24 March 2020
I hope you are all doing well, are healthy and are staying mostly at home. Things are okay on my end. My teens spent the day playing Minecraft together yesterday instead of snipping at each other and complaining so that was a very welcome change here!
Before I get into the bulk of the newsletter, I have the following practice offerings and updates as I continue to be of service.
As I thought about this week’s newsletter, I thought of writing about several different things…herbs to help if the virus is contracted, as well as nervines and methods to help with our mental health, anxiety, etc. This newsletter is about widely available herbs to help for any respiratory illness, keeping this particular illness in mind. My next newsletter will deal with nervines for staying home. If you need help before then, please email me.
- Individual Distancework Sessions: shamanic healing, herbal medicine, mentoring. I’m waiving all my booking deposits until this crisis is over. Please pay for your services at time of booking. Contact me if you need a sliding scale or would like to know more about what I do. Likewise, if you need a session and don’t see a time that works for you or are not sure what would benefit you the most email me or use the contact page on my website.
- Group Shamanic Healings. I’m going to be offering a series of group healings via Zoom. They’ll be recorded if you can’t make the time I’m online. There will be both a low-cost and a free registration in my shop. Once you register you’ll be send a document with the Zoom link and special instructions, if there are any. Dates for sessions will be up in my shop Thursday. Please keep in mind that healing work is sacred work not performance art or a concert.
- Herbal Medicine Subscription. I am already working in my garden and am thinking about offering a subscription medicine package. This will be like a CSA, with payment in advance. If you’re interested in this and wanted to do the hands-on class that I’ll hopefully be doing later in the year, the payment for this can be used towards part of the class. Let me know if you’re interested!
- Online Herbal Classes. All online, live with Zoom. This will partially replace the hands-on class I was hoping to offer and will start off with a plant walk. I’ll have more information next week.
If you need any of the herbs mentioned, please email me. I have these on-hand. I’m just doing herbal tea blends or syrup mixes since I don’t have the packaging to send tinctures. Teas are $15/each, that includes priority shipping.
All of these plants can be used liberally and rarely interfere with meds. Many are available at the grocery store. Several herbal suppliers I regularly use are shut down right now so I’m not recommending anything that would be hard to get.
Herbs/foods that May be Helpful
Moistening herbs: marshmallow leaf or root, slippery elm bark, oatmeal, seaweeds (you can get these at the grocery store), salty broth/stock. These herbs and foods work on all the mucus membranes (throat, lungs, sinuses, GI tract and urinary tract) to soothe and moisten them. Dry throat and lungs are more susceptible to any infection. I’m going to be blending teas this week so email me if you’d like some.
Bitter, warming herbs: elecampane, thyme, sage.
- Marshmallow leaf or root. Fabulously moistening in a cold infusion, either leaf or root. The root is delicious when made as a syrup with vanilla. Excellent addition to elderberry syrup, if you have the berries. A cold infusion is made with cold water, not hot: approx. ¾ cup of leaf or ½ cup of shredded root in a quart Mason jar. Fill with cold water and let sit at least 8 hours. Strain and keep in the fridge. Really easy to make overnight. Drink liberally for moistening.
- Slippery elm bark tastes like maple. Available as a powder or shredded bark. Really slimy and coating. Can be made into a cold infusion as above (use ¼ cup for powdered bark). Put 1 tbsp in oatmeal – awesome! If you can get some, make sure it’s organically grown or sustainably harvested. This tree is endangered in some areas.
- Oatmeal. It’s gooey, yes? Yes! Excellent for coating mucus membranes and it’s a great nervine (soothes the nerves). Widely available and cheap. Just don’t overdo the sugar. Try to eat it as sugarless as possible. My grandfather used to eat it with butter and a bit of salt. That’s real old school English farmer, there.
- Seaweeds. Yes, you can get seaweeds in the grocery store. Look near the soy sauce. You can get packages or even finely chopped/coarsely ground seaweed in shakers, with or without sea salt. Usually they are on a top shelf so make sure to look. Add to broths, soups, stews, etc. Adding some seaweed to a commercially prepared broth is just fine! They’re salty, which attracts moisture, and slimy, which coats and soothes mucus membranes. Seaweeds are also full of micro nutrients; most foods are lacking in micro nutrients now so seaweeds help us fill this deficit. They can be ordered in bulk from Iron Bound Island seaweed or The Atlantic Holdfast Company, both in Maine. Both companies are easily googled.
- Broth/stock. Make your own (see last week’s newsletter) or buy some. Add tamari, garlic, ginger, seaweeds, etc., to augment commercial stock or even your own homemade. Add chopped scallions, miso and a bit of tofu for miso soup. You can add dried nettles, too. Strain them out or eat them. Simmer ramen noodles in the stock with all the additions for a nice meal. It’s food and medicine.
Warming herbs/spices from the grocery store: fenugreek, garlic, ginger. If you eat either fenugreek or garlic, they come out through the lungs and pores (i.e. garlic breath or sweet smelling sweat!).
- Elecampane root. She’s great at moving mucus up and out and has long been used to treat lung infections. That may help things from things settling too deeply into the lungs. Elecampane works really well as a syrup or a decoction (simmered for 20 minutes). I do have a bit of her to share. Email me if you’d like some.
- Thyme. Another goodie from the grocery store. Make a steam (last newsletter), add liberally to food. You can buy several bunches fresh; chop and mix with good quality honey (or another thick, viscous sweetener). Let that sit for 4 weeks for a lovely thyme-infused, antimicrobial honey. Use as it or strain. Add it to tea or just to hot water. Make a tea with it and add honey to help clear lungs.
- Sage. You probably have this in your cupboard. For some people, Covid-19 gives them a nasty sore throat. Regular old garden sage is great relief. Drink hot as a tea (1 tsp of herb to 1 cup of boiling water), with a pinch of cayenne. You can cool it and gargle with this, too, for relief. If you buy fresh, you can chop it up and mix with a good quality honey, like thyme. Again, strain or use as it. It makes a nice instant, throat soothing tea. It’s also pretty good on toast. Sage is antimicrobial, and will help with strep, too. For future reference! NB: if you’re nursing, sage will dry up your milk. Keep that in mind!
- Garlic. An old friend to the lungs. Chop your garlic and let it sit for 10 minutes before using. Cooked is just fine. Add to soups, too, and cook lightly. Do not make that stupid 10-heads of garlic soup. Two or three cloves is fine!
- Fenugreek is available in the “ethnic”/Indian section of most grocery stores, most likely in a 4-ounce bag. Grind this seed up and add to foods or bake in breads. Check out recipes online. NB: if you’re nursing, this does increase milk flow, so keep that in mind!
- Ginger, fresh! I discussed ginger a bit last time. Simmered in broth for a nice, warm drink (yep, with seaweed and garlic) or simmer about a thumb’s length, chopped, in two to three cups of water along with a cinnamon stick (optional). Squeeze a whole lemon into the hot ginger water and sweeten with honey. Drink a cup or two a day.
Nettles. She has been SCREAMING at me to use her. Make an infusion, use it for soup (1 TSP of miso to 1 cup of warmed infusion makes a really nice drink. Add crumbled seaweed and tamari. Even better!). Make nettle tea…mix her with oatstraw for the nervine benefits or with rose petals. Eat the fresh plant like spinach. Cook first! And definitely wear gloves when harvesting. She’s also coming up everywhere, ready to be eaten. I have no scientific rationale for this one. None. Just the plant spirit. I’m not the only one who’s getting this, though, and that’s important.
Here are some links to blog posts and Facebook posts of herbalists I trust *and* who are working with more easily obtainable herbs (I’m sorry, Stephen Buhner! I love you dearly but those herbs you often recommend are darn hard to get and I don’t even know what they’re supposed to smell or taste like!). They’ve all been posting recommendations on FB, with updates. Again, we’ve never encountered this before so it’s all guesswork on our part, until we all start working with individual cases. If you try any herb and you get an adverse reaction, discontinue it! Everyone is different and not all herbs work for everyone.
Matthew Wood’s Herbal FB page: https://www.facebook.com/matthewwoodinstituteofherbalism/
Gail Faith Edwards’ Way of the Wild Heart Blog. This is part 1. Check back for part 2 this week: https://gailfaithedwards.com/2020/03/06/the-pesky-enigmatic-coronavirus-preventive-care/
Phyllis Light: https://www.facebook.com/Phyllis-D-Light-MA-Herbalist-544978598861516/
Thomas Easley: https://www.facebook.com/thomas.easley
Last week I did a live drumming session to help ease fears and connect us with Divine Light, which you can find here: https://www.facebook.com/ElderGroveShaman/videos/1689984714474501/ . I set up the energy so it’s active anytime for anyone who needs it for any reason. <3
I will talk to you all soon! Stay strong and thank you for being who you are!
Love and nettles,