Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Nourishing Herbal Infusions - Part Three of Three

Three Part Series on Nourishing Infusions
PART THREE - More Details on Nettles - Sources, the Variety of Actions of Nettles
Now we know how to make a Nourishing Herbal Infusion and we’ve learned how to expand it to customize it somewhat to our constitution (there are endless varieties in this... just the basic of basics so far).
To start out on a more doable level (if it is winter and you can’t harvest nettles in the wild or if you are sick, overdone and just need an easy start) - you can buy dried herbs and make your nourishing infusion from that and then build up to locally harvesting and drying your herbs by yourself (and some of the herbs you want in your infusion may not be local or in season).  You can buy dried herbs from your local food co-op or health food store.  You can also mail order herbs from Mountain Rose Herbs.  Supporting local whenever you can is awesome - try and find a local herbalist and buy from them and ask them to help you learn to make your own medicine - so much fun!!!
Notes: Stinging Nettles is a perennial that grows June - September in the Eastern/Central United States.  Nettles likes moist soils.
Just to give you a flavor of the power and versatility of Nettles --- here are the traditional uses of Nettles (from the Peterson’s Field Guide): “blood purifier, blood builder, diuretic, astringent; for anemia, gout, glandular diseases, rheumatism, poor circulation, enlarged spleen, mucous discharges of lungs, internal bleeding, diarrhea, dysentery” (p. 239).  Add I have to add: helpful for seasonal allergies!
From Matthew Wood’s “The Earthwise Herbal” about Nettles (p. 496-497): “Urtica is native to the Old World, but widely naturalized throughout the world.  It has native cousins in the woods of North America.  Nettle grows around septic systems, outhouses, and manure piles, demonstrating its utility in dealing with protein waste products.  It is one of the plants highest in protein and helps all protein pathways in the body -- digestion, immune response, liver metabolism, skin reactions, and kidney elimination.  It contains chlorophyll, indoles (including histamine and serotonin), acetylcholine, flavonoids, vitamins (including C), proteins, and dietary fiber.”
References & Resources: 
Beautiful Improvement with my allergies after taking nettles!!!
jim mcdonald - Herbal Intensive
Matthew Wood - “The Earthwise Herbal, A Complete Guide to Old World Medicinal Plants”
Isla Burgess - “Weeds Heal, A Working Herbal”
Kiva Rose - class correspondence
John Gallagher - and
Peterson Field Guide: Medicinal Plants & Herbs by Steven Foster & James A.  Duke

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