Guilt and the Herbal Helper

 

 

Disclaimer: The author receives no compensation for this article. The author is not a medical professional, nutritionist or dietician. Content on this website is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to substitute for medical treatment or diagnosis and is not monitored or evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration/FDA. Consult your health care provider if you are experiencing any symptoms and before using any herbal product. Any application of the material provided is at the reader’s discretion and is his or her sole responsibility.

Colds are no fun. Unproductive coughs, combined with colds and/or flu are even worse. When you’re down for the count, and you ran out of “Fire Cider” before your cold was on the downside and before the next batch was ready, perhaps before the next batch was even started, because the cold/flu brought on a huge delay in herbal remedy productivity, the last thing you want to do is become involved in laborious processes for crafting herbal aid.  What about garlic honey? That was sitting on the counter. Oh wait… You ran out of that too. For hopeful planners, a discovery like that is mortifying.

Amidst the foggy brain, reminders to make remedies for colds ahead of time may swim upstream, laying all kinds of heavy guilt along the shoreline of shaky coherence. The little voice of opposition chastising getting sick in the first place may chime in too. Thankfully, with a little self-compassion, the guilt subsides and rescue is within reach.

If you’re one of the fortunate budding herbalists to sign up for Rosalee de La Foret’s “Herbal Cold Care” course, her mantra of use “the one you have on hand” will float into consciousness, like a fairy godmother. When illness and caring for loved ones tires you out, it’s nice to have a reference to come back to when you need it, to buoy you up.

Break out the ginger, because maybe there’s lots of it on hand that had been purchased for making the next batch of “Fire Cider” for prevention and support.  But chopping it may not only be a time issue for those standing woozily at the height of a heinous cold or flu bug, but sharp knives? Not a good idea. Thankfully, a cute little helper is available that brings joy to herbal aid, as well as cooking. Enter: Vibe, by Chef’n. It not only easily chops garlic with its zippy rolling motion, but ginger too (and says so on the package). And the sharp parts are within the little bubble of purposeful cuteness. It’s easy to rinse out, and deemed dishwasher safe in the top rack by the manufacturer. Perfect for the procrastinating herbalist in need of self-care and relief, fast.

The fresh ginger then gently steeps in a helpful water infusion, ready in minutes. And maker beware, don’t use a handy tea infuser ball, as the tougher ginger rhizome needs broader contact with the water. Just throw the ginger into the water and let it sit for what your recipe calls for, then strain it out if you’d like. Save the ball for leaves and flowers, the less dense “aerial parts” of our other herbal allies.

If you can smell the ginger, you’re way ahead of the game. If you can’t smell it, hopefully after a cup or two you will. That’s its job. Nasal passages begin to open and the brain fog lifts with peace settling in its place. Clarity, well-being and a mouth-breathing reprieve!  Win-win-win!

Ginger is a highly versatile herb and food. When the cold subsides a bit, then it’s time to add to the restoration of herbal remedies by making garlic honey too, because the Vibe will make that a quick job as well, and garlic honey is ready in 24 hours, instead of the four to six weeks until “Fire Cider” can rescue you.

Results may vary. Wishing you wellness and well-being!

________________________________________

The heart of Botaniscape™ and budding Herbalist/Wildcrafter, Lori McClellan sees the Art of Herbalism as her lifelong connection to Nature and wonder manifested most fully—another exciting medium and source of abundant joy. A daily meditator and career Journalist, Author, Artist and Poet, she creates as Loretta Boyer McClellan. Her works as a publisher and writer of fiction, nonfiction and poetry; conscious PR, brand, graphic design, and communications; and as an Arts instructor, journalist and artist, “sized the canvas,” so to speak, for a fruitful life of expression, connection and inspiration. Author of The Nature of BEing: A Healing Journey, The Misthaven of Maine Series, and Dodging Raindrops: Poems and Prose of Beauty, Peace and Healing, Lori creates from a place of Oneness. Writing, meditating, painting, and her relationship with Nature and all beings, most tangibly through Herbalism, are her connection to the Infinite. 

Advertisements

To the Tune of Life: Avena Botanical’s Music for the Soul

©2017 Loretta McClellan. A treasured gift: Lori McClellan, author of Botaniscape.com meets Deb Soule, herbalist, teacher and founder of Avena Botanicals
©2017 Loretta McClellan
Avena Botanicals Herbal Apothecary and Biodynamic Garden Entrance

“Walk as if you are kissing the earth with your feet,” Vietnamese Buddhist Monk, Author and Peace Activist, Thich Nhat Hanh, has said. I did just that, with intention to move like a gardener, at Avena Botanicals Herbal Apothecary and Biodynamic Garden in Rockport, Maine. The Avena Team, some fellow visitors, and even Herbalist Deb Soule herself, welcomed me to their oasis of peace and purpose.

©2017 Loretta McClellan. Avena’s greenhouse and herbal goodness

On the fringes of autumn, the garden beckoned from the moment of arrival. Whimsical signs greet you, their partnered stars of the garden themselves—the plants—swaying gently, as if to sing,” Hello! We are Abundance!” enchanting in unison. The introduction would not be complete without meeting the pollinators, however, contributors to this bountiful harvest. Bees, bumblebees and butterflies were everywhere, presenting a buzz of contentment that rivaled any monk’s chanting (see video).

©2017 Loretta McClellan. Avena’s apothecary and shop

A budding herbalist, this visit was part of my Maine Sabbatical, to immerse myself in herbal wisdom and creative expression, in being true to living my true nature, of Nature being my steadfast companion and inspiration. I corresponded with the lovely Erda at Avena, to confirm they would still be open to the public the week of Labor Day. Her energy and genuine kindness were tangible through the emails. The journey was indeed a “go,” and I was off on my nearly three-hour trek from Downeast Maine, the eastern-most point of the U.S., to the Rockport region.

©2017 Loretta McClellan. Herbal-infused water at Avena

At Avena Botanicals, the outbuildings and the shop and apothecary are shingle style, with most trimmed in a beautiful lilac. Buddhist touches are evident, as are herbal examples to live by, such as the giant, aqua, antique-style water dispenser, filled with colorful herbal goodness to hydrate and thrive with.

©2017 Loretta McClellan. Avena gardens

The formal garden is where mindful intention is organized into a circular study of herbsong. It was as if the “alto section” of Tulsi was harmonizing with the “soprano section” of Arnica for the prelude, then the entire chorus of all the herbs holistically crescendoed. The Maestro of this epic concert? Many might honor the pollinators with that title, deservedly so, but we would all agree that music has many musicians, coming together in orchestration, which would include the soil, the compost, the seeds, the sun, the moon, the rain, the gardeners and harvesters, as well as the pollinators. In Deb Soule’s book, How to Move Like a Gardener: Planting and Preparing Medicines from Plants, each of these aspects are blended together into the most nourishing tonic for the soul.

©2017 Loretta McClellan. Chinese Lanterns at Avena

While the “plant music” elevated and resonated, their existence and surrounding paths of gravel, grounded me. Even the grassy path to the compost privy was an adventure in life on an herbal farm. The meandering walkways circumventing the pond were enriched with a lightness in surprise, “lighting my way,” such as the vibrant orange Chinese Lantern, which reminded me of tomatillos. Plants reached out to me to shake my hand in encouragement, even pat me on the back, as if to say, “You’re on the right path, Lori,” in Herbalism being a fruitful one. I also found not one, but two different caterpillars had affixed themselves onto my shirt and arm, another loving welcome to this clarity in living.

©2017 Loretta McClellan. Gathering place at Avena

Despite a very busy schedule preparing for her Biodynamic Training Program and several other engagements, plus working the farm itself, Deb Soule graciously took time to sit and be with me, Stephanie and Zoe (members of her staff), and two other visitors to Avena. We talked about herbal education, particularly with children, as myself, and several others are working to promote that awareness. We spoke of the upcoming Common Ground Country Fair in Unity, Maine, put on year after year by volunteers and the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association/MOFGA, with Avena Staff’s invitation to visit their booth. Music, including acoustic accompaniment on the Handpan by a talented man named Shoe, visiting from the South, as well as my recent visit to Japan and its herbal wonders were shared, among much more.

©2017 Loretta McClellan. Abundance at Avena

Encouraged by Deb to articulate how I came upon my herbal journey, I referenced my inaugural article on Botaniscape.com, where I had recently rediscovered I was a budding herbalist as a young child, and this re-blossoming. When Deb, author of Healing Herbs for Women: A Guide to Natural Remedies and How to Move Like a Gardener, asked about my books, I related what inspires me as an author and artist.  I can only imagine how inspirational walking the Avena Garden on a daily basis can be for a creative.

©2017 Loretta McClellan. Footpath along the gardens at Avena

With farm life and Maine as subjects I was fully immersed in and enthralled with, the conversation led to E.B. White, famed author of the book-for-the-ages, Charlotte’s Web, and how his farm in Brooklin, Maine, is recently on the market. I had posted an article about the property on my author Facebook.com/LorettaBoyerMcClellan page, mostly because for me as an avid reader and as an author, that real-life property was substantial. It lent itself as a primary character in Charlotte’s Web, right down to the barn doorway where Charlotte herself spun intricate conversations about a beloved pig named Wilbur, who was most notably, “Some Pig” to readers everywhere. Maine was his refuge, as well as his muse. I can relate.

This conversation led Deb to share about a celebrated author who, according to Deb, was a friend of E.B. White, namely Rachel Carson. “Rachel is my heroine,” Deb said, which made me take pause, because when an esteemed Herbal Teacher speaks of her heroine, you listen.

I was not familiar with Rachel Carson, but I took notes to learn more about this Marine Biologist, Conservationist and Author of several books, including Silent Spring, about harmful pesticides, more accurately termed, “biocides,” such as DDT, wreaking havoc on the environment. Carson, who lived in Maine, is credited with initiating the environmental movement.

©2017 Loretta McClellan. Avena gathering space, apothecary and shop

During this visit, after purchasing some herbal supplements, I was asked in the shop if I was studying to become a clinical herbalist. I was quite frankly, surprised, and honored to be considered in a future role such as that. As a budding herbalist, my studies are centered currently on self-healing and family support, as well as community herbal awareness. As the afternoon waned at Avena, there were comments, observations and moments that reminded me how I facilitate care in-the-now most deeply: with my voice, in being a herald—a messenger not a marketer—for good.

©2017 Loretta McClellan. Avena’s Herbal Classroom

The entire afternoon’s experience, in the cradle of nurturing herbs dancing with bees and butterflies along Maine’s coast, reminded me of my own commitment to recognizing the role of pollinators, of the all-encompassing importance in moving like a gardener—mindfully, with intention, while honoring the earthly gifts—and learning more about these vital contributions in being a purposeful person. It also solidified in my heart that expression, which is part of my three-word mantra as a human BE-ing, of Expression, Connection, Inspiration, is my most useful extension in helping the world BEE a better place. The connection and inspiration I received at Avena will be indelibly etched upon my heart, to the tune of life!

Avena Botanicals Herbal Apothecary and Biodynamic Garden is open to the public at 219 Mill St, Rockport, ME 04856. As of September 2017, their schedule is, Gardens: Open to the public May – September, Monday – Friday, 12 – 5 pm. Closed Weekends. Shop: Monday – Friday, 12 – 5 pm. Closed Weekends. If you’re lucky, you’ll see Deb and her team out and about, tending to their fellow musicians in this grand scape of a resonant masterpiece!

 


The heart of Botaniscape™ and budding Herbalist/Wildcrafter, Lori McClellan sees the Art of Herbalism as her lifelong connection to Nature and wonder manifested most fully—another exciting medium and source of abundant joy. A daily meditator, Lori is a career Journalist, Author, Artist and Poet, creating as Loretta Boyer McClellan. Her works as a writer of fiction, nonfiction and poetry; conscious PR, brand, graphic design, and communications; and as an Arts instructor, journalist and artist, “sized the canvas,” so to speak, for a fruitful life of expression, connection and inspiration. Author of The Nature of BEing: A Healing Journey, The Misthaven of Maine Series, and Dodging Raindrops: Poems and Prose of Beauty, Peace and Healing, Lori creates from a place of Oneness. Writing, meditating, painting, and her relationship with Nature and all beings, most tangibly through Herbalism, are her connection to the Infinite.