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This is the beginning of a series of posts about water based herbal preparations. It’s all about the basics and a great place to begin your herbal journey!

Water based preparations are more than just a cup of simple chamomile tea, as wonderful as a cup of chamomile tea is. Water based preparations are, in my opinion, the best place to start when working with herbs especially nourishing herbs such as stinging nettles, oat straw and red clover. Water is available freely in most places, and safe to work with. Water can be used hot or cold and left to infuse with herbal goodness in solar warmth or lunar coolness. Water based preparations offer hydration. Water is the universal solvent, it dissolves plant minerals and vitamins rendering them bio-available and carries vital plant constituents to the body. Water also allows for flavour and scent to work it’s magic on the olfactory system, helping to deliver effects swiftly.

One of the first exercises I did when beginning my herbal studies was to compare different water based preparations. Using just one kind of herb I made hot water infusions with dried plant material and hot water infusions with fresh plant material. I made cold water infusions with  dried plants and cold water infusions with fresh plants. I used lots of plant material to make rich infusions and small amounts of herb to make tisanes or teas and compared the differences in flavour and effect. I simmered the herb and made decoctions. I set infusions out under the Sun to brew in warmth and under the Moon to brew in coolness. And that is where we will begin now, with my favourite water based preparation style for Spring and Summer blossoms:

Lunar Herbal Infusions.

Evening Primrose Flower and Red Clover Blossom lunar infusions with the Moon peeking over the clouds.

Oh my goodness, I am so excited to share this with you. Especially as it is Summer here in BC and there are plenty of blooms to choose from for a lunar herbal infusion.

Lunar infusions could be made with any fresh herb, or dried too. But the real magic happens with lunar flower infusions. I first experienced a cold water lunar infusion in Spring at herb school, it was a Dark Moon Violet lunar infusion. A jar was filled with little Violet flowers and wild waterfall water, then left out overnight under the dark new moon. When my teacher had me pour the infusion into pretty little tea glasses and hand it out to my beautiful class mates I was not expecting much at all. So when I took my first sip as we all stood around the warm fire pit I was taken by surprise, my eyes went wide and I do believe I exclaimed “Holy crap!!! I feel like bursting into song!” followed by the inspiration to actually sing a lyric written by Bjork (although I shyly spoke instead of singing), well, it’s not exactly her lyric (the correct word is blood, not flowers) but it is the words invoked in me at that beautiful moment:

“I’m a fountain of flowers, in the shape of a girl”

To taste a Violet lunar infusion was like being inside of the Violet bloom itself, to be wrapped in her petals and be drenched in her incredible aroma, her nectar gliding down my throat and through my body until I was filled with Violet vibrations and burst into a fountain of flowers. Woah. Who needs psychoactive drugs when you can burst into an explosion of flowers with one sip of Violet lunar infusion? Another very good reason to ditch the stimulate/sedate path and re-sensitize, don’t you think?

Suitable blooms for cold water lunar infusions include fresh Rose, Violet, Red clover, Evening Primrose, fruit blossoms such as Apple, Lilac (for bathing), Elderflower, Hibiscus, Lavender (just use a little Lavender or it will be too strong to drink, but excellent for bathing and beauty), Honeysuckle…. There are endless possibilities. I personally prefer flowers that are rich in aromatics because they remain vibrant and alive using the cold water lunar process. Hot water infusions change and dilute the aromatics.

Darke Lake Rose.

Last week my little family and I went out to Darke Lake near Summerland and camped for a few nights. The wild roses were in full glory so I filled a big jar with petals, topped it up with clear, fresh, wild mountain stream water then set it out under the stars for the night. Next morning I took my jar of Rose lunar infusion, a towel and a small basin up the creek to a waterfall and indulged in a private waterfall pool Rose bath, under a fallen Cottonwood and giant Devils Club leaves. I offered some to the water first, rinsed and then used the petals to wash my face and body. I finished with shower of Rose infused water and petals, allowing it to run into my mouth. Then I watched as the petals floated away downstream, feeling absolutely incredible. Yet another way to enjoy your lunar infusion.

My waterfall bathing pool.

So… Do you wanna try this out for yourself? Hell yeah!

Here’s how to make your own Lunar Herbal Infusion:

Gather your blooms fresh.

Fresh Evening Primrose flowers. They make an incredible, very moistening and cooling lunar infusion. Could be used for facial cleansing too.

Gently fill a mason jar with the whole, intact flowers, or petals, if you are gathering wild rose for instance and want to leave the rest of the flower to ripen into rose hips.

Pour filtered water over your beautiful blooms, seal with a lid then give a very gentle shake or tip upside down a few times.

Hug and kiss your jar of magical infusion. Give it some love!

Place your jar of goodness under the Stars and Moon and leave to the power of Luna for the night.

Upon rising in the morning find yourself a glass and a strainer then go out and get your incredible Lunar infusion. Strain into your glass and sip joyfully. Be careful… You might just explode into a fountain of flowers.

With Luna Love,

Danika.

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He whah kai rongorongo e mahia ana mai i to po, he irirangi roreka oro ana ki te ao, e whaka arongo atu nei.

The pleasant voice of song, a divine sound wafted tremblingly from the now silent past to the listening present.

Not plant roots. Ancestral roots. Spiritual roots. Heart felt roots. O.k then, plant roots too…..

I am home sick. I am here in Canada because of a pull I could not ignore any longer. I felt a drum beat for months, maybe it was years, I don’t remember… Calling to me, pulling me from my home in New Zealand, drawing me nearer. A beckoning. I had people to meet, places to see. Important voices to be heard. Important words to speak. And I still do. Although, apart from my family I am still not sure why exactly I ended up making my home in the Okanagan of British Columbia.

I feel like an oddball. But then, I think maybe I always have felt that way. But growing up Kiwi has left it’s impressions on me and I am inherently Kiwi. Born in Canada to a New Zealander father and Canadian mother, leaving the north for the islands of New Zealand at age 2, I have always been split between two worlds.

I love the people of New Zealand. The ones I grew up with, my first loves, my teachers, my relations, my community. Yet I always felt apart from them. Different. I don’t know that I was ever wholly accepted as one of my own human community. But the wild land of New Zealand, the earth and plants, the spirits, they accepted me and drew me near. For real. Every time I left my islands I mourned for the land more than the people. I love the people, they are my kith and kin, but the land, she is spooky. She claimed me as her own and calls to me from a great distance. She calls to me now. It’s powerful shit.

Ask pretty much any Maori person, young or old and they will tell you how real this is. Like the time I met Mahuika on the Takaka Hill, a mountain full of crystals and tomo’s. I was minding my own business, walking near the summit with my male room mate a few metres behind me on the path, brushing the turpentine plants with my fingers and then out of the green, there she was, the fire woman. Talking to me. “What is he doing here sister?” Ummm, say what? Holy crap, what just happened? I looked back towards my room mate and couldn’t see him. But I understood. She doesn’t trust men. They tricked her into giving up her fire. The fire that burned from her finger tips. A gift to mankind, yet stolen. A story all women can relate to. That shit is real.

And now I am land locked in the arid zones of Canada. A delight unto itself for I had no idea there were deserts here. But far from the sea and the familiar. I don’t know when I will get to go home again. I worry about the future of all islands as Canada and the rest of the world turn their heads from the effects of their actions, the relentless need to burn fossil fuels, to disregard the rest of the planet as long as there is benefit to their own economies. To continue living in a ‘throw away society’. The tar sands, now there is a heartbreaking reality… There will be dire consequences for island nations soon enough. The Pacific nations may cease to exist within my sons lifetime. I hope not.

As giving as the plant world is here, as much as it teaches me and puts up with my curiosity my heart aches for another place.

And that is my life, for now… It is how it will be and I must accept that. For there is much more that I must learn here. That much I feel in my heart to be true.

With love,

Danika.

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