It's been a beautiful, busy summer- too busy to blog much in-fact! Its been full of travel, harvesting & medicine-making, time with my daughters and family, swim-dates, and teaching. But I did manage to get a lot of pics and commentaries on the Milk & Honey Herbs Facebook page, and here is a wrap-up (and condensed version) all in one place!
Blue Vervain (Verbena hastata)
This is a potent nervine of summer, blooming late July and August. Blue Vervain is deeply calming and is a relaxant nervine, useful at night for insomnia and during the day for mild to acute anxiety. Its strong bitter components support the liver (a major organ of elimination and detoxification) and help us process all of our "stuff"- be it physical or emotional. This same liver-supportive action also makes it a useful ally for treating hormonal imbalance and I love using it to treat PMS, menstrual cramps, and menstrual irregularity- what an herb! The tea is quite bitter so I prefer to make a tincture out of this one. Look for it growing in wet meadows with Goldenrod, Boneset and sometimes Cattail.
Milky Oat Tops (Avena sativa)
I was beyond thrilled to discover my oat patch in the milky oat stage! This is the same grass that gives us oatmeal, and when the seeds are harvested in the "milky stage" it makes one of the absolute finest restorative nerve tonics one can find. It's a staple in my herbal practice and I use it for folks with anxiety and an over-all "frazzled" feeling in their nervous system. I also love it in combination with Skullcap (Scutellaria lateraflora) for withdrawal symptoms in those dosing down in meds, quitting smoking, and the like.
St Johnswort (Hypericum perforatum)
I am so in love with this plant! I use it mostly as a nervine (although it is a also a great hepatic), especially for those experiencing nerve pain, which the plant is a specific for. It has a long history of use in ancient herbals for "dispelling evil influences," which to me speaks to its well-known action as an anti-depressant. The flower essence (which is AMAZING!) helps with protection, especially if you suffer from nightmares, and also treats shock and burn-out that comes from a weakened energetic field. Anyone who knows the botany of this plants knows that the perforations in the leaf are a signature for this......think "perforations" in the energetic field.
Calendula in olive oil. Oils are great base preparations that may then be used to make salves, creams, body butters, salt or sugar scrubs, or just used on their own. Calendula is an amazing wound healer, as well as an anti-microbial and anti-septic, and makes a fabulous all-purpose salve
Calendula Flower Essence. Brings warmth and compassion to communication.
Elder Flower Cordial
Elder Flowers (Sambucus canadensis) contain enough natural yeast to make a "wild fermentation." This brew is just Elder Flowers, local raw honey, lemons, and water! Just be sure not to wash your fresh Elder Flower, as it will wash off the beneficial microbes that make fermenting with these particular flowers so easy!
Saying good-bye to summer, and looking forward to the gorgeous, resplendent Fall!