Community Herbalist, Aromatherapist, Spiritual Entrepreneur, Mother& Grandma. ~Celebrating Family, Earth and Spirit.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Name That Plant!


Here is this weeks herb in the Name That Plant Game.
Come over to the Dreamseeds Organics Facebook Page
and comment if you know this beautiful herb.
Winner this week will receive a  $5 gift certificate to the Dreamseeds
store on HC.



Thursday, June 19, 2014

Recreating through the lies of Limiting Beliefs



Have you been challenged with a limiting belief this week?
 I sure was an let me tell you it totally tried to swallow me up. But then I remembered WHO I AM and took back my POWER!
 And then another challenge and I took back my power again.

Not in a superhero kinda way, more like a training wheel kinda way.

When we are not use to asserting ourselves and taking action for OURSELVES, it is like a baby horse walking around, looks and feels kinda funny, unstable and unsure.

 Eventually, however, once the strength comes into fullness, the steadfast and security will prove itself. And when then happens, more freedom and joy.

 The limiting beliefs trapped in our psyche (whether from society, our childhood, our churches, *think root chakra here*) often can control us. And also keep ourselves at a safe comfortable level where we dont have to do much more in order to keep ourselves safe. However, living with the trapped garbage is living in a lie.

Here is an example.  I struggle with communication at times. I am an introvert and have a shyness also about me. Due to this, I have feared public speaking.
I have been encouraged by my friends to do some teaching. But I have rejected it so many times due that public speaking part skill I have not worked with enough to be good at.
However, I did step out of the fear twice to do it.
I was an opening speaker at the first Las Vegas Herb Day. I broke down and cried in front of people due to the water source, Lake Mead being incredibly low. Having grown up there and remembering the playful days, the water level, on dad's speedboat, it emotionally hit me that with the population growth, the water in the desert was not being revered as it should, since all life needs water.
I spoke again at the Native Plant Society gathering in Jackson.
Did I do a good job speaking? No..I cried, stuttered, got spacey, shook and trembled.....

YET, in Las Vegas, my emotions taking over, people thought about water conservation for their own homes.
And people still remember cottonwood in an entirely different way than their previous thoughts due to my presentation on the tree family.

My efforts were not in vain AND I stepped out of fear into something scary to overcome the limiting belief that I cannot speak in public.

It was comfortable not being in the limelight. I like it there. Introverts do not like being in the spotlight. Yet, if I continue to believe that I cannot public speak, the messages I need to share with the world will remain unspoken. Then how will I live my purpose?

Am I a good public speaker? NO. And my knowledge of this shortcoming can challenge me to learn more, to practice, and to educate myself on stepping out of the fear and keep trying. Once  I have finished the educational piece I am currently working on, I may have an open slot for Toastmasters.

I use this example to encourage us to curiously pay attention when a limiting belief comes to your thoughts. Where did it come from? Is it true? Do I really want this thought/belief to control me? How can I overcome this negative?

So I challenge us, when a limiting belief comes through our thoughts and we recognize it, turn it around.

When I think that I cannot public speak, I will remind myself that I can public speak, and that I need more practice, education and support to communicate well to an audience. I am an introvert and I can use my gifts and speak publicly, because I have seen other strong introverts do the same.
I will be gentle with myself and work toward turning that around in baby steps, doing the very best I can do with the time I am given.

When a nagging negative limiting belief comes through your thoughts this week, begin to work with it, examine it, question it, and begin to turn it around. I would love for us to take notes on what it is today lying to us in our minds, and what we have done to recreate that a year from now.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

From Where I am Standing~Edible, Medicinal and Beautiful Plants of the Sage Flats

I have been sharing pictures on the Dreamseeds Organics Facebook page of the various plants in a variety of ecosystems across the Jackson Hole Valley.
I also have a Name That Plant Game each week that gives us an opportunity to learn a variety of plants and the correct answers of the plant id by picture will be entered into a drawing for $5 Gift Certificate Code to the Dreamseeds HC store. Each week a new winner is chosen.

Today I want to show you my backyard. I live near the Elk refuge south where the Snake River and Flat Creek flow. The habitat near the Snake River are quite different than the habitat of the sage flats where the creek courses along the cottonwoods. This to me is very exciting for the variety of beauty and medicinal needs for my family, friends and clients. Our slow unfolding spring popped in a matter of like 2 days, everything went to bloom at once. It was fascinating, many of us felt an energetic shift once this happened. It was amazing.

The Valley







Beneath the Cottonwood trees is a lovely village of Equisetum, expanding each time I visit. I have harvested some of this and have made tea to heal torn ligaments in my arms, recently. Harvesting young plants is a rule of mine for medicinal use. As the plant matures, it, like stinging nettles, has been said to cause formation of kidney stones due to the crystalizing silica. So young plants like these are great.

Horsetail




Crataegus is blooming right now. On the Dreamseeds Organics page we played name that plant when the leaves were unfolding. The only tell tale sign was the long thorns. Now, beautiful flowers are out and will mature into berries. I like to have both on hand for strengthening the heart. Great ally for stress.

Hawthorne




Balsamorhoriza is also a favorite for lung conditions. The root is like potato starch to me, and is great soother for dry lungs. I like this for diarrhea issues, to comfort the digestive tract during a bad bout of pooping.
I feel it is great for the kids and also fabulous for cough syrup. It needs to be harvested spring or fall, so I will wait until fall since it bloomed so fast I was too late. I always call this plant arrowroot balsam, it is incorrect, however that is what seems to flow out of my mouth everytime:)

Arrowleaf Balsam


Larkspur is in the Delphinium family. This is an old folk remedy for head lice, using the seed to kill the bugs and nits. It is such a beautiful plant with an intense rich purple and the spur on the back of the flower.


Phlox and asters dot the dry land with pretty color here and there



Mustard family trail nibble.

Rubes family plants for berry eatin later in the summer. My guess is currants. I can tell it is rubes due to the shape of the leaves. I have harvested many wild rubes berries, including gooseberry.



The ARTEMISIA's that the sage flats are best remembered by. I do make sage bundles with these on request. This is the sage you will find in the insect repellant and Gros Ventre Soap. It is one of the plants near to my heart and as I discover more uses, I will certainly share. The third picture is a very silver artemesia, also considered wormwood.




Now you know why I am called Wyld Woman. When in need of a touch of the divine, I will be in the wild.
Have a good week~

Monday, April 14, 2014

Self Care-Aromatic Bathing

 How are you feeling? It feels a bit intense the past few days for me and planetary theory suggests this may be an intense week. Retrograde planets helping to release past issues and work them through is suggested as well. After researching a few theories, I have to say I agree by what I am feeling.
This brings up SELF CARE. This month tends to be financially difficult for many people and the question may arise, How can I do things for myself without money?
A few suggestions. Sip your morning beverage of choice with an open heart of gratitude. You may surprised how that simple act can bring great nourishment. I love coffee.
A mentor has put me to the task of self care everyday. I have had to be creative.
So I used my ordinary rituals to bring nurture to my soul.
When partaking of coffee in the morning, I have found one cup now does me a world of good and is about all I need without adding extra coffee to my cup,like I normally do.
Tasting the bitterness and creaminess of half and half, how it makes my body feel warm, gives me a bit of a wake up, are all part of a very wonderful, mindful practice I hope to continue in all I do. Taking great pleasure in all life has provided me.

I primarily want to write a note of encouragement to enjoy what nature has provided for you, right now, and take a bath to release the tension and stress you may be feeling.
Here is a sample of what we have here in the Jackson Hole Valley.
Pine branches that have fallen down, some lavender leaves from my winterized plant, some thyme that is in my fridge that needs to be used up, sagebrush from a walk I took, and some lavender petals I have instock.
Pine can create some resin in the pan, so I use one for work purposes only. Simmering the pine and sage, and adding the other lighter herbs after simmering the other botanicals first.


This can be strained into a running bath to indulge your body, clean out old energies and help one to relax and feel at ease. And a bonus to creating an aromatic bath by using botanicals in your area, is that it clears out old winter energies in the home. 
Here in Wyoming, we can leave the windows open from time to time, however my cabin faces oddly on the land, and it gets pretty chilled inside, so window opening right now is in bursts. Cleansing the air with simmered botanicals was pure delight. Then the bath to immerse in the awesomeness of it all.
 Bath Bombs made with essential oils based on what you need is also a fabulous Self Care ritual. I make these custom for people with a price of about $8 each. I also have little hearts I bag up for the same.
The fizzie adds a light bit of oil to condition the skin while soaking, is fun, and the essential oils work in the mind, body and emotions during the bathing ritual.
Salts are another fabulous way to self care. I love blending Dead Sea Salt with other salts around the world. The Dead Sea has been used for healing a long time. Detoxification is a primary function of salts. Adding minerals at the same time. I custom blend salts as well. You can do the same at home. Epsom Salts are easy to obtain and work wonders in the bath. Magnesium is high in Epsom Salt which releases muscle tension and can assist in a good nights rest. Since many people are magnesium deficient, this is an awesome  way to nourish the body.


Candlelight, music, and a beverage of your choice is also an awesome way to Self Care during a bath. Light a few candles, aromatic vessel, lantern, tea light....whatever you have, and enjoy the dancing light as you recline in your tub.It tends to lighten the emotional load somehow. Adding an aromatic also can assist that process in the brain.

And to those folks that are sensitive to scents, pure botanical oils tend to be uplifting and do not cause problems that synthetic fragrances do. However, if you are sensitive to any fragrances at all, unscented pure salts, unscented candles and time for yourself will still be nurturing.
I encourage you to SELF CARE however you can. The aromatic bath for myself and most people I serve, is the most available and nourishing way to clear out a hectic day to make room for a restful night.  Namaste

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Cottonwood-King of Cheers

If there is one herb I talk alot about with great passion, it is the Wyoming Cottonwood tree. This tree is cursed for the cotton it produces in springtime, which makes a mess and does cause some allergies in sensitive individuals. After teaching a class at the Native Plant Society, people then began to see some positive attributes for this Poplus family, in fact the feedback was always this was what they most remembered.
This is a Cottonwood branch up close with a stand behind it along a water way.

The Populus family is often thought of as the first aspirin, with the family containing salicylates in Willows, Aspens and Cottonwoods.
All parts of Cottonwood can be used. However my favorite part, and one I feel is strongest, is the buds. The leaves will birst forth from these in springtime so harvest and preparation must be intentional to get it all done. One the buds burst forth, one will have to wait until fall, winter, spring, depending on which Populus species is harvested. In late fall, I was able to harvest some fat juicy Aspen buds. Cottonwood on the other hand, not so yet, in my experience. Since I am not yet a winter sport partaker, I must wait until I can get to the trees in spring to harvest the buds. Cottonwood loves the water, so you will find most natural stands near the rivers. Willow likes water too. However both I see naturalized in town, so one can walk along their street and possibly find these trees in the area. Cottonwood however, can look really gnarly, deep creviced bark and sometimes just like a web of mess along the trunk with branches coming out everywhere in a strange area.
In late spring as those leaves are about to unfurl, the aroma is intoxicating. Love it or hate it, it is quite a pheromone experience for me.

In plant medicine, using the buds, my favorite way is to harvest, fill my clean mason jar, with buds and fill and  top off with pure oil.
The only difficulty is finding strong buds. Most of these buds will have a caramel color bud and new growth on the branches. Old and overwintered buds will often be black. Those are not typically what you want to use for good medicine, but I can attest, as long as there is resin on those black buds, it will still work in a pinch.

See how dark these buds are? Yet you can see the resin on it . But what you really want to gather is this



How to find buds? The very best way is to gather from what the tree has dropped off on its own through storms and wind. Why? Well, they typically come from the upper tree, one cannot possibly get to, and the buds are big! And nothing is taken from the tree at all by the gatherer.
However, it is sometimes not enough, and hand gathering from the branches must be employed, in which case, smaller buds will be harvested due to being closer to the ground.  The most succulent bud is typically on the end of the branch. NEVER take this one. That is the mama of the entire branch and taking that terminal bud will effect the nutrients needed for the health of that branch. Dont mess with mama!

Back to show the branch again. That thicker beautiful bud at the end of the branch is MAMA.

The resin, as you can see will get all over your hands. I have resin on my computer and cellphone due to work related things while processing buds.
It is a dirty job-but most work herbalists do get us dirty ~so pretty normal.

This year, I am also working more with those branches. Green inside, they still contain the active ingredient most of us seek cottonwood for. Pain Relief. However, another well known use is digestive bitter. I make cottonwood medicine primarily for preserving my natural care products, and pain relief, with its next known use of antisepetic and healing care for all manners of wounds.
I make salve with that which is the infused oil, strained, and beeswax added to create a firm ointment that can be taken along in the first aid kit in the wild, or kept in the house for those things that come up.
The branches this year will be used in a topical liniment I am creating with a local therapist for massage with sport soreness and injury. This will evolve with other local plants as spring turns to summer and the best plants are available in our mountain range. I am really excited about this project.
I also tincture the buds in grain alcohol or brandy. I have used it to ward off liver headaches in which something effected me and taking the cottonwood tincture, it calms down to nothing in a short amount of time.
My best use yet, for cottonwood oil was this year when I tore a ligament in my left arm. My buds had been soaking less than a week.
3 weeks of pain in my left arm, I had it looked at. I received the diagnosis and was given the option for a cortisone shot or rest and let it heal, which I chose the latter. That day, I warmed the cottonwood oil and applied and not only did the pain get eased very well, it also felt things were healing rapidly from that point on. This is not a typical plant for wound healing speed, however it worked for me that way. A total shift in pain and use of my left arm after using it daily.

I will have some of these items I mention in my shoppe and once it is gone it is gone. It is useful to ask me if it is sold out, as I often tier my batches, this area one week, this area another. So sometimes new medicine is about to come to the shoppe, but again, once I run out, I cannot obtain more until the season is right.

If you have cottonwood in your area, these are a few ways I work with them and use them. There is alot of history in ethnobotany of this species as well. You can check your local library for that. I know one of my favorite things was a Native American drum made with cottonwood and skin.
Also, at our cabin, I use thick branches to dry my dishes on the drying mat. I love washing dishes but drying is not my favorite part so I leave them. The branches give enough airflow to dry the dishes. Just because I love it so.
So look for those downed branches, even if the leaves have opened, the branches that have fallen may provide enough to get you through a year in your personal first aid kit. Namaste~ Kristena

Monday, February 10, 2014

Fyre Cyder, Dragons Breath, Kick Ass Tonic


Call this what you'd like. Amazing herbal tonic, sinus reliever, circulation elixir, immune system tonic, digestive warmer, marinade....
At the current time, an herbal company is attempting to trademark the name Fire Cider. The term fire cider has been carried over for a long long time and herbalist Rosemary Gladstar has this in her recipe books as well. This does have the herbal community very upset, as if this trademark is approved, something we have called this elixir for a long time and learned from our teachers is being stolen, in a sense. Many people would have to have their printing companies redo their labels with a new name to avoid legal issues of something there should not be legal issues with anyway. Thanks Shire Company for the chaos.
So, I am going to give you a recipe I love for this and call it what you will. Change the spelling or get creative with it.

The ingredients shown above are divided between 3 different 2 cup mason jars. Each jar has an addition of some other spices to make it even, well, spicier. Pink and White Peppercorns and berries, fresh herbs like oregano, cayenne and thyme. Adapt this to what you like.

1 large onion
3 jalepenos
1 clove garlic
1 grated horseradish root
3 small ginger root grated
1 large lemon with zest and juice
1 pinch of turmeric
Apple cider vinegar covering all the herbs into each jar
Place wax paper over the top when done before sealing so the metal lid does not corrode.

Leave about 3 weeks to steep. Be sure to check on it well the first couple days to be sure the vinegar is covering all the herbs. Then from time to time take a peek and top off as needed.

After 3 weeks or so, strain the mixture, squeezing well all the vinegar out of the herbs.

At this point, many people like to add honey to taste. I add it to one or two of my jars and leave the other unsweetened, as it can be sweetened later if desired.
This is so tasty on steamed greens. Often, people will take this by the spoonful for energy. The only downside to this is very strong garlic smell, so if you are going to be around people that day, keep that in mind. I take mine when I am working alone or at night most often if I will be around people during the day. It is awesome for cold days, for marinading foods, and when one is starting to feel a bit under the weather. Sometimes this is enough to help one bounce back before illness sets in. The horseradish helps to clear sinus cavities that tend to get stuck mucus or hard mucus from heat or exposure to dust.

Make your own and call it what you will. An hour of prep at the most will give you enough so that you are set for the winter. I often trade this for services and gift give as well, since it is made with love to those that don't have much time to cook and prepare something like this. Enjoy...Namaste


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Earthy Herb Chick Looks For a Job

This post was going to be on how to make Fire Cider, an immune boosting, energy giving, sinus clearing, awesome old time recipe that works great also for marinades, salad dressings and on steamed greens.
However, my girlfriends and I had fun on Facebook with this, so I thought I would pass it along and hopefully bring you some lighthearted fun. The next post should be on Fire Cider, a recipe you can make, or buy it from me if you dont have time, only I trade it for services so often, I usually don't list it for sale. I am excited to share this recipe with you so keep your eye out for that.

So this goofy topic got started when I was given some beautiful clothing the other day. Professional type of things. I love everything, but honestly, at times it feels foreign. I am pretty down to earth and often don't exactly know how to put these professional things together. So we came up with a fun exaggerated album to describe how out of the element this stuff can feel for an herbalist. Or I should say herbalists like me that dresses in comfortable clothing and ready for harvesting or making things the majority of the time. Working with oils and soap calls for clothing that is not this nice, and since I work with this stuff daily, you will get the point as I bet most of you can relate. Enjoy.....

Popping Organic Candys to Wake up in the indoors. At least I am wearing an Organic Skirt and it feels good:)
Yes Sir, I do have hiking boots on with my houndstooth skirt because I want to harvest usnea on my lunchbreak. My tag is showing?? Oops I put my shirt on inside out. It looks the same both ways.



Is this pajamas or a dress??? It only says J Crew
Uh not again, my big butt busted the clasp and it fell down in the parking lot at the whole grocer too (not exaggerated-that happened a couple weeks before)

Ummm I feel like my breasts are showing. Oh the resume, ya I know it is a little wet, but its ok. I gave my girlfriend a ride and her baby spit up on it but it really is ok because she exclusively breastfeeds and is an organic vegan

They told me I would have more self confidence if I wore a bra:)

My boys said I look office presentable of course they are color blind

I went to pull out my pen for paperwork and pulled out my raw hemp rolling papers instead...oops Its for mullein


WTF??? I still can't figure it out


Can't you just love me for me????

I did it! I finally match:)


Thanks to my mama friends who sparked the little kid in me to take a break and have fun. I hope you can entice your inner child to play a little bit to. Namaste