A Simple Ritual for the Autumn Equinox

Hedgerow Vintage

The Autumn Equinox is the gateway to the Autumn and Winter. It is the time in the year when we give thanks to the beautiful sun, and the rich earth that have provided endless harvests over the summer months. I feel blessed to live in a Country that has such vivid seasons, they keep us moving forward and remind us gently that nothing lasts forever.

I like to keep my seasonal rituals simple, so here are a few ideas of how to say your own thank you to the wonderful sun and our beautiful earth…

Gather any of the below items to make a small ‘altar’, you can also make an incense to burn from the ideas listed, or pick some herbs to dry to make a smudge stick. I like to try to be outside for the sunset on the equinox. Have a small fire, somewhere safe, the back…

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Greetings!

If you’ve taken an interest in foraging wild mushrooms, you’ve undoubtedly encountered rules of thumb that are meant to simplify the learning process.

“If it bruises blue, it’s toxic.”

“Mushrooms shouldn’t be consumed with alcohol.”

“Pulling up a mushroom by its ‘roots’ is a poor harvesting technique.”

In many cases, however, well-intentioned advice and general rules of thumb turn out to be nothing more than myths.

To clear up some confusion, I thought I’d address many popular myths surrounding the foraging and consumption of wild mushrooms.

The following video is one of over 70 exclusive videos featured in Foraging Wild Mushrooms.  While all content within the online course is only available to students who register within the next 4 days, I thought I’d share this video with everyone because of the timely information contained within it.

If you’re interested in foraging mushrooms for food, for medicine, for study, or just for fun, check out what Foraging Wild Mushrooms has to offer.  This 4-season course covers the most important lessons to get you started and to keep you going.

To learn more, you can follow this link:  Foraging Wild Mushrooms

(Don’t forget that Monday is the last day to register.)

In the meantime, here are 16 mushroom myths!

Thanks for reading and watching, and as always, thank you for your support!

-Adam Haritan

Valerian Root Benefits: How to Use Nature’s Wonder Root

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

When Hippocrates had a headache, it’s possible he enjoyed a nice steaming cup of valerian root tea. The ancient Greek physician was one of the first to describe the therapeutic benefits of valerian root.

Since the early days in Greece and Rome, people sought the benefits of valerian for everything from head discomfort to heart health, nervousness, feminine issues, and the blues. Valerian brings some unique mythological history as well. People once used it to keep away troublesome elves — stay away Dobby! — and folklore experts believe it helped the Pied Piper lure rats away from town.

What Is Valerian?

Garden valerian (Valeriana officinalis) is also known as garden heliotrope, Tagar (in Ayurvedic medicine), cut-finger, and all-heal — funny names for a potent plant! The species originally grew in Asia and Europe, but it now grows throughout North America, as well. Its scientific name derives from the Latin…

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Praise of the Pumpkin

Good Witches Homestead

The pumpkin is a fall fruit with a rich heritage and flexible flavor that has been used for centuries.

If the tomato is the queen of garden vegetables, the pumpkin may well be the king. In fact, in some parts of China, it is called “Emperor of the garden.” And why not? No plant produces a larger edible fruit, and what other plants can yield tens (or even hundreds) of pounds of healthful, delicious eating from a single seed in only a few months’ time? Pumpkins are known and loved around the world, for their beauty as well as for the gifts they bestow so generously, asking so little in return.

What’s In A Name?

A pumpkin is a winter squash, but not all winter squash are pumpkins. Confused? So is everyone else. The Oxford English Dictionary defines pumpkin as the large fruit of Cucurbita pepo, “egg-shaped or nearly…

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Who Knew That The Chicken Mushroom Could Have An Endangered Look-Alike?

Greetings!

Within the world of mushroom hunting exists a regionally-dictated and arbitrary list known as the “foolproof four.”  Such an assemblage includes choice edible fungi that are easily identified.

Chicken Of The Woods, with its vivid colors and meaty texture, is one wild mushroom whose name is frequently included in “foolproof four” lists across North America.  Ask any seasoned mushroom hunter, and he or she will tell you that few wild fungi resemble Chicken Of The Woods.

But few doesn’t always mean zero.

There are mushrooms that, at least from a distance, can certainly resemble Chicken Of The Woods, and featured in the following video (and pictured above) is one such look-alike that’s actually considered to be critically endangered in some forests around the world.

If you’re interested in learning more about this bright orange fungus that can indeed resemble Chicken Of The Woods, check out the brand new video!

And in case you missed it, I released another brand new video last week without sending an accompanying email.

This time, we’re talking about a common plant that undoubtedly lives an unconventional life.  With names like Devil’s Guts, Strangle Weed, and Love Vine, this wild plant is despised by many people and surprisingly cherished by others.

Check out the video if you haven’t seen it already!

Thanks for reading and watching, and as always, thank you for your support!

-Adam Haritan

Goldenrod Benefits: The Bee’s Knees for Allergies, Sinus Infections, and Urinary Tract Infections

Written and Photographed by Juliet Blankespoor (except where credited)

Goldenrod Benefits: The Bee’s Knees for Allergies, Sinus Infections, and Urinary Tract Infections

The following article is a sneak peek into our 375-hour Online Foraging Course: Edible and Medicinal Wild Herbs. The course begins with the basic ground rules of foraging safety and ethics and then moves on to botany and plant identification. Before you know it, you’ll have the skills and confidence to safely identify and harvest wild plants.

You’ll befriend THE most common edible and medicinal wayside plants, including dandelion, stinging nettles, violet, yarrow, burdock, rose, goldenrod, and many others. The printable manual is hundreds of pages long and filled with close-up photos for identification, medicinal uses, and loads of easy-to-follow recipes. In fact, most of our plant profiles contain more detail than you’ll find in any book on wild foods and herbs.

Registration for this online course will re-open in 2020. Check out our other online programs, which have ongoing enrollment: The Herbal Immersion Program (which includes the Foraging Course and likewise features our glowing lesson on goldenrod) and the Medicine Making Course.

Sign up here for free tutorials (videos + articles) on foraging and herbal medicine, and to be notified when enrollment reopens.

Identifying Goldenrod Flowers

Scientific Name: Solidago spp.

Plant Family: Asteraceae, aster family

Other Common Names: Goldruthe, woundwort, Aaron’s rod, and solidago

Introduction: Each fall, all across North America, goldenrod lights up meadows and fields with a refreshing blend of ruggedness and jubilation. In addition to the sunshine it lends to the landscape, its flowers attract native pollinators and beneficial insects. Goldenrod’s piney-tasting leaves and flowers are an important medicinal remedy for the urinary, digestive, and respiratory systems. The goldenrod genus encompasses one hundred species of late-blooming, knee- or hip-high herbaceous perennials.

Locust borer on a goldenrod inflorescence

Goldenrod is imbued with a decided botanical exceptionalism—heralding primarily from America, where it has been employed for centuries as a medicine, dye plant, and beverage tea. Although most goldenrod species are native to North America, a few species are native to Eurasia and South America. European goldenrod (Solidago virgaurea) is an important folk remedy for lessening bleeding and diarrhea and healing wounds—earning it the name woundwort.1

Read remaining article via: Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine ~ Goldenrod Benefits for Allergies, Sinus Infections, and Urinary Tract Infections

A Deeper Look At Forest Roots

Black and Blue Cohosh Forest

Sandy loam, a substance created by the breakdown of minerals (rock) mixed with the breakdown of carbon (tree or grass detritus). Sandy loam is what we all want, because it is the best all around substrate for growing the plants we love the most: GoldensealGinsengBlack and Blue CohoshWild YamTwinleafBloodroot, Stonerooot, Mayapple — the entire interconnected clan of powerfully medicinal shade-loving forest roots. My book “Growing At-Risk” gives a chapter on each of these (and other) herbs of the hardwood forest biome. Let’s look a bit deeper into what can be done to bring these entities down home and help them prosper!

Survey the growing area. It may be a woodland with trees, brush and diverse broadleaf species already intact. If this is the case, identify areas overgrown by weedy species or heavily shaded by dead wood or thin-able trees. Such areas have often been left undisturbed for some time, and the soil may be rich and undisturbed. Clear away dead wood and crowded trees, giving access to the forest floor and providing more light to the growing beds. Forest roots like dappled shade, where sunlight moves across the moist and humus-laden soil in amorphous patches.

After all, even shade-loving herbs eat light! Remove existing weedy species and push your spade into the ground. If you have at least 6 inches of good dirt, then it’s a go. Pull the existing mulch away from the planting bed, which should be at

Mayapple Forest

least 4 feet wide, arranged with a path to the side to guide forest creatures and humans away from the planting, not over the top of the sensitive plants. Pile the mulch in the path, and plant the dormant roots in the bed, then rake the mulch back over the top of the bed. Mark the bed with a heavy stake and a label giving the date and the species planted there. Metal tags may be used for this, so that they do not fade or disintegrate with time. You will be oh-so-happy that you marked your planting spot!

 

Read full article via Ricoh’s Blog: A Deeper Look at Forest Roots

Medicine Chest: Herbal First Aid Kit

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

Topical Herbal First Aid Kit

As you delve into the world of herbal medicine, at some point or another you take a look at your medicine cabinet and think, “What kinds of natural remedies should I stock in my first aid kit?” Many herbs offer topical applications for a variety of everyday woes, including aches and bruises, cuts and scrapes, bug bites and rashes. And conveniently, you can cultivate or wildcraft most of these herbs or find them easily at natural food stores and online herb shops. Here are a few basics to consider stocking:

Plantain {Plantago major} leaf, a ubiquitous and easily recognizable weed, is readily available in most lawns, woodland path edges, and pavement cracks. You can apply the freshly chewed or mashed leaves directly to bug bites, bee stings, poison ivy, rashes, and splinters to quickly draw out inflammation, irritation, venom, and foreign objects. How…

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Caring With Calendula

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

This vibrant orange blossom pops in the garden add a burst of color to cuisine and is a powerhouse in the medicine cabinet. Learn more about this amazing, autumn-loving species.

Brilliantly striking, calendula’s gorgeous yellow and deep-orange blossoms bring a smile to both gardener and herbalist alike. In the fall, you’ll find this plant gracing many doorways, a staple among other autumn harbingers that herald the colder weather to come. But this dazzling ornamental’s long, storied history and powerful medicine make it a must-have for the home.

Sunshine in the Yard

Visually delightful, sun-loving Calendula officinalis is also commonly called marigold, but don’t confuse it with Mexican marigold {Tagetes erecta}, which is another species entirely. A member of the Asteraceae family along with chamomile, dandelion, and Echinacea, calendula is native to southern Europe and parts of the Middle East, but now grows in temperate climates throughout the world…

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Foraging Wild Foods & Medicinal Herbs

Your Guide to Sustainably Gathering Wild Edibles and Herbs:

Tools, Tips, Recipes, and Wildcrafting Safety

Calling all foragers!

Are you intrigued by the idea of gathering abundant wild edibles and weedy medicinal plants?

We’ve stocked up all the resources you need to begin your foraging adventures safely and wisely. Tools, field guides, harvesting ethics, and a primer on sustainable wildcrafting are all requisite. Browse our library of resources to start foraging on the right foot!

Grab your baskets, and let’s go!

Via Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine:  Foraging Wild Foods & Medicinal Herbs