Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Quickie! (an Easy Oxymel Recipe)

A blog post especially for Poppy Swappers! 

Rushing at the last second? I won't even keep you with long-winded writing. My kids and I whipped up this beautiful, delicious, and easy oxymel yesterday for neighbors and friends ..... you can too! It took us less than an hour. 
{An oxymel is an herbal preparation using a combination of vinegar and honey as the menstruum. It's delicious and very useful, as well as being a very forgiving recipe to make - anyone can make an oxymel (also known as "shrub" by some) at home}

Here's what to grab at the store:

  • 1 case (one dozen) 8oz food grade sauce jars or canning jars
  • 2 bottles of Apple Cider Vinegar, 32 ounces each (a total of 64 ounces)
  • 32oz  (4 cups) by volume of Honey 
  • One large-ish chunk of ginger, enough for about 2 slices per jar (total of 24 slices) 
  • One lemon (we used an in season Meyer lemon - yum!) 

  • You will need dried (or frozen if you gather) elderberries, about half a cup's worth (maybe less). If you don't have some at home, see if your health food store has them in their bulk herb section. If you're stuck and cannot find them, don't fret - use little frozen blueberries or dried cherries! Oxymels are super-versatile - and for skeptical neighbors, they'll be healthy without even knowing why ;) 


Add to each bottle/jar:

  • 3 tsp berries
  • one slice lemon
  • two slices ginger

Mix the honey and vinegar together in a large container, and after thoroughly combined, pour it into each bottle, giving some head room at the top for a little swelling action from the herbs. 

Label and give! Your recipient can opt to wait until it gets stronger and use it in a couple weeks, but with the fresh ingredients there will be a lovely taste after just one day. 

Q: "What the heck is this for?" (Likely the very words from my neighbors lips when they get this) 

A: "It's excellent for curing heartburn; take a little spoonful before and after your meal. It's also delicious on salads, and is a wondrous cough and cold remedy; sip a tablespoon in a cup of hot water! Feel free to strain out the herbs if you wish. Happy Holidays!" 

My silly monkeys :) 



Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Herbal Simple Syrups: Easy, Delicious Gifts!

Yuletide is different for everyone. Some of us get excited and filled with joy at the many ways we can give, exchange, share, and create.

And some of us feel tired. Perhaps we have worked all year long and not gotten ahead yet, or perhaps we have a large family with all different personalities.

Perhaps we are stumped at what to offer our neighbors that would be lovely, personal, simple, yet not too freaky-deaky!

Herbal Syrups can provide a beautiful nature-connected gift that is simple, easy, versatile, and extremely cheap to make.

Yes, it has sugar. White sugar. So it's no good for those struggling with blood sugar issues. For them .... infuse the herbs into vinegar, oil, or butter ;)

Herbal Syrup

~ Start with a simple syrup in a non-reactive pot. A simple syrup is equal parts water and sugar. For proportion's sake, lets say we put 4 cups of water and 4 cups of sugar into the pot. 

~ Next, add your herbs! Don't worry about exact amounts, just use common sense. 

~ Add 1/2 - 1 cup of herb if it's really strong, like Nutmeg, Clove, Hot Pepper, or Garlic.

~ Add about 1-2 cups of herb if it's on the strong side, like Ginger root. 

~ Add about 3-4 cups of herb if it's a medium and palatable strength herb, like Pine Needles, Peppermint, Cinnamon, or Licorice.

~ Gently keep the syrup at medium heat (always keep under boiling) until you reach the desired strength of flavor. This may take 20-40 minutes depending on the plant you've chosen. 

~ Strain carefully (simple syrups can seriously burn) through a cheesecloth lined strainer into a large pyrex with a pour spout. 

~ Bottle into food-grade bottles and label as desired.
White Pine Needle Syrup

Citrus Fruits are also fun to experiment with. I'm doing Meyer lemons this week! Keep in mind the sugar ratio though - if your fruit is going to add a lot more water content, you'll want to match that with more sugar. Otherwise it will not have the same preserving capability and will grow mold.

Traditional syrups are still valuable. If you have Elder berries, they make a wonderful purple syrup with flu-fighting properties. Pine needle syrup is excellent for lung congestion, and Peppermint is festive and helpful after a big meal. Ginger syrup is one of my favorites, and usually is a by-product of making crystallized ginger. However the syrup is soooo wonderful and appreciated at the holidays that now I make it for gifts!

Floral syrups are also lovely. Roses, Lavender, Jasmine, or Bee Balm flower syrups are all a welcome drizzle on ice cream, cake, or in a dessert cordial. How romantic!

Blends: Play around! Orange and clove make a classic pairing. Roses and Cocoa bits are decadent together, and traditional Chai spices can be combined to impress your Barista friends. (Ginger, Black Tea, Cinnamon, Cardamom, Black Pepper, Clove, and a little Nutmeg)

Vanilla Bean is perhaps, the shining star of all things lovely in the kitchen, and makes the rounds as a welcomed gift for all tastes. Pair with homemade vanilla extract, of course.



Foraged Autumn Olives and Rose Hips, on their way to syrup together

This article was released for Poppy Swap! Where People and Herbs come together. Check it out! 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Acorn - Rosemary Johnnycakes, A Simple Delicacy

November brings a nice bumper crop of wild nettles. Which, in my house, gets to become one with homemade chicken soup. And to accompany the soup, what could be more appropriate for this season of nuts? Acorn Johnnycakes!

I can't take a whole lot of credit for these, however I will say that I am proud of helping to cultivate a wee bit of primitive skill and resourcefulness in my kiddos. My twelve year old son came up with these luscious and simple cracker-cakes. We were completely blown away by how delicious they were, with the richness of the acorn meal, the crispy fried outside, and the soft, warm inside. The crunchy texture of the yellowdock seeds adds another layer of interest and wild nutrition.

Acorn Rosemary Johnnycake Recipe: 

(Makes about 10-14 cakes)
  • 3 C Flour (of choice - whole wheat, almond, etc)
  • 1/2 C ground Acorn Four/Meal
  • 1/2 C Yellow Dock seeds, whizzed in a food processor
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • oregano and/or rosemary to taste (about 1/2 tsp)
  • 1 tsp, approx, of  Salt
  • 1 tsp approx, of baking soda

Add enough filtered or well water, or almond milk, to create a malleable dough, like play dough

Create thin patties, as though you were going for crackers. Fry them in a cast iron pan with a layer of unrefined coconut oil, on medium heat. Flip them once like you would a pancake. They will get toasty on the outsides and rise a little bit due to the baking soda. Sprinkle a pinch of salt on the tops just before removing them from the pan. 

Eat them warm! They are not so good once they have rested. But when they are warm ... ooohh la la so delicious! We ate them with big globs of goat cheese. m m m

Foraging friends ;)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Lady's Slipper Ring ~ Luxurious Herbal Self-Care Membership!

If you haven't had a chance to check out my Private Apothecary Membership - don't wait! Enrollment ends soon!

Amrita Apothecary Lady's Slipper Ring

EVERY month you get: Luscious herbal skin delights at your doorstep, rich and engaging support content replete with self-care practices, activities, suggested reading, a checklist, and a recipe.

Plus a personal email exchange every month too.

We're already nourishing ourselves with goodies and pleasure-filled action!

For all the Juicy Details CLICK HERE

I can't wait to send your treasures!!!



What women are already saying:

"I have just joined the ring and all I can say is WOW! I am excited and thrilled to be a part of this! Each month is packed full of simple, rewarding things to do to make you feel better about yourself and open yourself up to the true potential you really have. It's like a big hug delivered to your mailbox, followed by a gentle massage and a light, loving caress. Each month you'll receive suggestions and tasks to do that open up your mind and heart without being overwhelming. I'm already in love with this amazing journey of self worth and herbal love. If you are feeling a bit down, lost, misguided or burnt out, the Lady's Slipper Ring is perfect for you!" 

-Kristine Brown of Dancing in a Field of Tansy

"Women friends, i have something really important to share with you. my friend Ananda Wilson, a true goddess, is offering this amazing program, the Lady's Slipper Ring, that includes not only her phenomenal luscious herbal goods, but the most amazing, heartfelt, deep self care program- perfect for those of us who are busy, give a lot of ourselves, and need extra support and practical tools for giving ourselves the care we need and we DESERVE! I've signed up for my membership and already am astounded and moved and so thrilled by the materials provided and the luscious goodies already sent out. She only has a few more spots to join in!!!

You deserve this. Really. If need be, Skip your latte each day to find the extra $$ you need to make this happen for yourself. Tell the universe that you LOVE yourself, respect yourself and treat yourself like the goddess you are!" 

-Darcey Blue French of Blue Turtle Botanicals

WOMEN: When we step into our beauty, truth, and power, the world shifts. It's simple. Love yourself. Lady's Slipper Ring guides you gently and consistently with conscious, pleasure based healing with powerful results. 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Medicine Trees

Willow draping stories like waterfalls through the air

Chestnuts throwing daggers

Dripping perfume sap and resin

Broken limbs and torn ligaments

Ripped shoulders across the forest

Open, wounded, left

Littered medicine on neighbors lawns

Left for mulch and compost

Never taken for flu, tea, fire, scars

I scoop the drips from the branch

and dot it carefully on my daughter's incision

she says "thank you"

and I say "thank you"

to all the trees with giant scars

and take home the abandon medicine

for my chest.

Longing to create more meaningful nature practices? Called into the Forest to learn the Medicine of the Tree Nation?
Struggling to put into practice all those notions of Self-Care? Need real tools to help you put YOU first? Longing for a woman's voice to remind you how beautiful and powerful you are?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Eat Berries, Dig Roots, Hug Friends. Repeat.

 Chestnuts, sweet Chestnuts,
To pick up and eat,
Or keep until Winter,
When, hot, they're a treat!

 -Cicely Mary Barker

Eat Berries, Dig Roots, Hug Friends, Repeat.
(November 8, 2011 Newsletter)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Pleasure Medicine ~ Your Pipeline to Source

"Imagine a woman in love with her own body,
A woman who believes her body is enough, 
just as it is.
Who celebrates her body's rhythms and cycles as an
exquisite resource."

~Patricia Lynn Reilly~

Thursday, October 27, 2011


The last leaves of the Cottonwood

Hang on tightly, resisting the wind.

Cruel cold gusts push through the night

Stealing color and leaving mist in its wake

Roots take stock.

Maple leaves explode with beauty -

a plant that knows she works well with deadlines.

Flowers hide invisibly inside capsules of potential

luring animals to eat her flesh, so she may find

Loam to sleep under

for the winter

Until light and warm rain

Crack her heart open again.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Crock Pot Ginger Oil ~ Infusing fresh ginger root!

This particular recipe (which I first posted about six years ago) has made a celebratory buzz this week, including an appearance over at the Poppy Swap blog!  . So, I thought I'd give it it's own blog post for easy access and future reference.

Ginger oil is soooooooo yummy. It makes an excellent homemade gift for family, athletes, elders, cooks, and gardeners alike.





Thursday, September 29, 2011

Herbal Newsletters For You

Greetings Plant Lovers!

As many of you know I began releasing a weekly newsletter seven weeks ago. Since seven is my lucky number, ( I was born 7-7-75), I thought I'd take today to provide you with the links of the newsletters thus far. :) In order to not miss an issue, I invite you to sign up (in the right side bar) so you get yours delivered free right in your email box for your reading pleasure and herbal inspiration!

 (time sensitive newsletters not included)

In chronological order from least to most recent:

Honey Scented Summer Plants

Nourishing Herbal Milk Decoctions

Heart Healing

5 Herbal Power Tools for Fall 

The Revolutionary Act of Drinking (wild) Tea

Aromatic Herbs (and two easy recipes) 

October Apothecary (Pine Syrup!) and Enchanted Herbals

Crock Pot Ginger Oil

Roots and Seeds and You

Friday, September 16, 2011

Announcing: Plant Journeys Herbal Empower-Mentorship!

Today is a chance to let nature remind you that we are not separate. 

How will you take that chance? 


Dearest Readers, 

For the very first time in the herstory of my own plant journeys and teaching, I'm offering you a personal, long term commitment on this path.

**I'm SO deeply grateful** and excited to be able to bring to you this service and to help facilitate your relationship with nature and your own herbal journey.

Read on for the juicy details, and I'll see you on the other side of the wall of green! 
Enrollment Closed! Please sign up for my free newsletter to stay in touch about future offerings. 



Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Healing through the Heart ~ Recognition and Activation

I stand rooted in my power.

There is so much heart work happening in the world today. If I think too long about it, or dare to watch a piece of news, I am overcome with grief, anger, disbelief, and hopelessness. The disconnection between our human bodies and the experience of love in its endless expressions is a gaping wound of humanity. We lack connection to our creator; both our sense of an invisible spiritual creator as well as our very real source of life and nourishment, mother earth.

Love employs healthy patterns, choices, and boundaries.

Many of us feel this pain in both its aspects, and many of us are re-connecting to healing ways of the heart. There is nowhere left to go, really, but inward to find our divine centers and to create a way of being in the world that reflects a deep, compassionate source of love. The barbed wires and flames and whirlpools we encounter, must be greeted with respect and an acknowledgement of its powerful ability to strengthen our heart muscle.

Love is the root of all healing.

Understanding the magnitude of our heart’s ability to accurately guide us, we can lean toward our intuition as a partner on the journey instead of running away from perceived fear warnings. As we move closer to ourselves and our process of centering, grounding, and feeling, we create a type of resilient security that allows for more authentic love to become available again. Moving towards our emotions and our Selves can be tremendously scary, and monumentally liberating. Creating daily practices of self-care which cultivate strength and safety are of immense and lasting value.

I am open to beauty.
I am an expression of Nature’s beauty.
My body is a story of beauty.

I breathe in from the trees, the ocean, the wind, the sweet inspiration of fire. I breathe out that which I no longer need, that which does not serve me. I retain in my blood the innate wisdom of my body, my knowing heart, and my ancestors. I bid farewell to invasive, inauthentic advice towards me. I listen intently to my body: Heart, I am listening, speak. Limbs, I give gratitude for your hard and loyal work, thank you. Lungs, you speak my truths and you have my permission to sing. Back, spine, organs, you are my beautiful inner dance of stretching and rhythm and change, I feed you and I am listening. Blood, you are my waters and I give to you liquids; waters, teas, soups, and minerals, I float upon you. Womb, mystery of eternity and connection: I am here. I am listening.

Healing is the act of nourishing wholeness.


Herbal Blessings!

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Honorable Exchange ~ Relationship and Wildcrafting

If there's one strong imprint I came home from the Women's Herbal Conference with, it's a deeper commitment to my relationship with Nature.

As a wildcrafter, I'm very conscious of what I take, how I take it, and what I give back. I've always taught my students the factors in friendship that create honorable exchange. However I'm realizing, after some time spent in class with other wild plant tenders, that in this era, our giving back must be increased exponentially.

Karyn Sanders asks us: "What if all the herbalists gave back 7 times what they took. How would our world look in seven generations?"

And my mind exploded.

It's time to bring more than a ceremonial give-away when we harvest. Not that that isn't vital - it's that more than that is critical. Upon harvesting, I'll now be toting with me seeds, water, compost, rabbit droppings, and various items that not only feed the soil, but sow the healing seeds for the next century. I'll be encouraging the wild seeds to blow in the wind, bow towards the earth, swim in the river, or travel on the fur of a creature.... however their dispersal needs are met. I'll be watching more closely the communities, habitats, directions and neighbors of the plants, and their tribal habits for thriving. I'll be sensitive and active in meeting their needs, for they generously meet mine.

Herbalists: let us walk our talk. We are the medicine.

And the Elixir Winner Is.............


You have won yourself a free two ounce bottle of my Hawthorn Flower Elixir! Congratulations! It won runner up for best tincture.

Your elixir will ship out tomorrow morning. Thanks for playing!!


Tuesday, August 16, 2011


So last year I entered one elixir into the elixir bar contest at the Women's Herbal Conference. My Black Birch elixir. And to my sheer delight, it won! Well, the elixir category, anyway..... there are lots of categories and lots of winners :)

This year I'm entering six ... and YOU have a chance to win a TWO OUNCE bottle *with any order from my shop*. A handmade herbal worth over $25, for free! 

Here's HOW:

1) GUESS which one will win:
      Black Cherry Fruit, Peach Tree, Bee Balm, Honeysuckle, White Fir, or Hawthorn leaf & flower.  
     According to my children, these were the best ones to enter! 

2) ORDER your choice of Handcrafted Herbal Collections from my PoppySwap Shop between Today and 11:59pm of Thursday (8/16 - 8/18 2011) and write your guess in the note section of your order, or email me:
PlantJourneys AT gmail DOT com.

3) Cross your fingers! I will announce who guessed the winning elixir correctly on Monday, 8/22/11, and mail it with the collection ordered by Tuesday, the next morning, with no extra shipping charge.
(Don't worry, if you don't win, you still get a free yummy lip balm with every order!)

Good Luck!

Fine Print:

If I don't win at all, I will draw a winning name randomly.

If multiple people enter the correctly winning elixir, I will award up to two people the free elixir, chosen randomly by name drawing if more than two have entered correctly.

Play on!

Friday, August 12, 2011

August Remembers

August turns a corner. 

Nights pull up the covers a little sooner

Crawling into moonlit slumber

Sprinkling heavy dew across the land

kissing all her creature's cheeks goodnight. 

August remembers childhood trees 

that held secrets on the edge of the playground.

Cool early mornings collect hopes and old dreams

in her humid body 

and sweats them onto blades of grasses.

Full ripe fruits fall from limbs uneaten by birds

but devoured by soil.

Under the canopy of August 

A circus of greens and pollen

Reckless perfection spilling down the hills

Anointing the rocks 

Mating with potential.


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Heron Flower ~ Blue Vervain

August 1st shows towers of peaking blue wands. Tiny blossoms crown each flower spike like a parade of bride's maids. A wedding of water and earth perhaps; the swamp vervain takes spring's rain ponds and turns them to a masterpiece of wildflower magic. 

 Walking carefully through the lumps of sedge and mud, I'm slow - in case I get to watch the frogs. Mostly they hear me first and leap into the rivulets before I can see them close up. But their little "plop" makes me smile, and I've come mostly for the flowers anyway. The loosetrife is showy and narcissistic as usual. The boneset is just starting to open her sultry, creamy white blossoms. Goldenrod is pluming anew and sweetly collecting bees. The vervain is perfect.

Verbena hastata (Swamp Vervain, Blue Vervain) grows readily in wet areas, and those who know me know that I call her the Heron Flower; as she grows where the great blue herons wade. She keeps good company with boneset, alder, skullcap, water mint, and bugleweed.

While some experience vervain as dizzying, nauseating, or can't take more than one or two drops of tincture, I find that only happened to me when I chewed up (and swallowed) a whole leaf. Aside from that one little doozy of an afternoon, vervain has proven herself time and time again as one of the best tension dissolving plants I know.

She's a fiercely bitter plant, it's true. Not much is needed. 5 drops or so to start will do - in a little water please. She'll send her magic right down to the root of tension headaches, muscle spasms, stomach knots from stress, and in general just get you "out of your head". For those who get neck pain/tension so bad they can't turn their head, vervain is a valued ally. I find vervain incredibly helpful for when I'm trying to sleep but my mind is spinning with ideas. I make a list, take some vervain, maybe a little skullcap, and try again.

Vervain is helpful in relieving nerve tension. I've been using it a lot lately in my regimen to heal my badly pinched sciatic nerve.

Flues and fevers also move through more readily when assisted by warm/hot vervain tea. Nope, it doesn't taste great, but it's an excellent anti-viral and seems to have a talent for relaxing systems and body parts that are gripping tightly and won't let go. It keeps one calm and steady while wading in the waters of life, just like Heron.

Vervain shows some history of use on venomous bites; used to allay poisons and purify the blood. As such a strong bitter, it is effective against stomach parasites and proves a superb digestive aid.

As a fresh poultice, vervain can cleanse wounds and stimulate healing quickly, therefore a good plant to know while camping or hiking. I wouldn't hesitate to use it as a cool fomentation after a long day in the sun. As an astringent, it can help alleviate inflammation and itching from various ails of outdoor adventures.

Of course she is a fairy flower too.... in countless texts is stated to charm the home and family with health, protection, and enchantment. Spells to cross into the land of Fae are made using vervain - and on the other hand has also been sewn into babies clothing to protect it from fairy abduction. Either way you see it, she's a flower of presence; the truthful moment between past and future, between summer and winter, between letting go and moving on. A deep breath of now.

For a Midsummer ceremony, use fresh or dried vervain to cast your sacred circle; sprinkling along the circumference of your space. Place a bundle of vervain on your altar to honor the magic in everyday life. Tuck a sprig into your medicine pouch for visioning or meditation. A small posy in your oracle bag will protect and purify your cards or runes.

Tincture for medicine is simple to make; a jar full of blossoms and leaves, covered with approximately 70% grain alcohol and 30% pure water. Let steep for 4-6 weeks.

Vervain magic tiptoed her way into my herbals this week..... a magical ingredient in my Incantation Collection; a ceremonial herbal set;  soon to be listed on Poppyswap. Keep your fairy eyes peeled ;) 

Heron Flower tall and graceful
Crowned with flowers fancy
Cast aside the dark or doomful 
Guard our wellness pantry

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sciatica: Top Ten Natural Ways to Ease the (Horrible!) Pain

Greetings friends!

This past week I've been in training: an experiential intensive on Sciatic nerve pinching, otherwise known as Sciatica.

It all started on a day that consisted of seven hours of continuous driving. Three days later, another six hours of driving.

But truth be told, it started before that. It's a spot that, muscularly, has given me a history of irritations. As a former dancer, my piriformis muscle has seen better days. Problem is, I'm an overly busy (stubborn?) mother of two with more important things to worry about than a nagging pain in my butt.

Until I came home from my hours of driving, that is, when the pain skyrocketed to new and unknown heights. Tears shed down my face without permission, and I relegated myself to the yoga mat with slim hopes of stretch and release.

I got through one night. The next night was spent pacing in the dark, wincing with agony, trying desperately to find some position I could lie in to sleep, even if it meant the hard floor. My search was fruitless.

The next seven days I spent in bed, barely able to move, waited on by my family, and digging deep for the healing gifts.

Chances are if you're reading this you aren't so much interested in the details of the week, but are scrolling down to find the remedies you might find some relief in for yourself. This is in no way meant to replace professional help - please see someone who you trust. I'm simply sharing the natural remedies that are assisting me.


**Reduce Inflammation (& relieve pain)
**Release Muscle Spasm
**Balance Body Structures & Systems

1. ICE

Please ice. Two large ice packs, placed one on the buttocks area and one across the front hip area. Sports medicine recommends icing for 20 minutes, followed by heat, every two hours.


Heat applied after icing in the form of a heating pad or (if you can get there) a very hot bath for 20 minutes. This alternating of temperatures increases circulation and opens energy channels in the body which greatly assist the healing process. If you have someone in the house who can simmer you up a pot of bath herbs, by all means!
Herbs to use would include Alder, Willow, Yarrow, Rue, Birch, Lemon Balm, Chamomile, and any other of your favorite anti-inflammatory plant.
1-2 cups of Epsom salts added to your hot bath will also help. Feel free to stir in a few drops of essential oils (listed later in this article)


Anti-inflammatory herbs and herbs specific to the nerves can help a great deal. You will need to determine your dose based on your sensitivity to herbal tinctures, what medications you might be on and whether it is safe for you to combine them, and your body weight as a general guide.
Personally, I need a higher dose of herbal tinctures when experiencing an acute physical ailment. Doses that would never be listed on a bottle. You may be more sensitive and require much less. Any of these herbs can also be applied topically.

Tinctures/Extract/Elixir form Herbals:

Willow - Salix alba, allied spp. -This classic anti-inflammatory pain reliever doesn't taste so good (but who cares when something hurts, really) and can be a wonderful ally. 

Black Birch - Betula lenta -This acts similar to willow but is delicious and can settle the stomach as well.

Wild Lettuce - Lactuca virosa, allied spp. -This extract varies for folks. For me it is helpful in settling pain. For some, it is very sedative and can induce sleep. This is generally a smaller dose herbal.

Skullcap - Scutellaria lateriflora, allied spp. -This classic herb deserves note in anything mentioning nerves. It's a gentle, effective herb which feels like an internal calm. It's natural habitat is along riverbanks, nestled into sweet spots of tranquil shade and water. I love skullcap when my physical body is acting up in response to emotional stress, anxiety or overwhelm. Those who suffer from insomnia can be greatly helped by Skullcap.

St. Johnswort - Hypericum perforatum St. Johnswort is specific to nerve restoration and has remarkable pain relieving qualities. it is also available in homeopathic preparations. Use internally and externally in generous and frequent amounts.  

Mullein Root - Verbascum thapsus - Lucky for me I had actually made some a few years ago! The following uses I learned about from my herbal friends Darcey Blue, Kiva Rose, and Jim McDonald. It can be used specifically for sciatica, as well as for structural maladies like when your "back is out" or something feels "tweaked" and is causing pain or spasm. I have been using this in 5 drop doses, about 3x day.

Rue - Ruta graveolens - Rue is listed in homeopathy as a specific remedy for sciatica. Although it is general understanding that homeopathic remedies and herbal preparations do not behave the same way when taken, I personally feel deeply connected to the preparations I have made and prefer to take them instead, simply adjusting the dose (usually lower) as needed. My Rue tincture is made from a plant I acquired some years ago at the Women's Herbal Conference and have tended since. If you are good at muscle testing or with a pendulum, you might find your correct dose that way. I am taking 3 drops 2x day. 


It HELPS, I promise. Make an appointment and go. Have someone drive you and carry you if necessary. Especially if your acupuncturist also uses Moxa and herbal remedies. Accupucture 


If you're in a situation similar to mine, stretching will be out of the question. Massage can offer some immediate comfort as well as assist the muscles out of spasm. Deep tissue massage or localized deep pressure massage has proved most effective for me. A friend or partner with a steady elbow or strong thumbs are the best. It's likely you will know exactly where you want the pressure. Once a day after the hot bath is ideal, as more than that will perpetuate the superficial bruising that is likely. 

Massage and acupuncture will also assist in restoring the numbness or "lame" feeling you likely have in your toes and/or leg. 

If you have another form of massage that is your favorite, by all means try it! What I'm finding is that I must take the "all of the above" mode of healing in order to address this. No one remedy is enough on its own. 


Frequent applications of nerve healing, anti-inflammatory, and muscle relaxing herbal infused oils provide additional help. 
I started out the week by using my pain killer salve. It provided some help, but upon the advice of the Acupuncturist, I switched to using straight St. Johnswort infused oil, to which I added a little bit of Roman Chamomile essential oil. The difference seems to be that the pain killer salve directs itself primarily to muscle tissue and is more warming in nature, while the concentrated St. Johnswort oil directs itself primarily to the nerves and is more cooling in nature. 

Herbal infused oils are wondrous preparations that can be made at home by steeping herbs in a carrier oil for 4-6 weeks, and easy to acquire from home herbalists online. Or perhaps you are lucky and have a nearby apothecary. A few herbal infused oils in addition to St. Johnswort that are helpful are:

Chamomile, Birch, Mint, Brahmi (Gotu Kola), Lavender, Clary Sage, Goldenrod, and Yarrow. 

Essential oils as most of you know are different than infused oils. They are the pure volatile oil of the plant obtained (most often) through a distillation process. They are *highly* concentrated and require attention and care when utilizing. The safety and quantity of application varies widely from plant to plant. Essential oils are meant for external use, and can be diluted appropriately by adding a few drops to your chosen herbal infused oil. 

Chamomile e.o. (in this case I'm using Roman Chamomile, not the German blue) is highly anti-inflammatory and incredibly soothing to the whole body and spirit. 

Clary Sage e.o. is known for it's pain relieving ability and is often used in the case of severe injury, muscle spasms, and debilitating PMS. 

Lavender e.o. Many people find Lavender to bring them "home". It's comforting, healing, and widely used to help restore homeostasis and heal on'es spirit. 

Peppermint e.o. Cooling peppermint can aid in bringing swelling down and will increase circulation without increasing heat. Peppermint is also good at breaking up stagnant areas of the body, creating movement and energy flow in stuck spots. 

Liniments (herbal extracts in alcohol, vinegar, or glycerin meant for topical use) can also be used. I would recommend the same set of herbs as above, however here we can add Arnica - the quintessential bringer of circulation, famed for it's ability to speed the healing of bruises, sprains, contusions where no skin is broken, and various injuries to muscle and bone. Arnica liniment can be applied generously, as well as bathed in if you have the bulk herb, and is also a valuable homeopathic remedy


Extra sleep is needed to restore the balance of the body in all ways. The muscles have a chance to relax, the nerves have chance to rebuild, the temperatures in the body have an opportunity to balance and perform their optimal roles. Dark rooms with no artificial light provide the body with the purest of sleep. 


My husband banned me from coffee for a good 5 days. Although it wasn't too bad, for I needed to replenish the waters and internal lubrication of my body, so I complied. 

WATER is awesome, INFUSIONS even better. In the case of sciatica, our goal is to hydrate, reduce inflammation, and nourish the nerves. Here are some delicious nourishing herbs that are specific to these purposes:

Linden flower/leafTilia spp - Yum! This slippery flowery goodness is a gourmet treat for the nerves. About any plant in the Malvaceae family will offer the same benefits; marshmallow, hibiscus, okra, rose of sharon.

Milky Oat topsAvena sativa - Oats, especially the milky oat tops, are exceptional at restoring nerves. 

Lemon Balm - Melissa officinalis - A strongly aromatic herb, you may want to halve the quantity for an herbal infusion, or simply enjoy frequent cups of tisane (aromatic tea steeped only for a few minutes, like a tea bag). Lemon balm settles anxiety and is wonderfully balancing to the nervous system. 

Licorice rootGlycyrrhiza glabra - is sweet and settling. It helps restore the integrity of mucous membranes in the intestines, and can help alleviate pain and swelling. It is nutritive and only a small amount is needed in an infusion; about 1 tablespoon to a quart. 

OILS are integral to nerves. A fat deprived body is a body whose nerves are starving.  Foods that contain high quality fats and are nutrient dense should be included daily, such as salmon, sardines,  grass fed butter, organic bacon fat, coconut oil, avocados, whole eggs, grass fed organic cheeses, olives, and grass fed organic organ meats once a week. Bone broth from grass fed animal bones and miso are also highly effective components of a nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory diet. For further guidance on real foods, see the Weston A Price foundation


Deep belly breathing brings oxygen to every cell in the body, and exports what is no longer needed. Breathing deeply is a simple and powerful tool, allowing you to initiate healing without moving, without help, and without costing you a penny. Using your minds-eye, you can also direct you breath into afflicted areas for localized healing. 


Beyond the practical, lies the secret you. Checking in with your thoughts and present internalized stressors can reveal areas of panic, fear, or tension which may need to be mentally or emotionally freed. Maybe this is a little esoteric, but who cares when you're flat on your back in agony! There's no side effects here. Release can be assisted by breathing, chanting or mantra, affirmations, self-dialogue, self-love practices, loud moaning, or journaling. 

Louise Hay on Sciatica: "Probable Cause: Being hypocrytical. Fear of money and of future. New thought pattern: I move into my greater good. My good is everywhere, and I am secure and safe." 

And lastly......... a note on OTC's (Aleve, Advil, Tylenol, etc.). This is up to you. Use prudently, care for yourself well, and keep a dialogue going with your health care professional. Some folks react differently to each kind, and require different quantities. I can't give any advice on this (I'm a plant person!) but I'll say that if the pain compares to giving birth (as mine did) - do what you need to do. I can count on one hand the times I've needed to take an OTC anti-inflammatory, and unfortunately this past week is one of those. In fact, I may never know if it even made a difference, but I'm happier to keep the focus with my plant allies and absorb the healing wisdom my body is offering my during this journey. 

Today is day 8. I've been measuring my pain level from the start (which I named a 10), and my steady pace towards healing has shown about one number lower per day, with little dips up and down. I'm hovering between a 4 and 3 today, with little signs of a 2 and rare moments of 5. Walking is difficult; my leg feels lame and I don't have 100% muscle control (similar to how the experience of walking when your leg is asleep feels). Pain is aggravated when sitting in a chair, and better when applying any of the above therapies. I've kept my spirits up for the most part which I have to believe helps. In a couple days, I might be able to entertain the idea of stretching the muscles involved, and as a former dancer I have a plethora of stretches to choose from. You can use yoga resources for poses that help the hips, sacrum, and buttocks release. 

Yet most healing of all to my spirit, to no surprise, is hobbling my wobbly self out into the sunshine to feel the grass on my toes, bury my face in my monarda flowers, and suck in the gift of sun rays. 


Feel free to share what works for you in the comments <3. Re-post freely, in article's entirety please.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Surrender to the Roots (and grow anew)

She lay her troubled breath at the feet of the towering tree

Surrendering to the roots' thirst she releases her tears

Pouring over into the clay she spills her lost hope

letting her bones melt into the cups of mother earth

her flesh becomes dirt

her blood becomes water

her hardened pain becomes crystal

Turning in time all the mothers before her

listen, and let go

an avalanche of old wounds

and as they fell they carved spectacular

sculptures in the mountainside

transforming history into magnificence.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Storefront Launch at PoppySwap!

Come visit my store at PoppySwap where you will find my limited edition handcrafted collections of seasonal potions, elixirs, aroma-wear, and unguents. A little incarnation of my woodland wanderings and imagination combined with over 15 years of wildcrafting and making herbals.

Blessings and Gratitude,


*please forward freely, including all text and links shown here. <3 thank you <3