How to Forage & Process Horsetail For Medicinal Use

Giant Horsetail is common, edible, and medicinal. You’ve probably seen it scattered throughout parks and near roads without knowing it. City dwellers take note–this is a plant  you can usually forage without taking a drive to the woods! Early to mid spring is ideal for foraging horsetail and other delicious shoot vegetables.

Why Forage for Horsetail?

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Courtesy of Ashley Basil

 DELICIOUS

If you get to them early enough, young fertile shoots are a delicious wild vegetable that can be eaten raw. The flavor is juicy and similar to celery without all the stringiness. Fertile shoots are a traditional seasonal delicacy to many indigenous groups, especially on the west coast up through British Columbia.

Shoots should be eaten while young and green. Once they begin to brown, they are no longer palatable. Once leaves appear on the stalk, horsetail is no longer edible, but is great for medicine.

MEDICINAL

Horsetail is full of minerals and trace elements, filters heavy metals and toxins from the body, helps grow and strengthen hair, and increase bone density. It’s also an excellent natural remedy to strengthen and rebuild connective tissues such as the kidneys, lungs, mucus membranes, hair, skin, cartilage, and sinuses.

Horsetail is more than 35% silica, one of the highest percentages in the plant kingdom. Silica is necessary for calcium metabolism and essential for the formation and repair of bone and cartilage. Only a small portion of silica on the Earth is bioavailable to us (able to absorb in the body), however horsetail is a rich source that we can use.

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How to Harvest & Process Stinging Nettle

Nettle is one of those magical plants that gives us more than the effort we put into harvesting it. It’s no wonder that nettle has been used worldwide for centuries as a potent medicine, documented as far back as Ancient Greece. Nettle can be eaten as a nutrient-dense food, woven into cloth, applied to the skin, drunk as a tea, made into a tincture, or dried and put into capsules.

Growing season is June through September, though in some regions it can be harvested throughout the year.

Medicinal Benefits of Nettle

Nettle contains more protein than nearly all other plant species and is brimming with vitamins and nutrients.

Some useful properties include: anti-inflammatory, astringent, antiseptic, antioxidant, antimicrobial, trophorestorative to kidneys and adrenal glands,  diuretic, promotes neurotransmitters, and more.

Studies have proven that nettle can be used to relieve certain health conditions, including: arthritis, muscular and joint pain, rheumatism, urinary issues, eczema, hay fever, anemia, and more.

NUTRITION CONTENT

1. Vitamins A, B complex, C, E, K
2. Protein
3. Folic Acid
4. Histamine
5. Anti-inflammatory compounds
6. Dietary fiber
7. Neurotransmitters, including 5HTP (serotonin)
8. Iron
9. Calcium

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How to Gather & Process Dandelion Roots in the City

The act of wildcrafting (gathering roots and herbs) is wonderfully good for the soul, especially for city dwellers. Not only does it take me out for a walk, but it also gives me a mission. It makes me feel like a kid when I’d run wild for hours and pretend to be a scientist or a witch, dig up “medicines” from the Earth. It turns out we really can dig up medicines from the Earth, even in the city.

Dandelion root is a great place to start if you’re not familiar with wildcraft. Dandelion is easy to identify and grows almost everywhere.

Below are a few tips and tricks to help you harvest and process dandelion roots.

Medicinal Benefits of Dandelion Root

-Boosts the immune system
-Fights off microbes and fungi
-Rich in vitamin K, C, A, calcium, fiber, potassium
-Also has iron, B6, and magnesium
-Full of antioxidants
-Digestive aid
-Cleans out the kidneys
-Improves liver function
-Helps to regulate blood sugar
-Diuretic
-Lowers cholesterol in animal studies
-Reduces inflammation
-Increases bile production

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10 Ways to Reduce Waste in Your Home This Week

My journey towards a zero-waste home wasn’t triggered by thinking about it myself. Nope, the idea came to me after reading an article someone posted on Facebook. It hadn’t occurred to me that there are so many little things I do and use each day that can be done a little differently to reduce or eliminate my waste. It was really just a matter of re-framing the way I view consumption.

If you’re just beginning to think about waste reduction, you might feel like the extra steps are burdensome or more trouble than they’re worth. But seriously, trust me: it gets easier and becomes second nature once you have a handle on what to do. Just do your best and don’t worry if it doesn’t come together all at once.

Here are a few things to get you started:

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Ornithology Collection at the Burke Museum

In the heart of Seattle’s U-District lives the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, which celebrated its 125th anniversary this year. It began as a club of young naturalists with a passion for collecting all types of specimens; over time it became a tangible catalog of natural history, a conglomerate of objects that help us see Earth and its creatures over a timeline much longer than our own.  Today the Burke is a hub of research and public education.

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Before my visit I didn’t realize just how important museums are for preserving natural history and contributing to scientific discovery. What we see in the displays as we browse the aisles is only a tiny percentage of what the museum actually holds. The Burke has one of the largest tissue sample collections in the world, specifically avian tissue samples. With so many specimens at hand, scientists are able to understand how the tissue of, say,  a  modern Pileated Woodpecker differs from that of a 100 year old woodpecker, and so on. Beyond public education, museums are vital in preserving history so that we might study it and understand how our world and the creatures on it change over time.

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