Monday, May 21, 2007

Blossoms everywhere

Yummy Yummy yummy. Fresh Blossoms, a perfect day, and lots of honey and vinegar to smother on them!
My children and I picked our fill of blossoms from our wild yard. It was one of the fisrt really lovely bright days of spring, and we shared the flowers gently with the busy honeybees. They LOVE the ground Ivy even more than we do.
Honey, a natural preservative, is one my most favorite ways to prepare herbs and flowers. You can pack in the fresh herbs, cover with good local honey that has not been over heated, and then after a few weeks... eat it by the spoonful or mix into hot water for a delicious tea. You get the healing properties of the herb as well as the honey. I like to soak all kinds of plants in honey .... Rosemary, Sage, Mint, Geranium, Monarda, Roses, Goldenrod, Dandelion, Verbena, Lavender..... the possibilities are endless.
Another lovely way to use your honey is for clay and honey facials. More aromatic plants, especially ones you may prefer to apply rather than eat, like Patchouli leaves, can be steeped in honey and then mixed with white, pink, green, or red clay to make a medicinal mask. This is especially nice for those who prefer infused herbs over using essential oils.
Herbal vinegar, can also be used for beauty. The old classic Queen of Hungary Water was used as a facial tonic. It was a mix of vinegar, water, and sprits, infused with Rosemary and other aromatic and antiseptic herbs. Many variations of this historic potion are still made in kitchens and factories alike. I find vinegar irritating on my face, but that's alraight since I can still pour it on my hair! Herbal hair rinses made from infused vinegar have also been used forever, depositing vital minerals and vitamins, and making smooth manageable locks at the same time.
And don't worry, you'll only smell like salad dressing for 5 or 10 minutes - it fades! Some herbs that are particularly beneficial for the scalp and hair are Nettles, Rosemary, Chamomile, Sage, Horsetail, Kelp, Geranium, Violet leaf, and Lavender.
And, of course, if you don't want to apply these things to your skin and hair ...... just go back to eating them! Apple Cider Vinegar is a superb menstrum for rendering the minerals and trace minerals from our green friends. Nettles, Comfrey, and Mugwort are especially nourishing for the skeleton. Steep fresh leaves in ACV for a good 4-6 weeks. Strain or eat the remaining leaves in soup. My son is particularly fond of pickled Violets!

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