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Words from Kate!

  • Supporting Herbs for Winter Months
  • Supporting Herbs for Winter Months

    Supporting Herbs for Winter Months

    Outside, fresh snow blankets the land and graces the trees, softly shimmering in the light of early morning. The white snow softens all it covers, creating a mantle of peace in the cold of January here in the Northeast.  We welcome the clarity and beauty of winter, even as we begin to notice the lengthening days and dream of Spring.

     

    Yet now is the time to rest, renew and take care of our immune systems that can become taxed with the cold winter weather, and perceived times of stress. For those of us that embrace the winter days that call us outside, along with others who are not as fond of this chilly season, protecting ourselves from wind, wet and cold conditions is an important factor. Colds and flus may catch us by surprise, yet there are herbs to help strengthen immunity, support our lungs, warm us to the bone, and help us deal with anxiety and seasonal sadness. 

    Wishing you warmth,  confidence, support and tender care for body, heart and mind as you move through these winter days. 

     

     Here are a few herbs and ideas to support and protect:

    Ginger root:

    A cup of Ginger tea~ warms us from within and increases digestive fire (not for those who experience acid reflux).  I like to begin each morning with a cup of hot water, ¼ lemon and a bit of grated fresh ginger, which is not as hot as dried ginger, along with a little pine honey.  Delicious, warming and soothing.

     

    A sprinkle of ginger powder in my boots before heading out for cross country skiing, snowshoeing or long walks keep my toes warm which allows me more time to be outside!

     

    If I do become chilled or get a cold, a 10-15 minute ginger footbath warms me right up, and helps relieve some of the cold symptoms. 2 teaspoons ginger powder in hot water, adding more hot water ( take feet out of the basin when doing this!) as the water cools.  After the footbath, I put on wool socks and head to bed where often I will perspire and “break” the cold symptoms.

     

    Fire Cider~  (recipes abound on the internet)  a combo of onions, garlic, ginger, horseradish and a bit of cayenne. I learned to make this version from herbalist Rosemary Gladstar many years ago, and make sure to have it on hand for winter. 

     

    Herbs that nourish one’s immune system:

     

    Elderberry: My favorite for warding off colds and flus. I’ve used this delicious berry in syrups and extracts for over thirty years, as a staple in keeping my four children and now grandchildren more protected.

     

    Astragalus~  Astragalus root has been used for centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine as an overall tonic to support  the lungs and immune system. This root has been used to strengthen one’s Wei Chi- (one’s natural defenses) and ward off the effects of the cold, wet, windy winter conditions. The mild, sweet root slices are often added to long simmering, immune nourishing soups, but can also be used to prepare as an extract. The root is considered a metabolic restorative, hepato-protective and an adrenal tonic, and is known to strengthen primary energy. 

     

    Codonopsis~ ( also known as “children’s ginseng) is another marvelous and delicious root used in TCM, and can be added to nourishing soups. Codonopsis supports the immune and respiratory systems and helps to increase overall energy. My children used to call it “Chinese carrot” and we would also add small pieces of the root to brown rice or other grain when cooking. 

     

    Thyme~ Fragrant garden thyme is a must for use in cooking and can also be enjoyed as a honey, or prepared as an extract. Thyme has a long history of use to help with coughs, bronchial distress, sore throat and upset stomach. It can also prevent certain infections as it is considered an anti-microbial. When my children were young, I would prepare a honey by chopping fresh thyme into a small jar and then covering the thyme with local honey. After leaving it in a sunny window for a few weeks, the thyme honey was ready- and easy to use.  If a cold, sniffles of cough started up, I would heat some water and stir into it a spoonful of this herbed honey. A soothing, tasty and helpful remedy!

     

    For Seasonal Sadness/ Winter Blues

     

    Our Mood Support Formula was developed over years of my herb practice for many people who experienced an increase in moodiness and sadness once the days became shorter each autumn and through winter.  A combination of three sunny herbs- St Johnswort, Lemon balm and California Poppy along with a few flower essences to enhance the formula, this is like a bottle of sunshine!

     

    For Seasonal Stress with Anxiety

     

    1. A simple breathing technique I use when feeling overwhelmed, stressed or anxious is this: Take a minute or two to sit quietly and simply pay attention to your breath, Slowing it down until you are able to consciously breathe in while thinking the words “I am” and then slowly breathe out with the words “at peace”.  Do this for a minute or more until you feel calmer. 

    “ I am, at peace. I am at peace…” This can be so helpful.

     

    1. There are herbs and flower essences that can also help. Several years ago I prepared an extract formula we call “ Peaceful Center” which has supported many folks through challenging moments. Banyan Botanicals carries a wonderful tablet called “Tranquil Mind”, and the Flower Essence Society (fesflowers.com) offers a spray called Fear-Less which combines flower essences and essential oils that has become quite popular. Each of these products helps one feel more centered, grounded and relaxed.  And that’s when we are able to truly listen to our hearts. 

    Love, 

    Kate xo 

     

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  • Lomatium
  • Lomatium
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  • Lomatium

    Lomatium

     

    Our Lomatium Extract is prepared from the fresh roots of Lomatium dissectum, responsibly wildcrafted in its natural, rocky environment by a trusted herb company in Oregon that we have been working with. 

    Also known as Fernleaf Biscuitroot and Desert Parsley, Lomatium dissectum is a perennial member of the carrot family (Apiaceae). Growing in the high deserts of the western United States, it is an important spring-flowering plant that bees and other early spring pollinators count on.

    After our first Lomatium post a few years ago, when we understood Lomatium to be At- Risk, we were grateful to learn that at the present time, Lomatium dissectum is not being negatively impacted by ethical harvesting.

    According to United Plant Savers website: ( www.unitedplantsavers.org)

    “Having a large woody, carrot-like taproot allows ( Lomatium dissectum) to handle browsing and fire with a great chance of returning the next year. Over harvesting may be an issue in small pockets of L. dissectum’s range, but overall, there is no evidence to suggest wild harvest (is) impacting populations in a significant way.”

    This is indeed good news for the populations of this exceptional herb. The giant tap roots of this plant are filled with aromatic oleo-gum resin. The fragrance seems to open one’s breath as well as energize one when preparing the root. Traditional uses of this remarkable herb note its support for the respiratory and immune systems, as well as its ability to assist in the removable of certain microbes from the body.

    We encourage the use of Lomatium in a prepared formula. If using as a single, it is best to begin with a very small dose (1-3 drops in water) and increase over several days to recommended dose. There are certain individuals who may respond to the use of this root with a one time body rash- sometimes mild and for other people more extensive and uncomfortable.

    We continue to honor this powerful medicinal perennial and the wild places in which it grows, grateful for the ethical wildcrafters we have come to trust who carefully harvest with experience, knowledge and full hearts.

    Kate Gilday 

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  • Change
  • Change

    Change

     

    Dear Friends,

     

    We are living in a remarkable time of change and uncertainty. Days when we brim with creativity, sureness and curiosity; other times when it is difficult to know how to proceed. We can lose our bearings, become overwhelmed or feel anxious and disconnected. When I find myself struggling, feeling edgy or worried, I go to the woods. To the trees that stand tall, branches rising to the sun; patient guardians that can remind us of our heritage as humans~ our place in nature, a relationship with the wild that we somehow recognize in the fragrance of evergreens, the dappled sunlight on green leaves, and the moss beneath our feet.

     

    The trees offer us strength, balance, grounding, protection and a quiet presence that instills peace and hope, whether we find them in a forest, local woodland, city park or our own backyards. Returning home after a slow walk through the woods, we find ourselves rested, rejuvenated, relaxed and ready for the daily challenges of life. And when we cannot get to the trees, we can turn to the TREE Flower Essences for support and their individual gifts. White Pine for stability, Quaking Aspen for courage, Hawthorne for the heart, Eastern Hemlock for support during times of change and personal transformation….and others…

     

    I hope you do have a favorite tree, park or woodland where you enjoy spending time.

    And that you remember in those dark moments of doubt that you have these ancient ones to turn to for comfort, support and remembering.

     

    It has been thirty years since we created the Woodland Essence Tree Flower Essence sets and they have served many people, animals and places over this time. When you cannot get out to the trees, these flower essences bring the tree’s gifts to you, wherever you may be. May they support and nurture, protect and inspire you always.

     

    “Tall trees call me to the woods to find…a gentle healing and peace of mind

    Patiently they stand, gracing the land. Holding earth and sky, reminding me why…”

     

    With Love, Peace and Hope,

    Kate xo

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  • Milky Oats
  • blogMilky oats
  • Milky Oats

    Milky Oats

     

    Avena sativa, Milky Oats, is as nourishing and comforting in its fresh, milky stage as it is a delicious porridge on a chilly morning. When I learned that the same rolled or steel-cut oats I ate for breakfast were from the same plant that grew lush milky oat seed heads; life seemed to full circle in the understanding that some herbs are truly both food and medicine. Many years ago, I sat at Susun Weed’s feet to learn more about the herbs I had been reading about and growing in my garden. I knew and appreciated the gifts of Calendula, Hypericum, Lemon Balm, and Echinacea, but there were so many others I was just beginning to cultivate a relationship with. Susun encouraged her students to make time to learn from only a few plants each year, trusting that over time we would deepen our relationships with these plants as we included other herbs into our growing personal pharmacopeias. 

    As a young mother seeking good nutrition for my family, I was most drawn to the plants considered nourishing herbs as well as those classified as tonic herbs. The first two I met and called food as medicine were Nettles and Milky Oats. The first summer I grew and harvested Oats, I delighted in the sensual feel of pulling up on the stem, filling my cupped hand with the green seed heads. Like a zipper, I drew the seeds up from one plant after another, soon filling a small basket with this fragrant harvest. Drying in a roomy basket, with enough air circulating, I would stir the seed heads daily till dry. To be double sure there was no moisture left, I then placed the oats in a paper bag in a dry, warm room for a few more days before storing in a glass jar with top on, and placing in a cool, dry cabinet. One year, I did not dry them enough and sadly, the whole gallon jar of green oats molded! Since then I am extra careful to be sure seed heads are absolutely dry!

    Sweet, nutritive and calming- Milky oats and Oatstraw gathered when green, make their way into teas and infusions. As well as being prepared as an alcohol extract using 40-50% alcohol; oat powder can be placed in the bath to help with acute itchy skin conditions such as poison ivy, chicken pox, and dermatitis. Two of my children spent a few summer days in a small pool of cool water blended with oat powder, content to play in their “oat medicine bath” as their chickenpox healed. As I remember, after their baths they easily fell asleep for an afternoon nap. Nice!

    Oats, green Milky Oat seeds and Oatstraw, high in calcium and other minerals ~ are excellent support for healthy strong bones, shining hair and nails, along with an overall sense of calm and centeredness. They are soothing and restoring to frayed nerves, helping with sleeplessness and exhaustion and the effects of stress. Milky oats are also used by those trying to break an addiction to smoking, alcohol or drugs. For those dealing with acute or long term anxiety, depression and accompanying exhaustion, oats have both an immediate effect and long term strengthening benefit. 

    Over the years, I have successfully used Milky Oat seed and Oatstraw for stress related hair loss, cranky babies, to improve fertility, increase milk flow for nursing moms, soothe skin eruptions, address nervous ticks, lack of zest, (tired adrenals) as well with people with tight schedules,“burning the candle at both ends”, and parents of little ones who are desperate for sleep (given to the babies/ toddlers as well as mom and dad!) This herb/grain is a “must-have!”

    - Kate 

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  • Motherwort
  • high stresskate blogkathleen gildayleonurusmotherwort
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  • Motherwort

    Motherwort

     

    Ah, beautiful green leafed Motherwort~ with her tiny, lovely pink flowers which are both soft and prickly in their form. I love the way the leaves change their design as the plant grows taller in these summer days…transforming as they rise, yet always sharp in their stance. Allowing for good boundaries! Leonurus cardiaca is her botanical name- “Lion-hearted”, for those moments we can use such energy in our lives. We nibble her bitter leaves as we process her for medicine, grateful for her strength, heart-centered energy and reminder that we can be tender even as we stand in our own personal integrity and essence. The Latin name of this plant, Leonurus cardiac, means “Lion-hearted”- perfect for the times we need to call on our own lion and lioness hearts! The dark green leaves and tiny, soft pink flowers, with their spiky seedpods, are gathered fresh from the gardens on a sunny summer morning and immediately processed into a bitter, cooling extract.

    Motherwort can also be read as “herb (plant) of the mother”, the suffix wort from the Old English wyrt meaning plant. Native to the southeastern part of Europe and Eurasia, Motherwort traveled to North America and became a favorite of bees and other pollinators. Motherwort is a marvelous woman’s herb, as it assists in strengthening the female reproductive system, helping with menstrual cramping, pre-menstrual tension, menopausal heat flashes, hormonal emotional upheaval, toning the uterus after birth and more. I have found this woman’s herb helpful from a young girls first menstrual cycle through the changes of time, in birthing, mothering and all through menopause and beyond!

    Not only women feel the benefits of Motherwort. She is a powerful ally in times of change and when feeling unsettled, along with moments of overwhelm and anxiety. She settles, calms, and centers, reminding us of our own courage. In times of vulnerability, high stress, discord or simply needing to set and maintain healthy boundaries, think of this dark green wild beauty-Motherwort!

    As for the heart- Motherwort offers support to our hearts, cooling and relaxing anxiety and tension, improving heart function, calming irregular or racing heart beat along with helping to protect the heart. Motherwort also protects and re-energizes the mitochondria; in Lyme disease it can help with the symptoms of fatigue that occurs during the day as well as the insomnia that arises at night.

    Motherwort is gathered at the time of flowering- late June to early August here in the Northeast. When harvesting, use only the healthy dark leaves and flower stems on the top 1/3 of the plant. She will branch out once again after this first harvest. And bees will appreciate a longer flowering time too! Offer a gift of song, prayer, tobacco, shell…something meaningful to you. The reciprocity of giving and receiving when working with plants is vitally important, and reminds us that we are in relationship with these wise elders. Asking before taking (and then listening) is also a way of honoring and appreciating a plant and the wisdom it holds.

    For an extract: Simply fill a jar with freshly chopped leaf and flower and cover with your favorite 100 proof vodka, place lid on jar, and set aside overnight. In the morning check your extract, making sure to add enough vodka to cover the herb. LABEL your jar with herb name and date. Shake daily, leaving in a dark, cool place. After 4 weeks, strain into a clean bottle. Label. Take a moment to note that you are preparing a wild plant medicine to use for yourself and others. This is your birthright. Spend time with Motherwort and with those who know her medicine and power. There is always more to learn! Store in a cool, dark place. Use within 5 years. 

    I use Motherwort flower essence with clients as well as myself for helping to provide healthy boundaries along with remembering and protecting one’s own personal power, upright chi, strong heart and accumulated wisdom.

     

     A few examples:

    ** when it is difficult to say no, even when you know “No” is the right answer.

    ** times of high stress, when you simply cannot take on one more chore/ responsibility/ thing that “needs” doing.

    **  when your spirit is calling out for personal space to simply be, without answering to anyone else.

    ** when you feel your lioness wanting to roar!  

    ** creating healthy relationships while maintaining sense of self.

     

    Thank you Motherwort~ for reminding us to stand in the light and dark aspects of ourselves, staying true to our own destiny, trusting that we can mother ourselves with compassion, strength, clarity and truth. 

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  • Hawthorne
  • cardiovascularhawthornHawthornehawthorne berryheart
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  • Hawthorne

    Hawthorne

     

     

    Each spring we head out to nearby old farms and neglected pastures that have become overgrown with wild hawthorne trees, patches of dark green nettles, thorny brambles and the occasional ancient apple tree that still bears a cloud of fragrant blossoms in spring. It is the hawthorne leaf and not-quite-open flowers we seek on these ventures. Come early autumn we will return with our baskets to gather the red berries!

    Hawthorne berries, leaf and flowers are prepared as fresh plant extracts ( spring and fall) that are then blended together to create a final product that holds the gifts of this well-known tree. Some years the trees do not produce berries, so we turn to other wildcrafters for their fresh or dried berries.

    Hawthorne strengthens and nourishes the heart, increasing the quality of circulation, including to the heart. Rich in flavonoids and glycosides, Hawthorne is considered a safe botanical that calms the nervous system, quieting and steadying the heart. Hawthorne is best taken over a period of time for its tonic effects, 3 months or longer.  


    Caution:  If you have serious heart disease or are taking cardiac medications, consult a qualified expert before using this product.

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  • At-Risk Flower planting for Spring!
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  • At-Risk Flower planting for Spring!

    At-Risk Flower planting for Spring!

     

     

    I think of plants and flowers as ambassadors of hope and resilience, wherever they are planted or rise on their own. They are touchstones of belonging, of sustaining through adversity; they offer an optimism and faith in their annual return, sharing with us those same qualities as we step into each new day. May their grace and healing touch your life in beautiful ways!
     
    For those of you looking for a way to plant hope and optimism into your life and land ~ this is the perfect time of year to plant herbs that are considered At-Risk.  Here in the northeast, a shady area of your yard or garden is a great place to plant Goldenseal or Bloodroot.  Black cohosh (aka “Fairy wand”) and Butterfly weed (Pleurisy root) , whose bright orange flowers attract butterflies and bees, thrive in a sunny location.   
     
    Years ago, we did a plant rescue of hundreds of Red trillium (Birthroot) plants that were destined to be destroyed in widening a nearby street. All they needed was shade enough found at the bottom of hardwood trees; maple, birch and beech became home-base for most of these beauties. You can plant for future use, for beauty, for your own connection to the wild, or simply for offering these plants a new home and the hope of watching them thrive where they are planted! 
     
    Note: Best NOT to transplant any woodland wildflowers or endangered plants unless they are under threat of removal by road crews or a new home being built. They are best left where they are already growing, supported by the plant community which they are a part of.
     
    Instead, you can order many of the At-risk species at 
    www.strictlymedicinalseeds.com  and/ or join the organization United Plant Savers www.unitedplantsavers.com  who are celebrating 25 years of being a voice for the plants, promoting conservation and education of at-risk medicinal plants of the US and Canada. The grand opening of their newly built Center for Medicinal Plant Conservation will be September 21, 2019, with keynote talks by Rosemary Gladstar and Steven Foster. Head to their site for more information. May your spring be filled with flowers! 

    Love,
            Kate 

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  • Ghost Pipe
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  • Ghost Pipe

    Ghost Pipe

    Ghost Pipe  (Monotropa uniflora)

    Mid- summer in the southern boreal forest finds us quietly stepping in the damp soft moss at the base of old spruce and balsam fir trees. This is where we may find the delicate pink-tinged, waxy-white “pipes” of Monotropa, in the dark understory of the evergreens.  After admiring the beautiful structure and ethereal glow of this untamed saprophytic perennial who depends upon certain mycorrhiza that live in the forest soil, we offer our thanks and gather a small cluster or two for preparing into an extract. 

    This whole plant extract holds the energy of the place in which it rises; the calm, quiet, peaceful nature of the deep woods where it grows. Physical pain seems less intense, the mind quieter, the heart open to connection. Some herbalists use a few drops; others a dropper full in water to offer the essence of the forest, moss and soft light in times of distress.

     

     

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  • The circle of life continues.
  • The circle of life continues.

    The circle of life continues.

    Tonight, it’s all about seeds.  Outside the cold rains of November fall, the hardwood trees stand leafless in their elegant bones of trunks and branches, and the garden holds only hardy greens, stalks of milkweed and sunflowers.  A rogue daisy blooms at the side of the road, having emerged through a thick carpet of golden brown beech leaves, but otherwise the plants have said their good-byes.  Or have they?

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  • Isatis Leaf-Latest news!
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  • Isatis Leaf-Latest news!

    Isatis Leaf-Latest news!

    Hello everyone!

    Our gardens are slowly producing Isatis leaf and we now have enough to make three of our formulas with the leaf again: Myco Formula, IHA Formula and Auntie-Vi Formula. They are back on the website, without limits!

    We are still waiting for more Isatis to be harvested in order to offer it in our Isatis Formula and alone, just as leaf, in a bottle. We hope to be able to offer this in the next 2-3 weeks. So stay tuned and thank you so much for your patience!

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  • Page 1 of 2

"Our desire is to connect you with the healing wonders
of nature so that you may restore wellness."
Love and Blessings from the Forest,
Kate & Don

  • Did you know?

    The window of time for gathering Scots Pine Pollen is a brief week in Spring when our Woodland Essence team cheerfully picks the pollen-filled strobiles one at a time!

  • Did you know?

    Echinacea purpurea is a native plant that grows in high grass prairie and open wooded areas as far east as New York and Pennsylvania. Echinacea angustifolia is a native of the western sandy prairie.

  • Did you know?

    The plant Jewelweed can be crushed and applied to skin that has been in touch with poison ivy to either prevent or treat a poison-ivy rash. 

  • Did you know?

    Reishi mushrooms are one of the oldest medicinal mushrooms, referred to as “the mushroom of immortality” for the health benefits it bestows.