Monday, April 26, 2010

chia sage

i forgot to write about chia sage (Salvia hispanica) from my herb walk. i collected about 8 seeds from the dried seed pod and i am going to try to get it to grow. so far... it is just of pot of soil... so nothing to write about yet. but here is some info on this amazing plant: 

the name Salvia derives from the Latin salvere, which means "to heal". this herb is highly regarded for its healing qualities. an ancient proverb states, "why should a man die who has sage in his garden?"

the chia sage seeds were an important part of native americans diet. in the Mayan language, the word for chia means "strength". chia seeds are rich in nutrients; so much so that a single teaspoon full could sustain a person for a whole day of travel. apache and aztec warriors sustained themselves by bringing the seeds along on conquests.

chia seeds are high in protein, essential fatty acids, vitamins, soluble fiber, antioxidants and minerals. they are used for suppressing the appetite, weight loss, leveling blood sugar, and for aiding intestinal regularity. chia seeds readily dissolve into the water, creating a substance that looks like gelatin. this gel-forming action is due to the soluble fiber in the seed. this same gel-forming phenomenon takes place in the stomach when chia seed is consumed, thus creating a physical barrier between carbohydrates and digestive enzymes and slowing the conversion of carbohydrates into sugar. fascinating huh ?

the chia sage seed pod - if you shake the pod - the seeds fall out.

herb walk two

i went on an amazing herb walk yesterday. so much is growing due to the heavy rain in sunny southern california.

the black mustard (Brassica nigra) was everywhere. the seed is ground and made into a paste then applied to the skin for treating rheumatism. applied externally, mustard relieves congestion by drawing the blood to the surface for head afflictions, neuralgia and spasms.

also there was plenty of oats (Avena sativa). oats are high in calcium. calcium rich foods and herbs are the basis for remedies that relax the muscles and nervous system.
i saw yerba santa (Eriodictyon crassifolium) which is helpful for coughs, colds, asthma and mucus.
...and yerba mansa (Anemopsis californicum) which can help treat inflammation and infections of the lungs throat and sinuses. they way it was explained to me was that yerba santa will help dry mucus, and yerba mansa will help move it. the white flowers in bloom on the yerba mansa were quite a beautiful sight.
i got to see yucca (Yucca whipplei) which was amazing... since this is what i currently have k.c. on for pain and inflammation from arthritis - and i have seen incredible improvement with her in the past few weeks.
there was so much black sage (Salvia mellifera) and purple sage (Salvia leucophylla) everywhere. below is purple sage flower. sage is antibacterial and antifungal - helpful for mouth sores and sore throats.
i didn't know it - but fennel (Foeniculum vulgaris) was growing wild too. fennel helps with gas, constipation and indigestion. eating a few fennel seeds before dinner can help if you have these issues.
i saw yellow dock (Rumux crispus) for the first time. yellow dock, or curly dock, is helpful for poor liver function and poor digestion. it's high iron amount makes it very helpful for correcting anemia.
... and willow (Salix ___ not sure) willow bark has a high content of salicyclic acid - which is the main ingredient in aspirin today. very helpful for aches and fevers.
it was an amazing beautiful day. i learned a lot... saw a lot. couldn't ask for more.

Friday, April 16, 2010

fresh plant oil

i have so much of everything growing here -  i am making an infused skin oil from fresh plant material. i used calendula (Calendula officinalis), rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), lavender (Lavendula dentata), chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) and some sage (Salvia officinalis). all fresh from my garden. i did a rough chop on it - put it in a jar and covered with sweet almond oil. some of it was dried and some not so i am going to keep a close eye on this - since i had an experience where mold grew in my oil because of moisture from fresh plant material. oil and water don't mix !

Thursday, April 15, 2010

four tinctures

i started four new tinctures today. burdock (Arctium lappa) root, dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) root and leaf, lavender (Lavendula dentata) and solomon's seal (Polygonatum biflorum). i have written about what these are helpful for in previous entries. they will sit for 4 to 6 weeks... then strain out herb material and store for use.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

so much lavender... not enough thyme

i haven't posted much lately. still taking care of k.c. the docs want to start her on steroids for osteoarthritis - and a few days ago i got yucca concentrate. the bottle does not say what kind, but yucca plants are members of the lily family (Liliaceae). it contains steroidal saponins which are nature's most powerful anti-inflammatory.

found this on saponins: saponins, precursors of cortisone, which prevent the release of toxins from the intestines that restrict normal cartilage formation. saponins are produced naturally in the body by the adrenal glands. found to treat: skin lesions, sprains, inflammation, bleeding, osteoarthrits, rheumatoid arthritis, migraines, colitis, ulcers, gout, bursitis, hypertension, high cholesterol, liver and kidney disorders.

so - i am going to try it to see how she responds. she is still on burdock (Arctium lappa) and astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus). more on that in the post - 'k.c. - january 13, 2010'.

in the meantime - everything keeps growing - i have so much lavender (Lavendula dentata) - i don't know what to do with it. so i harvested some today - and i am drying it for future use. i already have a lavender tincture made - 'lavender tincture - october 21, 2009' - so i am making a quick lavender infusion today.