April 2008

Monthly Archive

Dandelion Remedies

Posted by on 10 Apr 2008 | Tagged as: asking my brain to do something different

In spite of so many things, I love America – in theory and all that jazz about the right to life liberty and the pursuit of – (oh no, wait, this is where we went wrong and gave ourselves full liberty to pursue happiness at the cost of people in countries that are not american)

yet also in the particular glow that certain faces shine when they are being most animatedly themselves. On fire with something. Call it pursuit of happiness if you must – I’m going to borrow a term from a fantasy book about shapechangers, called Cheysuli, who make decisions based upon their intuitive sense of tahlmorra, or fate. These are not generally the easy decisions you know – the ones that fate determines – these are the ones that call for steppin up. And the pursuit of happiness on the soul levels can kindle this kind of glow.

So I do love America, even when it persists in trying to demonize and spray with toxic shit a plant like dandelion, whose origins are a bit mysterious, and who offers a veritable plethora of helping healing remedies for those of us brave enough to refrain from mowing or spraying and choosing instead to dig it out by the roots in the spring and treat ourselves – remedy-style.

This quoting came from www.altnature.com/gallery/dandelion.htm

Did you have any idea that those weeds sprouting up in the grass all over might also fade your freckles? (Not that anyone Here is looking to do any freckle fading, I’m just sayin -)

Dandelion Habitat and Descripton

Dandelion is a perennial herb thought to be introduced from Europe and Asia. It is now naturalized throughout the Northern Hemisphere. No one is sure exactly how the dandelion has spread so widely, and there is some debate on the origin of the plant.

When placed in a paper bag with unripe fruit, the flowers and leaves of Dandelion release ethylene gas ripening the fruit quickly. A liquid plant food is made from the root and leaves. A dark red dye is obtained from Dandelion root. A cosmetic skin lotion made from the appendages at the base of the leaf blades distilled in water, is used to clear the skin and is effective in fading freckles.

Dandelion Herbal use and Medicinal Properties

The whole plant is used as a medicinal herb internally and externally.

External Uses

The fresh juice of Dandelion is applied externally to fight bacteria and help heal wounds. The plant has an antibacterial action, inhibiting the growth of Staphococcus aureus, pneumococci, meningococci, Bacillus dysenteriae, B. typhi, C. diphtheriae, proteus. The latex contained in the plant sap can be used to remove corns and warts.

Internal Uses

Dandelion is also used for the treatment of the gall bladder, kidney and urinary disorders, gallstones, jaundice, cirrhosis, hypoglycemia, dyspepsia with constipation, edema associated with high blood pressure and heart weakness, chronic joint and skin complaints, gout, eczema and acne. As a tonic, Dandelion strengthens the kidneys. An infusion of the root encourages the steady elimination of toxins from the body. Dandelion is a powerful diuretic but does not deplete the body of potassium.

Research is revealing that the many constituents of Dandelion including Taraxacin, Taraxacoside, Inulin, Phenolic acids, Sesquiterpene lactones, Triterpenes, Coumarins, Catortenoids and Minerals, mainly Potassium and calcium, are very valuable in curing a number of disorders and illnesses. Dandelion is traditionally used as a tonic and blood purifier, for constipation, inflammatory skin conditions, joint pain, eczema and liver dysfunction, including liver conditions such as hepatitis and jaundice.

Weed? Okay, if you say so.

Now somebody tell me what to do with the thistles.

Nettle Soup

Posted by on 08 Apr 2008 | Tagged as: asking my brain to do something different

When they first shoot up, the purple tips of new spring nettles curl to a point with a frill and swirl, like soft serve ice cream. I went trimming nettle tips last night, from the patch in the back 1/4 acre. Nettle, mint, and thistle – this is how the garden wants to grow. All winter the sentinel plants have been silent, rooted beneath the soil and waiting. And in this interminably slow spring, they are the first heralding of all the wild green sprouting to follow.

And they will win. I know that now. last spring I was still hopeful that some tugging and clearing on my part would balance the scales. Then I watched the the skin on my arms burn and blister from thistle toxin, felt the nettle sting reverberate for days on the pad of my thumb, tasted the mint frolic from the mound by the hammock, and accepted that something in this soil, stronger longer deeper than mere human insistence, would persevere to make mockery of my intentions.

Good to know where I stand.

The mint I’ve made my peace with, easy to do with mint: harvest and dry, muddle fresh into Hendricks gin and tonics, sip in the hammock while gazing upon the slow passing of an afternoon.

The thistles – I’m soliciting advice, from all sides. Being Scottish, I may take a certain pride of association with their ambitious tenacity, but mostly they make me nervous.

The nettles – well I’m harvesting them for tea, and offering a nettle soup recipes from last year’s Spring Co-op newsletter. They are full of calcium, magnesium, chromium, iron, and B vitamins. Harvest them before they flower. Wear gloves.

Nettle Soup:

1 quart young nettle tops, rinsed *5 cups stock or water * 1/4 cup cooked brown rice * 1 carrot * 1 onion * 1 celery * 2 cloves minced garlic * 1/2-1 cup warmed milk if you want a creamy soup * olive oil for sauteing * salt and pepper to taste

Pick and clean the nettles. Slice onion, carrot and celery; saute in oil with garlic. Add rice and toast briefly. Add water or stock and bring to a boil. Add nettles and simmer 10-15 minutes. Blend, add warmed milk, season with salt and pepper.

For straight up nettle mint juice:

Pick, dry and crush 4 parts nettle to one part mint and treat as loose leaf tea. Heating will lose you some nutrients, so you can steep the mixture in a glass jar for 10-15 minutes and drink cold.

Dandelion remedies, coming up next…