Herbal Classes with Judith Brooks



The Wisdom of Elderberry: Medicinal Properties of Flowers and Berries

The class on Elderberry medicine making was a fun exploration of the many benefits of the flowers and berries.
The elderberries were ripe and plentiful near my home.

We tasted fresh Elderberry juice and elderberry syrup made with local honey.
The rich dark juice makes a slightly bitter drink full of health benefits for the immune system.
We also made Elderberry Elixir with dried elderberries, honey and brandy.

We also tasted a cordial made from Elder Flowers and lemon zest and sugar that I had made in June with my friend Paulette.
We ended the class with a plant meditation; an opportunity to be outside and observe the beauty of the elderberry bush.
Thank you to the wonderful women who attended.
I hope to teach this class next summer.

Sampling the Elderberry Syrup

Beautiful Elderberries!

Cleaning the berries.

A Hike to Crabtree Falls

Judith at Celo , NC with Galax Plant

Judith at Celo , NC with Galax Plant

I visited friends in Celo, NC this Winter and we took a long hike to Crabtree Falls.

Winter is a wonderful time to study the barks of trees, we identified several varieties of oak trees.

The winter time purple Galax was a treasure to find on our hike.

Enjoy the rest of Winter, Spring will be here soon!


Maintaining Health in Fall

Astragulus rootIt is a beautiful Fall here in North Carolina, the maple tree in front of my house is a vibrant red. It is the time of year I like to think of herbs and foods that will strengthen my immune system to get ready for the Winter Season. Astragalus is one of my favorite herbs. It is considered an immune tonic with antioxidant properties and has been used in Chinese Medicine to prevent colds and flu, and to strengthen the Lung and Wei Qi of the body.

Wei Qi is considered the outer protective layer of the body connected with the surface of the skin. If Wei Qi is deficient people get sick more easily, sweat too much or not enough, easily get chilled or get sore throats. Astragalus is NOT to be taken while you have a cold but can help with rebuilding and gaining stamina after a cold or the flu passes.

I have in the winter added a few pieces of astragalus: (dried root ) and lots of yummy garlic while making soup, and let it simmer gently in the stock for several hours to help extract it’s medicinal properties. It has a sweet, not bitter taste and adds an excellent flavor. I remove the astragalus after the soup is made, since it is woody and wouldn’t be fun to chew! The dried roots can come in long 4-6 inch sections, so can easily be removed. Organic whole roots can be found on line. If you have questions about astragalus check with your health practitioner to see if this herb is helpful for your constitution or health condition.

Blessings to you all this Fall!