Spring Ephemerals for Spring Ailments

Violets & Nature Providing the Perfect Medicine

I like being able to leave the reminders of home and the to-do’s behind, but the other end of the spectrum is feeling a little stuck without the predictable tools, comforts, and rhythms of our own space. But while on our trip, opportunity arose for me to find my groove. That’s when I turned towards violets!

You know it’s spring in New England when it snows on Memorial Day weekend, right? As my family made a journey to New Hampshire for this three day weekend, a part of me was sure the odd weather was a blatant sign of the Earth being out of whack… but I was glad there were still spring buds and flowers to enjoy at our vacation destination.

Back home in western Massachusetts, May had already ushered in summer-like foliage and the heat waves to back it, but during our road trip to NH we were on the highway watching rain turn into thick flurries of cosmic snow. It was distracting enough to take my mind off the fact that we would have to get out of the car soon with sleeping children and all our gear to nestle into a different bed.

I like being able to leave the reminders of home and the to-do’s behind, but the other end of the spectrum is feeling a little stuck without the predictable tools, comforts, and rhythms of our own space…

Read the rest of this entry »

Let Them Grow: Empowering Children to Support their Wellness

Let Them Grow by Candice Chouinard

Making Sick- Ok

Children love creating in the kitchen and by allowing them to help create herbal remedies; it can open the discussion on wellness and how food and plants can keep us healthy in the winter months. – To discover more folk remedies for colds and flu, check out this post from the Hilltown Families archives: 25 Western MA Folk Remedies for Colds & Flus

Having a sick child is the only thing worse than being sick yourself and ‘tis the season. In our Family Child Care, we are very particular in paying attention to the cleanliness of the children and ourselves. As the frequently used adage goes around here, “hand washing first.” When the children arrive from home they are first asked to wash their hands. They also wash after toileting and before eating. The children love washing their hands, we make it fun by singing, making lots of bubbles and discussing the importance of those clean little paws. They are also beginning to understand the importance of it without us, as adults bombarding them with too big words like “contagious” and “spread of infection”; words that can only scare a child without fully understanding them. Often in their private little circle they can be overheard pretending to wash at the play sink, or wiping their sneezes away with a tissue– this is when you know you have done a great job!

Children around the age of two begin to learn about germs. They do not really have any real sense of the huge impact this imaginative creature can have on them but they begin to follow along with the social cues we are teaching them; “cover your mouth” and “ wash both hands”. Read the rest of this entry »

Parenting Green: Spring Ephemerals for Spring Ailments

Violets

I like being able to leave the reminders of home and the to-do’s behind, but the other end of the spectrum is feeling a little stuck without the predictable tools, comforts, and rhythms of our own space. But while on our trip, opportunity arose for me to find my groove. That’s when I turned towards violets!

You know it’s spring in New England when it snows on Memorial Day weekend, right? As my family made a journey to New Hampshire for this three day weekend, a part of me was sure the odd weather was a blatant sign of the Earth being out of whack… but I was glad there were still spring buds and flowers to enjoy at our vacation destination.

Back home in western Massachusetts, May had already ushered in summer-like foliage and the heat waves to back it, but during our road trip to NH we were on the highway watching rain turn into thick flurries of cosmic snow. It was distracting enough to take my mind off the fact that we would have to get out of the car soon with sleeping children and all our gear to nestle into a different bed.

I like being able to leave the reminders of home and the to-do’s behind, but the other end of the spectrum is feeling a little stuck without the predictable tools, comforts, and rhythms of our own space…

Read the rest of this entry »

Q&A: 30 Recommended Folk Remedies to Make in the Summer

QUESTION AND ANSWERS

With active kids running and play outdoors, many come across poison ivy (picture here) and end up with itchy red patches on their exposed legs, arms and bellies. Both Melissa Miller of Amherst and Jennifer Hartley of Florence suggest jewelweed as a folk remedy! (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

We recently asked our readers to share a folk remedy they like to make in the summer months for their families using fresh herbs and plants.  Here are thirty remedies recommended by readers both far and near:

  1. “I like to make rhubarb and honey syrup and keep it in the back of the fridge for putting in hot water in January when I have a cold, or when I need to remember that spring will come.” – Dina Stander
  2. “My favorite folk remedy this year is lemon balm elixir. It’s so mellowing and calming!” – April Horton (Jacksonville, VT)
  3. “I am always making vinegars and honey’s and my favorite summertime recipe so far has been my Solstice Spice Honey which includes orange zest, lavender, cayenne, passion flower, fresh muddled strawberries & blueberries, lemon balm, English mint, and a spring of sage- mmm mmm good!” – Auron Aurelius
  4. “One of my favorite medicinals to make is a wild Atlantic seaweed apple cider vinegar. Of course harvesting seaweed is a lovely summer activity, but so is harvesting honey! Kava kava honey and ashwaganda honey are two of my most desired medicinal treats.” – Brianyn MacLeod (Leverett, MA)
  5. “I made violet syrup in the spring and will save my hot peppers and garlic to simmer in chicken broth come cold season.” – Sara Barry (Haydenville, MA)
  6. “I have a huge sage plant and have been meaning to make sage vinegar- good for your bones. Maybe sage honey too- good in tea for a sore throat.” – Judy Bennett (Greenfield, MA)
  7. “Arnica really helps with all the bumps and bruises of an enthusiastic child.” – Jessica Morris, Northampton MA
  8. “A jewelweed pulp on poison ivy blisters.” – Melissa Miller (Amherst, MA)
  9. “Vinegar infused with Holy Basil for mood party salads.” – Mauricio Abascal
  10. “One of my favorite summertime remedies to make is a tea from lemon balm, ginger (esp. the local ginger from Old Friends Farm) and local honey. It is best served cold and is a stimulating and refreshing digestive aid! My other favorite root remedy is raw onion for bruises and minor scrapes (though may sting). It works like a charm to prevent bruises from forming if used immediately after an injury. Just cut a fresh raw onion and put it on that bump and you will not get the bruise as it is a mild styptic.” – Heather Hall (Northampton, MA)
  11. “I make an elderberry syrup from the elderberry bushes in my yard. I simmer them down with honey and strain, then can the syrup and use it all winter to keep away illness. It really works! And it’s delicious (my husband is famous for elderberry cocktails!).” – Marissa Potter (Shelburne Falls, MA)
  12. “Plantain (any of the yard varieties) works wonders if someone gets a bite or sting from little winged creatures – it is even good for pets (neighbor had a dog that stepped on a bee).” – Katie Winston
  13. “Camomile tea for sunburn on your face.” – Marianne Beach
  14. “Rhubarb honey syrup with lemon balm and mint for upset tummy.” – Marianne Bullock (Greenfield, MA)
  15. “I love making rich and creamy little green pots of Malva cream from my old friend Common Mallow (Malva neglecta). She wants to be wanted and has amazing potential, healing capabilities and love to give.” – Jessica Morgan (Loveland, CO)
  16. “Our family collects elderberries to make into a winter time elixir.” – Heather Polson (Northampton, MA)
  17. “A favorite remedy to make in the summer is tincture of St John’s Wort flowers. These magic yellow flowers make a beautiful crimson remedy – antibacterial and antiviral.” – Anneliese Mordhorst (Chesterfield, MA)
  18. “My son loves to grow mint in our garden and uses it to make his special summer drink- 2 varieties of mint mixed with lemon, lime, and local honey. Mint aides one’s digestion so that is a nice added benefit. – As mom I have two favorite summer herbs: plantain leaf and parsley. I love the benefits of the plantain leaf- pick it, chew it, and place it on any insect bite to help take out the itch and speed up the healing process. In Western Massachusetts you can find plantain leaves in your backyard or growing in almost any patch of grass. Parsley is my other favorite summer herb and it is easy to grow in your garden, inside in a pot, or pick it up at your CSA or local farmers’ market. Parsley is very versatile and a powerhouse full of vitamins and iron . You can use parsley to make pesto, add finely chopped parsley in an omelete, mix it with salad greens, or serve a refreshing cup of parsley tea. So many tasty ways to serve parsley and a great way to increase everyone’s iron intake in your family.” – Paula Yolles (Florence, MA)
  19. “I float lavender in my birdbath to keep it from getting dirty and make sure the birds are well hydrated and have clean water during the hot summer months.” – Chris Curtis (South Hadley, MA)
  20. “In the summer, I’m a big fan of crushing up jewelweed and applying it to skin immediately after any exposure to poison ivy. I also gather jewelweed seeds to use in place of nuts in pesto (This takes a while.).” – Jennifer Hartley (Florence, MA) Read the rest of this entry »

GIVEAWAY: Herbal Medicine for Children and Babies

Herbal Medicine for Children and Babies
Four Fall Classes at Blazing Star Herbal School

Herbal Medicine for Children and Babies is a series of four classes that will be offered on Fridays this fall in Ashfield, MA at Blazing Star Herbal School by herbalist, Tony(a) Lemos. Deadline to enter for a chance to win is Oct. 13th, 2010.

Hilltown Families and Blazing Star Herbal School (BSHS) in Ashfield, MA have partnered up to offer one lucky participant free registration for Herbal Medicine for Children and Babies, a series of four classes being offered this fall.  Participants will learn how to raise healthy children, how to prevent compromised immune systems, and discuss both common and and some less common childhood diseases. Find out how to win a free registration to this series of four classes below. Deadline to enter to win is Wednesday, 10/13/10 @ 7pm (EST)

ABOUT THE CLASS

Herbal Medicine for Children and Babies will run for four Fridays, October 16th & 23rd and November 5th & 19th, from 9:30am-1 pm in Ashfield, MA.  The class will begin with pre-conceptive health care and continue throughout childhood, covering pathologies and common and uncommon states. The class will discuss methods to help prevent compromised immune systems and ways to strengthen the terrain. Cultures around the world will be compared and contrasted. Clarity will be given on appropriate dosage for children and methods of administration. Participants in the class will explore creative medicine making and making nourishing condiments. Students will leave with a complete Materia Medica for Children’s Health.  For more information contact Tony(a) Lemos at blazingstarclinic@gmail.com, or call (413) 625-2030.

ABOUT BLAZING STAR HERBAL SCHOOL

Dedicated to teaching traditional herbal medicine in a way that supports a more sustainable future and shows respect for the integrity of nature, BSHS offers a unique perspective on herbalism, weaving social and political aspects of health and healing through the study of medicinal herbs and food practices. Serving as a local and national resource for education and networking, BSHS has been in Ashfield for over 25 years on 26 wooded acres of pine trees, rushing brooks, wildflower meadows and gardens. Right here in the Hilltowns of Western Massachusetts, the school offers unique and exciting programs in herbal studies to give both the student and professional an opportunity to delve deeper into the art and science of herbalism. Their courses have been highly acclaimed for inspiring students to find their unique healing path through personal relationship with the plant world. For more information about BSHS visit them on line at blazingstarherbalschool.typepad.com.

HOW TO WIN

Your chance to win a free registration for Herbal Medicine for Children and Babies, a series of four classes this fall at Blazing Star Herbal School in Ashfield, MA as easy as 1-2-3 (4)!  To win simply:

  1. POST WHY YOU WOULD LIKE TO TAKE THIS CLASS BELOW (one entry per household) and be sure to tell us your
  2. FULL NAME and where you
  3. LIVE (TOWN/STATE) You must include your town and state to be eligible.
  4. ACCURATE EMAIL (we never share your email address).
  5. We’ll randomly draw a winner and will share the results below.

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline is Wednesday, 10/13/10 @ 7pm (EST)

STREET TEAM: HELP US SPREAD THE WORD AND EARN AN EXTRA ENTRY  Read the rest of this entry »

Creating Seasonal Remedies

From the Apothecary: An Herbalists Check-List for Creating Seasonal Remedies
By Tony(a) Lemos, HF Contributing Writer

Rosemary Gladstar's Family Herbal:  A Guide to Living Life with Energy, Health and VitalityFrom an herbalist’s perspective, the Fall is full of fun times of harvesting roots and barks, and creating remedies to last through the winter months. I have been doing this for many years now. Still, I am always inspired to make new products. Last year I was pursuing the creation of the perfect herbal lollipop (for coughs) for my daughter. This year I have been inspired to make Spikenard/Orange Peel Cordial.

Read the rest of this entry »

Make Your Own Natural Bug Repellent Using Essential Oils

Shoo Fly, Don’t Bother Me!

eNewsletter

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It is easy to make your own non-toxic bug spray by using store bought essential oils. Essential oils are steam-distilled pure concentrates of the natural oils present in plants, flowers, roots, and trees and can be purchased at your local health food store.

The high amounts of essential oils that are so often found in store bought natural bug sprays are unnecessary, and can be made at home using less.To make your own insect repellent, combine rubbing alcohol, witch hazel, vodka, or olive oil with one of the essential oils listed below. Read the rest of this entry »

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