Friday, January 11, 2013

Winter Medicine

During the chill of winter I tend not to write much in this space and I think that is for several reasons. In  the cold months when the garden is sleeping I tend to withdraw a bit too, pulling in my energy and turning inward for a time of reflection and then planning for the next season. I also find much of my inspiration for these posts from the living plants themselves, so when I'm not working with them I don't often think to share something here. But the plants are still very much a part of my life in the winter months. I have my store of dried herbs from the summer, as well as homemade elixirs, tinctures, oils, salves and other medicine to draw upon. Inevitably I will find that I should harvested more of this or that, but I am always grateful for the time I did take to gather and preserve during the growing season.

Daily I make my teas and nourishing infusions with these stores. I am in constant need of a mug of something hot in my hands in wintertime, and so if I don't make these lovely herbal teas I run the risk of consuming too much black tea (especially earl grey, yum!). Right now my daily infusion is a formula containing gotu kola, alfalfa, skullcap, wood betony and spearmint. This is a calming, nourishing blend that is a nervous system tonic. Gotu kola especially is an incredible plant for preventing stress and fatigue, reducing anxiety, improving memory, and increasing circulation. All good stuff. 

Also this winter, I am having a lot of fun creating yummy syrups and elixirs for the folks who signed up for the sweet medicine shares. Simmering down the syrups for hours, watching the plant particles swirling around, is a beautiful process. 

The elixirs take longer to make (six weeks), and daily I am shaking the jars to get everything moving around in there. When they are finally ready to be strained and bottled it is always exciting to see and smell and taste when the combination of herbs, alcohol, honey, time and energy has transformed into.

Then it's bottling and labeling and getting the medicine out to folks. Thanks to all those who signed up for this winter's sweet medicine share. You are keeping me busy, creative, and working with the healing plants, which is exactly where I want to be. 

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