Hello June! It's June even if it feels the weather isn't quite participating, I think we got a rushed start and now it's boomeranged back to cooler weather at least for now. Anyway, I hope you are taking advantage of this break and maybe planting a few friends that might not have gotten planted otherwise. I know I am.
I have a few Herbal Happenings.
In the past month, I've been working on designing and installing a few gardens for a client. Please follow the progress on the FB page. We've taken an overgrown and unimpressive few garden beds and are turning them into an edible oasis not just for the humans but we are including plenty of food and water for the pollinators and glorious insect world as well. I'm quite proud of it.
My world is full of transition. As many of you know, our son graduated from High School this week and we are in the last few months of all of us living under one room. It is a bitter sweet time full of anticipation, impatience and nostalgia. Oh be still my mama heart.
As we near Fall, I am working on revamping almost all aspects of my personal world and the professional world. Please be patient as all of it starts to form. For the time being, I have a wait list for new clients, if you send anyone my way, have them email me for more info.
Since we are stretching into the days of Summer, I will be taking a few days off here and there to attend College Orientations and other family functions. I will post on FB and send emails with updates. I will be off on a much needed trip from June 24th through June 30th and back a work on July 1st. All orders must be in by June 18th at noon in order to get them in the mail or available for pick up before my trip. Anything received after that will be on hold until July 1st.
The herb of the month for June will be Lavender. Be sure to check out the FB page for updates and posts. It's such a versatile and beautiful ally.
May Herb of the Month - Chaga
May Herb of the Month is Inonotus obliquus, or better known as Chaga. This is the first fungus that I’ve featured and it’s one of my favorites. Chaga gets it’s common name from the Indigenous people west of the Ural Mountains. Chaga grows primarily in the Northern Hemisphere on Beech trees but can also be found on Oak and Alder. No one can be sure how long people have used Chaga for healing but we do know that the most Indigenous People used it in a variety of ways. The Cree called it Poashkan or Wiskakecakomikih. Used by the Cree, the Gitksan and other native nations, Chaga was burned on the body to relieve inflammation, similarly to Moxibustion in TCM. The sweet smell it releases when burned made it an ingredient in pipe ceremonies or as an incense. As a polypore mushroom, it’s also known as a cinker and used to help start fires. There is much to share about this beautiful FUN GUY.
This mushroom has a long history worldwide as a healer but much of what we know about it’s history comes from studies from Russia and Western Siberia where it grows in their virgin forests. It’s long use in the culture of history of the people of Eastern Europe has many historians believe that Tzar Vladimir Monomakh who ruled during the 12th century used Chaga to cure his lip cancer. The Russians have documented it’s use for cancers such as Hodgkin’s Disease since the 1600’s. It’s been a trusted remedy for liver disease, stomach issues, gastritis, worms, and TB.
Chaga is prized for it’s immunomodulating abilities particularly in it’s polysaccharides and specifically in it’s beta- glucans which boost white blood cells, that regulate and maintain the immune response in the body. It’s also one of the richest sources of anti-oxidants in the natural world. Anti- oxidants fight and protect against oxidation of free radicals which lead to cell degeneration and fatigue, illness, and inflammation. Chaga’s has an abundant amount of- Superoxide dismutase (SOD), zinc and melanin all of which help you not only fight off free radicals, toxins and solar radiation but they will also help protect your hair, your eyes and your supple skin. It’s truly beauty from inside out.
Chaga does NOT look like a typical mushroom with a cap and stem, instead it’s a chunky very dense and almost black “mass” and is harvested with an axe. It resembles black charcoal on the tree and even when it’s ground. If harvesting yourself, take only what is needed. If you leave some of the body behind, you will have more to harvest in later years. In using herbs, we must make sure that we don’t strip them of the land. We owe them everything and must make sure that we honor them always. Unlike other many other mushrooms, there aren’t any toxic lookalikes so once you know what Chaga looks like, harvesting is pretty safe. I will point out that is NOT ALWAYS true with fungi and wildcrafting is a very knowledge based art. There is no such thing as too much info when hunting mushrooms.
It may be harvested any time of the year from living trees. True Chaga has a serrated edge underneath.
Chaga is a fungus meaning that it’s not a plant at all but it’s a FUN GUY that we herbalist are enamored with. on Birch trees but it does grow on others as well. It’s also found around the globe growing on trees such as Oak, Alder or Beech in the Northern Hemisphere. Any reputable company will tell you if it’s wild harvested or grown on a substrate like potato dextrose agar. If they don’t be sure to ask.
I have been playing around with loads of goodies with Chaga. I have several teas, un- coffees, a mushroom balm, chaga tincture, and a new Chaga, stevia and cinnamon tincture that you can take traditionally or add to teas or coffees. It's quite tasty. Please check out the website if you are interested or reply to this email with questions.
Herb Tip Thursdays-
Chaga’s latin name Inonotus obliquus means fiber back with pores pointing to the ground.
Betulin, a triterpene in Chaga is antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and adaptogenic.
One cup of Chaga tea has as many antioxidants as 30 LBS of carrots
Chaga is known as the respected father of the mushroom world.
A chaga double extraction helps to isolate the triterpenes and sterols, ensuring you get all of it's mojo.
With its coal-like exterior, Chaga does not seem to be a very likeable food but it actually works well with sweets and savory.
Chaga can alleviate the pain, inflammation and side effects of Chemo.
Chaga is a beauty tonic 'shroom! It revitalizes and rejuvenates hair and skin, due to it's melanin amounts
As an adaptogen, Chaga regulates our autoimmune system's functioning- adapting it's reactions- helping us be well
Wife, Mom, herbalist and friend. Feel free to change the order of the description to fit your needs, I do several times a day.