Milky Oats (Avena Sativa)

Have you ever grown a crop of Milky Oats? Sow the oat seeds in the Fall and let them overwinter. In the Spring the green shoots will come up and by late Spring the oat seeds are ready for tincturing. I want to thank my friend Kristen who planted the oats in a garden we share.

How do you know the oats are ready? Squeeze the seeds between your fingers if the seed pops and a milky substance comes out your oats are ready to tincture or dry. I often went out morning and night to see if the oats were popping yet!
According to one of my teachers David Winston, “Oats strengthen and nourish the nervous system and contains calcium and magnesium which are essential nutrients for the nervous system.” I have used it in my practice for adults and who are exhausted and feel jangly and anxious. I love the combination of milky oats with holy basil tincture for its calming and effect on a person’s mental state.

Oats in combination with other herbs can help with withdrawal from nicotine. Herbalist and Alchemist has a formula called Smoker’s ResQ that has the first ingredient listed as Fresh Oat milky seeds, followed by Skullcap. These two in combination calm the anxiety that often accompany withdrawal.

In these pictures you can see the height of the oats which was over 5 feet. The tincture makes a bright green color when you first add the alcohol to it. I blended gluten free alcohol with the oats in my Vitamix which made a thick slurry. The intense green color only lasts a few hours before it turns a darker green. the tincture was ready in about a month’s time.

Salve Making Class

 

On August 5th, 2017 I taught a salve making class at my home in Graham. We made plantain and chickweed salve with essential oils of Frankincense.

This is a wonderful combination of three powerful plant oils for healing itchy skin from bug bites, for healing burns including sunburn, dry and cracked skin and rashes.

We also made a spiritual bath with the sacred plants of Tulsi, basil and marigolds.

Each woman took a bowl of this healing water and went outside and meditated in Nature.

Gratitude for the plants and a lovely day spent with wonderful women!

 

 

 

Roselle Hibiscus

Elderberry Syrup

IMG_2159At the end of July the Elderberries’ beautiful dark purple fruit was hanging on the branches and it was time to make Elderberry Syrup. The birds had been also enjoying the berries, especially the mocking birds and I realized if I didn’t make my syrup that weekend; the berries would soon be gone.

 This simple recipe is what I like to use:

1 cup of ripe elderberries (don’t use the green unripe ones)

2 cups of water

1 cup of honey

Note: Other recipes call for cinnamon sticks or ginger. I like to make this basic recipe as you can always add other ingredients in later.

I carefully destemmed the elderberries and had 10 cups of berries. An abundance of fruit!  In a large pot I poured the 10 cups of berries and added 20 cups of water and gently simmered it for an hour with the lid off.

IMG_2162 Note: Don’t worry if the mixture looks watery, some of the liquid will evaporate off.

I occasionally stirred and pressed the berries against the side of the pot with a slotted spoon to squeeze out as much juice as possible. When I was done simmering, I strained all the berries out as the seeds are not edible. The rich purple liquid smelled wonderful and I was excited to have this delicious Elderberry elixir.

When the juice cooled down but was still hot; I added 10 cups of local Graham tulip poplar honey.  I stirred the honey into the liquid till it was completely dissolved in the warm juice and then poured it into canning jars.  The syrup is amazingly sweet and stays preserved up to 6 months in the refrigerator.

You can enjoy this syrup with hot water as a tea. Or enjoy it cold by adding seltzer and making a wonderful spritzer.  I also enjoy a teaspoon a day starting in the Fall to boost my immune system.

These pictures show the elderberry bush behind me which is now 7 years old. I have a gutter by the bush which gives it ample water which it loves. Enjoy!

Elderberry copy