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  • in reply to: Honey crafting #8944

    Hello lovely ladies!

    I replied to this topic 2 days ago, but apparently didn’t go through 🙁

    I also found lots of ripe hawthorn berries yesterday and some rose hips and I am going to try to do some crafts between today and the weekend. So nice that you also found Elderberries Esther, Idk if they are gone in my area or if they dried out. I only found some little ones in only 1 tree that looks like they shrank and dried.

    Thanks so much for the links Lynn, they were very interesting to read. Also, I never thought about using vegetable glycerine (as I always related it to soap making: glycerine is a by-product from saponification, but indeed, super nice tip! I will give it a go!,such%20as%20lotions%20and%20conditioners.

    I have tested 2 different honey replacements: organic coconut nectar (nectar from the stem of the blossom of the coconut palm, high in zinc, iron, calcium, potassium and inulin, as well as antioxidants.) and be(e) crazy honey replacement (organic coconut palm sugar based, vitamins, including twelve of the essential vitamin B complex, contains 16 amino acids, contains minerals including potassium, magnesium, zinc, iron, boron, sulfur, calcium and copper).

    The organic coconut nectar is the best honey alternative I ever tried, it is really tasty and gave the best results in my tests. It is a little difficult to mix with the herbs especially with elder, hawthorn and magnolia petals, maybe because it’s so thick but the final result was worthy.

    I found the be(e) crazy product too runny to craft. I think the results achieved would have been similar to using cane sugar. I think between this one and agave, I would have still preferred to use maple syrup.

    I am totally up for a comparison trial meet up: let’s book a date, ladies?

    in reply to: Foraging 26: Module Summaries #8934


    Before the beginning of this course I barely foraged anything… well, not counting with lots of foraging I did as a very young child with my grandmother which specific details I, unfortunately, forgot and the occasional stinging nettles, deadnettles and one or too lose rose petals for nibbling on. I had a lot of difficulty recognising the plants in the wild and had almost a detachment regarding working with the plants and harvesting/foraging them. This connection and that foraging is humanity’s birthright seems pretty obvious to me now but it wasn’t before.

    I also had no idea that foraging is not legal in The Netherlands. This came as a surprise to me but, in the other way around, I think there is a positive outcome to it, as it obliges foragers to be more cautious, discrete and less invasive/harmful to the local herbs and plants, promoting light harvesting and more undisturbed habitats.

    There is a possibility I learnt about plant families in high-school but those years were aeons ago and my brain forgot about it. I need to stay that relearning about it and realising that by knowing the 6 basic families one can identify almost all living plants was a happy realisation. This acknowledge removed the overwhelming feeling of knowing there are too many plants that I will never know by presenting me with a little faune structure. Of course I still need a lot of practice (It gets better all the time) but now when I look at a plant I try to look for the shape of the leaves, how the stems are organised and how many are present, if it is a dicot or monocot and what’s the shape of the flowers, how many petals and… I try to resist the temptation of thinking that all the plants that I don’t immediately understand that have pretty flowers belong to the Aster family, hehe! The Lamiaceace and Rosacea family are (still) the easiest ones for me to identify but, I also start to have a great sensibility identifying the Brassicaceae family and sometimes the Apiaceae family 😊 So what I need now, is to keep on practicing my recognition and try to be a little more specialised on the herbs that are more interesting to me.

    Keeping herbal journals was something that I wouldn’t have done on my own and that helps tremendously, specially the foraging and crafting ones. I love to go back and see what I was harvesting in the beginning of the course where I was still very exploratory, versus the plants I think I will be focused more in the future. I think I was more active during midsummer but, along this course I have foraged hawthorn, cleavers, sweet cicely, sweet woodruff, lungwort, wild garlic, magnolia petals, deadnettle, stinging nettle, herb robert, motherwort, horehound, lemonbalm, garlic mustard, cleavers, elder, ground ivy, willow branches and dandelion. In the future, I will, for sure, keep on foraging hawthorn and elder, want to harvest linden, herb robert, motherwort and Lemonbalm. I also want to get more acquainted with burdock and mugwort and try to find echinacea and wild onion family plants in the wild.

    Another project I wouldn’t have started on my own was the plant ally: what a wonderful idea! I am a useless at drawing but, I have silent conversations with my motherwort plant, breath with it, caress it, play music for it, study its shape, how it moves in the direction of the light and how it changed so rapidly when I didn’t see it for 2 weeks during my vacation. I have started to see how develops and changes with the seasons. I believe that it increased my knowledge of the entire plant kingdom and a better understanding of how plants function and how can I better work with them.

    I also need to say that I am very excited to help contributing to the recently foraging map created by Lynn and with the discovering that the Gemeente tree map exists!

    With this course I have also discovered the project Rivers of Herbs and started very recently volunteering in the park Frankendael orchards.

    I have meet wonderful course colleagues and gardeners that are becoming friends. It’s a privilege to have known so many like minded beautiful people. I really value this herbal network.

    in reply to: Foraging 12: Plant allies #8914

    Great suggestions Lynn, Thanks so much, I will give it a go! 🙂

    in reply to: Foraging 21: Local trees #8913

    Closer to my house I have mostly Elders, Hawthorns and Linden (Tilia) Trees. I have chosen to talk about Linden because the house is surrounded by them, front and back. These trees improve greatly the appearance of the area and have great beauty but, mostly, they purify the air. These trees are very high and majestic but impossible to forage due to pollution: located in a parking lot and in one of the most driven roads of Amsterdam Niew West.

    The ones located right in front of my window, and the first thing I see when I wake up, are homes from the last 3 years to 2 nests of Magpie couples and that year’s babies – ‘’Hello Mr. Magpie, How’s your wife and kids?”, and from time to time some parakeets. They also attract bees that like to booze around between them and the flowers on our balconies.

    Tilia makes a wonderful tea and has anti-inflammatory, diuretic, antispasmodic, hypotensive, nervine, demulcent and sedative properties and it’s well known for its honey. Bark can be used to make baskets and fishnets.

    I wanted to forage and dry some from Park Frankendael to use in winter but now I am late: next year! 😊

    in reply to: Foraging 17: Poisoning #8912

    1- My AC pills are from Nature’s answer and I got them online at

    2- Don’t waste time and call 112! Don’t panic, induce (or NOT, depending on the school of thoughts) vomit and take an activated charcoal pill. Nevertheless, in some cases taking AC might be even worst an enhance the poisonous effects of the plants. I think I would ask the 112 lines first unless I would be 100% sure.

    in reply to: Crafting Course Reflections #8890


    Crafting module was possibly my favourite! Going through all these steps gave me a lot of joy! The moment I was in my kitchen making vinegarS, ‘non honeys’, tinctures, cold and warm oils, creams and salves, infusing may bowl wine, oxymels, elixirs, among other special crafting projects make me feel that I was connecting the plant and human world, by giving and receiving plant energy and healing, nourishing powers almost like magic 😊

    I had some previous knowledge regarding the making of creams and salves, water and oil infusions. Regardless, I had worked mostly with carrier oils, essential oils and dried herbs that were purchased from reliable sources. Due to the knowledge acquired in this course, I have included herbal constituents that I have foraged myself in my creams and salves. I think this would have been way more difficult to happen if I had researched the process on my own. This module also widen my horizons on new ways to extract herbal constituents, on what can be crafted with herbs, new methods and approaches and how to understand the herbal cycle of life before starting to work with the plant. For example, I never thought about infusing herbs with ‘non honey’, vinegar and alcohol before.

    I’ve mentioned before in this forum what I have been doing during this module so, there is no need to repeat myself. In the meantime, I made an oxymel that was used as salad dressing and ended up in a blink of an eye: I have combined the magnolia ‘non honey’ with the wild garlic, geranium, white deadnettle and stinging nettle vinegar that were previously infused, so delicious!

    My motherwort and horehound tinctures are almost ready and I am looking forward to see the first hawthorn berries so that I can combine blooms and berries in ‘non honey’ and tinctures.

    I think that lozenges and electuaries is one of the projects that will help me a lot during the winter months, as I tend to need some extra help with my respiratory system all the time.

    I foraged lots of hawthorn and elder flowers that I have tried to use as tea through the winter. I also have dried sweet cicely, but found out that I am not very fond of the anis taste.

    The making of the Herb Robert flower essence was a great experience to me, like I’ve also mentioned before on this forum. I have used it in a water blessing gathering and add it sometimes to my smoothies. I am very in love with this plant and I am thinking about growing it.

    I feel that my crafting knowledge has grown significantly, that lots of new possibilities have been presented to me and that I have new tools that will be very beneficial now and in the future.

    in reply to: Foraging 12: Plant allies #8889

    It took me a while to choose my plant ally. I thought about an elder tree or rose bush because they would be very easy to visit in my local park. Then I got very in love with herb robert but I could find it only in park frankendael or noordpark and both would be very unpractical (too far to compromise) to me.

    I ended up investigating and get very interested in motherwort due to being an aid with anxiety and lowering blood pressure. On a fine foraging walk, one was brought home, grown really tall and lives happily ever since in my kitchen planter. I’ve decided that would be perfect for frequent interaction and mutual care. I have a tincture that it’s almost ready to use made from it, hope it will help! Communicating with the plant (thoughts, words, breathing, taking care of it) brings me inner peace, hope and connection with nature.

    in reply to: Growing 20: Reflections #7407


    Through the years I have been trying to grow plants from cuts and from seeds, some were more successful than others. When I moved to my current house in Amsterdam, I’ve tried to grow plants in my balcony, sunny bedroom windowsill and, more recently in my small elevated bed kitchen planter. The 2nd and 3rd options were more successful, as my balcony is turned south and extremely windy, so dealing with this erosion has been my major challenge.

    This module gave me new ideas and made me try new exciting things. I especially enjoyed making a planner, learning about perennials, plant guilds, themes, wildlife needs, kokedame and moss, I also have joined the FB for Amsterdam Guerilla Gardening.

    I tried to grow plants from cuttings, which worked best for geranium, lavender and thai basil. I have also been making new plants from organic kitchen herbs bought in the supermarket. Peppermint, parsley and rosemary did very well but basil seams to always wither suddenly or is attacked by pests.

    For some strange reason, I’ve always bought or swap seeds and never thought about harvesting and gathering them. This caused a great impact on me: strange how I never realised that this is the most natural, practical and economical practice! For sure I will start harvesting and collecting seeds from now on. Chilly, bell pepper and 2 avocado plants that grew from gathered seeds (plus 2 other sprouting now) are doing well. I’ve tried to grow lemon and tomato from seed but I wasn’t successful (maybe next year). Ginger is growing in my balcony from root and I can just see its first sprouts. Next, I am going to try to grow a mango plant.

    I feel now more connected to the wheel of the year, the cycles of nature and to the local flora and fauna. I started being more aware of the needs of insects, especially the local bees. This is a subject of paramount importance that I would like to learn more about. I’ve included food, shelter and water in my little balcony to invite them in.

    I thought about building a herb tower and wall of herbs to hang indoors from my ceilings and walls but ended up giving up on the idea as they are both too thin and unreliable.

    I still dream about building a herb spiral but I don’t know where. After all, it is said that if your herb spiral is far enough to make your slippers dirty, it is located too far!

    in reply to: Growing 15: Wildlife #7403

    This unit was such a beautiful eye-opener to me. I was sensitive to have flowers to the bees but never thought about the water and shelter. Now I have a bowl in my balcony (only available place) and a little bugs hotel. I got it from Action, it’s all made from untreated wood, I hope it’s appropriate. I was going to build one myself but I’ve seen this, so hey, why invent the wheel, right? There are still no bees, I hope they’ll still come, it’s the 3rd floor so maybe its less accessible for them.

    in reply to: Healing module summary #7380


    I wasn’t familiar with the wise woman system steps until I started the healing module.

    My healing system was based on step 5 since my childhood until most of my entire adult life. I suffered frequently from laryngitis and tonsillitis as a child and had taken as many antibiotics as a child can handle. My mother used to be a nurse as she is a “pharmaceutical encyclopaedia” always willing to advise which pill to take to which common ailment so that you don’t get sick or get better quickly. In my family, nobody believes in slowing down. They also believe that emotional, energetic and psychological unbalances don’t exist, because you can’t be weak! When a pill couldn’t solve everything, the heroic doctor would. She meant well and always tried to nourish us, especially with lots of soup! She still does, so without knowing it, she’s also a follower of step 3.

    So, this was what I kept on doing in the past: at the sign of the first symptoms, I would have some medicine so that the sickness would leave me alone and I could carry on living my fast-paced life. Took me a while to realise how unbalanced this system was and that most of my persisting respiratory system problems could be solved using steps 0-3, because all I would need was resting, calming down and be kind to myself.

    These last years I slowed down and (even without knowing about the system) I was already trying to heal myself in a different way, now I see that those were 0-3 clumsy steps. The module gave me some structure, organisation, tools and ideas on how to approach my healing in a more balanced way.

    Currently, my healing routine is aligned with the wise woman system. When I feel sick, I give my body and my mind some time to do nothing, together with a good night sleep, rest and tea. Mindfulness is still a challenge, but yoga has been helping me out. If it doesn’t go away and/or when I feel very restless, I try to read some tarot so that it makes me think about the root of the problem. After I follow step 2, namely plant and hands energy, grounding and the recently learnt alternate nostril breathing. Step 3 is a constant in my life and I do it even when I am not feeling sick. I wasn’t familiar with the concepts of tonic, alterative and trophorestorative herbs. I think this will help me out in the future. If this doesn’t work, I follow step 4. I need to say that I developed the habit of taking magnesium every day to help with my constant leg cramps and vitamin D to compensate my deficiency due to the lack of sun, but maybe there are better alternatives. Of course, sometimes we all need to go to the doctor and I also pay attention to the urgency of the situation and step almost immediately into step 5 when I think I need it.

    Step 6, break and enter, was necessary when I severely broke my ankle 2 years ago. I also would like to include taking lsd in this step. I need to say that when I took it for the 1st time was mainly because I was curious but, to my surprise, I felt like my brain was reset, felt love, inner peace and emotional healing. After that, it helped me to find answers within myself. On other occasions very focused and sharp, other time made me feel that my own mind is not the nicest thing to be confronted with and that I wasn’t prepared to face it. Although I still believe I might benefit from micro-dosing, and I try to follow development on these studies, I think that it shouldn’t be taken light-hearted and that steps 0-3 might have a longer-lasting effect.

    in reply to: Step 4 #7379

    That would be fantastic!
    Thanks Lynn 🙂

    in reply to: Step 2 Experiences #7369

    It is relatively easy for me to create a ball of energy. I have done a similar exercise before, the 1st time more than 20 years ago, to try to imagine a blue protective ball around myself. Back then I imagined it being generated by my mind and not my hands and expanding through my body until it was big enough to generate a protective cocoon. Generating an energy ball using my hands felt warm and invigorating. I have been using it to try to re-energise plants and to calm down and protect myself.

    I have been thinking more about plants (more frequently my house plants tbh) as a companion and have been feeling their energy flowing together with mine like we are exchanging healing blessings.

    I don’t think about grounding most of the time but I think that I do it almost by instinct/automatically. I remember an episode in my early 20’s when I imposed my hands in the shoulders of a friend and felt absolutely drained afterwards. That taught me the importance of grounding!

    I was very curious regarding Nadi Shodana Pranayama. My left nostril was permanently blocked and I thought this practice wasn’t for me. At first, it really confused me but, very quickly, I started feeling it like yoga to the brain and gave me more energy after practising it in the morning. I breath better now and I don’t feel the nostril so blocked anymore. I think this is also a wonderful pre-practice to yoga. Sometimes I do it instead as a sitting Savasana, to finalise my yoga practice.

    Ps: I just watched a very interesting documentary: Kundalini Yoga — as Envisioned by the Ancient Yogis. It explains really well the nadis and chakras system. The link if you are interested:

    in reply to: Foraging 24.1: Growing Elder babies #7366

    Hi Leslie, I would love to have one hawthorn please, preferably a smaller one. I only have a balcony but agreed with my friend that when it gets bigger I will plant it on her garden 🙂 I live in Amsterdam Nieuw-West. Can I ask your contact to Lynn?

    in reply to: Growing 1 – 3: Planning and choosing herbs #6812

    Hi Lynn,

    The balcony is now a mix of cactus, aloe veras, other succulents, lavender, mint, basil, peppers trying to grow, geraniums, baby ginseng, recently poted ginger (trying to grow it) and some ornamental plants. It’s an interesting mix, it has some character! 🙂

    I have a new flatmate that loves herbs and plants as much as I do. She brought quite a few her and helped to bring some life back to the almost all dead or dried out winter surviving balcony.

    in reply to: What have you been making? #6656

    I have been inspired and awakened by the Spring – or was it early Summer ;0 – and the sun! As a consequence, I’ve been busy and would like to share what I have been doing.

    This covers units: 8,9,10,11,12,13,15,19,20,24 and 25.

    This crafting has been giving me a lot of pleasure and satisfaction and I have noticed that it really helped me to feel more balanced! Working with plants and giving and receiving plant energy has been working for me! 🙂

    I found these craftings very easy to make, almost like a second skin, the only times I felt a little more challenged was when the use of “honey” is required. I am vegan, so I used the Nectar from Three by One (it’s delicious on it’s on and the best honey replacement that I know, it’s coconut-based). I’ve noticed that it is a little difficult to stir with the herbs. IDK if the use of bee honey has the same issue.

    So, what I have done:

    – Vinegar: Wild garlic
    : Wild garlic, geranium, white deadnettle, stinging nettle

    – “Honey”: Magnolia
    : Elderflower
    – Elixir: 2 Hawthorn flower – 1 to eat after 6 weeks the other to add berries on autumn.

    – Tincture: 2 Hawthorn (to add berries to 1 on autumn)
    : Hawthorn, Dandelion, white deadnettle, yellow archangel
    : Stinging nettle
    : Ground ivy

    – Infused hot oil: Elder leaves with argan oil, jojoba oil, hemp oil and castor oil. Castor oil wasn’t the best idea, it’s too thick and hard to squeeze from the leaves, but this blend it’s going to be part of a beautiful cream or salve.

    I was going to infuse the elder leaves with olive oil but, I’ve decided to drop 1 seed head and a leaf of wild garlic inside of my new freshly opened bottle and after 5 minutes its perfume was already spreading its magic XD.

    – “Fake tincture”: Herb Robert with Limoncello and “honey” nectar. This was supposed to be a weaker tincture(30% volume), but I was missing a little spirit to top the jar up, so I’ve added a little of “honey” xD

    – Infused white wine – May bowl with sweet woodruff and lemon rind: so delicious! We tasted it today ;D

    – Herbs that are currently drying in the house: Elder, Yellow Archangel, Sweet Cicely, Sweet Woodruff, Lungwort, Ground Ivy and Stinging Nettle.

    I am a professional natural and vegan beauty maker, so constantly I also need to make the following:

    – Cold infused oil: I usually infuse lavender, calendula and chamomile in almond oil or sweet olive oil.
    – Salves, Lipbalms (my favourite is lemon & rosemary), Ointments and Creams (my favourite is with lavender).

    Ps: I have infused Elder leaves not only due to its medicinal properties but also because I had plenty after stripping a part of a brunch. I thought it was respectful to the tree to use everything I foraged: I am trying to grow Elder babies, wish me luck!

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 23 total)