Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Boreal Herbal

This week, I have added a new tool to my holistic parenting/family life kit. (Although using the term 'family life' makes me cringe because that's what our sexual development textbooks were called in elementary school).
I have been slowly and subtly incorporating holistic ways to do things into our rhythm here, and it has largely been rewarding. I have written before about using homeopathics during Abby's teething spurts, preparing food with whole, un-processed ingredients, and using fruits, seeds, vegetables and nuts to help treat illness. With the help of my naturopath, I have transitioned from viewing my body as a machine to seeing it as more of a garden; that is, that it requires rest, food, care and patience.
If it's not getting too hippy for you, I have to say that in the last week, I have had another holistic perspective ease its way into my life in a most serendipitous way. For that reason I can only deduce that it is not coincidence, but meant to be. While at work at the bookstore, I have been able to chat a bit with a local herbalist and business owner about her then-forthcoming book. When the book was released, I snapped up a copy and began looking through its beautifully laid-out pages.It has definitely found its way into my arms at the perfect point in time. Boreal Herbal reads like a textbook (although an easy-to-understand compendium) about plants in the boreal forest, and how to use them. Not just use them, but how to identify them, prepare them and incorporate them into diet and treatments.
I admit, plant identification overwhelms me. There is the whole possibility of getting it wrong and poisoning myself or getting sick. Or the effort required of picking a whole bunch of some plant in order to produce a scant amount of tincture or poultice material. But I am definitely into this whole idea of using what's around us to heal and nourish. It's just so 2011-Sarah, isn't it?
Abby and I went to the book launch downtown and sampled some of the book's recipes for rosehip iced tea and green smoothies with a number of crazy weeds in it, and wild blueberry mini muffins. My girl waited patiently for me to have my copy of the book signed, and we stayed for a bit of the reading. It was a fun "grown-up" event for me and my little lady!
Short version of this rambling tale: I have loved learning about how to use plants and berries (etc) to make nourishing foods and treatments for all kinds of ailments. I'll have to slowly try out a few, but I've already begun integrating more herbs (not necessarily ones I went out and picked myself, maybe one day!)
For instance, I've begun drinking more herbal teas in place of water, to help balance things out and help strengthen my rockin body. Today, I sipped on some stinging nettles leaf tea, because it is meant to help cleanse the blood (as a natural source of vitamin K) and tone the liver and kidneys. (Extra herb points to me for drinking it from one of my herbal identification mugs!)

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