Privet

by Renee Lindstrom, GCFP:  This post may contain Affiliate Links for your convenience, thank you in advance for your support!  Renee

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Privet ( ligustrum lucidum)

  • Part of the olive family (Oleaceae)

I planted what I thought was a small shrub five years ago that was gifted to us. With no identifying information to go along with I was surprised after two years when it began stretching, spreading and growing taller.  It is now 10 feet high and getting wider.  According to different sources of information could grow from 15 to 30 feet high.  The is the evergreen that many topiary cuttings are created with and it is popular for use in Bonsai.  It flowered for the first time two years ago and this year there are many fruits developing as we enter into fall.  The flowers are a nice fragrance to begin with but slowly they become less attractive over the days as the blooms diminish.  This year this Privet is gifting us with an abundance of fruit that are forming from the spent flowers.  When the fruits are ripe in the fall, these are the main part of this plant used in Traditional Chinese and Herbal Remedies.  The leaves, flowers and bark can also used.  You will find the dried berries ground up in many medicinal and beauty products!

Nutrients & Qualities: 

Privet has applications as a  diuretic, astringent, antiseptic, immuno-stimulant, anti-cholestrolemic and it has anti-cancer properties.  It is known to invigorate the immune system.

  • Constituents:
    • quercetin glycosides;  flavonol glycosides, secoiridoids (oleuropein, ligustaloside A, ligustaloside B, and ligstroside)
    • kaempferol glycosides
    • polyphenols
    • oleanolic
    • palmitic
    • linoleic
    • ursolic acids
    • mannitol
    • glucose
    • starch
    • bitter resin
    • bitter extractive
    • albumen
    • salts
    • ligustrin

Therapeutic Uses:

  • Flowers:
    • Headaches
    • Vaginal Irritations
    • Menstrual Problems
  • Leaves:
    • Diarrhea
    • Bladder disorders
      Stomach ulcers
      Indigestion
      Increase appetite.
      Sore throat & eyes
      Ulcers
      Swellings
      Mumps
      Chapped lips
      Throat cancer
  • Leaves & bark: 
    • Headaches
    • Tumours
      Bronchitis
      Coughs
      Light-headedness
    • Chronic bowel problems
    • Vaginal douche
    • Mouthwash or gargle
    • Wash for skin problems
  • Seeds:
    • Liver & Kidney ailments
      Increase energy
      Menopause
      Insomnia
      Premature aging
      Grey hair
      Heart palpitations
      Rheumatoid arthritis
      Tinnitus (a ringing in the ear)
      Backache
      Eye issues inclduing
      cataracts, glaucoma & cataract
      Contagious ailments: hepatitis B & sexually transmitted diseases (STD)
      High blood pressure (hypertension) Pneumocystis Carinii pneumonia (a fungal infection of the lungs)
      Respiratory problems

How to use Leaves & Bark:

Boil 1 tsp. leaves or bark in 1 cup water. Take 1 to 2 cups a day.


Recommended Reading:

  • Planetary Herbology by Michael Tierra C.A., N.D., O.M.D., Lotus Press, PO Box 325, Twin Lakes. WI 53181., Copyright 1988, published 1992
  • Book Review:  Wonderful Book, everyone should have a copy
    • on June 24, 1997 – I have every single one of this authors books. The information in them is terrific, including this one. It covers the different types of herbal philosophies. Mainly the Chinese and Ayurvedic systems. He integrates them both with western herbs, and makes it work. I won’t say his book has everything and every herb but it has a lot, and some of the more unusual herbs you usually can’t find in the regular every day herb books. It’s wonderful, and worth every penny you pay for it

Traditional uses and properties of herbs are for educational purposes only. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Every attempt has been made for accuracy, but none is guaranteed. Any serious health concerns or if you are pregnant, you should always check with your health care practitioner before self-administering herbs.

 

Eating Dandelion Flower’s & Infusing in Oils

by Renee Lindstrom, GCFP:  This post may contain Affiliate Links for your convenience, thank you in advance for your support!  Renee

 

A focus this spring has been on Dandelion Flowers.  As they emerge with their bright colours you can’t help but notice them!  Did you know they were edible and nutritious.  Each flower you get a hit of it’s goodness.  Some ways to enjoy them are by making:

  • jelly – infuse and follow your jelly recipe (I used honey instead of sugar)
  • pancakes – just add to you cake in the pan when cooking
  • tempura – my favorite, coat flower and cook in oil
  • infusing in oil – used olive oil in mason jar
  • infusing in vinegar – used wine vinegar in mason jar
  • infusing in alcohol – used 100% vodka

For Recipes – read more

Read more on The Amazing Dandelion

How to Infuse Wildflower Oils


Read more:


Traditional uses and properties of herbs are for educational purposes only.  This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.  Every attempt has been made for accuracy, but none is guaranteed. Any serious health concerns or if you are pregnant, you should always check with your health care practitioner before self-administering herbs.


 

 

 

Neem for bug & slug control! Slugs jumped from lettuce!

by Renee Lindstrom, GCFP:  This post may contain Affiliate Links for your convenience.  Thank you in advance for your support!  Renee

Neem Bug & Slug Spray

Neem Tree – (Azadirachta indica)

This week the slugs moved into the lettuce patch and the cabbage moths began nibbling all the tender leaves of new shoots!  I remembered reading  neem powder (the ground up leaves of a Neem tree) can be used as a natural pesticide.  I decided to give it a try.

I took a small pot filled with water and added a tablespoon of neem powder.  I brought it to a boil and then let it sit over-night to cool and infuse.

The next morning I put it into a spray bottle and added a small shot of dish soap and salad oil and then gave it a shake to mix it all together.  The oil and dish soap help the solution stick to the leaves.

Early enough to catch the slugs on the leaves I began spraying not knowing what to expect. I must have blinked as the slug disappeared from the leaf I was spraying.  I couldn’t believe it.  I located it on the ground and sprayed around it again.  When I looked a second later it was gone.  For me, this is the first solution that has been visibly effective for slugs!

My hope is that it is as effective for the cabbage flies! I remember reading that they don’t like the smell of neem therefore won’t be attracted to the plants.  This is also true for fly’s, mosquitoes and fleas!  I wonder it would work for deer?  They hate strong scents as well!

Recipe

  • Neem Powder – 1 tablespoon
  • Water – 4 cups
  • Dish-soap – teaspoon
  • Oil – teaspoon to tablespoon

Bring water and neem to a boil and let sit to infuse overnight.  Pour into a spray bottle and add dish-soap and oil.  Shake well.  It’s ready to use!

Update

No new bites the following day however on the lettuce in the garden the cheeky slugs did find the leaves that I missed!  Will have to be more careful in the future. Also the yellow dock that I let grow for salad greens are now being eaten.  I have not seen this in previous years!  I am happy they are going for the weeds.

For your convenience order Neem here


 

Do you harvest your Bamboo or complain that it is invasive?

by Renee Lindstrom, GCFP:  This post may contain Affiliate Links for your convenience, thank you in advance for your support!  Renee

Arrggg, I am starting to get annoyed at hearing opinions about plants being invasive and the frustration one feels at the natural characteristics of the plants to grow!  Now with an increased focus of  exploring the benefits of the plants growing right in our own gardens, when I hear this type of statement, I change it in my mind to, “I am not harvesting this plant and letting it overgrow.”  Imagine blaming a plant for growing!  

One of the plants that I hear this comment the most about is Bamboo.  Bamboo is one of the most versatile plants on the planet and it cleans our atmosphere at an alarming high rate.  It is time to love your bamboo! 

My love affair with bamboo began when I recognized that it was a calming influence for me.  Whether it was the appearance of the stalks and leaves, or its rustling sound in the wind, a peaceful settling was immediate.  After growing this plant for sometime now even a picture of it has the same calming experience.

It took five years for it to fill in along a fence line where I had planted it.  It adds privacy between the sidewalk and our backyard.  It keeps the dust blown up by the cars that travel behind the fence  down and it muffles the sound of cars.  It is our white noise!

I began harvesting the leaves to explore infusions and teas. It is wonderful to use in one’s hair, bath and to soak finger and toe nails.  I learned how to process the leaves to create a tea.  By the photos below you can view how a yin backyard became a yang experience!

 

 

This year the stalks have exploded!  I have increased the harvesting of the leaves and begun harvesting the stalks.

Enjoying the learning experience of how to use bamboo, I’ve dyed material, made paper and recently used it to soak the metal dishes that sit under the electric stove elements. Silica is used to clean metal and bamboo has a high content of silica!

 

 

I have begun cutting the long stalks to learn how to dry bamboo to create a privacy screen in my office and stalks for the garden.  I have been given some fat bamboo stalks that I will cut up into a short Zen type fence!  Pictures to follow!


To read more on


 

Making paper using Natural Plant Fibers from the Front & Back Yard!

by Renee Lindstrom, GCFP:  This post may contain Affiliate Links for your convenience, thank you in advance for your support! Renee

The following papers where made from the pulp of plant fibers used to naturally dye cotton!  The water and plant fiber was so beautiful that I longed to be create something beautiful with it rather than throw it out!

The results are nice enough to frame, to use as mats in frames, to use in gift boxes, to use as shelf paper and as card stock.  Check these out:

Bamboo – Leaves

Bamboo Leaf Fiber Paper


Crocosmia

by Renee Lindstrom

Crocosmia Based Paper


Hollyhock – Flowers

Hollyhock Flower Fiber Paper


 

Natural Dye Plants

by Renee Lindstrom, GCFP:  This post may contain Affiliate Links for your convenience, thank you in advance for your support! Renee

Right from the dye Pot – Dyeing Cotton with Natural Fibers

Right from the Dye Pot – Cotton Dyed with Plant Fibers

Here are a few examples of cotton dyed with plants from the front and back yard!

Looking at the photo’s you may notice that some of these plants and material where dyed using solar power!  It’s fun and easy, simply put plants in a jar, fill with water, add the material and put the lid on.  Let it rest until for up to 4 or 4 days, if you can!

Once the material was taken out of the dye bath and hung to dry I didn’t want to throw the dye and plant material in the compost. Longing to capture some of its beauty I made plant fiber paper from it!

The garden plants & weeds used with dyed cotton

Bamboo – Leaves

 

Light shade of sage green 

This cotton was prepared with an alum mordant after a soda ash bath.

In this dye bath the bamboo leaves where brought to a boil and simmer with the cotton for a time and left for 24 hours.  More leaves where added and it was re-heated.  This was left for another 24 hours.  For future bamboo dye baths I would choose using solar and continue this process to achieve darker colours.


Bamboo – Stalks

 

Yellow highlighted pale shade of green!

This cotton was prepared with an alum mordant after a soda ash bath.

In this dye bath the bamboo stalks where brought to a boil and simmer with the cotton for a time and left for 24 hours.  More leaves where added and it was re-heated.  This was left for another 48 hours.   For future bamboo dye baths I would choose using solar and continue this process to achieve darker colours.


Butterfly Tree –  Flowers

 

Rich Shade of yellow! 

This cotton was prepared with an alum mordant after a soda ash bath.

One can use fresh or dried flowers.


Butterfly Tree – Leaves & Stems

 

 

Bright yellow!

This cotton was prepared with an alum mordant after a soda ash bath.

.more on dyeing with plants


Crocosmia

 

Bright Pale sunshine yellow!  

This cotton was prepared with an alum mordant after a soda ash bath.


Hollyhock

 

This cotton was prepared with an alum mordant after a soda ash bath.

Bright Shade of Pink with purple highlights! 


Maple – Pacific Northwest (red stems, purple & green sided leaves)

 

Pale Green with blue highlights! 

This cotton was prepared with an alum mordant after a soda ash bath.

.more on dyeing with plants


Thistle – Leaves

 

Warm shade of yellow!  

This cotton was prepared with an alum mordant after a soda ash bath.


Yellow Dock – Leaves & Seeds (that have turned red)

 

Deep warm yellow! 

This cotton was prepared with an alum mordant after a soda ash bath.


 

Dyeing cotton using natural plant dyes

by Renee Lindstrom, GCFP:  This post may contain Affiliate Links, thank you in advance for your support!  Renee

When the natural dye and material are both ready the material is added to the dye pot and left to sit for at least 12 hours. It can be left longer depending upon ones patience, time and energy!

The above material was left in the dye pot for about 16 hours.  Once removed it was lightly squeezed and hung to drip outside and then tumbled in a low heat.

The outcome is quite beautiful!

Many plants, leaves, stems, bark and roots can be used to make natural dyes.  It is as simple as adding to water!  It is the process of creating the dye and preparing the material that has more effort and takes time.

The four steps to dyeing naturally are:

  1.  Choose and gather the plant materials
  2. Prepare the dye from the flowers, leaves, stems or roots that you have chosen
  3. Choose and prepare the material to absorb the colour:
    1. Scour the material
    2. Mordant the material
  4. Combine the material and the natural dye

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