Posts tagged ‘Canada’

April 23, 2013

Boneset Herb

2. White Boneset, july 27 03

Boneset is a native to the Ontario region, but is less common in the northern part of the province in Canada. Boneset grows together with the two species of gravel root or joe-pye, but Joe-pye grows in the south-western corner of the province. Both plants grow in wetlands, riverbanks, marshes and lakes, and prefer open sunny areas. Joe-pye root and boneset herb are both wetland plants that boost the immune system.

2. White Boneset, July 27 2003Boneset is easy to identify because of the joined leaves around the stem that grow in paired opposites. In this picture of white boneset, the white flowers are just about to bloom, and it is the best time to pick it.

It is best known for treating fevers and in Traditional Chinese Medicine, it treats all three stages of fever, Tai Yang, Shao Yang, Yang Ming. It is called boneset not because it knits and repairs bones like comfrey, but because it is used for deep, aching bone pain, like rheumatic typhoid and “bone breaking fever.” It is extremely bitter, cooling and drying while stimulating the liver and digestion. Caution is advised! This plant is becoming increasingly endangered due to destruction of wetland habitat and over harvesting.

Common Name  Boneset herb
Latin Name  Eupatorium perfoliatum
Family Asteraceae (Aster)
Parts Used Perennial- leaves and flowers
Target Organs immune, circulatory, digestive, respiratory, liver, stomach, throat
Common Uses Immune respiratory: stimulates immunity against infections. Used for fevers, dengue, malaria, colds, coughs, flu, infections, catarrh, sore throat, toxicity, Digestion: liver congestion, constipation, upset stomach, indigestion, gas, bloating Nervous system: debility, pain, neuralgia,
Properties Anticatarrhal, anti-inflammatory(local, systemic) anti-infective, antimicrobial, antineoplastic, antirheumatic, aperient, appetite stimulant, astringent, bitter,  cholagogue, choleretic, digestive stimulant, diaphoretic, diuretic, immune stimulant, febrifuge, nervine, relaxant, stomachic, tranquilizer, peripheral vasodilator, vulnerary
Constituents polysaccharides, flavonoids: quercetin, rutin, astragalin, hyperoside, inulin, sterols, vitamin D1, galic acid, essential volatile oil, glucosidal tannin, tannic acid, diterpenes, bitter glycoside: eupatorin, sesquiterpenes lactones, fatty resin,
Cautions Medium strength: Only use dried herb. Avoid high doses long term use. May cause diarrhoea, vomiting in high doses. Low doses short term use for acute infections. Should not be used by pregnant, nursing women, infants and children under the age of ten. Use in formulation up to 25% for no more than 1 week or two. 
Dosage Tincture: 1-3ml                Dried herb Tea infusion: 3-8g cold infusion for exhaustion and acute fever
April 22, 2013

Canadian Maple Syrup


Fresh pure Maple syrup from the Maple Syrup festival is such a treat it deserves a blog! The maple leaf isn’t on the Canadian flag for nothing! The red leaf officially became Canada’s flag in what year? 1887, 1918, 1965, ?

85% of the world’s maple syrup comes from Canada with Quebec and then Ontario being the largest producers. Who knew that maple syrup is a good source of calcium besides being nature’s delicious candy.

The maple tree has to be at least forty years old to tap and the harvest season lasts six weeks. The best conditions and times to tap are when it is below freezing at night and above freezing in the day time.

On an average season one tree can produce 10 gallons of sap. The sap is evaporated into a quart of maple syrup. Enjoy real Canadian Maple Syrup! YUM!

November 2, 2012


Yarrow is one of Canada’s great wildflowers with a popular past, it needs to be used more often today. The Latin species name ‘millefolium,’  means thousand leaves named after the finely divided alternate feathery leaves. Thousand leaf and milfoil are also common names besides the name yarrow. Used externally the leaves are astringent which stops bleeding, reduces inflammation and speeds healing.

The Latin Genus name ‘Achillea’ is named after Achilles who healed his soldiers with yarrow during the Trojan War. Known as ‘herba militaria,’ yarrow helped treat wounds suffered in battle up to the 17th century.  Yarrow was popular and was picked to aid digestion, stop fevers and to use as a nose snuff.

There is a long history of metaphysical uses. The dried stalks were popular for divination for the ancient Chinese oracle the “I Ching.” In the middle ages the common name was Devil’s Nettle because of its use for divination and spells.

Pink Yarrow in British Columbia

The colour of the flowers vary from white to pinks in the wild. Hybrids are usually bigger and are available in beautiful bright colours of gold, yellow and reds. Yarrow is easy to grow because of its wildflower nature and grows in full sun with good drainage.

Country of Origin for essential oil production: Canada and France. Canadian essential oil is diploid and the colour is deep dark blue. European triploid essential oil variety is yellow-green colour. 


Common Name  Yarrow herb aka Milfoil, Thousandleaf
Latin Name  Achillea   millefolium
Family Asteraceae (Aster   family)
Parts Used/ Habitat Growth: Perennial   invasive wildflower grows 2-3 ft. Flowering tops picked in the summer in July
Target Organs Digestion, respiratory,   circulatory, female reproductive, skin, immune, cardiovascular
Common Uses Immune respiratory: coughs, colds, flu, fever, catarrh, infectionsVascular conditions:HBP, (Sitz bath) veins,

Skin/muscle: wounds,   bruises, sprains, strains, cuts,

Digestion:   spasms, ulcers, IBS,

Female reproductive: balancing tonic, spasms

Properties Antiallergenic,   antibacterial, anticatarrhal, anti-inflammatory(local, systemic), antimicrobial,  antispasmodic (digestive, general), antiulcerogenic,   antiviral, aperient, astringent, bitter, carminative, cholagogue, choleretic,   diaphoretic, febrifuge, haemostatic (styptic, uterine) hypoglycaemic, hypotensive,   sialagogue, stomachic, styptic, stimulating emmenagogue, vasodilator (peripheral),   vascular tonic, uterine tonic, vulnerary
Constituents Essential Oil:.05%-.08%Ketones: thujone, camphor;

 Lactones:achillin, achillicin,   hydroxyachillin, millifin, millifolide,


Sesquiterpenes: Azulene 1-51%   chamazulene, dihydroazulene, sabinene caryophyllene,

Oxides: 1, 8 cineole 10%

Monoterpenes: pinene 16%;

Other: flavonoids,   tannins, bitter alkaloid minerals, trace minerals, chlorophyll,   vitamin C, fatty acids, phytosterol

Cautions Mild remedy:Caution due to thujone content-uterine stimulant, neurotoxin. Do   not use during pregnancy, and with babies.
Dosage Tincture: 1-4mlTea: 1-2 tsp. infuse 10-15 minutes

external use: infused water use as a compress, poultice or a wash for wounds

June 2, 2012

West Coast B.C. Devil’s club is Strong Medicine

I thought I would share some pictures of the beautiful scenery of British Columbia, Canada.

In Vancouver biked around the sea wall and then travelled up to see Shannon Falls and Brandywine Falls on the way to Whistler Blackcomb to do some biking, hiking, paddle boarding and saw Crankworx!

On some nature hikes I noticed Devil’s club growing everywhere, it is very common in the northwest. It is so big and thorny it is best to avoid it, it’s called Devils’s club for a good reason! The barb stings are very painful and the red berries are poisonous!

 In herbal medicine it is called the Ginseng of the North West and goes well with Ginsengs in an adaptogenic Tincture formula. It is a pancreatic tonic. Wear gloves when you harvest the root or rhizomes and try to avoid the thorns on the leaves and bark.

It is strong medicine so consult a qualified practitioner before taking it. Caution is advised!

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Common Name  Devil’s club root
Latin Name  Oplopanax   horridus
Family Araliaceae
Parts Used perennial thorny shrub root/ rhizome avoid thorns
Target Organs pancreas, immune
Common Uses diabetes,  pancreatic, pain, arthritis, stops milk flow, colds, TB, infections
Properties Adaptogen,   analgesic, alterative, emmenagogue, hypoglycaemic, pancreatic, nutritive,   antimicrobial,  tonic, laxative purgative,
Constituents saponins,   glycosides, flavonoids, ascorbic acid, tannin,
Cautions Medium Strength: Purgative emetic in large doses.

Potent herb: Use 15% and combine with demulcents in a formula.   Red Berries are poisonous

Dosage Tincture:   2-4ml

Tea: 2 tsp

May 23, 2012

Medicinal Uses of Coltsfoot Leaves and Flowers

Coltsfoot ~ Tussilago farfara L. is one of the first wild flowers to bloom in Ontario in spring time.

Coltsfoot grows all around Georgian Bay, as it prefers to grow near water. You will find it in wetter areas near stream banks and ditches. It looks like dandelion flowers, and it is from the same Aster family. The flowers resemble a bent horse leg before and after flowering, because they nod and arch over the stem.

The leaves appear after the flowers have gone to fluffy seed, which fly through the air in puffy white little clouds.

The leaves look lung shaped and treat lung conditions, as it helps to reduce inflammation and spasms. It’s name Tussilago hints to its anti-tussive properties and is used mainly to treat coughs and colds.

It is mildly bitter, demulcent, astringent and cooling.

Coltsfoot is a medium strength remedy and should be used under the guidance of a qualified practitioner.

Due to the prescence of alkaloids, this herb should not be used in large doses continuously.


Common Name Coltsfoot leaves/ flowers
Latin Name Tussilago farfara
Family Asteraceae
Parts Used Perennial flowers bloom first in spring and then turn to seed, leaves follow in May/ June
Target Organs respiratory, throat
Common Uses Lungs: acute chronic lung chest infections, irritating dry coughs, External leaves: wounds, bruises,
Properties relaxing/ secretolytic expectorant, demulcent, vulnerary, anti-inflammatory, antineoplastic, diuretic, anti-catarrhal, emollient
Constituents Flowers: flavonoids: rutin, carotene, taraxanthin, arnidiol, farfardiol, tannin, Essential oils

Leaves:mucilage, polysaccharides, tannin, bitter glycosides, inulin, sitosterol, zinc

Traces of pyrrolizidine alkaloids, hormonal substances, calcium, magnesium, sodium, trace minerals

Cautions Medium strength remedy: Due to traces of pyrrolizidine alkaloids do not use for extended periods of time at high dosages. Do not use with children under the age of 8, during pregnancy or lactation.
Dosage Tincture: 1-5ml                Tea: 6-14g
May 22, 2012

Georgian Bay

Georgian Bay is Ontario‘s best kept secret boasting the world’s longest fresh water beach, 30, 000 islands, camping, diving and all kinds of outdoor activities. Wasaga beach on Georgian Bay is the longest fresh water beach in the world and sandy beaches stretch for miles around the Bay of clear blue water.

It was so hot this year it was the first time in May I dipped in Georgian Bay. I have seen the most stunning sunsets on Georgian Bay and I wish I could post them all on here.

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Around Tobermory is where Georgian Bay meets the rest of the Great Lakes and thousand-year old cedars grow on windswept cliff sides. There is camping, diving, hiking, biking, swimming, a natural grotto and all around beauty to take in.

I love Georgian Bay!

March 19, 2012

Polypore Medicinal Mushrooms

Polypore mushrooms are medicinal mushrooms that have been used for centuries as a nutritious tonic to strengthen all systems. They have a high level of antioxidants that nourish and balance the body, because they are adaptogens they help the body adapt to any kind of stress.

This group of mushrooms grow on rotting logs and stumps and are called bracket fungi, because they look like shelves or brackets. They are usually found on rotting birch trees, but are also found on other trees.

There are culinary, medicinal and poisonous varieties of mushrooms, and correct identification is important. Caution when picking mushrooms because misidentification can lead to fatalities, poisoning and death.

Get fungi from a reputable source. If you want to wild craft mushrooms take a knowledgeable guide with you in to nature, along with many different sources of field guide books, but caution is always advised!

Artist’s conk is the only fungi identifiable by the ability to etch designs and words on it. It grows on hardwood trees like maples.


Remove Mushrooms with a hatchet, axe or knife. Chop them up with a hammer or axe in a cardboard box. You can dry them out for a couple of days in a warm dry place. Use polypore mushrooms medicinally in a tea or tincture, and they are typically not used in culinary edible cooking preparations.

There is new research into how mushrooms clean up the planet by eating up oil spills and breaking down plastics.

This is a good documentary about knowing your mushrooms.

This is a good website about mushrooms in eastern Canada and United States.



 Common Name  Varnish Polypore Fruiting Body/ aka Bracket Fungi 
Latin Name  Ganoderma spp. L. Includes:

Lacquered Polypore- G. lucidum aka Reishi

Hemlock varnish shelf- G. tsugae

Artist’s Conk- Ganoderma  applanatum

Family Polypore family Ganodermataceae L. 
Parts Used Fruiting body/Mushroom/Fungi
Target Organs Immune, Nervous, Endocrine, Pancreas, Spleen, Digestive, Urinary, Heart
Common Uses Strengthens and cleanses all systems.

Tonic to: Immune, Nervous, Endocrine, Heart, Pancreas, Spleen, Digestive, Urinary Systems

Lowers cholesterol, normalizes blood pressure, supportive for Cancer, diabetes, infections, allergies,

Properties Underlined properties are primary:

Adaptogen, adrenal tonic, analgesic, antiallergenic, antiatherogenic, antibacterial, anticarcinogenic, anticardiotoxic, anticatarrhal, antidepressant, antihepatotoxic, anti-inflammatory, antimutagencic, antineoplastic, antinephrotoxic, antineurotoxic, antioxidant, antiradiotoxic, antithrombotic, antiulcerogenic, antiviral, anxiolytic, aperient, appetite stimulant, astringent, bitter, blood pressure normalizer, cardiac, depurative, diaphoretic, diuretic, decongestant, emmenagogue tonic, expectorant secretolytic, hypocholesterolemic, hypolipidemic, immune stimulant, immune tonic,  nervine, pancreatic, relaxant, spleenic, tranquilizer, vasodilator, vulnerary

Constituents Polysaccharides, polyphenols, phytosterols.

Betulinic acid, betulin are in mushrooms only found on birch trees and are fat soluble and only available in tincture form.

Cautions Polypore bracket fungi are edible but correct identification is important to avoid poisoning, illness and possible death.
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