed that everywhere he walked plantain grew, hence the name - (show them the plant). It's wonderful for drawing out splinters and for skin irritations. Chew a little of this up and put it on a bee sting and it will immediately go to work easing the pain and inflammation.
(Show wild cherry bark tincture)This is a tincture of "wild cherry bark" which is not quite ready to use yet. This comes from the limbs of the wild cherry tree. You actually scrape the inner bark from the tree limbs. You all have probably heard of the cold syrup Sambacol, right? It contains Wild Cherry bark and Wild Cherry Bark is still contained in some of the products you buy for colds and flus.
Here is a new one for me - "Sweet Gum Balls."(show them the tincture) This is another tincture I've made and it's not quite ready either. Remember last year or the year before when everyone was in a frenzy about the shortage of Tamiflu? In China there had been floods and had effected the growth of and killed some trees of the Anise Seed which pods contain the main ingredients/chemical used in Tamiflu. The Sweet Gum Tree contains "Shikimic", the same ingredient used in Tamiflu and acquired from the Anise Seed Pod. It is only 1/3 to 1/2 of the concentration but isn't this quite amazing!! Now we know why all these years the old timers used to drink a tea from the bark and chew the gum from the tree to help them get over their flu symptoms. (Then explain how I make the tincture).
Then there's "jewelweed" (show them the tincture and explain how I made it). This is a jewel when it comes to poison ivy. Most of the time in nature when you find something like poison ivy you will also find a plant or something growing right with it or beside that will counteract the poison. Jewelweed is exceptional and almost always is found growing right alongside poison ivy or at least in the same vicinity. I have friend who swears by jewelweed. When nothing would help her little boy's poison ivy breakout, and it seemed to be spreading fast, she began to worry and then she remembered someone telling her about jewelweed. She was desperate. She flew out to the woods and grabbed big bunches of it and brought it back and wrapped her little boy's arm with it. In a few days he was all better. She became a true believer. For the record jewelweed is one of the herbs that will help counter the sting of "Stinging Nettles" as well - - - - which brings me to the amazing wild herb to be discussed tonight, Urtica Dioica.
Stay tuned for the program Tuesday -