Carpe Diem! Summer is feeling short, yet very sweet this year.
It is the season to not only smell the flowers yet also to gather the leaves, flowers, berries, and bark for herbal medicine making. A favorite yet busy time of year, filled with foraging walks and hours of prepping the plant material when I get home.
My window sills are lined with herbal honeys, and flower infused oils, or savoury vinegars, warming daily for about a month until the herbal elixirs they hold are gently released into the carrier medium. So far this season the rotation on the window sills has included: dandelion, elder flower, mint, rose petal and arnica. Today I will start some sour cherry vinegar to have a choice location in the warm and sunny spot. These infusions will bring a dose of summer whether they are used medicinally or for culinary spice in the coming months. That dose of summer plant magic and the sun’s healing energy may simply brighten a winter sauce or cure an ache or bruise – both extremely needed and useful.
An even simpler option to adding some herbal medicine making to your summer is to simply pick clean dry herbs and dry them in a dark, dry spot. Bundle a group of these herbs with a string or elastic at the base and drape the herbs over a line hung in your cozy dark pantry. If the herbs have seeds or flower petals that may fall as they dry, placing them into a paper bag to catch the seed or petals, may prove useful. In about 3- 4 weeks the herbs will be dry enough to crush and use as powdered herbs in cooking or for teas. Some easy ones to try this on are: mint, oregano, thyme, lemon balm, marjoram, and rosemary. These herbs are often locally available.
When the herbs are well dried, strip leaves from stems or crush with a rolling pin and store in small glass bottles. They will be much fresher, and save you $ compared to the store-bought versions. Remember to label each bottle with what plant it is and the date of harvest, so you will know what it is among the many jars of green leaves that may accumulate in your cupboard. Yes, I’m speaking from experience on that mystery green leaf topic!
Herbs may also be dried with a dehydrator, yet I often prefer the slower air-dry quality to the heat that a dehydrator uses.
Ok get out there and enjoy the smells and tastes of summer and if you have time or inclination put some of these ideas to use. Another option is to call me as I will probably have lots to share or sell in my clinic.
My complementary health service clinic offerings of Acupuncture, Aromatherapy, Reflexology, Several Massage Techniques and Herbal medicines will be moving to a new space at 518 – 13 Street inside of Fusion Wellness Spa as of July 23, 2019. Looking forward to seeing you there!