vild mat

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

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 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.

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!