Plants. They are wonderful allies, packed full of minerals and vitamins. They hang out in the world, growing and doing their thing, regardless of our awareness of them. They're willing to work with our bodies, they're user-friendly and are completely worth our time, attention and appreciation.
Although a cup of herbal tea can be comforting and delicious in its own right, or can act as a new routine for where caffeine once ruled, it doesn't extract the same degree of nutrients that an infusion does. This is not my grandmother's cup of tea either. She barely wanted the leaves to graze the water before pulling them out, and even then, it would be too strong. Infusions are dark, earthy and medicinal. Infusions are simple to make, however they require more time.
The general infusion guidelines for brewing plant parts are as follows:
You may endeavour to infuse all ingredients listed, or choose to focus on a few, or add something in of your own, or simply brew one at a time. Start with what you already have kicking around your garden or kitchen, then add in other dried plants as you see fit. In order for a support to work, it must be utilized, so do not forego brewing if you're missing a specific ingredient. As always, please follow your own unique needs and trust your intuition.
This list will provide a small glimpse into what each plant has to offer:
Where to meet these gems...
Sometimes meeting a plant requires determination, curiosity, facilitation by another, a plant identification book, and the willingness to explore. Other times you meet a plant organically, or realize what you've needed has been poking through the crack in your sidewalk all summer long. Nothing beats watching a plant grow throughout the seasons, sitting with it, getting to know its characteristics, and its spirit.
Wildcrafting is a sure way to know the health of the plant you are consuming, the conditions of the soil in which it grew, whether it has been collected from the earth during the peak of ripeness, the timeframe from harvest-to-drying-to-consumption, or whether the plant gave permission to be plucked from its source. The plants that spring forth in your community cohabitate among the same environmental toxins and pollutions, as you do. This factor may play an added role in aiding your body to further adapt when consuming them by boosting your immunity, similarly to how local honey can assist with seasonal allergies.
There are times though, when your garden is laying dormant under feet of snow, or perhaps the plant doesn't grow in your zone. You may have run out of an ingredient, or this realm could be entirely new to you, and hey, you need to start somewhere before your green thumb blossoms!
If you're in Alberta, I recommend visiting Kolya Naturals Apothecary located within Optimum Health Vitamins. The Earth's General Store may stock some of the ingredients, however they also carry food dehydrators, composting worms and an assortment of DIY books, depending on how in-depth you'd like to venture along this path. Edmonton's Seedy Sunday is also fast approaching March 20th, and is a great location to gather most the seeds you'll need to start your own apothecary, or pick a seasoned gardener's brain on the "how to's".
If you're in BC, I suggest contacting Harmonic Arts Botanical Dispensary for raw ingredients. If you'd like to develop a deeper understanding and relationship with plants, please contact The Living Medicine Project.
Lastly if you're in the USA, Mountain Rose Herbs carries a large variety of bulk organic herbs, and Banyan Botanicals is an Ayurvedic apothecary, for even more angles of exploration.
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