Herbs for Nourishment and Healing

A few weeks ago we hosted Linda Conroy at The Resiliency Institute to teach Herbs for Health & Nourishment and Herbal Remedy Making.  Linda shared her wealth of knowledge as a bioregional herbalist and empowered us to incorporate more herbs into our diets.

We learned about the nutrient density in a variety of plants, most of which we consider weeds.  These plants contain vitamins, minerals, trace minerals, proteins, phytoestrogens and phytosterols, starches, simple and complex sugars, bioflavonoids, carotenes, and essential fatty acids.  We discussed the traits of weeds – resilient, adaptable, and flexible – and realized these are the same traits we need for health.

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Linda walked us through the difference between nourishing herbs and tonic herbs and when and why to use different menstrums (solvent typically used in the making of herbal preparations).  An interesting fact she shared was that if we crave chocolate, it usually means we are lacking minerals in our diet.  We drank a rose hip infusion while we made our own infused vinegars, burdock pickles and gamascio.

On Saturday, the focus was on plants for healing.  Basic plant identification skills and knowledge of what part of the plant to harvest and use are critical.  Then you have to know how to prepare it.

Before lunch we took a walk around the farm to practice identifying plants, discussed their nutritional and healing properties, and how best to prepare them.  We even gathered a few things to add to our salad for lunch.

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Lunch was a nutrient dense feast!  After which we had a fun time working together to make a salve, lotion, oxymel, poultice, infused oil, and infused vinegar.

As a bioregional herbalist Linda emphasizes using herbs that are native to our region.  Arnica is an herb I have used for years for bruises, sprains, strains, and sore muscles, but it doesn’t grow here.  Linda suggested replacing arnica with local herbs that have similar healing properties and I was able to make this new remedy in class.  Due to an ankle strain shortly after class, I was able to test both the comfrey poultice and new healing lotion and was back on my feet in a few days.  Much better than the two weeks it took last time.

Linda will be teaching several new courses at The Resiliency Institute in 2014:

Check out our course calendar for all of the details.