As I begin typing out this piece, I sit and reflect on my surroundings. It’s the beginning of March and Spring Equinox is so close that you can taste the greenery popping up and out of the ground. This is my time! It can be yours too if inspiration and interest should overcome you!
Preparations for the foraging season that lies before me, before us! I’m so ready! Are you?
Note: This article appeared first in March 2017's newsletter for Spiritual Niagara . Click the hyperlink and join the mailing list!
I have to let you know a few things before I go any further. I am an almost 42 woman, wife and mother of 2 with no formal education in herbology. I am self-taught. Circumstances and life have lead me here to the Natural side of healing our bodies. I come from a family that was ravaged by Pharmacia and it is my desire and to be honest, passion, to not lean on such institutions unless they are absolutely needed. In our lives, unless something is broken or needs a stitch two, we’re quite capable of healing ourselves and it is my hope that in writing this column, others will be inspired to do the same. My thoughts for what I’ll be sharing are for those reading to gain knowledge that they can expand on individually, fact check and learn more from. I will share my lists of books and articles so that no one is relying on my word and experience alone. We have ample resources available for us to all be self-taught in the art of healing ourselves.
Right now we’re looking forward to dandelion season. I’ll be using the brilliant yellow petals for a skin and lip balm that I make and the fresh dug Spring roots will be used for tinctures and teas. The flowers are also said to be used as an appetite stimulant when a tea is made and sipped on. Dandelion flowers have antioxidant properties that can be used both internally and externally which is why they tend to make a lovely tea and skin balm.
Still, dandelions are in season just yet. I promise tpo come back to this beautiful bountiful healer in April. Is there anything growing presently that we should be watchful for?
Yes! Snowdrops! Keep an eye out so you’ll know where to dig up bulbs come late Spring.
Snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis)
Used Parts: Bulbs
Substances: Galantamin, Lycorin
Time to collect: Spring
This small, white flower blooms in the late winter.
Traditional uses: Rub-on treatment for headaches, painkiller and poison antidote.
Modern uses: Reminyl, one of the main type of drugs used to treat mild to moderate dementia, is derived from galantamine, a compound found in snowdrop bulbs.
It helps increase levels of acetylcholine, a brain chemical involved in the transmission of messages from nerve cells.
Alzheimer’s is associated with a drop in acetylcholine levels — galantamine stops or delays the decline, helping to maintain memory.
‘Galantamine was originally tested for use in conditions such as eye, gastric and heart disorders.
'It wasn’t until the Eighties that it was explored for potential benefits in dementia,’ says Dr Melanie-Jayne Howes of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2266091/Dementia-Snowdrops-fight-condition-lavender-treat-hair-loss-How-medicines-getting-dose-flower-power.html#ixzz4aeQLB1Xr
How to make Flower Tincture
· A small glass bowl, or mason jar.
· Clean water.
· A funnel
· An amber glass bottle (125ml is a good size).
· Organic grain alcohol (at least 40%, such as vodka or rum but I use 80%).
1. Fill the bowl with spring water and put it in the sun, preferably among the flowers the essence is being made from.
2. Gently drop the flowers onto the surface of the water. This is not an infusion so they do not need to be immersed. Cover the surface of the water with flowers.
3. Leave in the sun for at least two hours where there is no risk of shadows falling on the bowl.
5. Using funnel, pour the water into the glass bottle until it is half full. Fill the bottle to the top with the alcohol.
This is the “mother essence” or “mother tincture,’’ and it is from this bottle that the drops will be taken to make the “stock bottle.”
Once back inside, take seven drops from the mother tincture and put them into a bottle (20 ml. bottle). Fill the bottle with alcohol. This is the stock bottle. It is from this bottle that the tincture is made. Put two to seven drops into a small dropper bottle and fill with alcohol. Label the bottle. The essence is now ready for you.
I tend to take a couple of drops in water, or directly under the tongue, when I need it, preferably as far away from meals as possible.
I am still learning new things about my surroundings and this information about snowdrops is absolutely new to me! Will I be using it? Not that I see a need for it, no. I will be making a flower essence though!
Most times, it is enough for me to take the information I have, write it in my Herbology Grimoire and move forward to the next plant that will awaken my curiosities.
I hope what I share will spark curiosities within you, dear reader! There’s a lot to cover in the coming months and I cannot wait to share my journey with you!
Your medicine is in the woods.
Your pharmacy is in your kitchen.
I'm located in the Niagara Region of Southern Ontario, Canada.
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