Showing posts with label Herbs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Herbs. Show all posts

Feb 1, 2019

FREE - The Ultimate Dandelion Medicine Book

https://amzn.to/2WugjaEFor a limited time, my new book The Ultimate Dandelion Medicine Book, is free in Kindle format. Grab it while you can!

In it, you'll discover a wealth of information on how the common dandelion has been used since ancient times, and how science is confirming it's high medcinal value. The book also teaches proper dosing and offer recipes for using the flower, leaves, stems, and roots for health and medicine.

Here's what some readers have said about The Ultimate Dandelion Medicine Book:

"Ms. Seleshanko had done a wonderful job of pulling together medicinal recipes for numerous types of health problems. I was impressed with the background information relating to the subject and have begun looking for dandelion products in the store until I can harvest them on my own in the Spring."
         Mr. Bill

"I was so pleased to get Kristina’s sequel to The Ultimate Dandelion Cookbook! She has a knack for explaining scientifically-dense information in user-friendly language, and for giving modern folks practical information on traditional ways of doing things."
          Suzannah Doyle

"If you are looking for an herbal/wildcrafting book that's informative and covers every aspect of a single herb that can help your health in so many ways then look no further!"
          CJ's Olde Thyme Farm 
 
Take a peak inside the print version (which is black and white; the Kindle version is in color):





You'll find both the print and Kindle version of The Ultimate Dandelion Medicine Book here.

Jan 2, 2019

Most Popular Posts from 2018

This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own. Please see FCC disclosure for full information. Thank you for supporting this site! 

Another year come and gone. To me, it seems time speeds up each year! But now that Chritmas and New Year's are over, I need to hunker down and get to work. I'm currently finishing up a historical fashion book for Dover Publications. (Years ago, historical fashion books were my mainstay and I've enjoying getting back into that subject.) And as usual, this year I want to try to make this blog better than ever...meaning, I want to hear from you! What do you wish I'd blog more about? Let me know in the comments or through a social media message.

This is also the time of year I look at this blog's stats to see if I can understand my wonderful readers even better. It's always fasncinating to see which posts you like best.

1.
https://proverbsthirtyonewoman.blogspot.com/2018/12/deciding-what-to-plant-in-your.html

2.
https://proverbsthirtyonewoman.blogspot.com/2018/12/23-fun-practcal-ways-to-upcycle-feed.html
3.

https://proverbsthirtyonewoman.blogspot.com/2018/03/how-to-dehydrate-zoodles-other.html
4.

https://proverbsthirtyonewoman.blogspot.com/2018/01/why-and-how-to-prune-blueberries.html
5.
https://proverbsthirtyonewoman.blogspot.com/2018/06/the-biggest-lie-about-growing-tomatoes.html

6.
https://proverbsthirtyonewoman.blogspot.com/2018/05/can-you-grow-fruit-trees-from-seed.html

7.
https://proverbsthirtyonewoman.blogspot.com/2018/04/the-best-salsbury-steak-recipe-keto-low.html

8.
https://proverbsthirtyonewoman.blogspot.com/2018/11/the-ultimate-dandelion-medicine-book-is.html
 9.
10.

https://proverbsthirtyonewoman.blogspot.com/2018/11/his-grace-is-revealed-through-parenting.html


I also look at which posts are all-time favorites:



https://proverbsthirtyonewoman.blogspot.com/2014/09/how-to-easily-clean-ceilings-walls-even.html
4.
https://proverbsthirtyonewoman.blogspot.com/2014/09/how-to-easily-clean-ceilings-walls-even.html
5.
https://proverbsthirtyonewoman.blogspot.com/2011/05/the-best-free-apron-patterns-on-net.html
6.
https://proverbsthirtyonewoman.blogspot.com/2013/03/best-ideas-for-upcycling-jeans.html
7.
https://proverbsthirtyonewoman.blogspot.com/2017/09/50-low-carb-and-keto-thanksgiving.html
8.
https://proverbsthirtyonewoman.blogspot.com/2012/04/how-to-clean-really-dirty-stove-top.html
9.
https://proverbsthirtyonewoman.blogspot.com/2014/05/how-to-make-dandelion-wine-recipe-for.html
10.
https://proverbsthirtyonewoman.blogspot.com/2013/08/canning-pickled-green-beans-dilly-beans.html
Happy new year!

Nov 29, 2018

The Ultimate Dandelion Medicine Book is here!

herbal medicine dandelion
After years of using dandelions medicinally for myself and my family, after many months of additional research into dandelion science, and after even more months of writing and editing, The Ultimate Dandelion Medicine Book is now available!

Dandelions are my favorite wild edible and medicinal plant because almost everyone already knows them...and takes them for granted. They are the blossom children love and adults spray to eradicate - but it hasn't always been that way. In fact, dandelions were purposefully brought to North America by immigrants who valued the plant as both food and medicine. With a history of use going back to the ancient Greeks and Egyptians, modern science has shown this common weed is useful for treating a number of ailments.

The Ultimate Dandelion Medicine Book will help you to learn how life-changing dandelion medicine can be. You'll discover:

* What each part of the dandelion is used for.
* What conditions the plant treats.
* How to properly dose dandelion medicine.
* What recent scientific studies have been conducted on dandelion medicine.

In addition, you'll discover over 40 recipes for making dandelion tinctures, teas, capsules, decoctions, salves, oils, baths, poultices, vinegars, and more.





I've purposefully made this book inexpensive so that more people can learn about herbal medicine and the value of this common weed. You can buy it inexpensively in full-color Kindle format (which can be read on nearly any device; learn more about that here) or as a very affordable paperback with black and white photos. It also makes a terrific gift, especially when paired with my bestselling The Ultimate Dandelion Cookbook!

I hope the book will be a blessing to you.




Apr 30, 2018

Harvesting & Drying Elderflowers for Medicine

Elderberry Medicine
This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own. Please see FCC disclosure for full information. Thank you for supporting this site! 

I was so excited when I learned elderberry grew on our homestead. As you might already know, elderberry is a scientifically studied treatment for the common cold and flu, and is also used by herbalists to treat sinus infections, respiratory problems, and inflammation. Now imagine how sad I was when elderberry season finally appeared...and the berries were all red. Because like most people, I'd read over and over again that red elderberries are poisonous and therefore not good for medicine the way black and blue elderberries are.

Fast forward to the day I read the book Herbal Antivirals by Stephen Harrod Buhner. It's an impressively well-documented tome written by a respected herbalist, and among the things I learned from it was that all the fuss about red elderberries (as well as "poisonous" elderberry leaves, stems, and bark) is new-fangled. According to Buhner, native peoples - and notably, the Chinese - used red elderberries and all parts of the plant as medicine...without making themselves sick. The trick, Buhner explains, is in the preparation of the herb. (He also points out that red, blue, and black elderberries are not poisonous - that is, able to kill. They can, however, be toxic, causing nausea and vomiting if eaten in quantity and without the proper preparation.)

As of today, I haven't tried using red berries, but I do use the flowers from our red elderberry plants. Elderflowers are oerhaps best known as an ingredient in European food and drink. What most people don't know, however, is that they are medicinal, just like the plant's berries.

Watch my video on how to harvest, dry, and use elderflowers for medicine, and see my written how-tos, below.



To Harvest Elderflowers

1. Use only fully opened, fresh (not browning) flowers.

2. Cut off the flowers just above a two-leaf split. This encourages the plant to grow and thrive.

3. When you've gathered all the flowers you want (being sure to leave plenty behind so the plant can produce berries for animals and procreation), trim off the stems at the bottom of the flowers.



To Dry Elderflowers

1. Place the prepared elderflowers on the tray of an electric dehydrator (here's the latest version of the one I use) and dry at 95 degrees F. until flowers and slender stems are completely crisp. If preferred, keep the stems on the flowers and tie bunches together with string. Hang in a cool, dark location (like a closet) until fully dry.

2. Store dried elderflowers in an airtight jar in a cool, dark location.

To Use Dried Elderflowers as Medicine

The easiest way to use elderflowers as medicine is to make tea.

1. Fill a tea ball (like one of these) with elderflowers, crushing them as they go into the ball.

2. Place the tea ball in a cup and pour boiling water over it.

3. Cover the cup with a saucer, to prevent steam from escaping. This helps maintain the medicinal properties of the tea.

4. When the tea is cool enough to drink and no longer steaming, remove the saucer and drink. You may have the tea 2 or 3 times a day.



WARNINGS: According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service's NIH website, "The leaves, stems, raw and unripe berries, and other plant parts of the elder tree contain a toxic substance and, if not properly prepared, may cause nausea, vomiting, and severe diarrhea. Because the substance may also be present in the flower, consuming large amounts of the flower might be harmful; however, no illnesses caused by elderflower have been reported." According to Herbal Antivirals, elderflowers are the part of the plant least likely to cause diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. He stresses, "the various parts of the plant are emetic (and purgative if you take enough) if used fresh."

That said, any plant or medicine has the potential to give somebody an adverse reaction, so practice common sense by trying a small amount the first few times you use elderflowers. To avoid vomiting and nausea, never consume fresh elderflower stems.


Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, nor should anything on this website (www.ProverbsThirtyOneWoman.blogspot.com) be considered medical advice. The FDA requires me to say that products mentioned, linked to, or displayed on this website are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information on this website is designed for general informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for qualified medical advice or care. There are no assurances of the information being fit or suited to your medical needs, and to the maximum extent allowed by law, I disclaim any and all warranties and liabilities related to your use of any of the information obtained from the website. Your use of this website does not constitute a doctor-patient relationship. No information on this website should be considered complete, nor should it be used as a substitute for a visit to, consultation with, or the advice of a physician or other qualified health care provider.



Mar 29, 2018

Foraging Horsetail for Food & Medicine

Eating Horsetail, Horsetail Medicine

This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own. Please see FCC disclosure for full information. Thank you for supporting this site! 

My first encounter with horsetail didn't impress me much. My mom-in-law pointed out the plant growing near a beach, explaining that native Indians used it to scrub with, much like we'd use a plastic bottlebrush today. The plant she pointed to was easy enough to recognize - a stalk with stiff "bristles" coming out on all sides. Certainly easy to recognize.

Years later, in one of my foraging books, I saw just how remarkable horsetail truly could be. First, I learned that what I'd seen growing near the beach was the non-fertile version of the plant (sometimes called "the female"). That's right, horsetail produces two distinctive-looking plants! What really impressed me was the fertile versions of the plant (sometimes called "the male"). It's not only prehistoric-looking, but phallic in shape. And, lo! Horsetail, I learned, is both edible and medicinal! Bonus: It's packed with good minerals and nurtients.

So when I found horsetail growing on our homestead last year, I was pretty excited. Because I didn't time things right, though, I didn't try eating it. This year, I made sure I was more on top of things, and last weekend, my family gave eating horsetail a try.

Horsetail's bulb-like rhizomes are edible. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons.
Identifying Horsetail

There are 20 species of horsetail that are native to North America and Europe. On our homestead, we have giant horsetail. (Other names for horsetail include field horsetail, scouring brush, bottlebrush, shave grass, corncob plant, scouring rush, field horsetail, pewterwort, paddock-pipes, Dutch rushes, and snake pipes. They are in the Equisetum family.)

All horsetail have jointed stems that break apart easily and burst with watery liquid. The plant generally prefers damp soil; I find it in boggy areas around the homestead.




Examining a horsetail patch.

Eating Horsetail Rhizomes


The rhizomes (a type of root) are edible - though I've not tried them yet. Before you can dig them up and eat them, you need to spot a patch of horsetail in the spring, when it sends up its strange shoots. Note the location, and next year, before horsetail begins shooting up, dig around the spent shoots to find the rhizomes. Peel them and add them to the stew pot, or peel and slice and add them to salads.







Eating Horsetail's Fertile Shoots
Fertile horsetail shoots.


In early spring, the nutrient-rich, fertile shoots appear, resembling asparagus. Color varies; with our giant horsetail, the fertile plant comes in tones of light and dark brown. These "males" are non-photosynthesizing and have a cone-like top with rows of spore-bearing dots. They grow up to 2 feet tall (some species grow taller), and should be harvested before their cone-tops turn dark.

To eat these shoots, simply cut them off at ground level, then peel off the dark brown stripes found along the joints of the plant. (These stripes are packed with silica, which is bad for your teeth and could cause irritation in the body.) Cut off the cone-like tops, too.

Traditionally, horsetail is usually eaten raw. I tried it this way and found it quite pleasant - very similar to celery in texture and mild taste. But because it tends to grow in boggy areas, my husband wondered if it was a risk due to e. coli. I've read a lot of foraging books and websites, and I've never seen this mentioned in regard to
Fertile shoots that are dark on top (right) aren't very good eating.
horsetail...but in order to play it extra safe, I went ahead and boiled the stalks for my family's consumption. This gave the plant a super-mild flavor (similar to cooked celery) and made it mushy, instead of crisp. You may also steam the shoots.

In the future, we will probably stick to eating the plant raw. (I eat a lot of raw wild foods, and I personally don't believe there is a greater risk of e. coli in horsetail than in the other wild foods I eat. However, I am not a physician, nor should I be considered an expert in this area.)
Dark stripes should be removed before eating.


Eating Horsetail's Non-Fertile Shoots
Mature non-fertile horsetail. Courtesy of

After the fertile shoots pop up, the female plant (which looks like a green bottle brush) appears. At first, it's spike-like leaves are tight to the plant, but gradually they expand out, giving the plant its distinctive look.

Although some foraging books say you shouldn't eat the non-fertile shoots, natives did, and so do many modern foragers, consuming them the same way they do the fertile shoots. However, the non-fertile shoots are much more work because you must peel them completely before consumption. (the outer layer is too full of silica to be safe to eat.) In addition, some sources claim non-fertile shoots must be "thoroughly boiled" before eating. Douglas Deur, in his book Pacific Northwest Foraging, notes that boiling with repeated changes to the water reduces any toxicity that might be found in the plant, due to chemicals in the soil.

Horsetail Medicine

Immature non-fertile shoots
Another way horsetail is unique is that it's one of the few plants with bio-available silica. Therefore, drinking horsetail tea can help repair damaged bones and connective tissue, while also encouraging strong hair and nails. The tea is also traditionally used to support the kidney, bladder, and prostate.

In addition, horsetail is diuretic, and herbalists sometimes use it to treat urinary tract infections, or to dissolve urinary stones. It's also said horsetail can curb excessive menstrual flow and internal bleeding and treat bronchitis, tuberculosis, and asthma.

An immature non-fertile shoot.
In addition to its high silica content, horsetail is full of calcium, sulfur, manganese, potassium, silicic acid, flavonoids, saponins, sterols, aluminum salts, and tannins.

There is a big HOWEVER when using horsetail as medicine. This plant should never be consumed regularly or for a long period of time because it can lead to thiamine deficiency.

When making horsetail medicine, always harvest non-fertile shoots before their leaves begin to droop. This helps prevent digestive upset. To dry the plant, hang whole stalks in a cool, dark location. It's important to avoid breathing in silica crystals that may appear as dust once the plant is dried; it is very irritating to the respiratory tract. To be extra cautious, wear a mask when placing dried horsetail in jars or creating herbal powders from the dried plant material.






Horsetail Tea

Pour boiling water over about 2 or 3 grams of chopped non-fertile horsetail stalk. Cover with a saucer and allow the tea to steep for 10 or 15 minutes. Remove the saucer and strain the tea through two layers of cheesecloth. Drink 4 oz. three times daily between meals.

Horsetail Tincture
More experience herbalists can turn fresh horsetail into a tincture (1:5). Consume 1 - 4 ml. three times daily.
Horsetail is made of segments, each containing mineral water.
Warnings:

Just as all prescription medicines have warnings, so do natural medicines.

Marsh horsetail (Equisetum palustre) is potentially toxic. (See also.)

Consuming horsetail for a long period of time may lead to a thiamine deficiency. Eating horsetail raw and in quantity may result in a depletion of B1. (Eating it cooked does not pose this risk.)

For some people, eating quantities of horsetail raw "may be mildly toxic" (Deur). Horsetail is toxic to livestock and perhaps to pets. When handling dried horsetail, it's wise to wear a mask to avoid the irritating dust it might produce.

As with all wild edibles, pay attention to where you harvest. Horsetail is especially good at absorbing heavy metals and chemicals in the soil. Also, it's possible to be allergic to any plant. Show wisdom by eating a small quantity to see if your body reacts negatively.

If horsetail is used with Benzodiazepines, Disulfiram, or Metronidazole, it may cause "a disulfiram-like reaction." (Source.) Taking horsetail along with medicines that deplete the body of potassium (like corticosteroids, diuretics, and laxative stimulants) increases the risk of developing dangerously low potassium. Do not use horsetail with licorice, since it may lead to low levels of potassium.

Do not take horsetail medicinally if you are pregnant or nursing, have heart problems, drink too much alcohol, or are prone to thiamine deficiencies.

Large quantities of the horsetail can be toxic because it contains thiaminase, which has the potential to deplete the body of B vitamins. In small quantities, this is not an issue. Cooking horsetail also eliminates this problem.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, nor should anything on this website (www.ProverbsThirtyOneWoman.blogspot.com) be considered medical advice. The FDA requires me to say that products mentioned, linked to, or displayed on this website are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information on this web site is designed for general informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for qualified medical advice or care. There are no assurances of the information being fit or suited to your medical needs, and to the maximum extent allowed by law disclaim any and all warranties and liabilities related to your use of any of the information obtained from the website. Your use of this website does not constitute a doctor-patient relationship. No information on this website should be considered complete, nor should it be used as a substitute for a visit to, consultation with, or the advice of a physician or other qualified health care provider.

Feb 28, 2018

How to Grow and Use Parsley for Food and Medicine

How to Grow and Use Parsley for Medicine and Food
This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own. Please see FCC disclosure for full information. Thank you for supporting this site! 

Flat leaf parsley (petroselinum crispum) is one of those herbs I used to omit from every recipe that called for it. I didn't figure it made much of a difference, flavor-wise - and most recipes only called for a small amount, yet I had to buy a large bunch at the store. I didn't want to waste food or money. But when we moved here, one of the herbs already growing on our homestead was a large clump of parsley...and I have to admit, it's one of the easiest-growing plants I've ever had. It comes back earlier than any other edible, is care-free, and produces abundantly. I'm not one to let such a blessing pass by, unused. So recently, I've been researching the best ways to use up a lot of parsley.


How to Use Fresh Parsley

First and foremost, I'm learning to use fresh parsley leaves. No longer do I omit parsley from recipes. In fact, I'm learning to add the herb to most of what I cook. Eggs for breakfast? I add a sprinkling of chopped parsley. Tuna or chicken salad for lunch? I stir in chopped parsley. Soup or stew or casserole or any type of meat for dinner? I add chopped parsley. Salad as a side? I include some parsley leaves.

And as I do this, I'm finding that parsley adds a freshness and brightness to each dish that was previously missing.
Remove the leaves from the stems when cooking with parsley. Courtesy of Kelley Boone.






There are also some dishes that feature parsley prominently. These include:

Parsley (English) Pesto
Parsley Butter
Parsley Salt (made the same way I make celery salt)
Chimichurri sauce
Cream of Parsley Soup
Parsley Salad
Tabbouleh 
"Green Goddess" Sauce
Fried Parsley
Gremolata

Parsley pesto. Courtesy of Katrin Gilger.

Preserving Parsley

I find the easiest way to preserve parsley is to dehydrate it. I simply remove the leaves from their stems, lay them in a single layer on an electric dehydrator tray (this is the current model of what I use) and dehydrate at 95 degrees F. until crisp. I store the dehydrated leaves whole, in an air tight jar in a dark, cool location. To use, I simply crush the leaves in my hand and sprinkle into whatever I'm cooking. (Crushing herbs before storing them ensures the loss much of their flavor and medicinal properties.)

Some people prefer to freeze parsley. I've done this by simply throwing whole leaves in a freezer bag, and then breaking off however much of the herb I want when I'm cooking. But you can also chop up parsley leaves and place clumps in an ice cube tray to freeze. Once fully frozen, transfer to a freezer bag. You may also mix the leaves with a little olive oil before freezing them in an ice cube tray.

Parsley roots are edible and medicinal.
Eating Parsley Root

The root of the parsley plant looks very much like a parsnip (or a tan carrot). I have yet to try it, but some people say it tastes like a mixture of celery, carrots, and turnips. The root is typically harvested in winter or early spring and is eaten much like other root vegetables. Remember, of course, that if you take the plant's root, you are effectively removing parsley from your garden - so if you want to keep growing the plant for its leaves, be sure to only remove the root in order to thin out a clump of parsley.

Here are some recipes to try:

Parsley Root Soup
Parsley Root Fries
Mashed Potatoes and Parsley Root
Roasted Root Vegetables
Parsley Root Stew





Parsley Medicine
Parsley root, seed, and leaf are medicinal.


Parsley is a pretty powerful little herb. It's packed with antioxidant flavonoids, phenolic compounds, folate, iron, calcium, potassium, and magnesium, as well as vitamins K, C, and A. Traditionally, it's considered a "bitter" herb, good for aiding in digestive issues. Herbalists use it to reduce inflammation, improve or prevent anemia, boost immunity, and treat kidney stones, bladder infections, bloating, gas, gout, acid reflux, constipation, and PMS. Parsley also has antibacterial and antifungal properties.

When used as medicine, parsley leaves are often brewed into a tea, or used as an essential oil. Parsley seeds are also used in traditional medicine, especially for normalizing menstruation and treating menstrual pain. (Never use garden seeds for medicine, as they are usually sprayed with chemicals.) Parsley roots are medicinal, too, and herbalists use them mostly in the form of a tincture.

How to Grow Parsley

Like most herbs, parsley is extremely easy to grow. However, the seeds are a wee bit tricky to germinate: First, soak the seeds overnight in warm water. Direct sow outdoors in the spring or sow indoors 6 - 12 weeks before the last spring frost.

Plant seedlings in containers or directly into the soil. The plant isn't picky about soil, but prefers it rich in nitrogen. Grow in full sun or part shade. If your winters are harsh, mulch the plant well or it will die when temperatures drop.

Harvest stems before the plant flowers in the late summer or fall, or the herb will probably take on a bitter flavor. To keep parsley from growing "leggy" always cut off stems at the base of the plant.







CAUTION: It's possible to be allergic to any plant, and parsley is no exception. Some people experience contact dermitis from touching parsley, while others experience an allergic reaction to eating it. One side effect of having an allergic reaction may be the sensation that parsley is very spicey. Parsley oil should never be used during pregnancy and those experiencing inflammatory kidney ailments should never consume parsley in large doses.


Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, nor should anything on this website (www.ProverbsThirtyOneWoman.blogspot.com) be considered medical advice. The FDA requires me to say that products mentioned, linked to, or displayed on this website are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information on this web site is designed for general informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for qualified medical advice or care. There are no assurances of the information being fit or suited to your medical needs, and to the maximum extent allow by law disclaim any and all warranties and liabilities related to your use of any of the information obtained from the website. Your use of this website does not constitute a doctor-patient relationship. No information on this website should be considered complete, nor should it be used as a substitute for a visit to, consultation with, or the advice of a physician or other qualified health care provider.