Monday, September 28, 2020

Common name: Burdock, gobo, beggar's buttons, thorny burr, cocklebur
Botanical name: Artium lappa
Family name: Asteraceae or Compositae (Sunflower family)

Overview: Burdock is a biennial and it literally grows just about everywhere! To harvest roots at their most nutritious/medicinal take them in their first year of growth in the fall or just before new growth starts in the spring of the 2nd year. First year plants don't have the seed stalk. Harvesting takes patience as the roots can be up to 2 feet or more in length. All parts are medicinal. 
Primary therapeutic constituents: Tannin, arctigenin, chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, minerals, vitamin B1, B2, C & A, carotene, flavonoids, lignans, mucilage, pectin, polysaccharides (inulin).
Medicinal actions: Alterative (supports eliminative channels), bitter, lymphatic, hepatic, nutritive, hypoglycemic, diuretic, anti-inflammatory, immune supportive. 

Common uses: One of the best alteratives in herbal medicine. Especially helpful in chronic skin conditions such as acne, eczema, boils, psoriasis and cysts. Arthritis, gout, rheumatism, sciatica. Great for regulating gut flora (the fructo oligo saccharide - FOS - Inulin), nourishing, blood sugar regulation (due to mineral content), reduces lipid oxidation, canine skin issues. 
Technique: Decoction - 1 tsp root simmered in water 15 minutes 3 x daily. Tincture - 2-4 ml of a 1:5 in 40% 3 x daily. Also popular as a food source in stir fry and soups. Can also nibble on the root marc or add it to a dog's food (especially if they're having skin issues)!

Cautions and contraindications: Can trigger allergic reactions in people who are sensitive to plants in the Asteraceae family. No known toxicity risk. Some folks with inflammatory bowel issues may not do well with the inulin constituent (you know who you are!). 
Taste: Bitter (leaf), sweet, salty  
Energy: Moistening, diffusive (seed)
Educational video: Here is a nice little clip from She Is Of The Woods discussing burdock. Enjoy! 

Educational video: It would be absolutely negligent of me not to include at least one recipe using Gobo (burdock root). This recipe is for Kinpira Gobo which is a very popular Japanese stir-fry dish. Looks scrummy!

Personal experience: I love burdock decoctions, it has a pleasant sweet flavor and aroma and it may sound strange but for me it has a very satisfying nutritive effect like a hearty broth would. My constitution defaults to dry so the moistening attributes of burdock is very soothing.


Common Herbs for Natural Health by Juliette de Bairacli Levy. p. 25-26

Prescription for Herbal Healing by Phyllis Balch. 2nd edition. p. 38-39

Back to Eden by Kloss. p. 100-101

Monday Plant Exploration with Julie James. Live 092820

Herbal Academy, (n.d.) Burdock monograph. Retrieved from: https://herbarium.theherbalacademy.com/monographs/#/monograph/1007

DIY Room Freshener

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Have you noticed how expensive things have gotten lately? It seems like every time I go to the store I leave with less money in my wallet than I did the time before. Something's gotta give! So more and more if there's a household item I can make myself then that's what I'm going to do. It's not just about the money though. Many "freshening" products are loaded with toxic chemicals and I prefer to reduce my family's load of that at every opportunity. 

Like most folks we have "foo foo" spray in the bathroom and kitchen. It's not a necessity of life but nevertheless in a home with people and animals it's a pleasant item to have on hand. This is one product that's so quick and simple to make I can't ever imagine popping for store bought again.

There are plenty of herbs that come to mind when creating something aromatic but for this recipe I'm turning to essential oils due to their potency. No plant parts, just the extracted volatile oils. There are any number of aromatic combinations depending on your intentions. The base I use is water, vodka, rubbing alcohol or vanilla extract. Add to that your chosen essential oils. The following was my first recipe and I'm quite pleased with it.

Mountain Mist Foo Foo Spray

1/2 cup water (distilled or filtered)
1 Tbs vodka, rubbing alcohol or vanilla extract (helps mix the mix)
6 drops douglas fir
5 drops frankincense
6 drops cedar

Combine all ingredients into an amber spray top bottle, shake, label and spray. That's it!

Create room fresheners for moods, holidays or spring cleaning. I am really wanting to create one that smells of caramel and tobacco!

CAUTION - Some essential oils are harmful to pets so please investigate your choices before making a blend that may harm your furry friends! That information is readily available with a simple web search but here is one source for your immediate convenience. 

Happy foo-foo fun! Would love to hear of your favorite combos in the comments...


Monday, September 7, 2020

What is an Anodyne?

These are herbs that are known to relieve and sooth pain. Often used both internally and externally, depending on the herb. They may also be antispasmodics; relieving pain by reducing cramping in muscles. They may have an affinity for certain organs or systems. 

They work through various mechanisms but most help by a direct effect on pain signals to the brain. Anodyne is often synonymous with Analgesics. 

Herbal Anodynes To Explore:

Skullcap, valerian, lobelia, catnip, chamomile, cloves, cramp bark, passion flower, linden, california poppy, corn silk, bacopa, horsetail, hops, pleurisy root, kava, albizia, plantain, birch, wood betony.

Understanding herbal actions is important. You can get started by accessing my Quizlet for fun ways to learn and test yourself! To obtain access you'll need this password.... EXPLORE (also listed here in the side bar under "tools").

Caution: Always, always remember to do some research on an herb before using it. In school, we were advised to check at least 3 sources first. Some are contraindicated with certain medications, existing conditions or other herbs you may be using. Make sure you're not allergic. Go low and slow when trying an herb for the first time... just a sip, a skin test or one drop, etc. depending on the route of your intentions.