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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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.

Mountain Rose Herbs. A herbs, health and harmony c
 

 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.

nourishing herbal bath blend

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

 

Kava kava chai calms & warms body, while keeping your mind alert. A perfect communal stimulating and relaxing drink.  This recipe is inspired from Rosemary Gladstar.  There is not one way to create this delicious herbal beverage as the recipe can vary depending on taste and herbal preferences.  Basic chai tea is a great warming beverage with cinnamon sticks, fresh ginger, cardamon pods, cloves, whole peppercorn, vanilla beans and coconut milk.  Kava kava is added to this carminative concoction for its relaxing and heart opening properties.
best kava kava chai recipe

Kava kava (piper methysticum):  anti-spasmodic, stimulant, diuretic, anti-fungal, analgesic, muscle relaxant, anesthetic 

Traditionally used in group setting to bring about tranquility by way of relaxing the body and mind as well as clarifying the thought process and inducing feelings of peace and harmony.   Kava leaves your mouth feeling a bit tingly, which is actually your gage for how strong the kava is.

Cinnamon Sticks (cinnamon zeylanicum):  carminative, astringent, aromatic, stimulant, demulcent

Most familiar to us, cinnamon is a powered spice we use in teas, baked goods or in hot cereals. Cinnamon has been used to aid in relieving nausea and vomiting.  With its carminative and warming action, it stimulates digestive fluids and aids in digestion.  Cinnamon is not only great for the body, its aroma is like no other.  So delicious.

Ginger (Zingiber officinale):  stimulant, carminative, diaphoretic, aromatic, emmenagogue

Stimulates peripheral circulation thus being of support in cases of poor circulation and cramping.  As a diaphoretic it aids in assisting fevers to move through as it promotes perspiration.  As a carminative, ginger promotes gastric secretion.  Ginger has also been used to relieve sore throats, dizzy spells and nausea.

Cardamom Pods (Elettaria cardamomum):  stimulant, carminative, aromatic

Traditionally used for indigestion and gas especially when experiencing griping pains.  Cardamom is used in oral health, colds and flus, detoxification, depression, inflammation and even has been noted to reduce blood clots.

Clove (Syzygium aromaticum): stimulant, carminative, aromatic, anti-microbial, anti-emtic

Cloves are your allay in cases of vomiting and nausea.  They are also used to stimulate digestive system and relieve tooth pain as cloves are a mild anesthetic.  A friend of mine came to my house with a swollen cheek and tooth pain.  We put some clove oil on it and within the hour he experienced relief and the swelling went completely down.  Cloves flowers are small yet very potent.

Black Pepper (Piper Nigrum):  sialagouge, anticatarrhals, alterative, expectorant, energizer, carminative

Stimulates flow of saliva.  Supports colds with mucous as well as sore throats.

“The alkaloid derived from black pepper, piperazine, is used as an anthelmintic drug called Entacyl. The derivative piperine has been shown to be useful in increasing bioavailability and the absorption of nutrients.” ~ mountain rose herbs

Vanilla Bean (Vanilla planifolia):  

“The medicinal potential of vanilla has been the subject of extensive scientific study over the past two decades. Studies have demonstrated that vanillin, the primary compound in vanilla, has anti-carcinogenic properties.” ~ (herbwisdom.com)

“Its extract contains small amounts of B-complex groups of vitamins such as niacin, pantothenic acid, thiamin, riboflavin and vitamin B-6. These vitamins help in enzyme synthesis, nervous system function and regulating body metabolism.

This condiment spice also contains small traces of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, manganese, iron and zinc. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure.” ~(nutritionandyou.com)

You can purchase any of these herbs by clicking on the Mountain Rose Herbs Banner.   All herbs are organically cultivated and/or ethically harvested in the wild.Mountain Rose Herbs. A Herbs, Health & Harmony Com

After gathering all ingredients, take the peppercorns, clove, cardamon, vanilla bean and run through a food processor to release the beautiful aroma of these powerful spices.

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil and add blended herbs as well as ginger, kava and cinnamon. Bring water to a light simmer and cover immediately.  Simmer for 4 hours (can simmer longer for richer flavor).  Strain when satisfied.  Mix in 1 can of coconut milk (kava contains kavalactones which need oil/fat to breakdown) to mixture and let sit overnight.  The coconut milk balances the flavors and adds to the richness and deliciousness of the chai. TerraSura-KavaChai-Web-0082

Final step is to add Maple Syrup to taste.  Mix all up and add a garnish of your choice.  Hmmm, hmmm, hmmm… tingly, warming, creamy, oily, anti-oxidant, stimulating, relaxing, nourishing herbal beverage.kava kava chai

~ 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 or healthcare provider for the appropriate guidance and support ~

Sources:

The Way of Herbs, Michael Tierra, 1980, pg 74-75, 147
Holistic Herbal, David Hoffman 1996, pg 79, 88, 165
http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/vanilla-beans.html
https://www.mountainroseherbs.com/products/peppercorn-black/profile
http://www.sunwarrior.com/news/15-health-benefits-of-cardamom/
http://www.herbwisdom.com/herb-vanilla.html

We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day for Herbfest this year.  The air was crisp, the sun was shinning through the trees and we were all vibrating with life, celebrating life.  Learning from Minnesota’s finest herbalists Erin Piorier, Lise Wolff, Matthew Wood, Connie Karstens, Angela Campbell, Trilby Sedlacek, Katherine Krumwiede and LuAnn Raadt, we were blessed with extensive insights into our plant human relationship.

Classes on fermenting vegetables with herbs, tincture, syrup and slave making, growing your own herbal pharmacy, pulse & tongue diagnosis, adrenals, liver, mental health and the list goes on and on.  With so many wild and cultivated plants on the land, Prairie Oaks Institute made for an ideal setting to learn directly from our little green friends.

Knowledge wasn’t the only thing we were eating up as the delectable dessert table left its mark in our hearts.  Chocolate caramel turtle cake, peanut butter chocolate bites, mini cheesecakes, cupcakes, hmmm hmmm hmmm.  There were also tables of quality homemade herbal products for sale.

Erin Piorier and Lise Wolff host this fabulous event once a year.  Sign up on the MN Herbalist newsletter to be informed of next years event.  They day officially ended with a Full Harvest Blood Moon Lunar Eclipse that evening which stopped me in my tracks on my way home.  Wow oh wow that was incredible!

minnesota herbfest 2015 herbalist fair, herbalist events and classes
minnesota herbfest 2015 herbalist fair, herbalist events and classesminnesota herbfest 2015 herbalist fair, herbalist events and classesminnesota herbfest 2015 herbalist fair, herbalist events and classesminnesota herbfest 2015 herbalist fair, herbalist events and classesminnesota herbfest 2015 herbalist fair, herbalist events and classesminnesota herbfest 2015 herbalist fair, herbalist events and classes
minnesota herbfest 2015 herbalist fair, herbalist events and classesminnesota herbfest 2015 herbalist fair, herbalist events and classesminnesota herbfest 2015 herbalist fair, herbalist events and classesminnesota herbfest 2015 herbalist fair, herbalist events and classesminnesota herbfest 2015 herbalist fair, herbalist events and classesminnesota herbfest 2015 herbalist fair, herbalist events and classesminnesota herbfest 2015 herbalist fair, herbalist events and classes
minnesota herbfest 2015 herbalist fair, herbalist events and classesminnesota herbfest 2015 herbalist fair, herbalist events and classesminnesota herbfest 2015 herbalist fair, herbalist events and classesminnesota herbfest 2015 herbalist fair, herbalist events and classesminnesota herbfest 2015 herbalist fair, herbalist events and classesminnesota herbfest 2015 herbalist fair, herbalist events and classesminnesota herbfest 2015 herbalist fair, herbalist events and classes
minnesota herbfest 2015 herbalist fair, herbalist events and classes

This year I am partaking in Jessica Belden’s Herbal Apprenticeship.  Familiarizing myself with the medicinal and edible plants growing nearby.  I feel very fortunate to share this opportunity with my fellow classmates as we immerse ourselves in this wild and bountiful study.

Jesse is mother of two, a practicing herbalist, teacher and has an AMAZING herbal product line on etsy called Herban Vagabond Apothecary.  She has a great sense of humor, is very knowledgeable and has a huge heart!  She even made the pesto for us from the beloved Monarda plant.  Down-to-earth + smart + constantly growing =  great teacher.

This particular class, Monarda Monday we meandered through the fields near Minnehaha Park.  Finding Yarrow, Monarda, Wormwood, Vervains, Hyssop and so many gorgeous and abundant plants.  We were even gifted with stalks of Mullein (with the root) that someone had stripped out of the earth and just left laying there.  We salvaged the situation and utilized as much of the plant as we could.  With so much abundance surrounding us, our baskets & hearts were full.

Allying with our plant relatives connects me with life and fills me gratitude for life.  I absolutely love this class and all the amazing people and plants that have crossed my path.  Thank you water, sun, earth, air, fire for creating all that makes up this mysterious and beloved planet.  And thank you Jesse for offering your time and leading the way to building a strong relationship with our green friends!
monarda foraging with jesse beldon class herbal studies

monarda foraging with jesse beldon class herbal studiesmonarda foraging with jesse beldon class herbal studiesmonarda foraging with jesse beldon class herbal studiesmonarda foraging with jesse beldon class herbal studiesmonarda foraging with jesse beldon class herbal studies

monarda foraging with jesse beldon class herbal studies

monarda foraging with jesse beldon class herbal studiesmonarda foraging with jesse beldon class herbal studiesmonarda foraging with jesse beldon class herbal studies

monarda foraging with jesse beldon class herbal studies

monarda foraging with jesse beldon class herbal studies

monarda foraging with jesse beldon class herbal studiesmonarda foraging with jesse beldon class herbal studiesmonarda foraging with jesse beldon class herbal studiesmonarda foraging with jesse beldon class herbal studiesmonarda foraging with jesse beldon class herbal studiesmonarda foraging with jesse beldon class herbal studies

Elderflowers are abundant in Minnesota of which you can find Black Elder (Sambuscus canadensis) shrub growing near water or in low soils with lots of sun.  Elder is part of the honeysuckle family (Caprifoliacea) and forms a genus of 20 different species of which Minnesota has a documented 2 species located predominately in mid-southern regions. The American Elderberry is a tall shrub with weak arching stems with compound leaves and clusters of white 5 petaled flowers.  Elderflowers typically bloom in June and will eventually transform into the renown elderberry of which the berries turn from green to purple and are very nutritive, working to build the blood.  Be cautious of the Red Elder look-a-like which has red berries (“red is dead”) and flower clusters grow in a more pyramid shape rather than the flat umbra like way.

elderflower in mn, foraging for elderflowers

Properties:  diaphoretic, anti-catarraral, alterative, stimulant, pectoral, anti-septic, anti-inflammatory

Uses of Flowers:  Tincture, cordial, tea, topically, infused water, edible

The flowers contain flavinoids including rutin, isoquercitfrine and kampherol as well as tannins, essential oil and mucilage.  Elderflowers are diaphoretic which makes it a fabulous fever remedy as it brings heat to the surface and opens pores to assist one with sweating (paring well with yarrow blossoms and peppermint).  Another benefit to note is that Elderblossoms are anti-catarrral which means they can be of assistance with upper respiratory tract inflammations such as hayfever or sinusitis.  An infusion has also been used as an eyewash.  There are so many benefits and I can only hit the tip of the iceberg!

Matthew Woods states in, “The Book of Herbal Wisdom” that Elder has an affinity to stagnation of blood and fluids, especially to infants and young children. Stirring up blood in the interior to remove heat and toxins while stimulating the kidneys.  Being used for stagnant fluids in body in cases of bruising, boils or edema from renal deficiency.  Elder is a great remedy for cold or hot conditions.  An ancient remedy for opening the lungs and bringing up mucous as it works with the respiratory tract as well as the digestive organs and pores of the skin.  An indication to give Elder is if one may have the following trait(s):  puffy look of fullness, reddish/blue on pale skin, congestion appears on meaty parts of body (hips, thighs, forearms).  Most effective in beginning and end stages of life (newborn & near death) as the doors of the underworld are most open.

The Elder tree has been used for hundreds of years and associated with a tremendous amount of folk-lore including being a door between worlds and magical fairy realms.  Be sure to make an offering to “Elder Mother” when working with this highly beloved plant.

When harvesting, clip the top clusters of flowers and shake off any bugs.  When ready to “deflower” it is a tedious and meditative process to say the least.  Being sure to only pick the flower heads as the green stems are emetic (makes you vomit).  If drying, lay the flowers flat right away as they tend to brown quickly.  Once dry, place in an airtight jar with label in a cool shaded location.

Erin Piorier writes in her blog about where to find this lovely plant being, “Black Elderberry is a multi-stemmed shrub that spreads by suckering.  It is not too tall.  A nice mature stand is often the height of a grown-up or a bit taller.  I’ve been able to reach the top of every Elder I have encountered.  The bark has characteristic warty lenticels.  (Students often think this is a 100% unique id characteristic; it’s not.  Other plants have lenticels as well, but it’s one of several characteristics that can guide you in the correct identification of Elder.) Black Elder is a loner; it doesn’t like competition.  It also likes it a bit wet and sunny. You won’t find this shrub in the woods; if you do it is probably stunted and struggling. It thrives in the ditch and in the low land, out in the open.  Drive around country roads in Minnesota in June and you will see the ditches full of Elder loaded with creamy white blossoms. This is the easiest time to find Elder; it’s everywhere and conspicuous. You also find it sometimes in a hedgerow on the edge of a more wooded area.  In the city you will often find it along the banks of streams and city ponds and lakes, but again rarely in the shade.”

elderflower in mn, foraging for elderflowerselderflower in mn, foraging for elderflowerselderflower in mn, foraging for elderflowersIn my first year of getting to know the eldlerflower I made a tincture, infusion and dried out a small batch of flowers for future use.  I may include them in an external formula as they are noted for clearing the skin, diminishing wrinkles and used in the treatment of burns and minor skin aliments.  Please do comment on your favorite uses or experiences of Elderflower.elderflower in mn, foraging for elderflowerselderflower in mn, foraging for elderflowerselderflower in mn, foraging for elderflowerselderflower in mn, foraging for elderflowers

~ 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 or healthcare provider for the appropriate guidance and support ~

Sources

  • Matthew Wood, The Book of Herbal Wisdom, 1997, 423
  • Welby Smith, Trees and Shrubs of Minnesota, 567-568
  • Michael Tierra, The Way of Herbs, 1980 pg 133
  • http://www.herbwisdom.com/herb-elderflower.html
  • David Hoffman, The Herbal Handbook, pg 27
  • http://minnesotaherbalist.com/2012/06/08/elder-blossoms/
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