Blog by Melissa and David Sokulski, L.Acs.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Is Dandelion Wine Medicinal?

Historically, turning medicinal herbs into tasty wines was a common way to preserve the medicinal qualities of the herb year round. Making tinctures (soaking an herb in an alcohol such as vodka to extract the medicinal qualities) is much more common today, and a convenient way to market and sell herbal medicines. Herbal wines are similar, except that instead of simply soaking the herbs in alcohol, you make the alcohol yourself, using the herb (along with water, sugar and yeast.)



This year in May we made dandelion wine. We gathered a gallon of dandelion flowers,



Infused them into a strong tea, added sugar and boiled the tea with oranges, lemons, raisins and cloves.



We added yeast and fermented for weeks, bottled and left them to ferment for weeks more, until finally corking. The whole process and recipe can be found here.

We left the wine to sit until solstice, then we tried it. It is delicious: sweet, spicy with a kick. To keep the wine medicinal, the trick is not to drink the whole bottle at once! A common dose which cleanses the liver is a tablespoon to a small wineglass.

Some Europeans believed fairies were involved in the process of wine making: turning bitter medicine like dandelions into sweet wine. There is something magical about it! Herbal wines can be made from all sorts of herbs: roots and bark are decocted (boiled) into strong teas while flowers and leaves are usually infused (steeped in boiled water.)

It's a nice way to remember the freshness of spring during the darkest time of year.

Happy holidays and happy new year!!

In our sister blog Food Under Foot, you can read:



In health,

David and Melissa Sokulski, L.Acs.

The Birch Center for Acupuncture
(412) 381-0116

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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Read Our Past Newsletters

I'm behind on the newsletter again!

In the meantime, here are some links to some of our recent ones in case you missed them.

November, 2011

Summer, 2011

Spring, 2011

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Thanks so much!

David and Melissa Sokulski, L.Acs.

The Birch Center for Acupuncture
(412) 381-0116

Please sign up for our monthly newsletter! We have raw recipes, information about Acupuncture and Chinese medicine, and overall wellness information. Sign up today and receive your free gift: 10 Ways to Improve Your Health Right Now. We'd love to stay in touch. Thank you!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Play it Forward Pittsburgh, Giving this Holiday

Many of you may have noticed that I renamed this blog to "Eat Play Live."

Today I want to focus on the "Play" section...because it's the holidays!

Did you groan and roll your eyes when you read that, or did you get all excited, clapping your hands together in glee? Because if you didn't do the latter, maybe it's time to rethink your idea of "holidays."

This time of year many of us celebrate: whether it's Christmas, Chanukah, the solstice, Kwanzaa, there is something to celebrate! Decoration and lights surround us. But so does the message: "buy buy buy!" and that is definitely enough to bring us down during the holidays. The expectations. The buying of things.

Many of us feel like we have enough. The toy bin is overflowing...we don't need more toys (and yet there is a little birdie in your ear chirping incessantly about American Girl Dolls...or wait, that's my ear.)

One wonderful thing to do this time of year is to share our abundance with others less fortunate. Giving, truly sharing from the heart is enough to put a smile on almost anyone's face.

Recently I learned about what is now my new favorite best place to donate gently used toys: Play it Forward Pittsburgh. Started by local women this is an amazing idea which has grown with overwhelming support. The idea is to drop off your gently used toys (drop off locations all around town and beyond, to the North, East, South and West, too...but best of all for us there is a location right on East Carson Street, one block from The Birch Center, at Mullen's on Carson. And if you don't want to make the trip, bring your toys to the Birch Center when you have your appointment and we will drop them off for you at Mullen's at the end of the day.)

Here's the info, from a note on their facebook page:

Play it Forward will take your used toys and offer them to families in need. Simply drop off your toys to a local mom (see drop off helpers Note) before Thursday, December 15.

Then, on Saturday, December 17th from 9am - 3pm, families in need of toys for their children can come and "shop for free" at the Propel Braddock Hills High School Cafeteria at 1500 Yost Blvd. Each family is invited to take up to 5 toys per child for FREE. We anticipate collecting toys for all ages, infants to teens.

But wait, there is something in it for those who donate! From 3pm - 5 pm that same Saturday, we would like to invite families that have donated to come and shop for toys for their children for a small donation. All proceeds will be given to a local family charity.



Isn't that great? They've even added a second location: Freedom Fellowship Church in Carnegie. If you are on facebook you can check them out and find your closest drop-off, but remember, if you get your toys to us we will get them to Mullens Bar for you.

That's enough to put a smile on my face, knowing how many kids will have smiles on their faces this holiday season due to the incredible generosity of the people in Pittsburgh!

In health,

David and Melissa Sokulski, L.Acs.

The Birch Center for Acupuncture
(412) 381-0116

Please sign up for our monthly newsletter! We have raw recipes, information about Acupuncture and Chinese medicine, and overall wellness information. Sign up today and receive your free gift: 10 Ways to Improve Your Health Right Now. We'd love to stay in touch. Thank you!