Sumac

Foraging class …. new location, different plants

Wednesday, September 16; 5 to 8 p.m.

Introduction to Wildcrafting–Part II

This class features many plants that not were not available at the last foraging class.

Join Jenna Rozelle and April O’Keefe to learn about the practice and ethics of wildcrafting for food and medicine. This time we’ll walk through a property on the east side of Kittery.  Jenna will discuss the basics of foraging and identify the edible and medicinal plants that grow in the area.  We’ll learn how to ensure plant survival and habitat for future generations.

Jenna is a professional forager who provides fresh wild ingredients for several top chefs and small craft breweries on the Seacoast. April O’Keefe is a practicing herbalist and owner of AOK Herbals in Kittery.

When:
Wednesday, September 16, 2015; 5:00 to 8 p.m.

Where:
Registered participants will be contacted 2 days prior to the walk with location and directions.

Details:
Participants provide their own transportation to meeting site. Please wear sturdy footwear and protective clothing for a walk in the woods.

Register on or before Monday, September 14:
Contact April O’Keefe (April@aokherbals.com or 207.752.0939); Fee $25.
Note:  We expect this class to fill quickly, so register early.

Class size is limited to 20.

Wildcrafting is the practice of harvesting plants from their natural, or “wild” habitat, for food or medicinal purposes. It applies to uncultivated plants wherever they may be found, and is not necessarily limited to wilderness areas. Ethical considerations are often involved, such as protecting endangered species. (from Wikipedia)

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Hand-On Home Herbalist Series: Immune System Support

Last night we held our second-to-last class of our Hands-On Home Herbalist Series. Using our generously appointed home base, Acorn Kitchen in Kittery, we discussed the immune system and how to best support it.

The immune system wasn’t recognized as an important body system until rather recently. The immune system defends against disease and infection that attempt to invade the body.

Organs of the immune system include bone marrow, spleen, lymph system, adenoids, thymus, skin and liver.

Certain blood cells act indepentently to identify and eliminate “invading” pathogens.  Others “recognize” previous invaders and move quickly to fight off recurring infection.


Everyone shared remedies that they and their family members use to fight off common ailments.  All were interesting.  Here are just a few of them:

  • Fresh onions chopped and placed in a jar with sugar or honey will make a syrup after a few days, that syrup taken orally will help fights off colds.
  • Onions chopped and left on the counter are said to draw in bacteria and virus’. Do not eat the onion after its been left out. You wouldn’t want to ingest that stuff.
  • Lemon in water is a great way to start your day. It alkalizes the blood and is a great source of vitamin C.
  • A great super juice to help ward off any cold/flu invaders:
    1 red bell pepper
    1 grapefruit
    lemon and ginger
  • Cinnamon added to any tea or hot water will break a fever.

For the ‘making’ part of class we made Slippery Elm throat lozenges.

We used this recipe from Mountain Rose Herbs- a great herbal retailer who you can count on for sustainably-sourced herbs.

Some students decided to mix up the recipe by adding Ginger and Fenugreek to the Licorice decoction.  It was a really simple and straightforward process to best prepare for the seasonal change.

Here are some photos of the fun!

Until next time,

Sheridan
AOK Herbals Intern

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INTRODUCTION to WILDCRAFTING! Wow!

Last Monday, August 10, Jenna Roselle (professional Forager) and April O’Keefe (local Herbalist) hosted a workshop entitled “Introduction to Wildcrafting.”  We discovered that food and medicines grow EVERYWHERE!  We just need to know what we’re looking for.

With the landowner’s blessing, and expertise from Jenna Roselle, we explored a private 2.5 acre property and identified over 55 edible and medicinal plants.  Here are only a few of the plants we spent time with:

Black Cohosh
Comfrey
Birch (White and Black)
Lady’s Mantle
Hawthorne
Cattail
St. Johns Wort
Wild Sarsaparilla

And we learned how important plant identification is.  For example, hemlock is not medicinal, nor is it edible.  In fact, it’s a seriously dangerous poisionous plant that is very often mistaken for other, useful plants.  Hence, you must KNOW YOUR PLANTS!!!

We learned that edible and medicinal plants grow all around us on the Seacoast. And we learned that we must gather these plants in a way that ensures that plants, and their habitat, survive for generations to come.  But it’s really not that hard when we educate ourselves.

Here is a quick recap of some of the foraging basics:

  • Know your plants, know your plants, know your plants!  Yes, it’s that important.
  • Understand the landscape you’re foraging on.  Also, know which plants frequent specific ecosystems.  This makes your search a lot easier. For example, learn which plants grow around edges of water (like: Blueberries, Cattail, Beach plums etc).
  • It is also important to know what chemicals are used in areas around the land and whether there are any bodies of water nearby.  A little research can reveal the water quality in the general area.
  • Be aware of laws that apply to public use of state, federal and private land. Always always obtain the owner’s permission before foraging on private land.
  • Because some plants are more in demand than others, it is important to know which ones are being over harvested. Right now in Maine, Ramps and Chaga mushroom are very popular so it is best to take only from abundant sources, and only what you need.
  • A good rule of thumb is to harvest only 30% of non-endangered, native plants. Obviously there might be some exceptions in cases of invasive species, but most of the time it is best to give plants a chance to replenish their gifts.

In order to ensure that “at risk” plants and their habitat are not over-foraged to extinction, United Plant Savers provides guidelines for the ethical practice of foraging and wildcrafting.  It’s not so hard at all. If you plan to forage for food and medicine, please make sure you are familiar with the work of UPS.  Educate yourself about the ethical practice of wildcrafting and foraging.

The most interesting part of the evening you ask?  The people, of course.  There was a great group of like-minded folks.  We learned lots and shared experiences and knowledge with one another.

Did you miss this workshop?  No worries.  Jenna and April are planning another at a different site this Fall.  Stay tuned.  Or, better yet, “like” the AOK Herbals Facebook page to get updates about upcoming workshops.

Until next class,

Sheridan

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Let’s keep the tradition of Fire Cider alive.

The 5th Class of the Hands-On Home Herbalist series we talked about the cardiovascular system and then we kept the tradition of Fire Cider alive!

For those of you who may not know, the name Fire Cider is has become a huge controversy in the herbal community. Shire City Herbals trademarked the “Fire Cider” recipe as its own brand and is coming after those who use the traditional name.

My favorite part of herbalism is the tradition of remedies that are passed down generation to generation, herbalist to herbalist. No one person should own the Fire Cider trademark. … I encourage you to make your own Fire Cider- it’s amazing for colds, body aches, marinades, salad dressing and plenty of other medicinal and culinary uses.

Check out Rosemary Gladstar’s article. It explains how Fire Cider came to be and includes the original recipe! Have fun keeping the tradition alive.

http://freefirecider.com/rosemarys-story/

Best of luck,
Sheridan
AOK Herbals Intern

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Raspberries

Learn about foraging ….

Monday, August 10; 5:30 to 8 p.m.

Introduction to Wildcrafting

Join Jenna Rozelle and April O’Keefe to learn about the practice and ethics of wildcrafting for food and medicine. We’ll walk through the woods and discuss the basics of foraging. You’ll learn about our local plants, their value as food and medicine, and how to ensure their survival and habitat for future generations.

This promises to be an interesting evening. Jenna is a professional forager who provides fresh wild ingredients for several top chefs and small craft breweries on the Seacoast. April O’Keefe is a practicing herbalist and owner of AOK Herbals in Kittery.

When:
Monday, August 10, 2015; 5:30 to 8 p.m.

Where:
That depends on what’s ready to be harvested.

Registered participants will be contacted 2 days prior to the walk with location and directions.

Details:
Participants provide their own transportation to meeting site. Please wear sturdy footwear and protective clothing for a walk in the woods.

Register on or before Saturday, August 8:
Contact April O’Keefe (April@aokherbals.com or 207.752.0939); Fee $25.

Class size is limited to 20.

Wildcrafting is the practice of harvesting plants from their natural, or “wild” habitat, for food or medicinal purposes. It applies to uncultivated plants wherever they may be found, and is not necessarily limited to wilderness areas. Ethical considerations are often involved, such as protecting endangered species. (from Wikipedia)

Forager Jenna Darcy on NH Chronicle

Jenna Roselle Darcy gathers medicinal herbs for AOK Herbals and wild foods for several fine restaurants on the Seacoast.  NH Chronicle featured Jenna and her work on their show this past Thursday.  Nicely done Jenna!  Here’s a link to the broadcast.

Are you interested in learning more about foraging and the art and ethics of wildcrafting?  Jenna and April invite you for a walk in the woods on Monday, August 10.  Here’s what you’ll learn on our walk.  Class size is limited to 20, so sign up early.

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Herbal Workshops in Action Part 2: Salve making

Last week we covered how to safely and gently detoxify our body using methods like  Epsom salt baths and parsley tea. It was great to hear how everyone had their own personal detox methods and how they integrated them into their everyday routine.

For our Hands-On focus we used our oil infusions from last class to make Salves and Balms. Here are some photos of the results down below!

We’d like to give a big shout out to Acorn Kitchen for letting us use your GORGEOUS kitchen for these past two classes. We had a blast!

Next Monday we’ll cover the Nervous system and how to best nourish it!

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Herbal Workshops in Action

We’ve had a blast hosting the first two workshops in the Hands-On Home Herbalist Summer Series!

For the first class, we learned about the history of herbal medicine and several healing.  Then we learned how taste can give us clues about the medicinal actions of herbs.  We experienced this directly by sampling several herbal infusions (teas) with very different qualities.  Then each of us blended our own tea.

We all enjoyed seeing what kinds of teas everyone made, and how changing one herb seemed to change the entire flavor of the tea.  Here are everyone’s recipes:

Blue Skies Tea
3 parts Siberian Ginseng
2 parts Skullcap
1 part Cinnamon
     Designed by E.V.

Midnight Calm
3 parts Skullcap
2 parts Siberian Ginsing
1 part Tulsi
     Designed by Mike

Hyssop Fables
3 parts Siberian Ginseng
2 parts Hyssop
1 part Cinnamon
    Designed by Julie

Deb’s Palm Tea
3 parts Yarrow
2 parts Hyssop
1 part Peppermint
    Designed by Deb

Super Digestive Tea
3 parts Slippery Elm
2 parts Hyssop
2 parts Cinnamon
1 part Caraway
1 part Marshmallow
     Designed by Sheridan

The Second class we learned how to use herbs that support the digestive system.  The each of us began to build our own Materia Medica (information that deals with the origin, preparation, dosage, and administration of herbals).  Then the real fun began as we infused our own herbal oils.   It’s so easy!  Who knew?

Our herbal oils sit and infuse for three weeks until out next class on July 20th, where we will focus on System Detox: Urinary tract, Liver and Colon.   We will be blending our oils to make Salves, Balms and Lip Balms.

There is still time to sign up and get in on the fun!

Until next class!

-Sheridan
AOK Herbals Intern

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Hands-On Home Herbalist Summer Workshop Series.

The Hands-on Home Herbalist Series Summer 2015

This is AOK Herbals first group of beginner-level classes that make the art of herbalism accessible to those who want to use gentle, nourishing, safe, non-toxic alternatives for common health concerns.

You’ll learn about the rich history of herbalism and how you can use herbs to safely nourish the body and relieve common ailments. You’ll also learn what to include in your home apothecary and how to make remedies from ingredients that are often already in your kitchen.

Each class has two parts: First, we focus on a particular body system or population and review related supportive herbs. Then, we demonstrate a specific remedy-making technique and guide you —step-by-step—as you make your own for use at home.

All classes will be held in Kittery. Classes will be limited to 12 participants.

Class 1: Mon, Jun 22—6 to 9 p.m.

Meet our Healing Herbs

  • A brief overview of the history and art of herbalism, including the science of taste, tea blending concepts, herbal infusions and decoctions.
  • Technique: You’ll taste several prepared tea blends, then design your own tea to enjoy at home.

    Class 2: Mon, Jun 29—6 to 9 p.m.

    The Question is Digestion

  • Learn about the herbs that support digestive function and provide relief from indigestion, heartburn, flatulence, diarrhea and constipation.
  • Technique: You’ll learn to infuse herbal oils, which you’ll use in the next class as a base for making salves and ointments.

    Class 3: Mon, Jul 20—6 to 9 p.m.

    System Detox: Liver, colon and urinary tract

  • Learn how our ancestors took cues from the plants in season to help remove toxins and deeply nourish the liver, colon and urinary tract.
  • Technique: Using your infused herbal oil from the previous class, you’ll learn to make salves and ointments.

Class 4: Mon, Jul 27—6 to 9 p.m.

Nourish the Nervous System: Stress, anxiety, insomnia and mood

  • Learn about herbs that improve endurance, nourish the nerves, support relaxation and encourage a good night’s sleep.
  • Technique: Learn to make tinctures. This is a “must have” tool for your home apothecary.

    Class 5: Mon, Aug 3—6 to 9 p.m.

    Cardiovascular: Circulation

  • We’ll discuss herbs that support the heart muscle and positively influence blood pressure. Then we’ll review nutritional and lifestyle practices that keep circulation moving and the heart ticking.
  • Technique: How to make a Cardio “Tonic”

    Class 6: Mon, Aug 24—6 to 9 p.m.

    Immune System: Keep it Tuned UP!

  • Learn about herbs that gently and effectively maintain the body’s immune function. We’ll also discuss why certain herbs are so effective at preventing and fighting bacterial and viral infections.
  • Technique: Make your own Yummy Elderberry Syrup

    Class 7: Mon, Sep 14—6 to 9 p.m.

    Gentle Herbs for Precious Children

  • Learn about the effective, yet gentle, herbs suitable for infants and children and how to prepare and administer them safely. We’ll talk about a few childhood difficulties like fever, teething, diaper rash, earaches and more. And briefly, we’ll suggest plants for a child’s herb garden.
  • Technique: Make a powder for diaper and other rashes. Herb powders are also used as a base for other herbal remedies.

    Registration & Payment Options:

    Pay for each class individually, at least one week prior to each class ($35 per class).
    Or, register and pay for the entire 7-class series by June 17 and get one class free! ($210).

    To register, email April O’Keefe at April@aokherbals.com or call 207.752.0939.

    The AOK Herbals Hands-on Home Herbalist Series will continue with more topics in October. Find us and “Like” us on the AOK Herbals Facebook and follow our blog to stay informed about upcoming class dates and topics.

    Great Spirit, Mother of Everything, bless our green companions. Ever patient, they manifest on Earth the depth and breadth of your unconditional love. –aok

April O’Keefe, Herbalist
Sheridan Cudworth, Herbal Intern

Here’s Sheridan!

Friends,
My name is Sheridan Cudworth and starting in May I will be apprenticing with AOK Herbals. I am excited to begin my quest to better understand the healing powers of plants that surround us everyday. I believe strongly in the practice of wellness and am motivated to learn various methods to implement self care with gifts offered by Mother Earth and Father Sky.
I find that my experience in being a professional Make Up artist offers me a unique perspective in seeking ways to better create all natural and ethically sourced skin and body care. When I broke up with the beauty industry, I knew I was being pulled towards a call to tune into my inner healer. I couldn’t be more thrilled to have found April. Her background in education alongside her passion for energy work intersecting with her herbalist practice, and her knowledge of flower essences couldn’t be anymore exciting to me.
I am so happy to have her guide me through this journey and I welcome you to continue to check out the AOK Herbals Page as April will be announcing a really exciting (and accessible) workshop series in the near future.
Xx
Sheridan

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