Monday, November 21, 2011

Upstate Master Naturalist Meeting 11/17/11

For pictures, click HERE.

For a video of Robin talking about stripping bark, click HERE.

010Our speaker was Robin McGee, who is an herbalist from Anderson. Her website is Cattle Grass Fed Beef where you can find out more info about her herb classes.

Here is some of the notes I took from her presentation:

1. Wild Cherry - sweet birch is like this, great smell, original cough medicine. Use pocketknife to scrape green layer (not white) which is the medicine; scrape off and put on paper to dry it out. Anti-inflammatory. Put a handful or 2 in water, boil, simmer, and reduce by half. Let it sit for a couple of hours and then strain it. Add honey to make it syrupy. Add brandy. Make a gallon.

2. White Oak - ally for poison ivy. Make a tincture. Cut branch the size of little finger. Fill half a jar with inch long pieces. Add 100% vodka and water or Everclear. Fights the itch. Rub on the skin or drink. Stops bleeding on gums or hemorrhoids.

3. Peach Leaves – good for morning sickness. Harvest leaves after bloom (late summer). Dry and put in a jar. Label all jars. Calming and cooling. Make a tea.

4. Hawthorne (not Indian Hawthorne) – for the heart, any cardiovascular diseases. Use leaf, flower, and berry to make a tea or tincture. Berries make syrup. Lowers blood pressure.

5. Elder – antiviral; berries and flowers. Good for anemia, increase red blood cell production. Used instead of flu shots. Tincture or syrup, good fever reducer; said to be a preventative for SIDS. Cook flowers and berries. You can dip flowers in pancake batter and fry them up. Use flowers in tea. Softens the skin.

6. Lemon Balm – antiviral, tincture. Good on cold sores. Reduces fever, calming

7. Sassafras – spring tonic, make a tea in the spring, thins out blood, lymph, flush out cholesterol, pushes blood out to the periphery.

8. Sourwood – used for sour stomach. Chew leaves and swallow juice. Satisfies thirst and hunger for a little while.

9. Chagu – grows on birch trees (yellow or black, high altitudes), polypore, cancer remedy. Drink tea, grind it up and use as coffee or ½ and ½ with coffee. Good for chronic illness, great for the immune system.

10. White Pine – 5 needles in a bundle (any pine will do). Make tea. Good source for Vitamin C. Resin is nature’s band aid. Antiseptic. Harvest dried resin and melt a little in herbal oils and beeswax. Mix with honey to make syrup. Suck on pine tears.

11. It takes 150 lbs. of lavender blooms to make essential oil.

12. Sweet Gum – like pine tears or needles; remedy for burns, burn gum balls, use ashes to make a salve to use on burns.

13. Use a grated white potato on eyes – juice in eye helps get rid of pink eye

14. Tulip Poplar – anti-inflammatory, tincture or tea. Peel bark (see video). Peel bark in spring when sap is rising. Tea has no taste. Use bark off live tree.

15. Japanese Honeysuckle – cold medicine. Save flowers before they open or when they open. Fill quart jar with flowers and add brandy. Do the same with passion flower. Good for throat and respiratory infections, put a few drops in tea.

16. Blackberry – root is most astringent, also use green berries, leaves, and ripe berries. Tannins help stomach upset. Root good for diarrhea. Tincture in brandy. One inch piece, boil in cup of water for 10 min. sit until cool. Only take 1 or 2 sips and no more or you won’t crap forever!

17. White oak bark is good for diarrhea too.

18. Kudzu – remedy for hangovers

19. Rabbit Tobacco – in transition areas not fields, best remedy for asthma. Tea or tincture; use all parts. Harvest in the fall when leaves aren’t pretty green after frost has “killed” it. The medicine is more concentrated at this time. Also known as Life Everlasting or Pearly Everlasting. Thin membrane on stem is like a cottony veil (magical properties – it is said to make the veil between the worlds thin).

20. Goldenrod – not wind pollinated like ragweed. Used for allergies (especially cat allergies). Tincture. No more than 10 drops 3 times a day or allergies will be worse. Harvest top 1/3 when it starts to bloom. Dry tops and make a tea or tincture in brandy.

21. Joe Pye Weed – used for lung and kidney issues, break up kidney stones, use with hydrangea root, also used for gout. Use ½ Joe pye weed and ½ hydrangea root. Take no longer than a month. Use with hydrangea, dandelion leaf, chickweed (mild diuretic, cooling, mucilaginous) cleavers (lymphatic drainer) – strain because of fine hairs.

22. Dandelion leaves are a diuretic that doesn’t deplete potassium.

23. White color is for nerve, bone, and fevers.

24. Crossvine – trumpet shaped flowers, harvest leaves, make tea, general tonic, use like ginseng.

25. Usnea – lichen usually on oak. Lung infections, strep, urinary tract infections. Gingerly wiggle green off, see white elastic thread running through it. Dry it, cook it, must have heat to extract medicine.

26. Witch Hazel – wait until it is in flower, cut tips of twigs and make a tincture. Or cut like white oak, cook it. Turn on low boil for 20-30 minutes (known as decoction), cool and strain. Add to vodka. Crushed leaves cool eyes. Chickweed does this too.

Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).

Original photo by Pat Hensley


Upstate Herbalist said...

Wild Cherry Bark LOOKS like Sweet Birch bark, but it is not used in the same way. Wild Cherry is mostly used for cough.

Upstate Herbalist said...

Wild Cherry and Sweet Birch only LOOK alike. Wild Cherry is used for cough.

loonyhiker said...

@Upstate Herbalist Thanks so much for the clarification! :)