Women's Health and Herbal Medicine
Making pine needle cough syrup is super easy and essentially no more work than making a very strong pine tea and then 'holding' it with good quality, preferably raw, local honey. Pine is an expectorant for thinning and moving mucous in the lungs. It's warming, somewhat drying, and has a sweet and sour flavor blend that can only be described as piney.
For the holidays this year, Michael made his favorite Christmas apple strudel with a few local spicebush berries thrown in for a wildcrafted Appalachian twist in a dish in which the new world meets the old...via strudel!
I could write a book about the long-lauded benefits of reishi mushrooms, the king of the medicinal forest, the crowning glory of medicinal mushrooms, the mushroom of immortality, the fungus of long and vibrant life, as it is known in much of Chinese medicine. But this blog post is not that.
So, you may already be well aware of just how fabulous reishi is, but you may not know exactly how to incorporate this fungal friend into your everyday life with ease and grace and efficacy. That is what this blog post is. Here are 5 methods of using reishi that do just that.
If I told you that I'd found a delightful summer sipping beverage that could make you live forever, would you believe me?
Reishi: The Mushroom of Longevity
Perhaps immortality is a stretch - though reishi is well known as the 'mushroom of immortality' in Chinese medicine - but it has performed well in many studies indicating that it is an effective longevity promoting tonic herb that increases the human lifespan (this study, for example). To enjoy the many benefits of reishi mushroom decoction or tea, I usually cook the dried mushroom in broths, soups, or stews, or boil it into a strong tea. While these are fantastic ways to access the medicine, none of them sounds particularly appealing in the heat of summer. That's where Long Life Lemonade - a cooling, nourishing, sweet, and nutritive beverage - comes in. It takes less than five minutes to make a batch and will last in the refrigerator for a few days.
Everything about this recipe is in-exact, as any good kitchen witch knows, so play around with it. Throw in some cardamom pods or cloves, use limes instead of lemons...experiment!
Long Life Reishi Lemonade Recipe
1/2 - 1 oz dried reishi slices
6 cups water
1 - 2 cinnamon sticks
2 - 4 tbsp lemon juice
stevia, sugar, maple syrup, or honey to taste
Place your dried reishi slices and cinnamon sticks in the water and bring to a boil. Simmer this mixture on low heat for one hour to even up to half a day or longer. The longer you simmer the mixture, the stronger the reishi will become and the more of its medicinal components will be imparted to the water.
Strain the liquid off from the herbs, and mix in your lemon juice and sweetener while it is still warm. Refrigerate several hours or until cold. Serve over ice with a lemon or lime wedge to garnish.
This Long Life Lemonade was a hit with my 10-month-old (I only let him have a few sips because it was quite sweet, but he would have happily chugged it all down).
Here's to endless summers, long life, and good health!
Susun Weed, author of Healing Wise - the book with more dandelion flower, leaf, and root recipes than I've ever seen - tells us that dandelion is one of the most generous plants, for any part of her is harvestable at any time of the year. Therefore, anytime is a great time for a bowl of this easy-to-whip-up dandelion dip, served with some crackers, fresh veg, or chips. And it's a dish wild enough to impress your friends, kids, or nosy neighbors with its foraged flavor of a hint of bitter balanced with garlic and salt.
We start by collecting bunches of dandelion greens fresh from the lawn, garden, farmer's market, or any other place you trust for your wild foods. If you have a little one to help you at this task, so much the better!
In the springtime, dandelion leaves tend to be a little less bitter and they continue to rev up that bitterness as summer gives way to fall. This dish helps us remember that bitter tastebuds are ones we have for a reason: bitters stimulate our digestive juices, kicking our GI system into high gear and encouraging salivary and metabolic actions. Although coffee is really one of the only 'bitters' we find in our food culture, bitter tasting plant foods are important and even essential for a healthy gut and digestive fire.
After dicing up the dandy leaves, and tasting a few for good measure (and giving a few to the baby to make him pucker with surprise!), we simply combine this green loveliness with cottage cheese, plain yogurt (preferably organic and full-fat, for the optimal nutrition), garlic powder, and salt (see exact measurements in the recipe above). Easy! The dip is now ready to be feasted on, with fingers, crackers, or whatever bread you have on hand.