Experimenting with herbalism 101

I started with Goldenrod Honey

I live in an area where goldenrod and other herbs (weeds) grow readily.  All I have to do is take the dogs for a walk and I stumble upon at least 25 different herbs that I can identify without the help of a book, and I’m not even that knowledgeable in herbalism.

As a triple earth (Virgo/Taurus/Capricorn) the older, and hopefully wiser I got the more I came to realize that my connection with mother earth needed to be nurtured more in order for me to step into my fullest potential.  What better way than to incorporate herbs in my everyday life.

Honey has antioxidants, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties, and goldenrod is used to reduce pain and swelling (inflammation), as a diuretic to increase urine flow, and to stop muscle spasms. It is also used for gout, joint pain (rheumatism), arthritis, as well as eczema and other skin conditions, among many other things. So I set out to try this as my first herbal infused honey.

Depending on where you live it can begin blossoming as early as July, but here in Ontario it was in full blossom this year from early September all the way through to late October.  I made sure to pick the goldenrod flowers only from the tallest branches, to make sure they weren’t peed on by the local doggies. I asked mother earth for permission and only took enough for one jar of honey and a few decorative flower arrangements for my home.

I went through all the flowers carefully inspecting them for ants or any other bugs. There’s always some and it really is unavoidable. Once I took the bugs out, I chopped the flowers into small pieces to increase the surface area and so that they would saturate the honey better.

When choosing the honey, I wanted to use I had to make sure it was local and unpasteurized.  It had to be local because when honey is imported its pollen sources are different from what your immune system needs.  It needed to be unpasteurized because pasteurization exposes the honey to high temperatures, it may destroy or remove honey’s natural properties. This means that raw honey may offer more powerful health benefits, in terms of healing wounds and fighting infections, than regular honey.

I placed the chopped goldenrod flower in a mason jar big enough to handle 1 cup of goldenrod flowers, 2 cups of honey, and enough room at the top for the honey to move freely.  I placed an airtight, leak-proof cap on it, shook it thoroughly until the goldenrod and honey were fully mixed and the flowers were thoroughly coated with honey.  As it cured over the next few weeks in a dark cupboard, I would flip it upside down every once in a while, to get things moving and shaking in the jar.

After 3 weeks I was ready to try it out! You can strain out the flowers with a cheesecloth or a sieve, but I just left mine in there because I’m low maintenance like that (which translated to sometimes lazy).

I love trying things in different ways so the first thing I did is use it as a facial, and I must say, the next morning my face was incredibly glowy and dewy. Then I tried it in my coffee, and I loved it. It had a slight earthy flavour with a floral aroma. It’s best not to cook with it so you don’t destroy the enzymes.

I’d love for you to try this out next fall and tell me how you use it in your everyday life.  Drizzle it on your oatmeal or take a spoonful of it in the mornings if you’re experiencing seasonal allergies. You rally can use this in so many ways!