Handicapped nettle

Have you ever wondered where the name of dead-nettle came from? What is dead on it? And why is it called a nettle? Dead-nettle is not a nettle at all!

Although we can find visual similarities in plant construction, botanically they don’t belong to the same family. Looking at the inflorescence, even the beginner will recognize why. Here are no similarities at all. Nothing to say about that the sting nettle (Urtica dioica) grows in two polarities – male and female. Modest dead-nettle (Lamium album) does it with one as most of other plants.

Stop. Now I have joined the same game, comparing what is incomparable. The game has been playing for years, spreading the myth of handicapped nettle. I must say that in my language dead-nettle isn’t dead, only deaf. But the meaning is the same – we are talking about nettle which lacks the key feature.

Dead-nettle has its own features and they are many. Dead-nettle is an important plant and a flag-ship of the whole family Lamiaceae, which contains famous and effective plants like mint, sage, thyme, etc. Would you say about these culinary and medicinal herbs that they are dead or deaf?

I like to gather and drink dead-nettle tea even though I don’t have enough patience to pick individual flowers. Usually I harvest the upper fresh part with the first row of inflorescence.

The white classic is sweet like innocent child and given to tea it gently helps to release mucus from respiratory system. Women could appreciate the release of excessive white mucus from the intimate area. In my herbal soap experience, white dead-nettle is one of choices for the female intimate soaps.

As mentioned earlier Nettle: Excellent Blood Purificator, my body isn’t a big fan of sting nettle. But I love the white handicapped nettle which is not nettle. How about you?

With love, Ivana

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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

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

Elderflower Princess

At these days, my small flat is full of Elderflowers’ intensive scent and it’s almost impossible to think about anything else. In my place it’s the harvesting season now!

Elder (Sambucus nigra) grows in low-end soils, but it’s the queen among the medicinal plants. I believe that mainly fruits represent the royal majesty. Inside of red-black elderberries I feel some kind of essential truth of life. Eating elderberry products it’s like pumping the spark of life with all its wisdom directly into blood.

But now, it’s the elderflower season. The queen is still very young, not enough experienced. Its beautiful white-yellow head is proudly erected, attracting bees to come and sharing potential with them. It is a cheerful princess, which cannot deny its royal origin.

Like most children, this princess likes sugar. Elderflower Princess goes with sugar even fresh, making in few days’ lovely and delicious syrup. It perfectly fits for both, summer refreshments and winter colds. And because of its healing majesty you get extra bonus for lungs and respiratory system.

There are huge amount of recipes how to use Elderflower in many ways. Recently, I was pleased to verify, that my Elderflower herbal soap successfully cares for some kinds of eczema skin. So I need to prepare much more of it!

I would appreciate if you share some tips or comments for Elderflower Princess.

With love, Ivana

Chocolate, chocolate..

If anything was a major theme in the last week of mine, it was definitely chocolate. We placed a bulk order for professional quality dark chocolate with group of my friends and logistical center was localized in my small flat. I must say I haven’t seen such quantity of chocolate in my whole life! Only my part was 2,5kg (over 5.5lbs), most of it in 96% Ebony black chocolate.

My original plan was using of this no-sugar chocolate for cosmetic purposes. But it tastes absolutely great! There are no additives, only high percentage of cocoa which you can perceive as a kind of dark brutality on your tongue. Bitter taste of this chocolate is not for people of weak character. You have to be stable adult to enjoy it fully. Then you feel a dark heaven in your mouth!

Anyway I haven’t forgotten the original plans.

First, I made herbal-chocolate foot cream with horsetail, sage, yarrow and oak bark. It has antibacterial and antiperspirant effects, smooth consistency and smells like chocolate. Due to high concentration of effective herbs is small amount enough which is also safer. In case of careless application it could let brown color on clothes or shoes. Nevertheless, it is absolutely amazing!

Then I made two kinds of herbal chocolate soap which I can recommend to everyone. In this activity I joined two great loves – herbs and chocolate, and I believe that among you are many with the same preferences.

Do you have your own experience with dark chocolate in cosmetic? I’d be happy to read your comments.

With love, Ivana

Wild Rose: Beauty among thorns

Looking at the wild rose bush I see the life cycle of nature – four seasons, birth and death, innocence and experience.

Starting in winter, surrounded by crunchy white snow, you see small red fruits full of vitamins and nutrients how they invite hungry birds for lunch. Also for humans are rosehips useful in winter, they help against cold and flu. And of course, they are the promise of a new beginning, surviving drops of blood in the icy age.

With spring days on the bush start to sprout green leaves and shortly after them sprout blooms in various shades of pink. From almost virginal white to deep purple they symbolize different stages in a woman’s life. Regardless of the age, the woman is always surrounded by thorns.

Have you notice, that on the bush always remain some fruits from the last year? They are shriveled like an old woman’s face and they probably transfer the old woman’s experience “how to survive among thorns” to the next generation.

In summer, the bush loses pink skirts of petals and it comes time of motherhood, time of fruits. Rain and heat help to growth, sunlight changes color from green to orange-red.

And finally now in autumn, the miracle is finished, the fruits are ready for harvest. I like to have enough for winter tea; its orange color reminds me warm summer days additionally to the healing effects.

I put part of the harvest into vodka to prepare excellent drink for our traditional Scorpions birthday party. I do it either in sweet and sour or in spicy pepper taste. Both are really delicious, highly recommended.

I have a small part of the harvest also for cosmetic purposes. I love to make and use soft facial soap with wild rose fruits’ extract. Due to huge amount of vitamins and antioxidants the soap is very kind to mature skin. It seems to me as if the soap compensates the thorns, experienced by skin in the run of life.

There are many tips how to use rosehips, what is your favorite?

I wish you successful harvest! But be sure to leave some fruits on the bush for hungry birds in winter.