wild foods feast, part 1: intro + dandelion!

i’ve been devoting a lot of time and energy lately to the natural motherhood series, and while i’m going to be continuing that as normal, i wanted to branch out and offer something that would appeal to the un-pregnant majority (a complete assumption) of my readership.  i was thinking about what i could add to my current series, which include the wheel of the year, natural motherhood, and herbal preparations, and my husband ingeniously suggested a series on wild edibles.  yum yum! Read the rest of this entry »

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herbal preparations: honeys, oxymels, and elixirs

a bee from an egyptian hieroglyph

i figured i would take a short break from the series that i’m doing on natural motherhood and crank back up on a couple of my other projects.   something that i’ve been meaning to add for a while is a basic herbal preparations entry for sweet medicine—for honeys, oxymels, and elixirs.  honey (the common denominator between all three of these preparations) is a mysterious substance.  in the archaeology of beekeeping, author eva crane posits, based on neolithic cave paintings in valencia, spain, that honey has been a food source for humans for at least 10,000 years.  since the beginning of written history, thousands of medicinal and culinary uses of honey have graced the tablets and pages of our past.  yes, dried bee puke has held our interest for quite some time!  it has been used to treat wounds, to aid in the mummification process, to preserve food and drink, to sweeten things, and, as every granny knows, to stop a cough dead in its tracks! Read the rest of this entry »

natural motherhood, part 4: downstairs maintenance

whether you’re planning on getting pregnant, are already pregnant, or have just given birth, it is essential to do your research on “downstairs maintenance.”  odds are pretty much in favor of your having to deal with at least one of these issues, and (although we’ve gotten better about it) women tend not to have as many frank discussions as we should when it comes to our lady parts.  actually, this post branches out a little further than “lady parts”–the uterus and vagina are not the only bits of anatomy affected by pregnancy, labor, and delivery.  you’ve also got to talk about your bowels, your bladder, your vulva, and your rectum.  how many of you cringed when you read that last sentence? lol. see what i mean?  we don’t talk about this stuff enough. Read the rest of this entry »

natural motherhood, part 3: the big, bad list of “no-nos”

you knew this was coming, right?  amidst talk of all the wonderful new things you get to do (be goddess-controller of the air conditioning, add frivolous things to grocery lists, stop sucking in your gut for the first time since you were eight) is the dreaded list of “thou shalt nots.”  now, i’m not a doctor, so my word isn’t law here (funny how we assume that five extra years in college=always right!) but i do have some good source material and a lot of common sense.  i’m a teacher and a researcher by trade, and birth is my subject of choice.  just sayin’……this isn’t THE list; it’s the herbwife’s list.  amend as you see fit.  ask for second (and third, and fourth) opinions.  also, don’t assume that doing a few of these things a few times=sure trouble.  repetition increases risk with any harmful substance.  plenty of women have had beautiful, healthy babies after doing a whole slew of these things—-these are just guidelines for giving yourself and your baby the best chance at health. Read the rest of this entry »

safe and natural vitamin c serum

of all the products that we slather on ourselves day in and day out, those geared toward defying age, gravity, wrinklage, sundamage, and basically time in general are the ones that seem to be loaded with the most unidentifiable chemical ingredients.  have an age-defying cosmetic product?  turn it over and read the label.  does it contain propylparaben (a known endocrine disruptor and environmental pollutant)?  how about triethanolamine (a known respiratory and immune system toxicant that’s also damaging to the eyes and other sensory organs)?  and butylparaben (a neurotoxin that influences gene expression)?  or what about my particular favorite, “fragrance” (a common component that is not required by law to disclose its ingredients at all)? Read the rest of this entry »

eco-minded moontime, part 4: organic cotton tampons

hola friends!  the grand experiment marches on into its fourth installment!  this month, i’m reviewing organic cotton tampons.  if you’re unfamiliar with my project, please check out my general post on eco-minded moontime, my post on cloth pads, and my post on menstrual cups to see what i’ve been up to.  i’m acting as a menstrual guinea pig of sorts, reviewing all of the safe and effective alternatives to mainstream feminine products.  as always, the discussion will be frank, so put on your big girl (or big boy) panties, and let’s soldier on! (right after we enjoy this trippy but hilarious menstruation animation!) Read the rest of this entry »

eco-minded moontime, part 3: cups

greetings ladies and gents!  thank you for waiting patiently while i graded research papers and journals and daily work (etc., etc.) for my english 101 classes!  i’ve been blog-starved, but as the school year has finally come to a close, i have four and a half weeks of unfettered blogging ahead!  today’s entry is the third part in a series that i’m doing on eco-minded menstrual products.  my first entry was a more general statement of purpose for my whole project, and last time i reviewed cloth pads, so check out both of those entries if you haven’t already. Read the rest of this entry »

make your own goat cheese!

in my attempt to revive antiquated kitchen skills, i’ve learned to make chicken stock, pickled veggies, jams and jellies, but one of my favorite d.i.y. things has been goat cheese.   i’m tempted to pick some up every time i go the store.  it just stares at me from the cold shelves of the “gourmet foods” section of the grocery store, all creamy and rolled in exotic herbs.  it says “buuuuy meeeee” (softly, and with the voice of mike rowe from “dirty jobs” lol). i pick it up, and i aaaaaalmost buy it—but then i look at the price—and i put it down.  let’s be honest.  it wouldn’t make it a day in my fridge—especially if there’s melba toast within reach.  i rarely buy it because i can’t justify the expense.  sorry mike. Read the rest of this entry »

herbal allies for college crunch time

eeek!

i was remarking to a friend at dinner tonight how odd (and completely wonderful) it is not to be writing 60-ish pages of final papers or preparing for final exams (for the first time in fooorrrrrr—eeeeeee-verrrrrrr).  i graduated with a master’s in english this past august, and for the three years leading up to that, november and april had always been times of anxiety, late nights, endless pots of coffee, sleeplessness, and eye-strain headaches.  i currently teach in the english department, but most of my friends are still in school there and are still having to deal with term papers and finals.  i feel their pain (even when i point and laugh >:D). Read the rest of this entry »

getting an herbal education

i hope those of you who are casually interested in herbs are enjoying my posts so far.  truly this is something that i had to do so that i wouldn’t forget everything i was learning, and i know from my experience at university that there’s no better way to learn than to teach.  it is my sincerest wish, however, that there are at least a few of you who are left wanting more information than i could ever supply in a measly little blog.  i hope there are those of you who, like me, have been bitten by the bug and want to know everything there is to know about herbs and about managing your health and the health of your community.  a word about that before i go further…someone once told me that, to learn everything an herbalist needs to know, you would need seven lifetimes.  at first i thought this was ridiculous, but the more i learn, the more i know that i don’t know….and that’s ok! Read the rest of this entry »

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