Terra Sura Foraging » Foraging for Life

  • Welcome to Terra Sura!

    Terra Sura meaning "mother earth" and "new leaf" is a visual blogsite which reflects this everchanging beautiful planet. A go-to site which explores midwest plants, herbal remedies, foraging, plant identification, recipes as well as highlights of local and global movements in honor of mother earth.

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Cleavers is a spring ephemeral associated with the Moon.  The moon as we know works with the water on earth as well as in our bodies, we are intricately connected to its ebb & flow, moving with the tides.  Cleavers works with the waters in our bodies.  When we pay attention, we notice it likes to grow near water or in moist, cool soil.  Hence an indication that it works with water in our bodies, lymph and kidneys.

A water aspect in our body that it primarily works with is the lymph system, which has been equated to our body’s sewer system.  Lymph moves by deep breathing, stretching, yoga, exercise, eating fruit as well as herbs called lymphagauges.   It is important to move & clean our lymph otherwise we find ourselves in damp or stagnant states (probably physically and emotionally as both tend to be linked).  We do not want our cells sitting in their own waste.

Since we are graced with Cleavers presence in the spring, it is perfect timing to begin the process of moving that slow, thick winter accumulation.  Suggesting to utilize this herb as a spring tonic, getting your body cleansed by assisting the movement of lymph and stimulating the kidneys to name a few. Cleavers is a gentle and nontoxic herb.

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“As a medicinal herb it is most commonly used to treat the lymphatic system, a network of vessels which runs alongside the blood circulation carrying waste materials in lymph fluid ready for processing in the lymph nodes and organs such as the tonsils, thymus and spleen. The lymph has no pump of its own so is reliant on the movement of blood and muscles to aid its journey, so exercise is vital for a healthy lymphatic system. It’s functions are primarily to aid cleansing of the tissues and assist the immune system by transporting white blood cells and antibodies…The water element also governs the emotions and Cleavers can help us to gently let go of the past and be ready to embrace the new growth and change that Spring awakens” (Whispering Earth)

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“The fresh plant or juice of Cleavers herb is used as a medicinal poultice for wounds, ulcers and many other skin problems. An infusion has shown of benefit in the treatment of glandular fever, tonsilitis, hepatitis and cystitis. The infusion is also used to treat liver, bladder and urinary problems.

The dried or fresh herb is alterative, anti-inflammatory, antiphlogistic, aperient, astringent, depurative, diaphoretic, diuretic, febrifuge, tonic and vulnerary. The plant contains the valuable constituent asperuloside, a substance that is converted into prostaglandins by the body. Prostaglandins are hormone-like compounds that stimulate the uterus and affect blood vessels. Much more scientific research is being done on the plant it is of great interest to the pharmaceutical industry.

The Cleavers plant contains organic acids, flavonoids, tannins, fatty acids, glycoside asperuloside, gallotannic acid and citric acid.” –  Deb Jackson & Karen Bergeron

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Galium Aparine is native to Europe, grows in light woodlands and open fields.  Common name is bedstraw as deer used to nest in cleaver patches.   It gets it’s common name, Cleavers by clinging to any being that touches it.  That way the seeds are likely travel.  Looking closely we can observe the small hooks or cleaves which grab onto passer-bye’s.  It also has a multiple whorls of leaves around the stem and tiny white 4 petaled flowers.

“From early times it was customary to prepare a bed for childbirth with Bedstraw… Many of us in the country have come across patches of bedstraw with clear evidence that deer had made their bed there in the night.” ~ Matthew Wood (The Book of Herbal Wisdom, 283)

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Michael Tierra states that Cleavers is one of the most effective diuretic blood purifiers known.

“It removes fever, heat, swelling or stagnation in the lymphatics, and burning from infection, heat or dryness in the renal tract.  It also acts on gravely problems from clogged filtering in the  kidneys.  In short we may say that Cleavers cools, moistens, filters, detoxifies and promotes transportation within the hidden waterways of the body… By cleansing through the lymphatics under the skin and stimulating the kidneys to remove waste products, it has a notable action in acute and chronic skin disease. ” (The Book of Herbal Wisdom, 285-286)

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Cleavers is all about getting things moving and flowing again…helping to remove excess fluids through its diuretic action…it has been used to treat cancers, both internally and externally as a poultice.

Cleavers Summary

  • alterative
  • diuretic
  • lymphagauge
  • astringent, high tannins
  • tonsillitis
  • eczema
  • anemia
  • supportive in UTI’s
  • wounds and burns (poultice)
  • swollen glands or sore throat (used for children)
  • affinity to tongue, throat, neck and ears
  • helps clear away debris after anti-biotic use
  • cancer fighting tendencies
  • male prostate issues
  • burning or suppressed urine
  • rulership of moon & venus
  • Deer Medicine for the Nerves (irritated nervous system or irritated with little things in life)
  • not to use if diabetic
  • bitter, cool

It is very moistening thus Cleavers aids in cases where worry & anxiety are present which have a tendency to be related to dry tissue states.  A sign that one needs cleavers is the red papillae on tongue which indicates inflamed lymph.

For a more detailed history and uses visit Erin Poior’s Website.

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Cleavers loses its potency if drying or heating so it is best to make fresh infusion, tincture or some other method.  Cleavers has been noted to be infused over a stove as well as added to ointments.  Thus far I have made tea infusion and have tincture on hand and ready to use & share.  Email info@terrasura.com if you would like to purchase Cleavers tincture or set up a health consultation.

Lucinda Warner’s Favorite Ways to use cleavers…

Cleavers Green Juice
Juice is my favorite way to take them and also the most potent as we are ingesting the life blood of the plant which is an incredible gift. It does require the use of a juicer but if you don’t have one you could whizz it in the blender with some water and then strain, though I haven’t tried it this way. I juice a big handful of cleavers with some apple, fennel, lemon, ginger and celery. This makes a delicious cleansing and revitalizing drink for bright Spring mornings.

Cleavers Vinegar
Make your Cleavers into a delicious green vinegar by lightly packing a jar with them then covering in un-pasteurized apple cider vinegar. Cap with a plastic not metal lid (vinegar corrodes metal) and allow to infuse for three weeks before straining and rebottling. This makes a lovely spring salad dressing with a drizzle of olive oil.

Cleavers Cold Infusion
Many people prepare their cleavers as a cold infusion by popping a handful in a glass, covering in cold water and leaving overnight to infuse. Strain and drink in the morning for a refreshing start to the day.

Fun Fact:  Dried and roasted seeds were used as a drink similar to coffee.

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~ All information contained within this blog is intended to educate, entertain and inspire only. If you have any specific health concerns, please visit your local herbalist, contact Terra Sura (info@terrasura.com) to set up health consultation or healthcare provider for the appropriate guidance and support ~

Sources

  • Matthew Wood, The Book of Herbal Wisdom, 1997
  • Jethro Kloss, Back to Eden, 119
  • Michael Tierra, The Way of Herbs, 1980 pg 199
  • http://whisperingearth.co.uk/2010/03/18/my-herbal-treasures-in-march-uk-blog-party/
  • http://minnesotaherbalist.com/2015/06/15/cleavers-a-moistening-spring-lymph-remedy-that-transforms-stuckness-into-flow/
  • https://altnature.com/gallery/cleavers.htm

What does it mean to liberate ourselves?  How are we to live in congruency with our heart, mind & body? Who are my ancestors and why is it significant to know them?  These questions are etched into my being since day one of the herbal intensive program I enrolled in at Nichim Ot’ Anil in San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico this past February.    I was under the impression that majority of the focus was going to be on plant medicines and to learn a bit about Mayan Cosmology.  This journey into the heart exceeded my expectations and shifted my whole being and the way I perceive myself in relation to life.

For this I am very grateful for our Maestra Dona Lucia and Emel and Layla for organizing and creating this sacred space for us to learn the ways of the heart through the plants, ourselves, eachother, mother earth, our ancestors and of course Great Spirit.  The integration will be continuous throughout my life and generations to come.
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The opportunity to make medicine and learn from Dona Lucia and her lineage is an honor.  To get to know all these beautiful sisters who shared this workshop with me is also an honor.  Lots of laughter, tears, exhaustion, stomach bugs, healing, love, building, medicine making, ceremony and diving deep into the depths of our being.
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I am in LOVE with plants, their wisdom, generosity, brilliance and the way they bring life to life.  Roots that connect to the earth and gather the minerals, the stems that carry the water, the leaves that breathe the air, the flowers which radiate their spirit and the fruit which is the seed of the next generation.  So beautiful the plants and trees are as they blanket this earth in all their creativity and ability to adapt to each climate.

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This plant on the right side below is called Mirto, it is a type of sage that is native to this land.  As I am newly pregnant this beautiful plant was and is my ally.  I was taught that the spirit of the plant hugs and protects the baby at any stage of development.  Very grateful for this plant being as I was a bit ill for part of the trip.  Mirto was also part of a tincture we created which supports pregnant mamas who are experiencing GI issues. Nichim OtNichim Ot

The school I attended is called Nichim Ot’ Anil which translates to “flower of the heart”.  Dona Lucia’s philosophy and belief is that all healing starts with a flowering of love from the heart.  And she walks her talk in a most beautiful humble way.  I feel blessed to be around a teacher who lives in accordance with her teachings.  She has “spiritual wisdom with practical feet” and liberates her heart daily to make room for love and to be a clear vessel for healing.  So beautiful.

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Plant beings amaze me.  The plants have been on earth long before humans, thus they are our elders and they each have their own unique intelligence of body and spirit.  Lucky for us, we get to partake in their innate wisdom. Nichim OtNichim OtNichim OtNichim OtNichim OtNichim Ot

Our first ceremony we made crowns made of pine and rose.  The air was filled with copal and floor layered with pine needles. Strong and beautiful ceremony. Nichim Ot

Forever grateful for this opportunity and all the bright spirits I met on this journey. May our integration be fruitful.  If anyone is interested in attending Nichim Ot’ Anil you may visit their facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/Nichim-Otanil-746854588762751/).
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Excited to announce the Spring Wildflowers, Medicinal Plants, Medicine Making + Plant Photography Workshop Saturday May 7th, 9:30-5:30 at a farm in Cannon Valley.  With herbalist Erin Piorier leading plant walk and medicine making and Sharri Keller of Terra Sura leading the plant photography portion.

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The Morning:  Meet the Plants and Make Medicine

Join herbalist, Erin Piorier, at a farm in the beautiful Cannon Valley for a Spring day of exploring the forest, gathering herbs, medicine making and herbal education. We’ll spend our morning hiking into pristine Minnesota hardwood forest to meet the beautiful Spring Ephemerals—those wildflowers that only show their faces before the leaves on the trees burst out. We will see many beautiful flowers and useful medicinals including Bloodroot, Trillium, Wild Ginger, Blue Cohosh, Hepatica, Trout Lily, Spring Beauty and many more.  During our walk Erin will identify and teach about a wide variety of local native and naturalized medicinal plants.  On our way we will gather herbs to make a delicious seasonal herbal syrup and when we get back to the farmhouse Erin will demonstrate the process. Everyone will get a bottle to take home.  Subject to available plants we may make a gorgeous violet syrup like the one pictured below or we may make a delicious and  nutritious spring tonic made with many different nutritive herbs.

. **This workshop involves up to two miles of hiking over moderately challenging (hilly/rocky) terrain. Please contact Erin (612-508-0584 or epiorier@mninter.netif you are uncertain that this class will work with your physical limitations.

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The Afternoon: Photographing the Essence of Plants with Sharri Keller

Learn the tips and tricks to photograph and capture the essence of plants.  In this 2.5 hour photography workshop you will gain a foundational understanding of years worth of experience.  With a specific focus on the digital SLR cameras we will explore camera basics (ISO shutter, aperture), lens choices, lighting considerations, composition, photographing for blogging/websites, editing as well as get some field time photographing the plants.  This comprehensive class is open to phone and point & shoot cameras as the basic principles apply.  But the magic is truly in our unique relationship with the plants in just the right light.

Levels:  Beginner to experienced as we all can learn from each other

Bring:  camera, lenses and manual

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The Details

Saturday, May 7th, 2016

9:30am– 5:30 pm
$75 —Price includes a hearty, homemade vegetarian, gluten-free lunch

Questions? Call or email Erin at 612-508-0584 or epiorier@mninter.net

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Registration

Registration is limited to 15 participants. Register early. To register visist MinnesotaHerbalist.com

You may send a check to: Erin Piorier, 851 Dayton Avenue St. Paul MN 55104

Erin will confirm your registration via email and will communicate directions, supplies and other information to all participants via email about 10 days prior to the workshop.

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Excited to explore and create with you!

Making your own almond milk is so incredibly easy and extremely delicious!  It’s like you can actually taste the distinct flavor of the almond for the first time, even more so than eating an almond.   Must be the way the water brings the aroma to life.  In my opinion, you have to experince it to really know its glory.

As for supplies all you need is a blender and a reusable nut milk bag.

First step, soak one cup of raw almonds for 8 hours or overnight.  If you have to soak longer just be sure to let it soak in refrigerator.

After the eight hours is up, gather the following ingredients:

  • ground cinnamon
  • 2-3 dates (take pits out)
  • vanilla extract

Stain water from almonds and rinse alomds 2 or 3 times and put to blender.

Add the remaining ingredients to blender:

  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2-3 dates (take pits out)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 cups of purified/spring water

There are really so many was to add extra flavor to your milk, after making this basic recipe try experimenting with cardamon, turmeric milk, etc.

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Blend until smooth and strain through nut milk bag… really give it a good squeeze.  I am in love with the nutmilk bag as it is reusable and I often use it to strain my big batch herbal teas as well.  It ensures that no sediment will enter into your beverage.

This is what the almond milk will look like… nice and fresh and white and creamy.

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When complete put in glass bottle, refrigerate and ENJOY!   Yummy plain, with cereal or paired with your favorite cookie.  Life is good.

Winter time is an ideal time for immersing ourselves in warm, healing waters… aka bath!  Most of us have heard of bath salts, epsom salt, bubble baths… but I invite you to take an herbal bath and receive the gifts of these nourishing and revitalizing herbs while letting the water hold you.  Self-care is something we (myself included) could all use a little extra of.nourishing herbal bath blend

Our skin is an organ of elimination and absorption.  You can use any tonic or nourishing herbs that you like when taking a bath.  Herbal baths are especially helpful in postpartum recovery after baby is born (recipe to come).  This particular recipe I wanted to focus what on is nourishing, revitalizing and heart soothing.  A basic nervine blend.nourishing herbal bath blend

I used equal parts rose, chamomile, plantain, lavender, milky oat tops, lemon balm and nettles.  Filling a 1/2 pint mason jar which will make for one to two herbal baths.

You may contact me at info@terrasura.com to make a personal order of herbal bath blends if you do not want to make it yourself.  They do make wonderful gifts!  All are customized to your needs.

You can buy these organic or wildcrafted herbs by clicking on Mountain Rose Herbs link below.

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 Luckily a good portion of the world has heard of Dr. Emoto and the effects of thought, prayers and intentions with water.  Water is a sacred reflection of the energy around it.  With that said, I encourage mindfulness when working with water, especially when we submerge ourselves.  When my mind travels down the rabbit hole, I gently bring myself back to the heart, the breath and gratitude.  For it tis the time for nourishing and relaxation, time for the present.

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Once you have the blend prepared…

  • Bring 3 Qt water to a boil and turn off
  • Add herbs (either in muslin bag or loose) & cover
    • it is important to cover to keep the volatile oils contained as that is where a lot of the goodness is
  • Let infuse for as little as 20 minutes or as long as 4+ hours for maximum extraction
  • Strain water from herbs (or take out muslin bag) and squeeze out excess  liquid from herbs
    • I prefer to use nut milk bag
  • Fill bath with regular hot/warm water and pour herbal infused water into bathtub
    • Feel free to pour yourself a cup of tea while you are at it!
  • Then all you have to do is hop in, relax, breathe and give thanks for the water and herbs that are nourishing your body & spirit!

nourishing herbal bath blend

 

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