ADVENT I HAGEN - OG ET GRØNT JULEGAVETIPS by Marianne Vigtel Hølland

Vesle villfugl, syng
bakom snøkvitt bar.

Hans Børli

 Foto: Nina Dreyer Hensley

Foto: Nina Dreyer Hensley

Vi hadde snakket om å møtes,  gjøre noe hyggelig sammen. Noe som ikke var "må gjøre" men bare kos. I sin inspirerende bok "Norwegian Woods" har Ingvild Flesland viet et helt kapittel til hvordan man kan glede seg over hagen og pynte vakkert til jul i adventstiden. De uendelig vakre fotografiene i boken er tatt av Nina Dreyer Hensley.  Som en slags forlengelse av adventskapittelet i boka bestemte vi oss derfor for å "pynte" til jul hagen til Ingvild med ville fugler fra skogene omkring.

MATGAVER TIL VILLFUGLENE (OG LITT TIL HØNENE)

Vi kan jo ikke akkurat kommandere ville fugler til å sitte pent i trærne og være til pynt, men med rause gaver lar de seg enkelt overtale.

SLIK GJORDE VI:

På forhånd hadde vi plukket kongler som hadde fått ligge inne å tørke slik at de hadde åpnet seg. Det er lurt å finne litt store kongler så de rommer mere mat. I tillegg trenger du kokosfett (delfiafett), fuglemat (villfuglmix brukte vi) ståltråd, og tråd eller bånd til å henge opp fuglematen med. Vi brukte kaffefilter til å lage kremmerhus av, det går helt sikkert også fint å bruke avispapir eller noe annet du har liggende.

Før vi begynte med maten festet vi tynn ståltråd rundt toppen av konglene slik at vi hadde noe å henge de opp med. Vi laget også kremmerhus av kaffefiltre som vi hadde klippet i to. Kremmerhusene satte vi i glass for å holde de stående mens vi fylte de opp. Kokosfettet smeltes på lav varme i en gryte og blandes med fuglefrø til en tykk grøt. Deretter er det bare å begynne å dytte det inn under konglskjellene. Du må bruke fingrene og det blir litt grisete så det er lurt å ha en avis under mens du holder på. Fettet stivner ganske raskt. Vi hadde forskjellige frø, men til konglene er det lurt å bruke småfrø, de fester lett på konglene og det er lettere å dytte de godt inn.

Kremmerhusene ble fylt med "villfuglgrøt".  Vi hadde klippet til sløyfer av gamle filler som vi la i kremmerhusene før vi fylte de. Slik dannet de kjernen i fuglemateren og blir fine å henge opp i trærne. Du kan selvsagt bruke vanlig hyssing, eller garn du har liggende i stedet.  Pass på å dytte grøten godt rundt hele, slik at båndet havner mest mulig i midten av materen. Da faller den ikke ned når fuglene begynner å spise av den.

Det er selvsagt uttallige måter å gjøre dette på, og det kan være morsomt å eksperimentere med forskjellige former og figurer om man vil. Bare husk og få tråden godt igjennom slik at du får hengt maten opp i trærne.

Vi satte formene våre ut i kulden for at fettet skulle stivne fortere, og jammen kom ikke fuglene umiddelbart. Det er tydelig at de satte pris på vår lille førjulsgave. Det gjorde forresten også hønene til Ingvild som fotfulgte oss gjennom seansen og mer enn gjerne prøvesmakte.

GI BORT EN JULEGAVE SOM GLEDER HELE ÅRET

I den herlige livsstilsboken "Norwegian Wood - Grønt liv med stil"  finner du oppskrifter, inspirasjon og tips til andre ting du kan gjøre, ute og inne gjennom året. Du kjøper den på nettsidene til Ingvild.  Det er en julegave jeg varmt kan anbefale for alle som søker inspirasjon til en grønnere livsstil i harmoni med naturen.
 

Teksten er skrevet og publisert for Slow Design Studio og gjengitt her med tillatelse.

Alle foto er tatt av Nina Dreyer Hensley

Spicy,sweet,succulent Marshmallows by Ingvild Flesland

A Marshmallow will make any hot drinks into something very special..be it when you drink your coffee,hot chocolate or tea,it will sweeten your life,and the foam will feel luxurious and satisfying.In addition,it contains gelatin,..sure to support your digestion as you drink,give your muscles and tendon strength and flexibility, and tone your skin.And of course you can make it with the healthiest sugars, that feed your liver and thereby smooth your life. (do you really belive that sweet is bad for you?) This is how you make your own super-tasty Marshmallows.

-2 1/2 tablespoons gelatine granulates

-1 dl cold water

2 1/2 dl maple sirup

-2 1/2 dl coconut-flower-suger

-1 dl water

-a pinch of cayenne pepper,

-a pinch of cinnamon

-one teaspoon of pure vanilla-powder or 2,5 tablespoons vanilla suger

-one teaspoon honey

This is how to;

Whisk the gelatin granules with one dl water,til it is has dissolved into light and foam-like substance(one minute or so)

Pour the sugar,sirup and the remaining one dl of water into a pot, and let it boil for 5 min.

Add the hot sugar-sirup to the gelatin and the spices. Whisk til it becomes light in color and thick,approximately 10 min.At the end of the whisking, add a teaspoon of honey.

Pour it into a flat container,greased with coconut oil or with flour melis.

Let it sit for some hours til stiff,then take it out of the form,and cut into little squares with a scissor. Dust with melis if wanted,and store in a container.

 

 

Nypedram er godt! A shot from your (Rose-)hips! by Ingvild Flesland

My husband bought me a book from flee-marked, some time ago,about how to make your own snaps/dram. It is a Norwegian book written by Oskar Steingrimson. And it appealed a lot to me,since all the herbs used in the book as basis for the snaps,are great medicinal herbs. It is basically the same way that you would make a herbal tinctures,a mother tincture,and then diluted with some more of the strong alcohol and maybe some water to take down the alcohol per cent. Or till you think it tastes just right for you.

I had forgotten about the book,till this fall,when I for reasons I now don't remember, happened to have a lot more rose-hips than I could use,and ended up pouring some vodka over the rest in a jam-glass.like making a rose-hip tincture. I kept tasting the tincture,to see how it developed,and found it tasted really good! And then one day I had bought some Norwegian,strong tasting fermented fish for dinner...that kind of fish that really need a shot of snaps to go with it. As we did not have any aquavit ,I thought we could try my rose hip tincture. I put it in the freezer a little ahead to make sure the snaps would be ice cold. From my point of view,it tasted wonderful with the fish. We had been drinking it undiluted,like a herbal tincture.

Now I remembered the book and started reading it with renewed interest. In the book the tinctures are all diluted with some more alcohol,the stronger and more bitter herbs more than the mild and sweeter tasting herbs.

But this is how it goes in the book;

You fill a jar with with ripe rose-hips that are cleaned ( take off the flower rest and stems)and lightly dried.(I had harvested them a few days before I poured the alcohol over them..maybe that is lightly dried?)Pour over the 45% alcohol(I used 40%,because that was what I had) Close tight with a lid.

Let stand for around 30 days.(I used it already after a week...but longer is probably even better!)

Then you strain the alcohol off the berries, and then for one part mother tincture you mix in 4-5 times alcohol. If you have used 45% alcohol,you can now mix in a little cold ,boiled water,so that the drink has about 38% alcohol.You now have the ready snaps!




Chickweed, vassarve/fuglegress...a nourishing and strengthening food by Ingvild Flesland

We have all seen her,in the garden,in the wild ,in the city...she grows everywhere. She is the tiny star-lady,and she has the ability to make the borders between heaven and earth permeable so we easier can travel between states of consciousness, the cell membranes thin so that nutrients are absorbed and utilized to the maximum,and she is a nourisher to the glandular and lymphatic system. She also melts away ovarian cysts and testicle problems like nothing was ever there...

She can do many other fab things,but we will concentrate on the fact that she is a great food source and makes a great salad and pesto ingredient, together with basil ,or any other aromatic herb you want to use for your pesto.

Chickweed grows in the cool and moist,and preferable rich soil. She grows behind pots in the garden,on the north side of the vegetables/flower-beds.She grows on riverbanks,and near the water.

You harvest her with some scissors,and she will grow back thicker and stronger. Just like with the nettle,I keep patches in my garden where she is allowed to grow strong and plentiful.

There is no need to clean her,just put her right into your food.

Chickweed pesto

1 cup fresh chickweed

1 cup fresh basil

2 cloves garlic

1/2 cup olive oil

100g hard cheese,like Parmesan/goat or sheep cheese

a squeeze of lemon ,some salt and pepper,if wanted.

Make it in a big,stone mortar or use the kitchen machine or a blender, and mix it all together.

Resources; extract from “Healing Wise” by Susun Weed

Rosehips,keeping us warm through the cold season/Nypelig og varm med nypesuppe by Ingvild Flesland

Last fall I rediscovered the Rose-hips as a food source,and went totally crazy with it. I kept collecting them  as long as I could,before the frost got them. And I promised myself that next fall I would start early harvesting these gems,and dry them or freeze them for the winter.

The other beauty of Rose-hips is that they grow in such abundance all along our area, and both the wild ones and the cultivated once makes wonderful soups and gels.

Rose-hips are known to have a high content of Vitamin C . But they have other qualities that may not be as well known. They are also very rich in flavonoids,that are powerful antioxidants,and considered very important in that they protect the body from oxidation and inflammation.Oxidation and inflammation are stresses on our bodies, and as we know, stress causes aging.

From the red color(fire/warmth/inspiration) of the rose-hips,it would be considered strengthening to the heart,from a Chinese medicine perspective. And put in western medicine language, the flavonoids have indeed been shown to promote a healthy heart and cardiovascular system,by reducing inflammation and preventing plaque buildup in the arteries. So rose-hips assist in keeping the blood running more smoothly and strongly,which is good for the circulation and helps us keep warm.

The other very important ingredient in this soup,is gelatin. Gelatin has lately become the Rolls-Roy's of protein powders,because of its many very healing properties. And in short,also here because of its anti inflammatory amino acids,and because of its ability to heal our digestive system,and of course for its ability to build muscles and supportive tissues in the body. In this combination,it also have the function that it makes the soup into a full meal,by balancing the carbohydrates .I will talk more about gelatin in a separate post.

   Rose-hip soup the easy way!/Nypelig nypesuppe!

7 dl fresh rose-hips,cleaned and flower-tips removed

1,5l water

1,3 dl organic sugar

2-3 tbs powdered gelatin or 4-5 plates of gelatin.

lemon juice

a dash of coconut oil i.e. cocosa, for our fat-burning and maybe some cayenne-pepper for some extra spiciness!

Pour the rose-hips into the water in a casserole and cook for 20 min. Liquify with a stavmixer or a blender. Strain the soup through a fine mashed sieve(I stir around with a spoon to quickly separate the juice from the seeds) and discard of the seeds.                                                       Pour the smooth rose-hip soup back into the casserole,add sugar and a squeeze of lemon,if desired,and heat up again. Mix the gelatin-powder with some lukewarm water or if you use the plates,let them lay in cild water till soft ,and then mix it into the soup. Cook it up while stirring to mix the gelatin in.

Serve warm with some whipped cream, and enjoy!

Ps,when the soup becomes cold,it will set like a gel. But you only have to heat it again,and there you have your soup once more!


Hops, a natural food-preservative, and a great flavor in drinks by Ingvild Flesland

Apart from being a wonderful and decorative climbing plant in the garden,and a great and playful partner in a flower arrangement,  Hops have a rich cultural history as it has been used largely as a flavor and a preservative in beers ,as it is one of the best natural preservatives we have.

It grows willingly in most soils,and is a master climber and a master grower. It grows up from the roots each year,up to seven m long. There is female plants and male plants,and it is the female plant that produces the plump coins that we know as hops and that is used for food-flavoring,preservative and as a herb. The young shoots of hops can also be used as food,lightly steamed like asparagus or fried in a pan.

As a herb,it is used for its slightly sedative effect,and is mostly known and used as a sleep inducer. Drink it as a tea or by filling a small pillow with the hops-coins and put it by your pillow at night. It also stimulates the appetite and digestion,either as a cup of tea before a meal,or maybe with a few hops steeped in you glass of wine,before a meal....when you feel up for something special!

A caution must be made..it contains estrogen-like agents and is supposed to have a tendency to depress the male sexual urge, but to do the opposite for a woman, so you may want to consider these effects before you go crazy with the hops lemonade!

Hops lemonade

15g of fresh hops 7g of dried hops

a small piece of bruised ginger root

1 bunch of fresh mint

1 thinly sliced lemon

100g organic brown sugar

Fill a large pan with 2 liters of water and add the hops,ginger,lemon and mint and bring to a boil.

Simmer fast for 30 min and till liquid I reduced by the half. Strain and stir in the sugar and continue to boil for a couple of minutes. Pour into a glass bottle and let it cool down.

Serve ice cold.

St Johns Wort/Johannesurt/Hypericum..liquid sunshine! by Ingvild Flesland

St JohansWort has for ages been used and regarded as a special and magic herb,because of its healing properties. And is also today used widely for its uplifting qualities,as it is a dependable reliever of blues, for sleeplessness, digestive problems, colic, liver problems, kidney and bladder discomforts,and for it's skin healing qualities.

For light depressions,feelings of sadness,difficult times,stressed times,this herb is a very safe and good ally. And in Germany,it is used more than all the other antideressiva together,and they can show many scientific studies that this herb is as effective as Prozac (Fontex in Norway) and other similar medications,and have none of the negative effects . For stronger depressions,though,it is advised to get professional help.

The beauty of using this herb compared to pharmaceutical medicines,is that through its constituents and many active ingredients plus the synergy effect of them together,it support and build us,instead of only suppressing symptoms.

The plant also strengthen our immune system,have natural antibiotics in it and kills bacteria.

Used externally, as an oil or salve, it is used to heal wounds, burns ,eczemas that respond well to sun treatment.

Also as a muscle relaxant,and pains in joints...

All together,this is a herb to have in your home pharmacy.

To make a oil of the St Johns Wort;

Pick the fresh flowers and buds on a dry and sunny day,chop them up and put in a clean glass jar with a lid. Pour over a good oil,like olive,almond or coconut oil(needs to be warm enough to keep in a fluid form). Put the lid on and leave in a warm place,like a sun drenched window sill,for 6 weeks,and shake it once in a while.

Then drain the oil out of the flowers, and it now should have a deep red color. Add some drops of vit.E oil to keep it from going rancid.

To make tincture of St Johns Wort;

Internally used,then preferably as a bright ,red tincture, (not as capsules as they are said to be creating sun sensitivity)..liquid sunshine,as Susan Weed calls it,it can be taken,one dropper full,1-3 times a day,for months or years if needed.

Do as above,but instead of oil,you pour over 60% alcohol. Put the lid on ,label it with name and date , and leave for two weeks ,again in a warm place. Drain the herbs out of the alcohol,and store on a clean glass/bottle.

Use directly on the skin for wound healing,eczema, and as a sun screen.

As a tea;

Take 2 tea-spoons of dried flowers in a cup of hot water and steep for 10 min. Drink one to three cups a day..will keep the doctor away!!







Meadowsweet and bitter in a perfect combination! by Ingvild Flesland

Meadowsweet/ mjødurt

Meadowsweet is a fragrant,sweet smelling herb, scenting the air with its delicious, sweet smell, in the month of July, in the whole of Norway,even high up in the mountains. I have always liked the way it grows so abundantly and tall with a cloud of cream colored ,tiny flowers ,waving in the wind. It is sweet, strong and wild looking at the same time. I like that!

If you taste the flowers,you will be surprised how much like almond it tastes...just like slightly bitter almonds.

It has been used to flavor beer,wine and other alcoholic beverages,throughout the ages. But I think as a sweet juice drink it is delicious,with the perfect combination of sweet and bitter.

As it also is a very much used herb,and very easy to use,I will write more on that in a own post.

Meadowsweet juice/Mjødurt saft;

50 flower heads of meadow sweet(mjødurt)

2 organic lemons,cut in slices

50 g citric acid(sitron syre)

2 l boiling water

Put the flowers in a big glasscontainer together with the lemon slices.

Boil the water with the sugar and citric acid, and pour over the flowers and lemons.

Let it rest some where cool for 2-5 days.

Strain and put on clean bottles.

Mix with water,mineral water or wite wine.

 

One step simpler version..also a simple sweetened juise of meadow sweet, to mix with water ,mineral water or wine;

25 flowerheads of meadow sweet

½ kg sugar

1 organic lemon or lime

1 liter water

Put the flowers ,sugar and lemon in a sauce-pan or a big glass container that can take boiling water,and pour over the boiling water. Leave to step for 3-5 days before you strain it and pour it on clean bottles.




Rose oil...love,love,love by Ingvild Flesland

The rose as a fragrance, that is carried through it's essential oil,has a particular affinity to the heart. It has a deep psychological effect on all the matters of the heart,and is comforting in times of sorrow,helps to ease psychological pain, and open the doors to love ,friendship and empathy.

Rose works on all levels,beginning with balancing our physical body, and then penetrating our innermost being.

Rose oil is a tonic, and reduces infection and relieves cramps. And therefor very good in treating things caused by too strong contracting energies i.e. migraine headaches,in particular together with balm oil/ Melissa.

It is also particularly good to balance the females hormone system, as it strengthen the uterus,regulates menstruation,and relieves menstrual cramps.

Rose oil is said to be an aphrodisiac,and stimulating sensuality.

And in times of child bearing and birth ,rose oil is said to relieve mood swing and to support during difficult times and birth.

Any transitions is made easier with the help of the rose.

 

Now , many of these more medical effects may require that you use a pure essential oil of rose, which is much stronger and concentrated , and with the help of some one that knows the art of aroma therapy. But I think the more subtle effects of the rose oil will carry through and give some of the same comfort ,through infusing oil with rose petals from your own roses in your garden. And maybe even more so because of the love and attention that you have given your roses,and the pleasure of creating your own home made oil, and bringing the summer with you into the winter months.

 

An other aspect of this is that you have complete control over what goes ON your body and thereby IN your body. Within minutes the creams that you put on your body ,is in your blood stream,and feeding all your cells and internal organs. Today ,Norwegians are on the top of the world (not hurrah) having the highest amount of weird and toxic substances, in our bodies. Since I don't think the food and water we eat and drink in Norway is any worse than the rest of the world, it is obvious that it has to do with the amount of creams and body-care products we put on our body today. And since everybody can afford to "treat" our selves with lots of “nice” body care, our body is full of parabens,and other strange,unnatural agents that is put into all the “nice” body care products. Today we do not know the whole story of what all these really do to us, but one thing is sure, I don't think it is going to be very" nice"!

This is how I do it;

Since I use coconut oil,which is solid in low temperatures ,I warm it up till it is liquid ,in a water-bath. A good quality olive oil or almond oil can also be used.

Pick the roses on a dry and warm day,and when all water have evaporated from the roses. This is important,since water on the herb or in the glass, could make it grow moldy.

Put the rose petals into a clean ,sterile glass with a lid.

Slowly pour over the oil, while once in a while,poking with chopstick or a knife,to get all air out of the oil-rose mixture.Completely cover the rose petals,and fill the jar to the rim with the oil,so that there is no room for any air.

You may have to top up the jar with some more oil and rose petals next day,since the plant material will soak up some of the oil.

Put the lid on, label it with content and date,and let it sit for two weeks. Now you can strain the oil from the plant material,and put on a clean jar.


Ready to use, massages,baby massage,body care...so clean you can even use it for cooking!


Rose marmalade by Ingvild Flesland

Rose marmalade

Where as for most people ,the smell of roses are one that most people like,while the taste may not be for everyone. But I think it may be an acquired taste,since in India and in the middle east it is used a lot in cakes and desserts. I love the taste, and tries to savor as much of it as I can.

The marmalade is quite easy to make, but it requires an hour while it is cooking to stir it so that the color stays red and doesn't turn brown.

This is a recipe by Annemarta Borgen

You need 50 scented red or pink roses,in full blossom

Take 1 kg organic raw sugar and mix it with 1 liter water. Boil up and let it boil til it start to thicken.Add the rose petals, the juice of one lemon, and let it boil for approximately one hour on very low heat,while stirring very often.Pour into clean and sterile glasses and let cool down before you put the lid on.

Home made Ricotta cheese by Ingvild Flesland

Home made ricotta cheese

Easy to make,and as clean an health as you can get it ,if you make it from organic milk. I make it from the fresh organic milk I buy directly from the farmer close by,but you can just as well use any store bought organic milk,preferably from whole milk,like Røros milk, since the fatty acids is just as important in our diet , as the proteins.

Ricotta cheese is a fresh cheese that need to be used relatively fast, fresh cheese as it is. But it wil keep in the fridge for three days. Wonderful in fruits desserts, as filling in cakes,cam be baked as topping on salty dishes in the owen and traditionally used a lot in pasta dishes in Italy.

I love to make cheese cake from it ,or eat it very fresh with fruit and honey,or with any herb or blossom sirups,ie birch sirup,witch adds a wonderful flavor to it.

To make ricotta cheese :

2 liters of fresh whole milk

0,5 dl cream

3 tablespoons of fresh lemmon juice

½ teaspoon salt

Warm the milk and cream up to a rolling boil,on medium heat while stirring to prevent burning.

Then add the lemon juice,and let it simmer for one min and then add the salt. Keep simmering for an other min,while stirring carefully. The milk will now curdle, and you can line a colander with a cheese cloth or a thin ,fine mesh cotton cloth.

Pour the mixture into the colander, and let it drain for an hour.

Gather the cheese cloth by its corners,and twist together to force out any remaining liquid. When the liquid coming out turns form clear to milky it has drained enough.

Remove the ricotta from the cloth,and store in a air tight container in the refrigerator.

mmmmm, enjoy!

 

 

Horsetail/Kjerringrokk-lifting me high! by Ingvild Flesland

I have for the last couple of weeks once more been getting my eyes open for the herb called horsetail ,kjerringrokk in norwegian or Equisetum avensa, maybe because it is now growing in an even bigger abundance in my garden. I have used it on and off as it it used commonly in problems with the urinary system,like  cystitis, kidney infections, removal of kidney and gall bladder stones and prostate problems. I have also used it as herbal combination for improving the skin,hair , teeth and nails.  And as horsetail is a very potent herb in both acute and chronic cases and can be applied with success in very many common aliments . But I will here concentrate on the nourishment aspect of this herb which is why I now consider it to be one of the most important herbs to include in my daily routine.  

 I had not really investigated it nor used it right from the garden, before this year. The reason why I have this year, apart from the fact that it now is invading my little wood,(one often say that the herbs you need, grow right outside your door...seems to be right!!) is that I have found out  that horsetail is full of silica.  And as I have learned about the importance of this very abundant mineral on this earth, and that even though it is so much of this mineral here, we tend to be deficient of silica  in our body. 

Silica in our body, is extremely important for the health of our bones, skeletal system and connective tissues.  It helps to fix the calcium so that the body can store more of this mineral to repair and build bone , collagen and connective tissue. It can therefor be of great value in relation to ie osteoporosis by building greater bone density and flexible bones, in contrary to brittle and porous bones,which is a great problem in Norway,these days. Curiously so, since we eat a calcium  dominated diet.

In Chinese medicine, there is the concept of Jing, witch refers to the substance that we inherit partly from our parents,and partly build up ,or break down, through our lifestyle and the food we eat (and unfortenately, we seem to break it down much faster than we build it up..). It is a substance that diminishes strongly  as we age ,and when it is used up we die. Jing is very important for our bone health,the function of the brain and thereby our memory and nerve impulses ,as well as for our connective tissues (that hold everything in place in our body ) skin ,hair and nails. And it seems silica are one of the main ingredients for a strong supply of Jing in our body.

Horsetail is the living substance we know of with the highest content of silica, a mineral that we do not get in abundance from the other foods we eat. It belongs to the oldest living plant family on the earth, and it seems it feeds some of this very fundamental structures in us, as bones,connective tissues and the brain.

 And when we take horsetail on a regular basis,the silica in it gives us more energy and a feeling of lightness. And more flexibility both in a physical sense,as on a emotional level.

There are several ways to take horsetail, and you can find several supplements in the health food store that you can take as capsules or tablets. Or  you can buy the dried herb, or collect your own horsetail that you dry , and then make  it into a tea or a powder. Tincture of this herb can also be of good use. 

If you are going to collect your own horsetail,be sure to collect the right one. It can be mistaken for others of the same family that are not recommended to use, like the Equisetum palustre el Myrsnelle in Norwegian or Equisetum pratense ,in Norwegian; Engsnelle. The horsetail or kjerringrokk, is quite easy to destinguish from the other ones, as it it's leaves are directed more upwards,the equisetum pratense/engsnelle,the leaves are flopping downwards,and the equisetum palustre is much narrower ,not at at all as wide and bushy. But to be sure,look it up before you go out to harvest.

This is how you can make a tea of horse tail; take 2 teaspoons of the dried herb into one cup of water and boil up and then let it sit for 15-20 min. Drink one cup 3 times a day.

Or you can grind up horsetail till it is a fine powder,in a mortar or a coffe grinder, and take 2 tbs into a cup of boiling water,and let it steep 10-20 min and sip it through-out the day. The taste of horsetail is not bad,but it may be even better to drink if you mix it with some other herbs,i.e. peppermint and some lemon. I have often mixed some pine-needle sirup with it , which makes it a very fresh and energizing drink. Keeping it in the fridge is important so that it doesn't start fermenting ,and I think drinking it cool makes it a very refreshing.

Do not eat this plant in a raw form, as it contain enzymes that will block the absorption of vit. B.. By heat-treating or drying this herb this enzyme will be deactivated, and no longer be a problem.

 

løvetann limonade by Ingvild Flesland

Oh I love dandelion lemonade! And now is the perfect time to make it. The dandelion flower is still flowering,and it is a good way to prevent the spreading of the dandelion even more,by picking the little sun soaked flowers in the garden,as they appear. But as important, this taste really good on a hot summer day.

Dandelions flowers will ease your stressed liver and solar plexus,and make you frown less(you know those wrinkles between the eye brows..from too much concentrating and frustration!)       Yes ,most likely it will even put a smile on your face as you look,drink,eat this little treasure.Cramps of all sorts,stomach ache ,back pain and headaches is often an indication of a stressed liver.

Go out an pick as many as you have of these little suns...the flowers without the stalks. You can keep the green little sepals on. Have them all in to a crook of glass ,pour over a little raw sugar(how much depends on how sweet you like it) and cut a ecological lemon into slices and then pour in cold water to cover. Put a lid on and leave in the fridge for about four hours or over night. It gets better the longer it sits to soak up all the goodness of the dandelion. 

 

 

Nettle,the queen of my garden by Ingvild Flesland

There are some elements out here in the garden that help me keep an awareness of the “here and now”. And God knows I need it,as I rush around the garden as a headless chicken,full of my new ideas that I have to execute immediately! Nettle is one of those elements on my journey through the garden, requiring my attention. It is not bad to be "burnt by nettles," it is more like a small shock and I have actually started to appreciate it. It's a bit like getting acupuncture ... only instead of a needle that goes through the skin, so there is a small dose of uric acid, histamines and acetylcholine entering and stimulating the body through blood vessels / meridians, muscle fibers, lymphatic system and cell metabolism ... which gives this tingling feeling that sits there from a half to several hours after you have burnt your self . Traditionally within herbal medicine ,and still in some cultures, it is common to utilize this power, by 'whipping' skin or joints with nettles to those suffering from rheumatism, chronic headaches, arthritis and paralysis. So when I out there in the garden ,and in my usual little too fast moving around and then stinging my self on a nettle, I thank her for the hint and rejoice in a free healing session!

I have mentioned some of the many systems in our body that nettle affects,in the article of how to make nettle pesto.

But what I consider as Madam Nettle's,most important but little-known feature, is her amazing capacity to strengthen kidneys and adrenals. In Chinese medicine ,the kidneys are considered the battery of the body. They provide the electricity to all internal organs, and if the kidney energy is weak, the tendency is that the other organ energies are weak as well.

It is generally difficult to build kidney energy , partly because parts of this energy is inherited from our parents, as constitutional energy,of which we can not do anything ... but the other part is built up through what we eat and how we live our life. Working too much and without sufficient brakes,is draining the kidneys. Our feelings also affect the kidney energy,and the emotion that are especially hard on the kidneys and therefor draining their energy, is fear, insecurity,and too much use of our will (by that I mean if one driver oneself too hard without taking into account your body's signals of fatigue, and when we are overloading the system as a whole, etc.)

Of course there are some substances, which are helpful in building kidney energy, but none of them are as readily accessible and close to home, as nettles. Susun Weed, an American herbalist, says she has experienced several cases of people who really should have to get kidney dialysis, who with the help of nettle, has healed their kidney and not had to have this surgery,this just as an example of how strong healing capacity nettles can have.

.And we have all nettle in our garden..and it will grow anywhere it gets a change. But it might be wise to establish a small nettle patch from where you can harvest nettle like you harvest other vegetables in the garden.Then it is easier to harvest it and it will feel at home and grow big and strong. As a matter of fact,Susun Weed says one should use the nettle daily in the two first month of its growth, that being spring and early summer, to build up the kidney energy. And then let it grow big,flower and set seeds,so it can finish its own circle,and insects and butterflies can benefit as well from Madame Nettles wonderful food.

It's actually a little "kick" to pick this little ,dreaded plant. Grab a leaf between your thumb and forefinger and with scissors cut off the stem above the ground. You will not burn yourself, for it is along the edge of the leaves the stinging bits sits. But when I harvest a certain amount, either to cook or to dry, then I feel a tingling sensation in my fingertips, for the rest of the day, and maybe even the next day. But it's not bad, it's just a interesting sensation, and actually quite enjoyable as it gives me a little buzz,in a slightly similar way coffee gets my energy to vibrate ... only that this is in the fingertips!