Sunday, August 28, 2011

People's Medicine--The Smashed Toe Compress...

So less than a week after my Poultice and Fomentation class I managed to smash my toe into the door frame, requiring a fomentation for myself. I thought I broke it. The pain was awful. So what does the herbwyfe do when she smashes her toe? Well, I'll tell you, though those of you who have been coming to the Herbal Home Health Series class probably know what to do by now.

First, I took some arnica tablets, then I made myself a nice compress of straight bruise and trauma oil, which I had made earlier this year and stored in the pantry. This is olive oil infused with arnica, yarrow, st. john's wort and chamomile. These herbs help to reduce swelling and bruising, decrease pain and speed healing. My toe was too tender to wrap it individually, so put the compress around the three outer sides and then bandaged it. Halfway through the day I replaced the compress with a fresh one, then changed it again before bed and left it on for the night.

By the next day it was feeling much better, though still very sore. The interesting thing is that the only area with bruising was the inside, where the compress was not touching the skin. This time I wrapped the toe all the way around with the oil compress. By the end of the second day the bruise was quickly disappearing and the toe feeling a lot better. Homegrown/homemade medicine and age old healing technique to the rescue!

(Lucinda, over at Whispering Earth, has a wonderful post about poultices and compress. )

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Children's Herbal Storytelling Canceled

Due to the expected hurricane on Sunday, I am canceling the Children's Herbal Storytelling Hour. I'll post soon about possibly rescheduling this event. I hope everyone stays safe this weekend.


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Roadside Weed Walk

An evening walk with my boys.
We look at the big sky, the birds and bugs, the trees and fields...
and all the wild plants growing on the roadside.

Like toadflax,

queen anne's lace,

new york iron weed (purple), cardinal flower (red), and jewelweed  (orange),

indian mallow,

joe pye weed,

and bouncing bet (or soapwort).

So much to see along the roadside, just a short walk from our door.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Two More Herbal Events This Season!

Although it's been a great season for sharing about the herbs around here, it's been a very dry season for the herbs themselves in my garden. The lack of vibrancy that comes from a happy and well watered plant community is visibly lacking this year as all the plants seem to be waiting for some good regular watering from above. I do my best with the hose to keep my newly planted and non-local plants going, but it really is no comparison to a good shower, and the plants know it. My elderberries seem to be dropping before they fully ripen. Fortunately, the native and wild herbs are among the most hardy of plants, and will not only be fine, but often act as if nothing is out of the ordinary at all (I don't hear the dock complaining).

Time moves on in the garden and with the ripening of the black walnuts I am reminded that fall will soon be here. Fall is a whole new season for gathering the medicinal herbs. Some folks from the herbal home health series classes have asked me to add a class on roots. I love the idea, but I just can't see how to fit a whole new class into this season. However, I am adding a Fall Herb Walk, in which we will look at what is best to gather in the fall of the year, and hey, maybe we'll even dig up a couple roots. See below for details.

I've also been asked to do a children's class. I love this idea, and really enjoy sharing the plants with the children. I don't have time to do anything in depth this year, but I am adding a storytelling hour for the end of August. If there is an interest in deeper exploration of the useful plants, I may offer either an herbal children's series or an herbal camp for children next season. Please let me know what you want to see offered. My goal for these classes is make the herbs accessible in your lives so you can benefit from their many gifts. Opening the door to the world of the healing plants is a magical experience, and one that changes your life forever. I love to offer the key to that door to those curious about what is on the other side.

Children's Herbal Storytelling Hour
An hour of storytelling in the garden for young people interested in the wild plants growing in their back yards. We will meet a handful of the most common weeds, hear the stories about them from different times and cultures, and learn a few of their uses.
Cost: $5 per child
Sunday, August 28 from 10 to 11 am
This is a gentle and fun introduction to the herbs for children
*Parents are welcome to attend the storytelling, or relax in the shade for an hour. 
(hey, bring your knitting!)

Fall Herb Walk
You may be putting the garden to sleep, but it's still harvesting season for many herbs. Roots, barks and seeds are best harvested in the fall of the year. We'll look at some wild herb folks are likely to find growing around their yard, as well as a few medicinal plants from the herb garden. As always, interested young people are welcome to attend.
Cost: $10 for adults, $5 for young people
Sunday, October 2nd from 10 to 12 am
Please wear boots if you have them, as we may be walking in wet areas.

All classes will be in my garden in Cochranville, Pa
To register for these events, please e-mail me at