Category Archives: Plant Profiles

Evening Primrose for Hormonal Health

Evening Primrose, Oenothera biennis

Believe it or not, it seems as though every part of this plant can be used. The leaves can be cooked and eaten as greens. The roots can be boiled like potatoes and allegedly taste like sweet parsnips. The flowers are sweet and can be used in salads or as a pretty garnish. The young seedpods can be steamed and the ripe seeds can be roasted in an oven for 15 to 20 min. at 350° and used on bread or in salads. You can also sprinkle the roasted seeds over any dish like pepper.img_4171

Ways to use Evening Primrose

This beautiful plant is known as a woman’s herb. It is especially helpful with PMS symptoms such as breast tenderness, bloating, water retention, acne, depression and irritability.

Apparently evening primrose oil is an extremely rich source of an omega 6 fatty acid called Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA). Getting enough GLA is crucial to support overall hormonal function within the body. In fact, many women with Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) struggle to convert the fats they eat into GLA.

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When you make a salad dressing or are eager to get some omega’s in the form of Flaxseed Oil and Evening Primrose, please make sure your oil is fresh. Flaxseed oil goes rancid quickly, and I learned the hard way. Taste your oil before mixing with precious seeds!

Since I learned the hard way. Here is another way to use those precious, mood boosting seeds!

Hormone Boosting Avocado Dip/Dressing

Mix 1/2 avocado, 1 Tbsp of fresh ground flaxseed and 1Tbsp ground evening primrose, 1 tsp dried wild greens (such as smartweed, mallow, nettle, plantain), dash salt,  2 garlic cloves, 1/2 cup water 2 Tbsp lemon juice, 1/2 Tbsp honey, and 1/2 cup (more or less) olive oil.

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Rosemary, my soul plant

img_6327I like to learn the latin names of the plants I’m getting to know. Rosemary, Rosmarinus officinalis has such a gentle name for such a powerful, strong plant.

She is native to the Mediterranean region and is part of the mint family! Her name came from the myth that mother Mary layed down on a bed of white blossomed rosemary bushes, with her blue cloak and the flowers opened and turned blue. The shrub then became known as Rose of Mary.

I could look for specific research on this plant and the myriad of health benefits to this amazing plant. It is resilient and can sustain itself on just the wet air from the sea! But, there is just as much importance in the experience a person has with a plant. The plant is a teacher of itself and if we care to listen, meditate and respond to it’s movements, we can be changed.

I just made these mini viles of rosemary sun-infused oil. Simply by handling the dried leaves and stems, the aroma has lasted now for a few hours on my hands! This plant to me is many things. It is invigorating as well as calming.  It inspires my mind to action and also goes deeper into the underbelly of my thoughts and starts to loosen the stuck parts. Emotions will often surface for me if I take a bath intentionally with rosemary essential oils. I find I will get more vivid dreams and memories of my past will surface.

Is this all possible with one plant? Yes it is. Plants have chemical properties. And Rosemary has the ability to lower cortisol levels simply by inhaling the oils.

I struggle with this fight/flight response on a daily basis and so perhaps having a vile in different spaces of my life would be beneficial, especially the car!

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Plantain, Plantago major

This summer was an epic crop of plantain. We have two large hugel beds which retain a lot of moisture. We had a very wet summer again, so along with the nettle going crazy, we had a healthy patch of plantain growing right along side. The leaves are edible raw as well as the seeds. When going for my morning nettle harvest, I would inevitably get stung. The plantain is a super quick aid to stop the burn. Simply chew it up and place on the red spot.

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Plantain is well known for its antimicrobial properties and ability to draw out infection and speed healing, which is why it’s so often recommended to relieve insect bites and stings. Since I had so much, I decided to make an infusion so I could benefit from it’s healing properties throughout the year as a salve. This is really helpful to have on hand when going on hikes or anywhere you face mosquitos, as it has the ability to take the itch out of the bite. It’s also wonderful for scrapes, cuts and bruises. My kids use it throughout the summer. In the winter, it can be used as a moisturizing lip balm.

I am continually learning new things about a plant. And plantain is a good one to research. It is often the plant easiest to recognize and the most available in the city, often growing in the most disturbed places. Herbalists consider plantain to be a “sacred herb” and it’s called the “Mother of Plants.”

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Plantain and Olive Oil infusion made this summerimg_6475

Yarrow, Achillea millefolium

Delicate in nature, yet so powerful in action. Yarrow is a wild plant that is resilient beyond belief. Once it finds a home, it will endure every kind of abuse. It’s bitter nature stimulates the body to action. Yarrow has a sweet, soft aroma and can be harvested throughout the entire growing season. We have used it in countless ways. From treating skin wounds to drinking as a warming tea in the winter. It aids in depression and slow digestion.

Our rabbits treat it as a highly prized treat. I have also made it into a brew for beer. It’s uses continue to expand into all areas of our life.  When left, it will expand into the garden and your body with welcome beauty.

I have a new tea mix this winter that combines the digestive action of Mint and Yarrow with the antioxidant strength of Goldenrod. A delicious blend that keeps not only the body fighting against the common cold and sluggish digestion, but also the mind and spirit against the common emotional lows of the winter months.

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Echinacea purpurea Tincture

I just love the bright red colour to these roots! Just as beautiful as the flower!

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Many people grow the flower for its beauty, not even considering the potential health benefits of this beautiful plant. I planted Coneflower, as it is also known by, more than three years ago for the sole purpose of digging it up one day. It takes several years to mature enough to use for medicine, though the leaves and flowers can be used right from the start.

I discovered through some research that taking echinacea as a preventative immune booster isn’t actually the main use for this plant. It is a strong formula that one takes right before the onset of a cold or flu. It must be taken several times a day to encourage the body to fight off the attack (boosting white blood cell activity). It is most effective when used fresh.

So I did the work of preserving the roots in 80 proof vodka for 4-6 weeks, shaking daily. It was pretty simple and the outcome is incredible. The flavour is sweet and earthy. Here is Rosemary Gladstar’s tutorial for help. She recommends storing your tincture in a dark glass bottle. I found some at Arts Junktion and also Gales Wholesale.

Use a small amount (1 tsp) and mix into water or tea

Here is a nice tea mixture you could try with the dried roots,

Echinacea Tea
1 part echinacea parts, leaves, flowers, roots
1/4 part lemon grass
1/4 part spearmint leaves (or to taste)
Stevia leaves to taste

Mix and brew at the first sign of cold or flu.  Based on the Traditional Medicinal recipe.

Having medicine on hand, that I know will last a long time and will be of great value to someone in need fills me with so much joy.

Thank you Echinacea for your beauty and powerful medicine here in Manitoba!