Forest Allies Syrup

An Elderberry syrup with a twist: medicinal mushrooms!

I have developed a delicious immune-boosting syrup, and have gotten rave reviews from everyone who has tried it, including my kids. They just can’t get enough! The syrup is based on a simple elderberry syrup recipe, with the addition of some medicinal mushrooms and other herbs that support immune function. This syrup is great for fighting colds and influenza, as well as supporting healthy immune function. It is safe for pregnant and breast-feeding mothers, and as long as you don’t have a sensitivity to fungi, you are good to go!

I will put the recipe instructions below, but first I would like to talk about the ingredients and why I chose to use each one specifically.

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Herbal Medicine Chest : Herbs in your backyard!


***I have sent emails asking permission to post this here, and have not heard back as of yet. I am not intending to step on anyone’s toes, or claim this work as my own. I simply desire to share the work of an herbalist and plant-ally whom I admire greatly and have a deep personal respect for. If I am contacted and asked to take this down, I will. Please note that NONE of the following words are my own, and I do not take any credit for them. The following article was written by Susun Weed. Thank you. ***

“Don’t kill, spray, tear up, or destroy the weeds in your garden, yard, and fence rows. Many of them are actually highly-regarded, widely-used, and extremely-valuable medicinal herbs! What could be easier than growing an herb garden with no effort? Of course, you’ll have to harvest your weeds, but you would do that anyhow: it’s called weeding.

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Herb of the Month: Oatstraw (Avena sativa)

Oatstraw, Avena sativa, a blessing and gift to the endocrine system, full of calcium, and nourishing to the skin, we thank you!

Oatstraw is an herb that once grew wild, but is among the oldest cultivated grains. Oatstraw is from the same plan as oats themselves, but is the whole flowering top of the plant, not just the ripened grain. The flowering tops and grassy leaves are harvested in what is called “the milky stage” of the plant’s development, when the seeds are begining to swell and ripen, but are not fully ripe. This results is a lovely, grassy, green herb as you can see in the picture below. Oats are a grass, growing in meadows, banksides and grainfields.

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Chaga bursting out of a Birch tree.

Herb Focus : Chaga (Inonotus obliquus)

Last week, I was given an amazing gift: a large piece of Chaga that my dear friend harvested while on a retreat in Northern Ontario. The following day I prepared some for myself and had the most incredible burst of energy that kept me going all day. I was really surprised because I didn’t know what to really expect. I did some research and found out why it had such a profound impact on my day.

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Rune Study: Berkana

Berkana: Birch

Bjarkan Video

This might be one of my favourite runes…Her energies are so beautiful, protective and powerful. This is the rune of becoming; embodying the maternal goddess energy. The shape of the rune speaks volumes, taking the form of a pregnant mother’s breasts and belly. The peoples of the North experienced the cleansing and protective powers of birch trees. Groves or circles of birch were viewed as very sacred and safe place; a secret sanctuary when one needed it most.

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Herb of the Month: Saint Joan’s/John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum)

June 24th is known in the Christian Tradition as Saint John the Baptist’s Day. The plant, Hypericum perforatum, was named after St John because it was used to “chase demons away”.

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Herb of the Month: Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)

In May, we who live in Southern Ontario, have lots of sunny days, the warm south winds carrying the warm air that opens the blooms of Spring. One of my favourites of these is Dandelion.

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Herb of the Month: Coltsfoot (Tussilago Farfara)

Coltsfoot : April Herbal Focus

So, as we walk through the woods in April and early may, we can see small yellow flowers that look like dandelions, but have a scaly, reddish-brown stem, and no leaves present. This amazing flower, that likes moist, shady places like the edge of a forest, is called Coltsfoot, or it’s Latin name, Tusilago Farfara.

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The Four Sacred Medicines

Healer, heal thyself!

I have been recently involved in a Women’s Healing Circle, hosted by a local Native Outreach and Resource center.  The experiences I have had there, the welcome I received from the wonderful women there, has been beautiful.  I am so grateful for the openness of my sisters there, even though I am not an Indigenous Canadian.  We meet weekly and hold a ceremony, talking about what we are each working through that week, what we are thankful for, and learning from one another.

One of my sisters who has described one of her gifts being healing others, said something interesting to me one week.  She had been feeling sick, and overworked, and expressed that she wished someone would help her heal, for she couldn’t heal herself, only others.

This confounded me.  I assumed that healers following their traditional approaches, with access to their ancestral wisdom, would know that they could indeed heal themselves.  It has been my understanding ever since coming across teachings like that of Susun Weed and the Wise Woman Tradition, that Wise Women have the ability, and the obligation to heal themselves and others.

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Gardens and Growing Up

I have had a close relationship with plants my whole life. I have a distinct memory of being a small child, maybe 5 or 6 years old, and playing in my grandmother’s backyard with my cousin, who is only a few months younger than myself.  We were making a magic potion on the cinder-block “stove” that we had made with some other rocks and a block that was hanging around back there. We pounded and crushed a handful of weeds we had gathered from the yard; some clover, grass, dandelion flowers and leaves, and plantain leaves and seeds.  We mixed some water in to the “potion” and when I was picking more plants to add to the mixture, I cut my hand on a blade of grass. I applied some of the “magic potion”, and to my amazement, the pain was instantly gone.  My skin began to knit itself back together much more quickly than ever before.  Without knowing it, I used one of the most wonderful healing “weeds”, Plantain.

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