Yes, it's that time again! No, not the holidays silly, it's time for the winter CSH share. What's a CSH share, you ask? It's like a CSA share, or Community Supported Agriculture share. This is an awesome idea started by farmers that has started catching on (and even spread to us herbalists). The idea is that you pay the farmer a certain amount up front for the year. The farmer uses this money to buy seeds and equipment that they need to grow their crops for the year. In return, you get a share of whatever the farmer grows that year. It's a win-win!
A CSH share, or Community Supported Herbalism share, works a little differently, especially dependent on which herbalist you talk to. Just like I love to say: If you ask 10 herbalists the same question, you'll probably get at least 10 different answers! Anyway . . . the way I work my CSH shares, is that I offer a small and a large share of whatever formulas I make each season from wild herbs I've harvested the previous season(s). I make the formulas pertinent for whatever ailments might come up during that season, with some bonus fun additions.
Actually, I wasn't going to offer the CSH anymore because they can be an awful lot of work. However, after many of you asked me about when the next one would be out and told me you needed it, I decided to oblige :) It is pretty awesome to get to see and hear about you enjoying these formulas I've worked so hard to create from plants I've sustainably harvested. It's definitely a labor of love, and it's so cool how the whole community benefits!
This winter, there's 2 different shares, the Simply Winter Health, or small share, and the Treat Yourself to Winter Health (pictured above), or large share. They both come with my most popular formula, the High-C Elderberry syrup with foraged elderberries, sumac berries, and rose hips, along with the Incendiary Fire Tonic hot sauce to keep you warm and healthy all winter long; and the Pucker Up lip balm based on my Every Purpose salve (that comes in the large share). You'll also get two new formulas that I'm super excited about: my Evergreen Salt, a great seasoning for holiday meats and more, and Clear the Crud sinus formula tincture (thanks, Natalie for the name!). That one is a mega blend of the fire tonic and elderberry syrup, mixed with wild harvested reishi mushrooms, usnea lichen, ground ivy, yarrow, self-heal, yellowroot, and local turmeric. Woah! Besides the salve, the large share includes the Mondo Mintastic tea with 3 wild harvested mints and peppermint, and the crowd favorite, the Harmony tincture, with herbs long valued for their mood lifting effects. (Find out more about the traditional mood-lifting herbs in this tincture, here.)
CSH shares make great gifts for someone you love or your very lovely self for winter health support all winter long! Check it out now at The WANDER School Etsy Store.
Wishing you a very happy, healthy, and joyful season! And if you need some other health and joy support, check out these great blogs from The WANDER School archives:
Nourishing Bone Broth Recipe
Self-Love Day and Fudge Recipe
Stay tuned for my brand new recipe for Banana Cacao Bread with Foraged Nuts!
As often happens in life, the good comes with the bad, and there's not always black and white on what's good and bad. Thanksgiving is my fave holiday because I get to eat lots of delicious local food that supports local farms and farmers, while spending time with the folks I love. However, it can also belittle the horrible atrocities that the Native Americans went through at the hands of the Europeans. And from what I hear, our meal doesn't resemble a lot of what was on the table at the first Thanksgiving, like corn, beans, and lobster.
Though the holidays are a time of love, togetherness, and gratitude, they can also be a time of stress, misunderstandings, and grief. Today is my beautiful daughter's 15th birthday! I am so grateful she came into my life, and for all the joy and lessons she brings me. However, we're also still in a great amount of grief after having to put down our poor puppy last week. Lots of folks go through great amounts of pain this time of year over the loss of loved ones currently and in the past.
So what can we do about it? Well, it's always important to count our blessings and be grateful for all that we have. But it's a fine line, we also need to grieve and feel our feelings, too, so they're not suppressed to explode later or cause deep physical or psychological issues. I've found being in nature and around those I love, plus journaling and meditation, all help tremendously. Find the self-care that works best for you and practice it continuously. Sleep and nourishment are huge!
Of course there's herbal allies, too! I have several faves, that's why I created a formula around them: my Harmony tincture, containing mimosa, hawthorn, St. John's wort (not recommended to take if you're already on antidepressants), and lemon balm. You can find it at my new Etsy shop here, or try one or a mix of several of the herbs in tea or tincture on your own. They can be great for any kind of heartache, depression, or seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
I super love mimosa (Albizia julibrissin)! It's in the pea family, Fabaceae, which you can tell by the pods it will get after the flowers. It's native to Asia, and some folks consider it slightly invasive, all the more reason to make medicine with it. It's also the tree with the super fun, huge pink powder puff-like flowers that bloom in early summer. I always think if there was a truffula tree, a la Dr. Seuss, this would be it!
In Asia, mimosa is called the "Tree of Happiness". Most people take it as a tincture of the flowers, leaves, and sometimes bark or twigs. In Dana Tate Bailey's great article, she says she likes to work with mimosa especially for grief and with those people stuck in loss or dealing with heartbreaking loss. She also reminds us how important it is to still feel our feelings and let ourselves grieve. I truly believe that. One of the great things about herbs, being natural, is that they can gently help move us along that process.
Moving into this holiday season, let's all try to have a little extra love and compassion for those around us. This time is stressful, and doesn't always bring out the best in any of us. And for those of us actively grieving or missing those we've lost long ago, the holidays can bring a little extra pain. Please reach out to someone and offer them a little extra love during this time.
Of course I can't go without mentioning how grateful I am for you! You are who I do all of this for, and without your support, I couldn't do it at all. Sending a big hug of thanks to you and wishes for a sweet holiday season!
"Because I love you, and I'll do anything..." sang Stevie B. in an obscure 90's song. Anybody remember that gem? Sorry, I'm on an old song roll this Monday morning. More of you probably remember the song, "ABC" by the Jackson 5 that the title of this blog post is a twist on. As you can probably tell, I'm getting a little silly today. I'm trying to create more ritual in my life, partly to help me do things that might not be my favorite, like sitting behind a computer. So, I'm thinking of fun ways to make it more enjoyable, like listening to old music with a good of cup tea, after a nice walk in the woods.
Anyway, the because I love you reference is referring to my want to do what you folks are requesting, because that's why I do all this in the first place: to get much-needed knowledge out into the world. That's what community is all about, right? We support each other. In that vein, I'm committing to writing blogs more frequently and about things that you want to know. So let me know your thoughts on this one and what you want to learn about in the future, in the comments section. I can't promise to know it all, but I'll do my best to get some fun blog posts out on the ones I do know about.
In a great workshop I offered in Johnson City, TN (love ya, JC!) yesterday, my students wanted to know more about making their own apple cider vinegar. It's so simple and virtually free to make, I think this is something everyone should know how to do. Not only can you use the vinegar for all sorts of simple everyday things (I like to add a teaspoon to the oats I soak for breakfast every morning or soaking rice or beans, etc to help break down the phytic acid in those foods that can supposedly prevent us from absorbing minerals), you can also infuse herbs, wild or cultivated, into vinegar for an alcohol-free tincture or mineral-rich salad dressing.
Though making your own apple cider vinegar is a simple thing to do, there's a few little tricks that will make your end product more successful.
1. Get a bunch of apples, organic or low spray (if possible), and save the cores (and peels or pulp, if you're peeling them, making cider, etc). You can eat them or make them into something, like applesauce. This is an awesome super efficient way to use your apples because you get double duty from them: food and vinegar.
2. Leave the apple scraps out until they brown. Depending on the type and age of the apple, this could take one to a few hours.
3. Put all your scraps in a wide-mouth jar that will be big enough for all of them, plus plenty of water. Usually, I will fill the jar halfway with apple scraps and the other half with water. If you fill the jar with more apples than water, then you'll end up with very little vinegar in the end. Make sure to leave at least an inch of space at the top of the jar. If you're eating your apples one to a few at a time, just add the cores you have, when you have them, and make sure they're always covered with water, until half the jar is filled with cores and half with water.
4. *These are the most important things to remember! Add a few tablespoons of raw, unpasteurized vinegar to the mixture to get it started fermenting. Weigh down the scraps by putting a small plate, jar, fermentation weight, or plastic bag full of water on top. This ensures that the apples will always be under the surface of the water, preventing mold.
5. Cover with a cloth napkin or cheesecloth folded over several times (to prevent holes big enough for fruit flies to get in), and secure with a rubber band over the top.
6. Wait 2 to 4 weeks. It's normal and good to see a little floating culture starting to develop, but it shouldn't look fuzzy or smell bad.
7. Strain into bottles. It's a great idea to save old apple cider vinegar bottles for this purpose. Label with contents and date. Store and use in a bajillion different ways.
A little note: homemade vinegar will taste a little different, have less of a bite, and be lighter in color than store-bought vinegar because it will be less acidic. Be aware, this may not preserve some things as well, though I haven't had a problem yet.
Try this at home and let me know how it turns out and what you do with the finished product. Happy fermenting!
Doesn't this scene look delightful, like somewhere you'd like to go play? If you said no, you're probably experiencing hay fever like a lot of other folks. Allergies happen when something foreign enters the body, and the body sees it as a threat and overreacts. So what do we do about it? Well, every herbalist seems to have their own strategy. I'll give you mine from the benefit of my years of experience as my own guinea pig.
First, make some changes. This can be the toughest part, but also make the longest lasting difference.
#1 Cut out (or decrease as much as you can) dairy and sugar.
These can create more mucus and knock down the immune system.
#2 Drink more water or tea.
Drinking more liquids can help wash the pollen away and thin the mucus.
#3 More sleep and stress-reducing techniques.
This seems pretty obvious, but is sometimes the hardest one to accomplish. More rest and less stress = more normal body functioning.
#4 Add some color to your diet.
Eating brightly colored fruit and veggies will beef up your immune system with anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories to help stop the swelling of the mucus membranes and the histamine production. Dark leafy greens offer all these, plus the bitter taste can help your liver process more efficiently. You can also supplement with extra Vitamin C. The unsweetened powdered vitamin C is great. Since it's water soluble in our bodies, it's tough to get too much. Start with 1,000mg/day. You can keep adding more, until you find what works, or you start to have loose stools.
Some other supplements you can add, include probiotics and enzymes. These will help get your digestion in shape, so it doesn't attack things that aren't a threat. I don't usually recommend products (and definitely am not getting paid for it), but I like PB8 for a probiotic. It doesn't need to be refrigerated, so can be easier to travel with and remember to take. Just remember, they're usually best taken between meals. There's a supplement from Solaray that I like called QBC Plex. It contains quercetin, a bioflavonoid and anti-histamine, and bromelain, an enzyme from pineapple, plus Vitamin C.
Give your sinuses a rinse. You can wash the pollen away by using a neti pot with some salt water. If you want an easier option, try a saline spray or an herbal steam with thyme, bergamot (Monarda fistulosa), or bee balm (Monarda didyma). Create an herbal steam by boiling a cup or so of water in a large pot. Then turn off the heat, add the herbs, and steep covered for about 5 minutes. Then put your head over the pot (on a table at a comfortable height) and cover both with a towel. Breathe the vapors for as long as you can. You can also add a few drops of essential oils, like eucalyptus or mint. You can also reuse this, adding a few more drops essential oil, throughout the day.
Eat local honey and bee pollen. Some people believe this is like giving your body a natural vaccine. You're taking in small amounts of the local pollen to stimulate your body's defenses slowly and gently, and create immunity. If you choose pollen, start very slowly, like a few grains a day, and work your way up to as much as a teaspoon. You want to make sure the pollen or honey is super local, so you're being exposed to the same pollen causing your allergies. This works best if you start at least a month before the allergy season.
Try some natural antihistamines. One that I've had great luck with is a mixture of honey, fenugreek seeds, and black pepper. Soak a few tablespoons of the seeds in a little water overnight. Then take about a half teaspoon of honey, and mix it with 1/4 teaspoon of seeds, and a dash of pepper. Put the extra seeds in the fridge for later, and eat this combo as needed.
Get spicy. My friend, Melissa, swears by fire cider for allergy symptoms. Fire cider is a combination of herbs infused in apple cider vinegar. Check out freefirecider.com for some great info and recipes. You can add any herbs you want, but onions and garlic are high in sulphur, a histamine blocker. The peppers are high in anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories, as are turmeric and ginger (if you choose to add them). Take a shot of cider as needed.
Some of my favorite herbs for allergies:
Nettles (Urtica dioica, pictured above)
These reduce histamine production. They're a great one to grow, but watch out for the stinging hairs! This is not the wood nettle (Laportea canadensis) that seems to grow more commonly in many parts of the eastern US. However, some people believe, because they're related, their effects are similar. Some say it works better if freeze dried, but I usually take it as a tincture, although the tea has seemed to help, too.
Ground Ivy (Glechoma hederacea)
This low-growing ground cover in the mint family is an awesome decongestant and great for sinus pressure. Tea or tincture works great, but the taste can be strong, so you can mix it with other mints, etc.
Eyebright (Euphrasia officinalis)
This herb is helpful for eye and sinus inflammation. I like it for the symptoms of itchy, watery eyes that accompany allergies (and for pink eye).
Spanish Needles or Beggar's Tick (Bidens spp.)
There are several similar related species of this unassuming little plant, sometimes with more white or yellow petals. I like to add it to allergy tincture formulas for its antihistamine action.
Red Clover (Trifolium pratense)
This lovely flower often grows abundantly and is high in minerals. It also helps to clear mucus.
Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)
The wooly leaves of mullein are a great demulcent, or a soother for the mucus membranes. They also have some expectorant action in the body. Some people like to strain this through fine mesh because of the little hairs, other people don't seem to be bothered by them.
Burdock (Arctium spp.)
This plant's root, favored in Asian cooking and bitters recipes, is a fantastic liver toner. Tincture it or you can lightly dry roast it for a nice roasted tea.
Now on to just a teeny bit of woo woo. I really do believe that every ailment has emotional, spiritual, and psychological aspects. When I'm experiencing allergy symptoms, I like to ask myself, "Is there something in my life right now (a situation, person, etc), that I'm reacting to?" It can be helpful to delve into that one and see what comes up, then try to work through your feelings about it.
I've also had some success with visualization. Whatever works for you is what's best, but some examples include imagining a semi-porous membrane surrounding you that only lets in beneficial things (not pollen or harmful people or situations), or imagining a huge vacuum cleaner sucking up all the pollen around you.
One of the most successful things for me, though, has been looking at where I can let go of stress and practice better self care. The immune response backs off as I feel safer to let my guard down; my body no longer needs to protect me. What has worked best for you? I'd love to read your comments!
Now go frolic outside!
Many many wild things can be frittered! Up until this year, my favorite probably would have been black locust blossoms. However, with so many new choices as of this year, I might have to pick a favorite for every occasion. On a couple of my last Wild Apprentice Days, my lovely apprentices and I created some fantastic fried goodness. Don't worry, though, these weren't deep fried, and contain lots of healthy ingredients. We experimented with dandelion fritters and mixed wild greens fritters.
The main difference between the two fritters is that the dandelion fritters have flour and cornmeal, and the wild greens fritters don't. We used gluten free rice flour, but you can use your fave flour. If you use something different or spice it up to your liking some other way, make sure you let me know what you did and how it worked. We chose rice flour and blue cornmeal for fun, and well, because it was what I had, and this is supposed to be easy.
Let's start with the dandelion fritters. The first step is to pick the dandelions. Pick them while they're young and fresh looking, preferably in the morning after the dew has dried and before the hot sun has left them looking wilted. It'll be easier to process later if you just pick the flower heads and leave the stem.
Now the recipe:
⅓ c flour of choice (we used rice flour)
⅓ c cornmeal (we used blue)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp (or to taste) bee balm salt or salt and savory herbs
⅔ c milk of choice (we used coconut)
1 ½ c dandelion flowers
Butter or olive oil
Mix dry ingredients together (except dandelions).
In separate bowl, beat egg, and mix in milk.
Mix dry and wet ingredients. Dip and coat flowers in batter.
Melt butter or warm oil in pan on medium heat. You can do a light layer to saute, or more to deep fry. (We sauteed in a mix of butter and oil.)
Cook until they start to brown. Flip and brown other side until crisp.
Drain on a plate lined with a paper towel. Enjoy while warm.
MIXED WILD GREENS FRITTERS
Makes 5 medium fritters. Recipe may be divided in half. Other wild greens may be added or substituted. Garlic salt or salt and garlic powder can be substituted for the ramp salt.
2 c Purple Dead Nettle leaf, flower, and stem (Lamium purpureum)
4 Wild Onion tops and bulbs (Allium vineale)
¼ c Bee Balm leaf (Monarda didyma)
¼ c Sochan leaf (cutleaf coneflower) (Rudbeckia laciniata)
½ c Violet leaf (Viola species)
1 tsp Ramp Salt
2 TBsp butter
Chop plant ingredients fine. If plants are wet, braise lightly.
Mix leaves and salt in a large mixing bowl.
Beat eggs. Mix into plant material so everything is coated with eggs.
Heat butter in pan over medium heat. Form into patties and put in pan.
Heat for about 4 minutes until patties hold together and are lightly browned on bottom.
Flip. Cook for about 4 more minutes until lightly browned on bottom and cooked through.
Garnish with a few sprigs of dead nettle and violet flowers.
Possible condiments: fire cider/hot sauce, sour cream, salsa
I hope you'll try these and create recipes of your own. If you do, please let me know how it turns out, in the comments.
I created the Forager's Wild Edible & Herbal Plant Cards as a way to share my love of the plants, inspire nature connection, and create health empowerment through foraging free and nutrient rich wild plants. These cards are meant to be an introduction or continuation on the journey of becoming familiar with these plants to dispel fear of the unknown and delve deeper into nature's gifts.
Each card has a photograph, captured by me in the field or forest, of a wild plant on the front. On the back, there is a description of the plant, including its English name, botanical name, family, identification characteristics, habitat, and edible and herbal benefits, with tips on harvesting and processing.
Spring is the best time of year for wild greens! They’re both nutritious and delicious! Chickweed (pictured above) is super prolific, and easy to harvest with a pair of scissors. It has lots of protein, a rare thing in greens, making it a great survival food to know about. It’s also packed with vitamin C, along with A, D, B, calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium. It's one of the first greens to pop up and one of the last to stick around. In milder climates, it might hang out all year long.
Chickweed's botanical name is Stellaria media. The first part of that (the genus), means "star" because of the way the flower looks star-shaped. The flowers have 5 petals, though they look like they have 10, because each petal is split into two lobes. This plant is in the Caryophyllaceae family, also know as the "pink" family or the "carnation" family. Gardeners often despise this weed that invades their garden, but it pulls up easily and is so nutritious and delicious, with its mild, delicate taste. It definitely makes a good case for the saying, "If you can beat em, eat em!"
I also like to add chickweed to my cough syrup and salves. It has been worked with for dissolving cysts, lowering cholesterol, and weight loss. It can also be applied topically in compresses for almost any kind of skin issue.
Let's get started with the wild pesto recipe...
I'm so excited about this brand spankin' new video that the awesome videographer, Ty Gilpin, made for me! He came and hung out with us for the never dull Wild Apprentice Day. Check it out, let me know what you think, then come on down for some forest time, and botanical and herbal education.
Valentine's Day has been a cause of much frustration in my life throughout my single years. All the hype, all the pressure to be partnered up or buy sugar-packed goodies and a million other things. There are so many different stories about how the day came about, including one I just read of how it was a pagan fertility celebration, woah! Over the years, I have worked to give Valentine's Day a more positive twist by making it more generally about love in all its glory and magic, and now, especially about self-love.
It's not selfish to love yourself, take care of yourself, and to make your happiness a priority.
Here's some interesting history to blow your mind a little, "According to the legend, [St.] Valentine crushed the violet blossoms growing outside his cell to make precious ink with which to write, on the leaves, to his friends while an obliging dove delivered the notes. It is also said that Valentine maintained a remarkable epistolary relationship with his jailer's blind daughter to whom he wrote daily and cured of her ailment.
"St. Valentine was executed on 14 February 269 A.D. His demise coincided with the pagan festivals of Lupercalia held in honor of the goddess Juno, who favored women and marriage. From there on, this late winter festival was associated with romantic love, fertility rites and the coming of spring. Violets, linked to faithfulness or the 'I return your love' sentiment, remained a symbol as well as a popular offering between lovers." -http://americanvioletsociety.org/HistoryTraditions/Saint_Valentine.htm
Some say that violets were the first Valentine's flower because of their heart-shaped leaves. Too bad they don't bloom until April! So, more on them later.
Anyway, back to self-love...
February is a perfect time for it. Many folks, myself included, complain about winter, the cold and sluggishness it produces. If we were really connected to the Earth and ourselves, we would realize that winter is custom made for turning inward and rejuvenation. Just like the plants go dormant, a little dormancy could do us all good. It is a time of yin nourishing, quiet, darkness, and reflection. It is a time to rebuild our energy and recuperate from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the year. This will provide us with energy when we need it again, during the yang or active times, coming up sooner than you'll believe possible.
My request to you for this day is to figure out how you can carve out time for self-love every day, and make a special self-love date with yourself every week. For me, this manifests in lots of different ways. It's through my morning yoga and meditation practice, but also through loving myself if I can't get out of bed some days to make it happen. My biggest self-love practice is my daily hike, time in the forest to reconnect. Sometimes I'll go with friends, because I've realized as an (mostly) extrovert and entrepreneur (aka working at home alone a lot), I need to be surrounded by others. Though there's days, usually after teaching, when my introvert self kicks in, that I need solo hikes. Also taking care of my body is super important for my self-care, like taking elderberry syrup and wild mushroom tincture daily. (You can find my blends here.)
My self-love dates can consist of a wide variety of activities. Sometimes they're letting myself take a nap, read in bed, or watching a guilty pleasure movie (without guilt). Sometimes it's going on an extra long hike and taking extra time to explore a path I've never been down before. Other times it's taking myself out to lunch or just working from a coffeeshop and treating myself to something special, or a dinner date in town with a friend at an Ethiopian restaurant or whatever I'm craving.
And of course, how can you have self-love without chocolate????!!!!
Did you know that cacao (raw chocolate from the chocolate plant) is the highest antioxidant food in the world? Unfortunately, by adding a bunch of sugar to it, it kind of cancels out the health-supporting properties. So, because I love you so much, I wanted to give you a healthy, yet scrumptious chocolate recipe from my recent Herbs as Food workshop.
⅛ cup hemlock, spruce, pine, or fir needles + some for garnish
⅛ cup sumac berries + some for garnish
2 cups cocoa powder (or ground cacao)
6-8 ounces coconut oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ cup maple syrup, or to taste
Finely grind evergreen needles and sumac berries (except the garnish) in coffee grinder. Make sure the seeds in the berries are fully ground. Mix sumac and evergreen mixture with cocoa powder in a food processor. Mix coconut oil, vanilla, and maple syrup, and blend with dry ingredients in food processor, while running (this is important to help the ingredients emulsify) until it holds together, no longer crumbly, but not too oily. Blend until smooth.
I pour this into a 6.5x4.5 tupperware and it makes 12 small pieces, 1 inch deep. You could use a 9x5 inch pan and ½ inch deep, or use a loaf pan. Press garnish into top of fudge. Refrigerate until fudge is set and hard.
This morning I was jolted awake at that vital moment, during a horrific nightmare. It took me a minute to realize I was alive and safe. Once I did, a wave of gratitude flooded over me. As my beingness became more tangible, I realized what a blessing that nightmare had been. I was reminded how very precious life is, and how I should be giving thanks for every moment that I am alive, healthy, have good food, warm shelter, and loving and loved family (blood and chosen). Every day is a gift, and sometimes our memory has to be jolted into remembering that.
Last night my sweet daughter encouraged me to wear my pajamas inside out so it would snow. It is incredible to me that she still does this at 14, and I hope she will never lose this! It is more of this innocent wonder, belief, and play that I want to bring into my life. One of the first things I remember thinking in the dream, when I thought my life was over, was that there was so much more I wanted to do, and I wished I had time for big, bold adventures.
When I do my yoga in the morning, I usually listen to some kind of inspiring podcast. This morning's was The Art of Creation through Desire. The part that most hit home for me was near the end, (spoiler alert) when they talked about how playtime is vital to a creative life. I think we all probably know this, though maybe subtly, and even if we do, it can be easy to forget. It can be so easy for me to get so stuck in planning and doing mode that I start running on empty, with no inspiration, which doesn't accomplish anything.
Winters can be hard for me: cold, a lack of vibrant, growing flora, lots of time inside spent planning, often in front of the computer. I honestly think the only way I survive the season is by ingesting a healthy dose of Vitamin N: Nature. A friend recently posted something about how native cultures often don't have a word for "nature" because there was no separation in their minds between us and nature. I believe it is that separation that creates a lot of the depression, seasonal affective disorder, and many other current issues in our culture.
It can be so tough for me to get motivated to get outside this time of year (yes, even me). But once I am out, it can be tough for me to motivate myself to go back inside. So, this morning, before an impending snow storm, I motivated myself to put on my insulated Carhartt's, my hat, scarf, gloves, boots, and big puffy jacket, and head out. A friend ended up joining me, and we kept remarking during the walk about how glad we were we got into the forest, and how great it was to be there. As we left, the first snowflakes dropped, like an affirmation that the hike was meant to be.
I wanted to make getting outside the focus of this whole blog post because I believe it is so vitally important to our lives to do it every day. I wish for you to not have to look back and wish you would have taken more adventures.
And just to give you a little herbal nugget before I leave, elderberry syrup (from the fabulous elderberry that actually binds with the flu virus to keep it from entering your cells), wild mushrooms (in tincture, tea, or stock), and Vitamin D, can all be great supplements to help you stay healthy this winter. Make sure to listen to your body, and get a little extra rest or quiet time for introspection, if that is what your body tells you it needs. Some antioxidant boosters, besides elderberries, include citrus, of course, but also sumac berries, rose hips, and evergreen needles (most pines, spruce, and fir). More on that next time...
What keeps you healthy and happy during the winter? Let me know in the comments. Wishing you much wonder, frolicking, and Vitamin N!
Botanist, Herbalist, Forager