Oats confession

Even small child knows oatmeal is healthy. We cannot miss the pictures of happy and healthy people who had oatmeal for breakfast. The media feeds us with nutrition information and markets offer the oatmeal with various flavors perhaps because the oatmeal itself is so common, and in the past it was mainly food for the poor or food for horses. This had to be a real challenge for marketing people!

I was lucky in my childhood. Nobody forced me to eat oatmeal. Level of the media advertisement was weak at that time and I have never looked like somebody who needs extra nutrients. Now I can tell you. I really hated even the idea of eating something so ugly as porridge. No flavor could change my mind!

A lot later, when I was an adult, I let the oatmeal come into my life under the weight of undisputed facts. In many ways I tried to overcome its ugliness, particularly in the form of porridge.  How do you consider the grey mass of rubber consistency to be delicious? No way!

And so I spent most of my life in a very distinct and mostly hostile attitude towards oatmeal. Only a few years ago I realized the importance of the rubber consistency for body. The mucilage helps to cover and heal wounds and tissues. It can seal the cracks, where the inner heat escapes. Then the body is better protected, the mind and nerves can better relax.

Although vanity is not the biggest of my sins, it was strong and visible effect on skin, which made me to definitely take oatmeal at mercy. Unique balance between cleansing and nutrition, also suitable for sensitive skin, which costs nothing! You can effectively combine it with herbs or other components. To make it as simple as possible, I usually add finely grained oats to all my homemade soaps.

And so it happened that the oats (Avena sativa) became my daily companion and ally. I bridged the foolish attitudes and finally recognized, that no plant was ugly, just have to look for the right angle.

With love, Ivana

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Sweet smile of Raspberry

Many of us love these beautiful and tasteful berries. You can find a huge amount of cute pictures and amazing recipes full of raspberries. So today, I focus on the Raspberry leaf instead.

The leaf of Red Raspberry (Rubus idaeus) doesn’t belong to major medicinal plants but it’s a very common source of herbal tea which can be safely used pretty often. I remember it was either raspberry or blackberry tea I tested first like a small girl during camping in forest. I was really surprised that tea did not need to be bought, but it could be prepared from leaves that grow everywhere and enough.

Since that time I’ve been drinking lots of different teas. Mostly I had periods – the period of black tea, the period of green tea, the period of fruit tea. Always the best of! Finally I returned to the little girl inside, and for many years I’ve been drinking only herbal teas, mostly from the herbs I gather myself.

Among other herbs, Raspberry leaf belongs to those I usually drink in blends just for taste, not for particular healing. But that doesn’t mean it has no healing effect! Raspberry leaf contains high amount of tannins, reasonable amount of antioxidants plus pectin, which is suitable for healing tissues. You can use it even for cosmetics purpose.

From the same reason (high amount of tannins) people use Raspberry leaf for fermentation, which is the process in which the ordinary herbal tea became a substitute of black tea. It might sound complicated, but the principle is very simple. Just take fresh raspberry leaves, rumple them, leave them 2-3 days in their own humidity and then quickly dry them in the oven or dryer. And it’s done!

I have to admit that I am not a big fan of the fermented tea. Maybe now it’s not exactly the period of mine. But recently I read the post from Katelyn how she made one. I became curious and wanted to try.

The process is really easy, the result tasteful. But I still don’t have the right period. Luckily I have friends and some of them are little bit tired of my always on table herbal tea. Now I can alternate and surprise them with new taste but stick with herbs.

What kind of tea do you prefer?

With love, Ivana

Walnut tree: Faithful and Reliable Friend

Walnut tree (Juglans regia) is a friendly tree, living close to people and having its own brain. How to call the nuts and their specific shape otherwise? I see them as small brains, enclosed in hard shells just as human brain is locked in the skull. Additionally, consumption of walnuts brings great benefits especially to our brain.

Even though I am excited walnut consumer, I mostly harvest walnut leaves for further processing. I like the young ones, still soft and little bit brown with intensive unmistakable aroma. They are the promise of all that a massive tree is preparing for that year.

Basic energy of them is warm. I sense it like warm arms of a friend, always ready for hug to make you comfortable. It calms your nerves because you suddenly feel better, more secure. As if somebody lights a fireplace in the middle of winter storm.

And because walnut leaves have a repellent capability, you can be more secure with them even in physical reality.

The most common use of walnut leaves is a tea. I like the specific taste and my blood vessel appreciates the effects. However it is still warming herb, so don’t drink it in such a tropical weather as we have in these days with us.

I love to make and use herbal soaps with walnut leaves because of their almost chocolate color and high skin care ability, which perfectly works also for problematic skin with itchy eczema or fungi. Even in the intimate area!

In the form of homemade salve or ointment, walnut leaves help with similar skin diseases. Among other herbs, I do use walnut leaves for the foot care. Why? First of all, the warming effect is mostly desirable. Second, adstringent effect helps reduce sweating. Last but not least, there is the evergreen of antifungal components, which might be a great prevention too.

There is much more left about walnut, I would appreciate your opinion and/or experience.

With love, Ivana

Horsetail: Brutal Kidney Washing

The shape of Horsetail is done by its name (or vice versa) and the major effect is a derivate from the shape. Look carefully and you will see a whisk which can swirl and sweep dirt from your blood. And because the main operation center for blood washing is kidneys, Horsetail mostly works there.

Horsetail is strongly diuretic, so you have to drink more than usually. It is easy to remember. When you want to wash anything you cannot do it without water. If you forget to pour water into washing machine then you will crash whole system. And the same could happen with kidneys and liquid circulation. So drink a lot otherwise Horsetail drying your body.

There is another warning for Horsetail users. The whisk of Horsetail is pretty rough while the kidneys are soft and sensitive. Sometimes I really sense the traces that Horsetail leaves inside of kidneys’ tissue. Then it’s time for a smart combination with some of herbs, providing mucilage. I like to use mullein (Verbascum).

Horsetail is useful herb for external application too. If we stick with the sweeping parallel you can easily imagine cosmetics purpose like facial mask or lotion. Considering the whisk is rough, it’s better to use both for mix or oily skin especially with impurities. Adding a small amount of alcohol helps to reach a clean and smooth skin.

And for those, who like to brush the hair roughly, Horsetail can be used in shampoo or like a hair bath.

What is your favorite use of Horsetail?

With love, Ivana

Edible experiment

Few months ago I’ve been asked to prepare a sugar-based depilation mass. Preferably including herbs that heal and treat irritated skin. Oh, I like challenges!

At the beginning I decided to go for few ingredients only: sugar, figs, lemon and water. Having no idea about proportions, I had to try. The first attempt contained too many figs, the mass remained soft but delicious on a taste. So, I put it on a pie!

I served the pie with the story and got acknowledgment for both. Especially when I have everybody assured that the mass on the pie has not been used for original purpose yet.

The second attempt brought a much better result. The mass was still a bit soft and resilient, but effective for fine blond hairs. Fortunately, I have that!

The third time was lucky. I got excellent and effective consistency. I already used herbs, my very first choice were chamomile and aloe vera. It still tasted great, so I can depilate and satisfy the taste for sweet at the same moment.

There are a lot of herbal options for this edible depilation and I look forward to the next one. Do you have recommendation or experience? Thanks for both!

Pass or pass on?

One of my friends asked me to draw a picture for a particular activity she decided to start, something symbolic. She wanted me to draw how it comes to me, intuitively. I was pleased and proud, so I promised to do my best.

And I really did. But neither during processing nor after it have I not been satisfied with the result. Too many warnings popped among the pleasure. I feel she could be happy and a part of something bigger but also blind and potentially cruel to the truth of her soul and heart.

Who am I to judge her?

I only wanted to be a supportive friend, drawing nice and positive picture. Instead I feel the pain and regret.

Where is the border between being honest and supportive? Should I pass the picture on including warnings? To wrap the warnings into sugar words?

Or is it better to pass and pretend nothing happened? To block the intuition and draw a new picture full of positives?

I am not sure I could pretend. She is a good friend of mine. I hope she is strong enough to take the warnings and still stay on her path.

But it is difficult to bring her disappointment where she is looking forward.

A visit from another world: The Male Fern

From my childhood, dense growth of ferns made me feel there are very mystic. They look like bounded shelter where monsters or other fairy-tale creatures can live and hide their secrets. I always felt respect, and was a little prepared to run away.

Still I see that the ferns are extraordinary and not entirely understandable. It seems to me they belong to different dimension or different time-space. They are like history that has refused to undergo evolution.

My favorite fern is the male fern (Dryopteris filix-mas). At the first glance, it is proud and bushy, combining ancient wisdom with feathery lightness. Juicy green calls for biting, but it is better to resist such temptation. The male fern is poisonous.

For safety reasons it is rarely used today. But I have experience and very good results with the male fern’s tincture in removing some internal parasites, especially from the digestive system.  It is still valid, that careful use of poison can have significant healing effects.

Those who do not want to treat poisonous aspects can only watch and admire this plant. The fern certainly deserves it. Do you also think so?

With love, Ivana