Wild Rose Elixir

Yesterday was filled with swim dates and harvesting Wild Rose.....it basically doesn't get any better than that! As my friend and I sat by the swimming hole, the smell of Wild Rose (Rosa multiflora), which is currently in full bloom throughout the Valley, kept wafting through the air.....it was truly intoxicating.  What a generous plant to share her medicine with us so freely.

This is quite possibly (dare I say it?) my favorite of our bioregional medicines. Among other things, Wild Rose is a powerful nervine and deeply relaxing.  It's also amazing for the spiritual and emotional heart. My favorite preparation for this might be the elixir, but you could build a whole apothecary with just this plant it's so versatile. Wild Rose works as a tincture, elixir, honey, oxymel, vinegar, infused oil, herbal ghee, glycerite, soda, mead, bath salt/scrub, tea, flower essence, and probably many more things I'm forgetting!

If you'd like to learn more about her medicine check-out the full materia medica I wrote about her here: http://www.milkandhoneyherbs.com/blog/2015/6/5/wild-rose-medicine 💖

I recommend playing with Wild Rose and preserving her virtues in whatever preparation calls to you, but thought I'd share one of my favorites, the elixer.  This preparation really captures the real essence of the rose taste, and the sweetness of the honey adds a grounding and harmonizing effect to the medicine as well. Here's the recipe!

Wild Rose Elixir

Wild Rose (Rosa multiflora) flowers, stems, and leaves (gather the flowering corymbs and 1 or 2 leaflets)
Raw Honey (local if possible)
Brandy, Gin, Vodka or Rum (basically use an alcohol you like that is at least 40% alcohol/80 proof)

Gather Wild Rose in flower and clip the whole bunch of flowers (botanically called a corymb) along with at least 1 or 2 leaflets. Chop it all up as finely as you can- stem, leaves, flowers, and all. Put into a glass jar and then cover the plant material about 75% of the way with your alcohol of choice, and then fill the remaining 25% of space with raw honey, until the plant material is completely covered. If your raw honey is crystallized you can still use it- it will dissolve in the alcohol. Let sit for about a month, strain, and it's ready to use! And if you forget to strain it, no biggie. It will keep with the plant material still in it for months, if not years!  This can be taken on it's own- a medicinal dose is about 2-3 tsp/day. Or you can combine it with other nice nervines. In my practice, I often combine Wild Rose Elixer with Tulsi Elixer and Blue Vervain Tincture, along with whatever else that person may be needing, to make a delicious and effective nervous system support formula.  You can also use it like a cordial and sip on it straight, or add to tonic or bubbly water for an herbal cocktail. Enjoy!

And for any of you wanting to learn more about or locally abundant medicinal plants, our hands-on bioregional herbalism series, From the Roots Up, is open for registration! Currently enrolling are the summer and fall sessions.

Summer Session: July 16th, Aug 20th
Fall Session: 9/17, 10/8, 11/5

More info here!

 

Spring Greens Frittata

Frittata fillings from left to right: Young Nettles tops, Dandelion leaves, Chives, Spring Garlic

Frittata fillings from left to right: Young Nettles tops, Dandelion leaves, Chives, Spring Garlic

Spring is all about the greens. It's absolutely true that many nutrient-dense wild greens are available all throughout the growing season, but for me the spring is when they especially shine.  After I've spent the winter relying heavily on our winter farm share that's rich in tubers and roots, I can't wait to get outside and connect with the spring earth and fill my harvest basket with some liver-loving, chlorophyll-rich greens!

This recipe was born of necessity.  We were away for part of my daughter's spring vacation, and arrived home at dinner time with hungry kids and an empty fridge.  A trip to the chicken coop yielded over a dozen eggs, so frittata instantly came to mind. It's delicious, easy, versatile, and nutritious.  But what to fill it with?

Now, you don't have to ask me twice to forage for my dinner....although our fridge was bereft of greens, I knew our yard and gardens would be bursting with them! Our small farm is comprised of sprawling gardens, meadow (we rarely mow in order to support pollinator plants for our honeybees and also to promote medicinals and wild edibles), lots of forest edges, and a red maple swamp.  A quick foray yielded:

  • Nettles (Urtica dioica)- For food, I use the top 4-6 inches of young plants, stem and leaves. As it gets larger (reaching a foot or taller) I use the top 3-4 inches (Lvs and stems) and older leaves. Harvest with care! Cooking destroys the sting, and blending it fresh does as well
  • Dandelion Leaves (Taraxacum officinalis)- These can be harvested spring, summer, and fall. Their flavor gets more bitter as the warmer months come on, but gets more mild again in the cool nights of the fall
Spring Garlic- an excellent alternative to Ramps!

Spring Garlic- an excellent alternative to Ramps!


  • Chives (Allium schoenoprasum)- One of my favorite, and in my opinion, under-appreciated early spring culinary herb.  It sprouts long before 90% of my garden
  • Spring Garlic (Allium sativum)- Spring Garlic is garlic that was planted in the fall and wasn't harvested when it was "supposed" to be. Let me explain. Garlic is traditionally planted in the fall, to be harvested the following summer.  But if you don't harvest it, it will die down back to it's bulb in the fall and gloriously sprout the following spring! Each bulb sprouts, so they're kind of like garlic scallions, and they sprout long before most plants in your garden have even begun thinking about waking-up!

 

Although these didn't go into my frittata that day, here are some other lovely edible/medicinal additions (these are just a few, be creative and use your favorites!):
         -Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata)- Leaves, young tops, flowering and/or budding tops
         -Japanese Knotweed (Fallopia japonica)- young shoots
         -Oxeye Daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare)- Leaves
         -Evening Primrose (Oneothera biennsis)- Leaves

If there's one thing you will notice is NOT on this list, it's Ramps aka Wild Leeks (Allium triccocum).   This is the latest darling of the foodie world and it's not being harvested correctly. Current harvest practices kill the plant and it's a slow-growing woodland medicinal. United Plant Savers has written an article about this and added it to their "To-Watch" list. Please spread the the word and do your part as a medicinal plant conservationist! Spring Garlic and Garlic Mustard are great alternatives.  

And now, the recipe!


SPRING GREENS FRITTATA

8 eggs
1/2 c milk of choice (I used coconut)
2 cups spring/wild greens (choices are numerous- I used roughly equal parts nettles, dandelion greens, chives, garlic leaves and second year bulbs)
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
Ghee

To make: Sauté the greens for 3-4 min (add extra garlic if desired), then set aside. In a bowl mix eggs (lightly) and then add the milk. Add the greens to the egg/milk mix. Put a cast iron deep dish skillet on the stove and warm 2 tbsp ghee in it, then add the egg/greens mix and cook on medium for 5-7 min until it sets. Then put it in the oven at 350 to cook an additional 15-18 min. Enjoy!

 

    

Ashwagandha-Spiced Ghee

I was inspired to share this recipe after sharing it with a client this morning. This is my favorite way to take Ashwagandha and great for folks who are weary of taking tinctures, tablets and capsules.

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is a such a wonderful herb.  It comes to Western Herbalism by way of Ayurveda, where it is known as a Rasayana- a supreme tonic herb. It supports the nervous system and helps reduce stress and anxiety and, if taken over time, will promote restful sleep and good energy endurance during the days with fewer crashes and lows.   As an adaptogen, it also helps support an appropriate stress response, taking us from a chronic state of "flight or fight" into a state where we can better manage and roll with the day-to-day stresses of life.  It's a wonderful herb to add to your daily protocol for just about anyone living in the stress of our modern world! The addition of the spices in this recipe supports assimilation and digestion, and add a nice flavor too. It's so easy to make your own and can be a great part of a daily health routine.

Ashwagandha-Spiced Ghee

1 2/3rd cups ghee
1/2 cup Ashwagandha powder
2 tsp Ginger pwd
2 tsp cinnamon pwd
2 tsp cardamom pwd
2 tsp rose petal pwd
Raw honey to taste (optional)

Combine the herbs and ghee in a pan. Put on low and mix the herbs into the ghee as it melts. Be careful not to burn the herbs. Heat gently for 4-5 minutes. Then pour into a heat-resistant jar, like a mason jar. Add raw honey to taste if desired. Stir occasionally as it cools to ensure that the herbs are evenly mixed into the ghee. A medicinal dose is 3 tsp/day. Eat straight, put on toast, add to warn grains, put in coffee or tea, or use for cooking.

Enjoy!