Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Treatment Tuesday: Getting treatments

This week I have to share that I have begun to receive regular acupuncture treatments again (from Dave), and what a great reminder for how great acupuncture feels and its incredible benefits!

As many of you already know, the feeling of receiving acupuncture is so amazing. I can feel my energy flowing, and just get such a sense of balance of peace. Time is transcended, and at the end of the treatment I am so grounded and more present. I just love it!

I also want to share that I have really noticed the toll the computer takes from me. Recently I read an interesting article. I wish I remembered exactly where so I could share with you the link. It asked the reader to identify the one thing that if we got rid of from our life, our life would be closer to our ideal. It could be a habit, a thing, whatever. I thought I couldn't think of anything, but really I just didn't want to admit that for me, right now, it's the computer.

However, I do use it productively for business, so I'm not chucking it out the window altogether! I will log on around once a week to read and respond to emails, update blogs (this one and my raw foods blog), work on newsletters (I owe you all one!), and other handouts and articles for the office.

So I will be updating, but if you do want to get in touch, we are still in the office every day, so please give us a call! We love to hear from you. If you email I will of course get back to you, but it may not be as fast as I usually do. But we really value your questions and input, so please keep them coming!

Thanks so much!
~ Melissa

Friday, July 11, 2008

Foraging Friday: Plantain leaves - Plantago

Plantain (Plantago) is one of the most common edible and medicinal weeds around. It is definitely in your yard (unless it has been chemically treated to kill weeds.) It's along roadsides, growing through the cement, and anywhere you find grass. There are two common kinds around here: Plantago major, with broad round leaves and a long green flower stalk (flowering now), and Plantago minor, with thinner leaves and a long stalk which has a smaller top, encircled by little white flowers (like a UFO).

Plantago Major:

Plantago minor:

Pictures aren't totally clear...you may do better with an internet image search, or Wikipedia. The blue flower in the background is not plantain...it's a bachelor button that found it's way into the picture. (Also edible.)

The leaves are edible and can be used in salads, though now that the plant is flowering the strings in the leaves get tougher and they are less tender and enjoyable for salads. I marinated this bunch that I picked the other day:

...and put them in the dehydrator for delicious chips. (Marinade = olive oil, lemon juice, tamari, garlic and chili powder.) I have also been adding them to smoothies. Notice the parallel veins of the leaves - that is one way to identify them.

Medicinally they can be chewed up and then placed on bee stings to take the pain away. You can also steep the leaves in olive oil for 2-6 weeks. The oil is very soothing to the skin and relieves itches; great to put on insect bites. In Chinese medicine the seeds are used to treat urinary and bladder infections, and also for constipation.

The book Edible Wild Plants by Elias and Dykeman states that there are no poisonous look-alikes. Still, it is best to have someone show you the plant before you begin to use it if you are unsure about identification. Plants are powerful medicine! Please visit our services page if you'd like me to come and show you and your family and friends what is growing near you.

(By the way, this is different from and unrelated to the plantain that is like a banana. That genus is Musa, while the genus of the green I am talking about is Plantago.)

Friday, July 4, 2008

Foraging Friday: Super Greens!

Here is a mix of greens, weeds, and edible flowers that I have been making green smoothies with every morning and evening! For people who read both my journals, I won't repeat myself here, but if you want to know more about what is in the mix of greens and wild edibles, or know more about the green smoothie challenge, please visit Melissa's Raw Food and Juice Journal.

At the moment, I am eating lots of wild greens: lamb's quarters, shepard's purse, red clover (greens and blossoms), and lady's thumb...which has sparked a bit of interest around here when I noticed it is the same genus as He Shou Wu (or Fo Ti), which I am also taking as a Chinese Herb. Hmmmm, and here it is growing wild all over my garden (not he shou wu, but it's relative, lady's thumb.) So I am looking more into that and how it is and isn't similar. From the picture in my Chinese Herb book, he shou wu looks more similar to another relative that grows like a weed (it is a weed!) around Pittsburgh: Japanese Knotweed. So I will study further and report back. I'll also take pictures.

He Shou Wu (Fo Ti) is Polygonum multiflori, and has lots of those anti-aging properties I talked about in an earlier blog post, and I am taking it specifically for those properties of helping kidney energy: reproductive system, teeth, and early graying of the hair. (The name translates as "Mr. Wu's black hair".)

Lady's thumb is Polygonum persicaria and that has been going into my smoothie.

Japanese Knotweed is Polygonum cuspidatum, I have not eaten this yet, but we see it all along the roadside and riverside around here.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Meditation Monday...Wednesday edition

The days are all mixed up, but I saw this video on the effects of meditation on health on the blog We Like It Raw and I had to post it here. It's only 3 1/2 minutes, and it's really great. It is from a cardiologist, Dr. Alejandro Junger...his bio is reprinted on We Like it Raw, if you want to check it out. Enjoy the video: