Flower Essences in Troubling Times

Dr. Edward Bach pioneered work with flower essences, creating a new kind of natural medicine that works to heal and change emotional responses in individuals. You may have seen the little bottles of Bach Flower Remedies at your local health food store and wondered what they are for. Flower Essences are an Energetic medicine that imbibe water with the energy and powers of a specific flower. This water is then preserved and taken by drops daily, causing the desired action on the consumer’s emotional and mental state.

While Bach’s Flower Essences are most well-known, almost any flower can be made into a powerful remedy. Beech and Chicory are essences that come to mind during this time of political, racial, and societal turmoil. If you happen to be one of those folks who have trouble dealing with others, are overly critical of others’ behavior, or have a tendency to argue a lot, flower essences can help you. Vine is an essence that helps you respect other people’s ideas and expressions, and could be helpful for many of us in this trying time.

I make flower essences here on the farm, and I use several of them myself. Trust me– they do work! The flowers have a natural power most people don’t know about or expect, and adding flower essences to your daily self care regime can truly help your mind and emotions come back to a more centralized vibrational equilibrium.

If you are having a tough time with all the civil unrest going on now, take a look at This Reference for Flower Essences and see if your emotional unrest may be helped by one of these remedies.

Henbit all over

Henbit is the common name for a very common weed here in New England: Lamium amplexicaule. It has similar properties and quite a similar look to it as another common weed: purple dead nettle. However, I have noticed that henbit prefers to grow in extremely rich soil, whereas PDN can be found just about anywhere.

I harvested a pile of henbit from the field I am farming

For myself, I will throw bits of henbit into a salad or stir fry. I also have dried some to add to teas, as it can act as an inflammation modulator in the body and help manage rheumatic pain. It’s an easy to find, easy to identify herb/weed that is chock full of vitamins. Try adding some to scrambled eggs, pesto, or an herbal butter. The flavor is not entirely bland, but not unpleasant by any means. Enjoy!

Sage: Know it, Love it, Burn it!

The one thing that every good chef and every good pagan have in common is that they know how to utilize some of the many benefits of sage.

Salvia officinalis

There are two main types of sage we are generally talking about here: common garden sage (salvia officinalis) and White Sage (salvia apiana.) In my personal practice, I generally use common sage for cooking and herbal remedies / medicinal uses, and save the white sage for incense blends and Magickal uses. This is partly because White Sage is much more difficult to grow (the seeds have a low germination rate and you have to grow this plant in a pot so that it can be brought indoors all winter, at least here in my New England climate) and partly because white sage is historically a sacred Native American medicine plant. It also has a distinctively different scent from regular sage, that lends itself nicely to burning as a smoke. However, common sage CAN be used in smudging and burning rituals in place of white sage if you cannot come by any white sage. It simply has a more “earthy” energy to it when you’re breathing it in, whereas the white sage tends to send out a more spiritual vibe that appeals to the higher mind. This is my perspective, anyhow.

There are questions as to whether burning sage really can clear the air in your house. In my experience, yes– it can help clear negative energy, at least, mainly by relaxing the occupants of the home. And it absolutely helps kick out any spirits you don’t want hanging around! But whether it literally clears bacteria from the air is in debate. I would think that since mental health is connected to physical health, anything that makers you feel more mentally healthy and relaxed is going to help you, either way.

I recommend if you want to use white sage you either try growing some yourself or buy from a local, reputable grower, as the plant is endangered in the wild due to over-harvesting. I’m growing a bunch more babies this year, so let me know if you want me to save you some sage!

The best way to get to know ANY sage is to taste some. Taste it fresh, taste it dried… Mix it in a dry rub for your chicken, mix some with raw honey to make a soothing cough suppressant. Dry a few leaves for a week or so, put them in a dish (on charcoal works best), and light them. Waft the smoke toward you to breathe some in. See how it makes you feel. Get to know sage by working with it! And do click on the links I referenced in this piece for more information.

Blessed be!

Bone Broth!

You have probably heard of bone broth by now– slow cooking beef or chicken bones with other herbs and Vegetables for long periods of time to leech out all the good nutrition inside. They actually sell bone broth at grocery store markets now, for around $7-10 for less than a quart size jar! But did you know you can make your own amazingly immune-boosting bone broth yourself for less than $5 for a huge batch?

Roast the bones at 350 F for half an hour with some salt and pepper first, helps give a nice flavor

The best bones to use are going to come from a local small farm, so buy those if you can find some. If you can’t, most grocery stores do sell bones with very little meat or just some marrow visible. These are good to use as well.

The vegetables may take a little more preparation, but you can start now. The way I do it is that any time I cook dinner, I save the little bits and scraps of onion ends, garlic nubs, potato peel, celery ends, etc and put them all in a Ziploc bag in the freezer. I add to the bag every time I cook and eventually, there ends up being enough to just throw in the pot. If I roast a chicken and have picked off all the meat I can get, I throw that into the big crock pot with my bag of veggies scraps and some salt and pepper and just cook it on low for a day or so. If you haven’t been saving your veggies scraps, though, you can just rough chop a carrot, some celery (break in half,) cut an onion in quarters, throw in those nasty little pieces of garlic that are hell to peel (don’t bother peeling anything) and some salt and pepper. I also like to add a little seaweed and some mushrooms if I can, as well as whatever herbs or green things I can forage out in the yard.

Here’s one I made with chicken feet! They have lots of extra collagen

Just throw everything in the crock pot, cover with water, add what you want, and cook it at least 12 hours on low. The end result may need some extra salt, but you can either drink it in a mug, freeze it in batches, use it as a base for soups, or whatever. Great for when you are sick! Do you make bone broth?

Favorite Herb this Week: Mugwort!

Young mugwort shoots coming up in my garden in March

Most people HATE mugwort. Honestly, I was one of them up until quite recently. I had an enormous patch… like a whole quarter of what was supposed to be my big vegetable garden, that was just inundated with Artemesia vulgaris. Mugwort spreads under the ground, so pulling some out here or there doesn’t really do much to get rid of the whole patch. But now, three years after I fought this battle, I have given up. Not because I can’t handle the fight anymore, but because I learned about all the really great things mugwort can do!

There are lots of places online and plenty of books out there that can give you a full materia medica workup of this great little plant, but I’m just going to tell you how I have been working with it over the past year or so to give you some examples.

Mugwort makes an excellent addition to smudge bundles. The smell of smouldering mugwort is just so super grounding and earthy, and really brings me to a place where I am both one with the earth and also open to feeling the spirits of things all around me. Mugwort can be used in protective incense blends and in sleep pillows to help give you lucid or memorable dreams.

Medicinally, Mugwort can be added to women’s health blends in a mixture that will help bring on a lagging period and also help to balance the hormones in the body, along with things like vitex and black cohosh. Mugwort can be taken as a nervine, or added to blends for help with anxiety issues. It is also a helpful additive in anthelmintic blends, so I always add some in the herbal de-worming mixture that I use to help keep my flock free of parasites.

At any rate, I have decided this year that I LOVE mugwort! If you ever have a patch you want to get rid of, call me up and I’ll come harvest it all for you! I hope you can eventually grow to not hate this herb too. Here’s a great Video about Mugwort from Yarrow Willard that I really enjoy. Thanks for reading!

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