Ask the Experts Part 2: Angelina Shuman, Wild Earth Herbals

In this series we are talking with experts in the fields of health and wellness, herbal medicine, foraging and more! Learn what it’s like to be part of these professions along with some of their favorite tips and tricks!

In this second interview of the series, we are talking with Angelina Shuman of Wild Earth Herbals. Angelina and I met many years ago when she had an herbal shop in Spartanburg, SC called Herb ‘n Renewal. I had the amazing opportunity to work with her there before she moved on to bigger and better things! I am so excited to share with your her amazing answers. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

  1. What is your name, and the name of your company or organization? (please include website and social media handles and any other contact information you wish to a potential customer to have)

Angelina Shuman, Wild Earth Herbals. www.wildearthherbals.com
Facebook: Wild Earth Herbals and private group: The Herb Garden

2. What made you choose the career path that you are on?

As a child I always had an affinity for playing with plants. I would mix up potions from weeds in the yard and make hideouts behind hedges and blackberry brambles. My maternal lineage is German and herbalism is a pretty mainstream medicine, and we have always used basic herbal remedies growing up-using food based medicines, mostly-onion tea, sage, chamomile, rich broths, etc. Of course in my teen years, I eschewed anything and kind of went on a little self destructive path until I found
myself pregnant at the cusp of 19/20. At that point I became hyper aware of
everything I was putting into my body-knowing that anything that I was
consuming whether it be food or medicine would also be consumed by my child. Throughout her younger years, I started really diving into home remedies and an all around more natural way of living. It wasn’t until I became a doula that I really started seriously looking into herbalism as a career. Moms like myself were looking for more natural ways to treat common pregnancy related ailments, I was making herbal teas for mamas, and as I was looking into what remedies would be appropriate, I found that the teacher of my doula training also ran an herbalism school that had distance learning options-which was really ideal for me at the time with two young daughters.

3. How do you describe what you do?

I consider myself a folk herbalist. I make herbal medicines based on seasonal offerings of my specific bioregion. I moved away from mass producing large quantities of items because I was having to order herbs from all over the world, and that didn’t sit right with me. So now I create small batches of seasonal goods in limited quantities. I also teach an online course called The Herbal Hearth & Home which integrates herbalism with learning how to live in tune with the seasons and reconnect to nature.

4. What is your greatest accomplishment having to do with your business?

That’s a hard question! I suppose being able to reach people all over the world and give them support on their healing journeys. Giving people the space to grow on their plant path, and providing medicine from the earth is really all I could wish for.

5. What is your greatest personal accomplishment?

I am able to fully support my family and am purchasing a home with my business. I never thought I would get here!

6. What is one health secret you wish everyone knew?

Getting outside. Being outside, in the sun, feeling the earth beneath your feet is the one thing that everyone can do. We were not meant to stay inside and sit.

7. If you could sit with one person alive or dead for a day who would it be and why?

My German grandmother. There is so much history in my family that is lost. So much information that I didn’t think to glean from her when I was younger. She was an amazing woman and gardener, and I wish I had half of her talent. I want to know what it was like growing up during the war in Germany as a teen. I want to know what it was like for her to forage for mushrooms in the forest she grew up in. I want to know what her parents were like.

8. Who has had the most influence on you and your journey with health and wellness?


That seems to change as I grow older. But honestly, the constant influence is my children. The need to set a good example for them, to create a healthy lifestyle for them from the beginning, to give them a childhood that they don’t have to heal from is what drives me.

9.Where is one place that you traveled (or visited locally) that has helped you on your Journey?

The Blueridge Mountains of Western NC. Whether it was for the SE Wise
Women conference, or just camping or even just driving through-those ancient lands are so healing.

10. Is there somewhere you would like to travel that you haven’t had a chance to yet?

I definitely want to go to the Pacific Northwest.

11. What one herb or plant do you identify with the most?

Just one? I feel like this changes based on the mood that I am in or what day it is. I guess the one that wins most of the time would be tulsi/holy basil (Ocimum sanctum). I always have to have it around me in large quantities. Fresh, dried, tinctured, etc. Just smelling it instantly creates calm.

12. Who is someone in your field that you look up to the most?

I don’t really have someone that I look up to “the most”. Again, I fluctuate on this based on what I’m personally going through. Right now, I’m really digging on Milla Prince.

13. Is there a malady that you get asked about more than others? What do you recommend for it?

Probably either gut health or stress. I don’t really give “this for that” recommendations because it changes from person to person. I do like to
focus on nutrition and lifestyle medicine before even beginning to give an herbal recommendation.

14. Because shopping locally is so important, what is a place local to you that you like to shop and why is it your favorite?

Well, I just moved to my area during the pandemic, so I have not been able to support local businesses or explore all that my area has to offer yet! So, I will recommend my friend Bethany’s farm – A Little Morr Farm. I get fresh meat and eggs and goat’s milk from her. Supporting our local farms is integral to a sustainable community!

15. Where do you see alternative medicine in 10 years?

Oh wow. I can see it going one of two ways. First of all, I cringe at the term alternative medicine-it is the medicine of humans for 99% of history and herbalism is still used in the majority of the world. So, 1-modern western medicine will totally stamp it out due to big pharma lobbyists. OR 2-people will wake up and see that it is not a competition, and that all forms of medicine can complement each other. I use herbal medicines plus take a daily pharmaceutical for my thyroid. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.

16.0What is your biggest challenge in your business?

Technology. I spend more time on the computer than doing what I want-which is work with the plants. I didn’t expect that I would also be a web designer, graphic designer, social media manager, and marketer.

17. What other jobs have you held or has this been your only profession?

Food service, accountant, and non-profit administration.

18. What would you say to someone who wants to go into alternative medicine?

I would say to go for it! I know a lot of branches of alternative medicine requires certifications and specific schooling, but the beauty of herbalism here in the US, is that there is no certifying body and you don’t HAVE to take a structured program. There is enough information out there that you can teach yourself. I will say, that having a structured program is amazing-it isn’t easy gleaning information on your own-especially when you don’t know what is real. But it is possible.

19. What is something that you would like our readers to know about you?

I am obsessed with thrifting for vintage household items and clothing.

20. Who are some of your favorite bloggers and podcasts?

This might take a while.
The Wondersmith
Medicine Stories (podcast & blog)
The Woman Who Married A Bear
Gather Victoria
So You Wanna Be A Witch (podcast)
The Hormone Lifestyle Zone (podcast)
Asia Suler (One Willow Apothecaries)
Chestnut School’s blog
Dr. Sharon Blackie (her podcast is This Mythic Life)
Herbal Radio (podcast)
The Plant Path (podcast)
The Marie Forleo podcast
Love & Liberation (podcast)
The Holistic Herbalism podcast
Earth Speak (podcast)
Garden Party (Sophia Rose’s website-it’s paid access though)
And probably more that I’m forgetting!

Thank you Angelina for your answers! That list of podcasts is something to be envied. Now I know what I will be doing over the next few months! If you want to find out more about Angelina and what she offers, visit her website http://www.wildearthherbals.com

Ask the Experts Part 1.: Abby Artemisia, The Wander School

In this series we will be talking with experts in the fields of health and wellness, herbal medicine, foraging and more! Learn what it’s like to be part of these professions along with some of their favorite tips and tricks!

In this first interview of the series, we are talking with Abby Artemisia of The Wander School. I recently had the amazing opportunity to talk with Abby on her podcast, The Wander, Forage, & Wildcraft podcast, which is available on her website.

1. What is your name, and the name of your company or organization? (please include website and social media handles and any other contact information you wish to a potential customer to have) 

Abby Artemisia, The WANDER School 

http://www.thewanderschool.com @thewanderschool on Facebook, Instagram, and The WANDER School on YouTube, patreon.com/thewanderschool, The Wander, Forage, & Wildcraft podcast. 

2. What made you choose the career path that you are on? 

I have always loved plants ever since I was a kid running around outside, climbing trees and exploring  creeks. I started working on organic farms and in health food stores, then lived with Native Americans.  Later I went back to school and got a degree in Botany. I also apprenticed with a great Herbalist,  Leslita Williams. I combined all of it with a lot of self-teaching to do what I do now. 

3. How do you describe what you do? 

Up until now, I have mostly offered botanical education, including wild plant ID, foraging, and DIY herbal  medicine making. Now I’m transitioning to a nonprofit to make herbs and botanical education accessible to  communities in need. 

4. What is your greatest accomplishment having to do with your business? 

Becoming a nonprofit that can serve many communities and empower all of us with our own healthcare, to be  able to give back for the knowledge I’ve received directly and indirectly from Native Americans and enslaved  people and their descendants. 

5. What is your greatest personal accomplishment? 

Raising my daughter as a single parent and providing for us in ways I feel proud of. 

6. What is one health secret you wish everyone knew? 

Being disconnected from nature and each other is detrimental to our health, physically, emotionally, and  spiritually. I believe the best thing we can do for our health is to spend time every day turning off electronics and  wifi, going outside, and spending time in nature with our feet on the earth. Try it and see how your mood and  energy change. 

7. If you could sit with one person alive or dead for a day who would it be and why?

Any of my ancestors that had knowledge about the herbs around them. There’s so much we could  learn from the generations before us. I know that many of my ancestors were health practitioners  and I’d love to know what they believed, which herbs they worked with and how. 

8. Who has had the most influence on you and your journey with health and wellness?

My teacher, Leslita Williams, an Herbalist. I have been working with her for 16 years! She has studied  Ayurveda, Native American herbalism, Chinese medicine, and more, and has worked with rural communities  for many years. She has taught me so much of what I know. 

9. Where is one place that you traveled (or visited locally) that has helped you on your journey? 

I lived with Native Americans in Oregon. It taught me not only about plants as medicine, but also about the  spiritual medicine of plants and how to have reverence for them. This has guided much of my life as a plant  person. 

10. Is there somewhere you would like to travel that you haven’t had a chance to yet? 

New Zealand, Costa Rica, and Hawaii! I’d love to see the biodiversity of the flora in those places and learn from the Indigenous Herbalists there. 

11. What one herb or plant do you identify with the most? 

That’s a hard one, but probably dandelion. It’s stubborn as heck and can push its way through anything,  still has a sunny exterior, and is a great tonic. 

12. Who is someone in your field that you look up to the most? 

I look up to and admire Linda Black Elk, a Native ethnobotanist in North Dakota. She is amazing  for the way that she has learned, shares, and preserves the traditional medicine of various Native  American tribes, how generously she gives food, medicine, and her time to people in need, and  her social justice activism.  

13. Is there a malady that you get asked about more than others? What do you recommend for it? 

I am often asked about allergies. This is a great example of how herbalism is a wholistic science. I talk to  people about how, as Herbalists, we don’t just work on the symptoms, but the lifestyle as a whole. I  recommend to cut out (or reduce as much as possible) sugar, dairy, and alcohol. This alone usually helps a  lot. I recommend stress reduction techniques, liver support with herbs like burdock; tonifying and  antihistamine herbs like goldenrod, stinging nettle, and/or Spanish needles; and increasing antioxidants in  our nutrition, by adding foods like greens and berries. 

14. Because shopping locally is so important, what is a place local to you that you like to shop and why is it your favorite? 

The farmers market. We have to support our local farmers so they can keep farming. Plus, I love  socializing and fresh-from-the-ground food. 

15. Where do you see alternative medicine in 10 years? 

My hope is that it is more accepted by the mainstream, that it’s covered by insurance, less expensive,  practitioners are at a much lower risk of persecution, and more people are educated about it. 

16. What is your biggest challenge in your business? 

Being of service while still supporting my family financially 

17. What other jobs have you held or has this been your only profession? 

A lot! I’ve farmed and worked in retail and restaurants. I learned a lot about what I did and didn’t  want to do. 

18. What would you say to someone who wants to go into alternative medicine? 

I would be honest: it’s tough, requires a lot of education, you have to be willing to work hard and do lots of marketing, but it’s one of the most rewarding things you’ll ever do and you can help lots of people. 

19. What is something that you would like our readers to know about you? 

My life is not all frolicking in the forest; there’s a lot of behind the scenes administrative work, but being in nature is what keeps me healthy and sane and I hope to inspire that love of nature in people, along with empowerment  with their own health care. 

20. Who are some of your favorite bloggers and podcasts? 

Of course my podcast, Wander, Forage, & Wildcraft, Kelly Moody’s Groundshots Podcast,  Thomas Rashad Easley’s Heartwood Podcast, and Herb Rally Podcast.

Thank you to Abby Artemisia for her amazing answers and insight! I can’t believe she did not mention her amazing book! The Herbal Handbook for Homesteaders which is available on her website! Thank you again and be sure to check back next week for another great interview!

The History of Herbal Medicine and Incense

History of Herbal Medicine So you are interested in learning more about folk medicine. What does that mean to you? The definition according to Mirriam Webster is “treatment of disease or injury based on tradition, especially on oral tradition, rather than on modern scientific practice, and often utilizing indigenous plants as remedies.”
Folk medicine is what we learned, sometimes unknowingly, from our mothers, grandmothers, aunts and other amazing women in our life. It may have been when you scraped a knee and your mom put some plantain on it or the chamomile tea your grandmother made you when you were restless and couldn’t sleep away from home.
Folk Medicine has been around since the beginning of time. There is talk about it in the Bible and many other old tablet as well as the tombs of Egypt. This depiction is of Thoth who is thought to be one of the early healers in Egypt.

Photo credit: The British Museum
When the white man came to the Americas, it is no secret that if it wasn’t for the help of the Native Americans, we wouldn’t have survived. In the early days, very few physicians were available in the new colonies. Native American healers would be called upon when there were illnesses in the colonies. They knew what plants were available to them in which seasons and what methods were needed to utilize them properly.
Additionally, many of the women of the colonies had brought with them the knowledge (and a few seeds) from their early days in Europe. These traditions coupled with the knowledge learned from the Native Americans, got many families through the hard times.

Photo Credit: Ancient Origins.net
During the Revolutionary war, physicians were still scarce and many times, those fighting were far from care. Many times plants found in fields an forests, were used in place of modern medicine or to treat until a soldier could be brought back to a camp for treatment. An example of such medicine is Canadian Fleabane which was used as a blood coagulant. This plant is most often used infused in an oil and applied to the injured tissue. In modern times, fleabane can also be used in an infusion to treat a cough with mucous discharge.

Fleabane. Photo Credit: naturespot.org
Many of these plants were discovered and tested using the Doctrine of Signatures. Information, which has influenced common names of plants and still continues to influence many herbalists today.

Doctrine of Signatures The Doctrine of Signatures is a way of identifying the uses of plants that was used by many of our ancestors. Today we have more modern ways of testing plants and knowing what constituents are beneficial to treat different ailments and diseases. But in a time when these types of testing were not invented or scarce, many new colonists, resorted to this means of identification.
The Doctrine of Signatures was created in Greece in the 1500’s by a man by the name of Paracelsus who believed that every plant grew in a way “according to its curative benefit.” Meaning you could tell just by the shape of a leaf or the color of a bloom what it was to be used for.
An example of this is the common flower, Calendula. This bloom has a yellow/orange color to it and is a wonderful herb to aid digestion and help with stomach related issues. The yellow/orange color is also associated with bile, or stomach acids. This is where the connection is made as to it’s uses. Another example is Eyebright. The picture below shows the resemblance of the flower to the eye. This was used for hundreds of years for problems with eyesight.

Photo Credit: Wellcome Library, London
The reality of this way of thinking is that, unless a large amount of plant knowledge is already possessed, it can and has lead to exacerbation of symptoms or even death.
In modern day the Doctrine of Signatures is used more as a way of remembering plants rather than a means of identification.
Here are some basic examples.
Plants with yellow flowers (representing bile and urine) are good for your liver, urinary tract and tend to be diuretic.

Dandelion. Photo Credit: Jennifer Galbraith
Plants that are prickly or thorny in nature tend to help with sharp pains in the body and are natural tonics.

Stinging Nettles. Photo Credit: Jennifer Galbraith
Plants with thin or thread like roots or leaves are said to be good for your skin, which also is thin and has thread like veins.

Plantain. Photo Credit: Jennifer Galbraith
You may find as you begin or continue your herbal journey that you use some of these signs to help you remember what an herb is good for. It is important to do your research on each plant before using it medicinally. We now know that the Doctrine of Signatures, while a great tool, is not always the best way to identify the use of a plant. Please do your research thoroughly.

Incense burning and smudging
Why am I talk about something like smudging? I thought this was about herbal medicine. Well, guess what burning incense is… Medicine! Burning herbal bundles in your home has been known to eliminate 94% of toxins in the air. I refer to it as my all natural Lysol! In the early months of the year, we are all stuck inside more than we would like to be with cold and flu germs running rampant. Did you know that the cold virus can live up to 7 days in your house? It’s time to start cleaning them out!!
In the early days of folk medicine, it was believed in some religions that evil spirits were coming to your home and making you sick. When smudging ceremonies were done, it cleansed your home of these “spirits.” Little did they know at the times, but those “spirits” were actually germs and viruses.
Another reason to smudge is grounding and connecting. It is so important if you are going to start (or continue) a journey with herbal medicine, that you know how to cleanse, ground and connect.
Some signs that you may not be as connected to the earth include:

  • Getting distracted easily
  • Constantly overthinking things
  • Always worrying
  • Have an obsession with material things
  • Have an obsession with your image

No matter your spiritual background, most religions believe that someone or something has created our amazing planet and given us this gift of plant medicine. Additionally, they believe that a connection with the earth and your spiritual deity can help you with the above problem. The first step is to connect. And the first step of connecting is through the burning of herbs and incense.
Giving thanks through the burning of herbs is a tradition seen throughout the ages. In the Buddist and Shinto religions, burning incense is a way of cleansing your surroundings to allow the gods to come to you. Even in the Bible (beginning in Exodus 25) when speaking about building the Tabernacle, God tells Moses to have a place to burn incense.

Photo Credit: templestudy.com
Smudging still continues today in many religions including the burning of frankincense in the Catholic church, and the burning of incense in Buddhist temples.
In Buddhism, people will sometimes burn three sticks or cones of incense at once signifying the Buddha, the dharma and the sangha. The same principal could be applied to the Christian, Holy Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This is mostly used before prayer or meditation to purify the space and create a tranquil mood.
Creating your own smudge sticks or incense, allows you the freedom to put in them, what you enjoy. Relaxation through aroma therapy, is a very personal thing. Scents invoke memories, good and bad. Scents can either connect you, or send you thinking about a bad past relationship or traumatic time in your childhood.
You will also find some herbs will burn better than others. So, combining herbs that are slow burning with fast burning herbs will help you create a good balance. Below is a list of commonly used herbs to help you create your own blends.
Slow Burning Herbs

  • Lemongrass
  • Blue Spruce
  • Cedar
  • Palo Santo
  • Bay Leaf
  • Lavendar
  • Pine

Fast Burning Herbs

  • Aspen
  • Rosemary
  • Eucalyptus
  • Thyme
  • Mint
  • Dandelion
  • Calendula
  • Mugwort

Most of these herbs can be wrapped into a smudge stick as demonstrated in the video. Some can even be purchased from your local grocery store. Always buy organic when available or wash well as any pesticides may become toxic when burned.
\ Photo Credit: Jennifer Galbraith
Another option is to make your own incense powder or cones. Loose powders can be made by grinding up whole dried herbs. Once your desired mixture is ground up (using a mortar and pestle or food processor) you can put it on hot coals or in an already lit fire like a woodstove or camp fire.
Cones are made by grinding your desired herb(s) and adding makko powder (which can be purchased on amazon here ) at a ratio of 1/3 makko powder to 2/3 ground herbs. After they have been combined thoroughly ( stir for several minutes) begin adding water several drops at a time until desired consistency. You will need it to be wet enough to hold together but not too wet as to lost shape. Take a small amount in your fingers and shape into a small cone. Allow to dry for several days before attempting to light.

Photo Credit: Jennifer Galbraith
By choosing your own herbs, you will begin to reconnect with the earth. Other ways that you can reconnect include:

  • Shopping at your local farmers market or co-op and eat local, seasonal foods
  • Take a walk on your local nature trail or at a state park
  • Go barefoot!! Letting your bare feet feel the grass, dirt or sand between your toes
  • Go swimming in a lake or ocean (weather permitting of course…)
  • If you just can’t find time to get outside, consider getting an earthmat like the ones found here from Vibesup.com

In the video below, I will talk about the herbs that I use. As well as demonstrate how you can make your own smudge stick. I can’t wait to see what you all come up with for your combinations.

Spring Tonics, Herbs and Adaptogens

SPRINGTIME RENEWALa poem by Terri Andersonfrom shamanism.com Shaman sings creation songs Softly calls to other side Chants to earth mysterious words Corn sprouts, grows though mother’s toes Roots grasp hold, white veins alive Feed young plant, green stalk to thrive And now to pass new life along Each generation must learn the song
When thinking about the history of folk medicine and it’s interconnectedness with the seasons, ones mind goes instantly to the ways of the Native Americans. Native Americans believed (and still believe) that our lives are connected to the earth. That the rivers, plants and animals were relatives and not something that we just use for our own good. In fact many times when someone fell ill, it was believed that they had lost their connection with some part of nature.
In the medicine wheel spring is associated with the east and the spirit keeper, Wabun. It’s a time that brings new beginnings and rebirth. Many ceremonies revolved around this important change in season. The Seneca tribe performed a planting ritual as they got ready to plant their spring crops.

Create your own spring ritual We had talked about smudging and how important it is to cleanse ourselves and our surroundings. Try making a smudge stick of spring shoots and flowers.
Another great way (adapted from a Native American tradition) grab a blanket and set it outside. Gather flowers that have bloomed (if you don’t have any or enough growing on your property, buy some spring flowers from a local florist or super market) go outside and take of your shoes. feel the earth and grass beneath your feet. Take your flowers and spread them on the blanket. Lay on the blanket, grabbing handfuls of the flowers and throwing them up in the air allowing them to fall all over you. Lay there for some time. Feel the breeze, feel the flowers, reach and hand and touch the grass. Try to envision what you would like to “birth” this season. Ask for assistance in these endeavors.

Ancient Celts celebrate the spring equinox which they called “Alban Eiler” meaning “light of the earth.” It was thought to be the only day of the year when day and night stood equal with each other. As they also saw this time as a powerful time of rebirth, they usually sowed new crops on this day.

Spring has always been a time of relief and new beginnings. During the early years during the revolutionary and civil wars, as the weather began to warm up, there was a sense of thankfulness for making it through the harsh winters. A time of prayers and thanksgiving. Also a feeling of excitement as new foods began to sprout and come to life. After all, the winter had been bleak. Food had been scarce. Spring brought in relief.

Spring is also the time when animals that have been pregnant all winter are starting to give birth and birds are warm enough that they can sit on a nest and hatch little ones. It is always so fascinating to me how animals and foul can sense the changes in season before we can. Perhaps it is their continued connection with the earth which has been lost by the “smarter” of species. Maybe they are on to something.
Perhaps it’s time to go back to listening to our bodies and how they tell us about changes that it is encountering. The changes in seasons of this earth and the seasons of our lives. After all, our ancestors not that long ago knew how to do this. Although mostly out of necessity.
In the days before refrigeration, seasonal eating was the only option. There was no way for someone living in Connecticut to run down to the grocery store and buy a tomato from Florida where it was still growing season. Everything was about what could be picked or grown in that season.
In Appalachian history, the stories of the people who settled there is one of turmoil and determination. Many times even up to and including our lifetime, the residents of this amazing area of our country, relied on mother nature to provide part if not all of their meals and medicine.

A lot of young trees and bark provided great spring tonics that would help them through the changes in season. Sassafras or spicewood would be boiled to make a tea that was used as a blood tonic to strengthen ones system in the spring. Plantain and dock were used in salads. Ramps and wild garlic were picked to give extra flavor to evening meals.

Wild ramps Many of these plants you could most likely find outside your home and could add to your own spring diet.

It’s Spring!! A couple of months ago we were talking about how we can connect with the earth. Now we get to go out and do it! Everything is starting to bloom and bud around us. Plants we didn’t think were going to come back are suddenly seen with little green shoots coming out. It’s time to start exploring. So, let’s get out there.
One of my all time favorites is chickweed. It is so easy to find and can easily be added straight to a salad or saute. I have also been known to run out and grab some wild garlic(often called wild onion) to throw into an omelet.

Wild Garlic Early spring, it can be hard to come across berries as they generally bloom later in the spring to early summer. A wonderful exception to that is Silverberry. They are super high in vitamins and minerals, almost like taking a nature made multi vitamin. They can be very tart but so worth it!

Silverberry Spring Green Pesto
Another easy dish with spring greens is pesto. This recipe calls for dandelion greens but those could easily be substituted for stinging nettles (use care when picking!!), chickweed, purslane or so many other wonderful spring greens. Additionally, most pesto calls for Parmesan cheese but play with it! I love using feta or a great local goats milk cheese!
2 Cups chopped fresh Dandelion greens
1/2 Cup shelled pine nuts
3 cloves of garlic
1 Tbs ;lemon juice
1/2 Cup olive oil
1/2 Tsp salt
1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese
Place all ingredients in a food processor until creamy, blend in cheese. Keep refrigerated.


Spring Jelly
Spring is also a time of blooming!! Flowers are popping up everywhere! I love making wild flower jellies with dandelions, forsythia, violets, peach blossoms and more. This basic recipe can be used for a myriad of different wild flowers or other herbs. Even a stinging nettles jelly!!

Start by boiling 3 1/2 cups of water. While the water is boiling, chop 1-2 Cups of fresh flowers/herbs. Remove the water from the heat and add your flowers/herbs. Allow to steep for at least an hour. Strain (If you make herbal infusions, you can also use that in place of this step)
Add the following ingredients to a saucepan:
2 3/4 Cups of your flower/herb infusion
1/4 Cup lemon juice
3 1/2 Cups sugar
1 packet of pectin
Stir to dissolve sugar and pectin and allow to boil for 2 minutes. Pour into jars and put aside to set for two hours. At this point, you could water bath can or refrigerate.

Adaptogen Tea
Spring is so much fun right? Everything is melting, things are blooming. But wait. Why are we all feeling so crummy? Well there’s several reasons, first is all of those beautiful blooms bring us pollen and so many of us have pollen allergies of one type or another. Then there is flu season. That’s right, flu season is still upon us and as we venture out with the new weather, we are more and more exposed to those with the flu virus. Finally and most importantly, it’s our bodies on overload. Changes in weather and changes in season bring stress to our bodies. They are working to move into this new phase and that takes work.
Your body needs your help! This is when we look to adaptogens. As we learned in the herbal actions chapter and adaptogen is “an herb that helps the body adapt to changes in environment (such as travel and seasons) and stress in a non specific way.”
There are only a few true adaptogens including Ashwagandha, Eleuthero (siberian ginseng) and Cordyceps. Many people see other herbs such as Holy Basil (Tulsi) and stinging nettles as adaptogens as well. A wonderful tea on a cool spring evening is a great way to get your adaptogens. Additionally, these herbs could be tinctured and taken as a daily supplement.
Download the recipe card and have fun adding new flavors and herbs to make your own blend. You may also want to add some local honey or pee pollen to help counteract the spring allergies!!

Posted by Jennifer Galbraith at 7:15 AMEmail ThisBlogThis!Share to Twitter

Spring Tonics, Herbs and Adaptogens

SPRINGTIME RENEWALa poem by Terri Andersonfrom shamanism.com Shaman sings creation songs Softly calls to other side Chants to earth mysterious words Corn sprouts, grows though mother’s toes Roots grasp hold, white veins alive Feed young plant, green stalk to thrive And now to pass new life along Each generation must learn the song
When thinking about the history of folk medicine and it’s interconnectedness with the seasons, ones mind goes instantly to the ways of the Native Americans. Native Americans believed (and still believe) that our lives are connected to the earth. That the rivers, plants and animals were relatives and not something that we just use for our own good. In fact many times when someone fell ill, it was believed that they had lost their connection with some part of nature.
In the medicine wheel spring is associated with the east and the spirit keeper, Wabun. It’s a time that brings new beginnings and rebirth. Many ceremonies revolved around this important change in season. The Seneca tribe performed a planting ritual as they got ready to plant their spring crops.

Create your own spring ritual We had talked about smudging and how important it is to cleanse ourselves and our surroundings. Try making a smudge stick of spring shoots and flowers.
Another great way (adapted from a Native American tradition) grab a blanket and set it outside. Gather flowers that have bloomed (if you don’t have any or enough growing on your property, buy some spring flowers from a local florist or super market) go outside and take of your shoes. feel the earth and grass beneath your feet. Take your flowers and spread them on the blanket. Lay on the blanket, grabbing handfuls of the flowers and throwing them up in the air allowing them to fall all over you. Lay there for some time. Feel the breeze, feel the flowers, reach and hand and touch the grass. Try to envision what you would like to “birth” this season. Ask for assistance in these endeavors.

Ancient Celts celebrate the spring equinox which they called “Alban Eiler” meaning “light of the earth.” It was thought to be the only day of the year when day and night stood equal with each other. As they also saw this time as a powerful time of rebirth, they usually sowed new crops on this day.

Spring has always been a time of relief and new beginnings. During the early years during the revolutionary and civil wars, as the weather began to warm up, there was a sense of thankfulness for making it through the harsh winters. A time of prayers and thanksgiving. Also a feeling of excitement as new foods began to sprout and come to life. After all, the winter had been bleak. Food had been scarce. Spring brought in relief.

Spring is also the time when animals that have been pregnant all winter are starting to give birth and birds are warm enough that they can sit on a nest and hatch little ones. It is always so fascinating to me how animals and foul can sense the changes in season before we can. Perhaps it is their continued connection with the earth which has been lost by the “smarter” of species. Maybe they are on to something.
Perhaps it’s time to go back to listening to our bodies and how they tell us about changes that it is encountering. The changes in seasons of this earth and the seasons of our lives. After all, our ancestors not that long ago knew how to do this. Although mostly out of necessity.
In the days before refrigeration, seasonal eating was the only option. There was no way for someone living in Connecticut to run down to the grocery store and buy a tomato from Florida where it was still growing season. Everything was about what could be picked or grown in that season.
In Appalachian history, the stories of the people who settled there is one of turmoil and determination. Many times even up to and including our lifetime, the residents of this amazing area of our country, relied on mother nature to provide part if not all of their meals and medicine.

A lot of young trees and bark provided great spring tonics that would help them through the changes in season. Sassafras or spicewood would be boiled to make a tea that was used as a blood tonic to strengthen ones system in the spring. Plantain and dock were used in salads. Ramps and wild garlic were picked to give extra flavor to evening meals.

Wild ramps Many of these plants you could most likely find outside your home and could add to your own spring diet.

It’s Spring!! A couple of months ago we were talking about how we can connect with the earth. Now we get to go out and do it! Everything is starting to bloom and bud around us. Plants we didn’t think were going to come back are suddenly seen with little green shoots coming out. It’s time to start exploring. So, let’s get out there.
One of my all time favorites is chickweed. It is so easy to find and can easily be added straight to a salad or saute. I have also been known to run out and grab some wild garlic(often called wild onion) to throw into an omelet.

Wild Garlic Early spring, it can be hard to come across berries as they generally bloom later in the spring to early summer. A wonderful exception to that is Silverberry. They are super high in vitamins and minerals, almost like taking a nature made multi vitamin. They can be very tart but so worth it!

Silverberry Spring Green Pesto
Another easy dish with spring greens is pesto. This recipe calls for dandelion greens but those could easily be substituted for stinging nettles (use care when picking!!), chickweed, purslane or so many other wonderful spring greens. Additionally, most pesto calls for Parmesan cheese but play with it! I love using feta or a great local goats milk cheese!
2 Cups chopped fresh Dandelion greens
1/2 Cup shelled pine nuts
3 cloves of garlic
1 Tbs ;lemon juice
1/2 Cup olive oil
1/2 Tsp salt
1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese
Place all ingredients in a food processor until creamy, blend in cheese. Keep refrigerated.


Spring Jelly
Spring is also a time of blooming!! Flowers are popping up everywhere! I love making wild flower jellies with dandelions, forsythia, violets, peach blossoms and more. This basic recipe can be used for a myriad of different wild flowers or other herbs. Even a stinging nettles jelly!!

Start by boiling 3 1/2 cups of water. While the water is boiling, chop 1-2 Cups of fresh flowers/herbs. Remove the water from the heat and add your flowers/herbs. Allow to steep for at least an hour. Strain (If you make herbal infusions, you can also use that in place of this step)
Add the following ingredients to a saucepan:
2 3/4 Cups of your flower/herb infusion
1/4 Cup lemon juice
3 1/2 Cups sugar
1 packet of pectin
Stir to dissolve sugar and pectin and allow to boil for 2 minutes. Pour into jars and put aside to set for two hours. At this point, you could water bath can or refrigerate.

Adaptogen Tea
Spring is so much fun right? Everything is melting, things are blooming. But wait. Why are we all feeling so crummy? Well there’s several reasons, first is all of those beautiful blooms bring us pollen and so many of us have pollen allergies of one type or another. Then there is flu season. That’s right, flu season is still upon us and as we venture out with the new weather, we are more and more exposed to those with the flu virus. Finally and most importantly, it’s our bodies on overload. Changes in weather and changes in season bring stress to our bodies. They are working to move into this new phase and that takes work.
Your body needs your help! This is when we look to adaptogens. As we learned in the herbal actions chapter and adaptogen is “an herb that helps the body adapt to changes in environment (such as travel and seasons) and stress in a non specific way.”
There are only a few true adaptogens including Ashwagandha, Eleuthero (siberian ginseng) and Cordyceps. Many people see other herbs such as Holy Basil (Tulsi) and stinging nettles as adaptogens as well. A wonderful tea on a cool spring evening is a great way to get your adaptogens. Additionally, these herbs could be tinctured and taken as a daily supplement.
Download the recipe card and have fun adding new flavors and herbs to make your own blend. You may also want to add some local honey or pee pollen to help counteract the spring allergies!!