Posts Tagged ‘Alternative medicine’

Jasper, Turquoise and Sugilite...


While waiting patiently (not really a word to describe my demeanor) for my Vinegars and Tinctures to brew and my recently harvested Yarrow and Motherwort to dry, I decided to Get Crafty! So I broke out all my dusty jewelry making supplies that have been packed up for three or so years and dug around until I found my Healing stones (that I purchased with the intent to one day make something out of). The result of my toiling with wire and beads until 4 a.m will soon be featured on RavenOakMedicinals.Etsy.com. Now I know I normally only craft herbal remedies for healing but that doesn’t mean that herbs are the only way to longevity! Semi precious stones have been used for thousands of years to lend courage, incite love, increase the awareness of the unknown and, of course, to heal ailments! Though little studied in today’s modern medicine (most likely because learned individuals believe it’s a crock of B.S.), I think that stones may actually hold certain useful properties…for example, I have seen Turquoise, worn close to the throat, lend the courage for a woman to speak about sensitive issues to her husband. Whether this incidence is a strange force within the stone working positively on the human body, or simply a placebo effect, I am not qualified to say, but the point is that that woman was able to resolve a possibly explosive issue without anger or potential violence. Amazonite is said to lend the courage and confidence of an Amazon Warrior Woman…though probably because the wearer looks (and therefor feels) great wearing it!


Flame Jasper...

As to the bodily healing properties of stones; Red Jasper is said to shield the wearer from environmental pollutants, radiation and electromagnetic pollution. Turquoise not only shields the person, but also cleanses the body of such toxins! If this has even the least bit of truth, imagine the opportunities available to medical professionals! Such amazing claims deserve further study. Many Such stone and crystal healing techniques usually involve placing  the stone or even water that has had that stone soaking in it,  directly on the affected area. One example is black onyx, usually used to heal infected wounds or fungal infections;  Soak a large black onyx stone (or a handful of smaller ones) overnight, than used the ‘infused’ water to either make a compress or gently pat the affected area.


Black onyx beads with Large Agate bead in center...

I have never personally had experience with using stones to heal the body, but when  conventional medicine fails to work (like so many times before), I feel that Anything is worth a try to prevent so much suffering.
Now for the second part of this post…I now have a Twitter account! This means more Farmin’ updates, herbal tips, Wild living excerpts and a deal or two for RavenOak Medicinals customers! This is actually very good news for me, because as we all know, I don’t have Internet at the Farm. So, any blog posts or shop listings have to be written at home and saved until I find free WiFi. However, I have twitter on my phone now, so any exciting or interesting info can be conveyed before I forget! You can find me at @WileWife on Twitter’s site or just glance over at the Twitter feed at the right of the page!


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I must sincerely apologize for the complete lack of my normal Saturday post! The end of the week proved to hail a whirlwind of activity and the blessing of the company of old friends. To be quite honest, I must admit that on Friday evening I stayed up until about 6:30 in the A.M, I really felt like I was in High School again! Then Sunday showed my home full of the laughter of both children and men (you know they act like kids most days anyway;) and my new stove got broken in in a most appropriate way for a homestead…two whole batches of cookies!-all of which were consumed within the hour:)

But now I shall make up for it with this collection of wild medicinal (and of course edible!) plants, all of which can be found growing throughout the wilds of Georgia and I’m sure most of the southeast! I also had the pleasure of taking a wild weed walk in my mom’s Secret Gardens, so these pictures are a culmination of both her homestead and mine. So once again, won’t you join me on the farm, and in my mother’s gardens as we walk with heads pointed down to the ground exploring the bounty of our lawns!

The first in the series is common in most areas of the country in one form or another- Chickweed! This diminutive plant is both edible and medicinal in nature; having the properties to Treat coughs, hoarseness, constipation, kidney related disorders, and is now revealing itself as an effective antihistamine! With a whole host of vitamins and minerals including Ascorbic-acid, Beta-carotene, Calcium, Coumarins, Genistein, Gamma-linolenic-acid, Flavonoids, Hentriacontanol, Magnesium, Niacin, Oleic-acid, Potassium, Riboflavin, Rutin, Selenium, Triterpenoid saponins, Thiamin, and Zinc, this plant is a treasure waiting to be discovered!

























One easy way to identify chickweed is the tiny star shaped flowers, which upon closer inspection reveals instead of ten petals, five deeply cleft petals. It also has a line of hair running along a creeping purplish green stem, this particular variety is called mouse-eared chickweed, and is fuzzier than the variety shown above.


















This beautiful weed is called Ground Ivy, it makes a lush green ground cover and grows in areas grass doesn't like...but be careful, it's related to the mint family and tends to take over! Thankfully, it's medicinal and edible so it adds greatly to the useful lawn. It makes an excellent spring tonic, aiding in relieving congestion and inflammation of mucous membranes associated with colds, flu, and sinusitis, stimulating the appetite, treating allergies, digestive disorders, gastritis, acid indigestion, and diarrhea. These are just a few of it's many benefits. It is also an appetizing salad and soup green adding a great host of nutrients to the meal!






















Since it is a member of the mint family, it's stem is square, hairy and creeps along the ground forming a mat, it's leaves are heart shaped and scalloped. The leaves, stems and flowers can be harvested year round, since it is a perennial.
















Do not, under any circumstances, confuse ground ivy with this plant! This is called Delphinium and is very poisonous!some distinct differences include the serrated leaves, rather than lobed, and the more compact nature of the entire plant instead of the creeping nature of Ground Ivy. Remember, always properly identify before you even touch a plant, let alone harvest it!


















Despite appearances, no this is not a strawberry leaf! This ancient plant is called cinquefoil, otherwise known as Five Finger Grass. Purely medicinal in nature (I tried a leaf and neither the texture nor taste is appetizing in the least, so, though you could probably eat it as a salad green...well, let's just say I told ya so 😉 It's medicinal uses include treating Diarrhea, Menstrual Cramps, Mouth Inflammation, PMS, Sore throat and used as an astringent skin wash. In the old days, this herb was almost considered a 'cure all', it's scientific name; 'Potentilla' can attest to that...see 'Potent' in its very Latin origins!





















A close-up of this precious groundcover, notice the five serrated leaves on a single axis.











Hmmmm....is this one of those 'what is this' closeup pictures you sometimes find in the back of a magazine? Nope! This is a most amazing resin from a very common plant...the Pine! Members of the Pine Family grow almost everywhere in America and most, if not all, are medicinally interchangeable to varying degrees of success. The Native Americans used this as a very valuable food supply in the winter when fresh vegetables were scarce. Because of it's very high vitamin C content, it's very useful in treating scurvy; the severe vitamin C deficiency commonly found in malnourished countries.





















Another amazing quality of Pine sap (and pine needles) is it's ability to treat just about any form of influenza, and though I've not come across a case, I'm almost certain even the bird or swine flu could not stand up to this resin's healing properties! More research is defiantly required in this area and if you come across any vases I would be delighted if you shared! On another note, pine sap also makes an amazing healing and drawing poultice for splinters, glass, spider bites and other small wounds. There are a great many old-timey pine sap slave recipes out there so I'll not take up more space with another one, simply know the knowledge is there for the taking!





















I was overjoyed to recently learn (from my brilliant mom:), that this curious looking wild plant I've been wondering about for over a year now is actually the ancient healer Fumitory! This beautiful little plant has been used in medicine for thousands of years and just it's name brings images of monastery cottage gardens, ancient monks tending the healing plants in times such as King Arthur and Robin Hood lived! Many times I'm sure the smoke of this plant has graced the halls of catholic churches and has even been used to purify sick rooms and quarantine areas!




















Internally, Fumitory is useful as a digestive tonic, treating gall bladder and Liver conditions, along with Being gently laxative and sedative in it's nature. Externally, it has been used to treat skin conditions such as rash, eczema, and other inflamations.














Thanks so much for joining me once again as we explore the bounty nature has provided for us! Last weeks it was a salad, this week a healing potion…all from plants freely given to better our bodies and minds! Ahhhhh…..I love Spring!:)

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Sometimes I just amaze myself with how dense I can be!  Today, While working on my fresh garlic vinegar, smashing the cloves with the back of a knife, the pungent scent permeating my kitchen, I frustratingly tried to figure out what I could possibly write a post about! My thoughts sounded something like this…’We haven’t worked at all on the garden, the radishes are sprouting but that’s not news to anyone, radishes sprout all the time after all, I pruned the peach trees, but I’m no expert and I can guarantee no one will want to take my advice on that ( unless they like deformed fruit trees;),…mmmmm….this garlic smells great,I think I’ll make spaghetti for dinner tonight….mmmmm…spaghetti….Wait!’ and then I slapped my  head with my garlic juice soaked hand and thought, ‘Hmmm how about I just write about this great harvest of garlic (dummy!:)’ so here it is:

How to make medicinal grade Garlic Vinegar:

First a little bit about the medicinal value of Garlic. As everyone knows, garlic is heart healthy, but what does that really mean? Well aside from being a great cancer preventative, and we all need that, garlic actually helps to dissolve all that bad cholesterol and build up all that good cholesterol ( it’s called HDL and LDL cholesterol but I can’t for the life of me remember which one is bad and which is good, but all that really matters is that bad goes away and good stays!). Aside from the cholesterol, garlic will also strengthen the heart muscle and lower blood pressure along with being a natural antibiotic and all around disease preventative! If you combine garlic with vinegar you get added bone building properties and a generous supply of trace minerals. Plus it’s just plain tastes great!! What I made today is actually what’s called an aceteous tincture, a medicinal strength vinegar extract, but since I prefer to use my mixtures in my Dinner were just going to call it Garlic Vinegar. 
About eight to ten heads of Garlic
Apple cider vinegar
Quart jar (mason jar)
Plastic wrap
A garlic clove crusher of some sort, I use the back of a knife, but your hand starts to hurt after about the sixth head of garlic, so invest in one of those squeeze type mincer thingamagigs.

Make sure your jar is clean and dry. Crush the cloves of garlic and place them, skin and all into the jar until you have the jar filled up about three quarters of the way full. Now fill it up all the way with apple cider vinegar. Since the vinegar will degrade your normal metal canning lid, you’ll want to make a plastic covering. I like to cut a circle the same size as the lid out of milk jugs and place it on the mouth of the jar, then screw the ring down tight. You can, however, just use plastic wrap over the mouth held on by either the metal ring or a rubber band. Shake the mixture up and stick it in a cool dark place, shaking everyday, for about six weeks. When the six week mark is up, (don’t worry if it sits there for more than six weeks, we all forget sometimes:) strain the whole mixture with cheese cloth into another clean dry jar and let that sit over night. Just toss the leftovers in the compost. The next day you should have a pretty bottle ready, maybe with a cork to close it. You’ll notice a sludge like substance at the bottom of the vinegar, you’ll want to strain that off, I like to use coffee filters for this process. Pour your vinegar through your coffee filter into your pretty bottle (obviously a funnel would be handy here!) but stop just before the sludge starts to come out. Now go ahead and breath in the wonderful smell of your new vinegar! Disgard the yucky stuff at the bottom of your jar into the compost, don’t worry, it’s just more garlic debris, my worms seem to love it! 

Now that you have some wonderfully good for you, great tasting garlic vinegar, make some spaghetti (like I’m eating now!) and right before you take the sauce off the heat, pour in about a table spoonful of the vinegar. Remember, You don’t want it to heat up too much or you’ll lose a lot of health benefits! Now all of that great Garlicky goodness will be dissolving all of the bad cholesterol from that big spoonful of butter you put into the noodles! 
Mmmmm….time to finish my supper!


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