If you follow the sun, you’ll find that, as fall edges into winter, it slips further and further south. The angle of the sun’s rays gets shallower, and the days become shorter with the sun in southern skies. But every year, it turns back and begins its northward course right around the time of the winter holidays: a new light is reborn, and we can start fresh in a new year. The Winter Solstice.
That said, many traditional cultures used the moon as an easier form of time-tracking. Her course, when accounting for the earth’s orbit around the sun, runs about 29-30 days from full moon to full moon. The moon cycle also divides neatly into four segments of about 7-8 days each, making it a useful way to mark the more practical weekly calendar. The moon traces more intimate rhythms, while the sun holds the broad, seasonal cycles.
But the lunar and solar calendars are offset: while there are about twelve full moons in a year, that’s not quite enough to account for all the days between one winter solstice and the next. In fact, there are about 11-12 extra days after twelve lunar cycles before the sun synchronizes with the calendar again. So, in order to keep the daily household rhythm and the seasonal agricultural rhythm aligned, our ancestors simply inserted twelve extra days at the beginning of the year, right after the Winter Solstice. These days existed outside of the normal lunar calendar, and after they were over, the weekly reckoning could recommence and be in line with the solar cycle […]
It’s the time of year, where more often than not we are turning to our medicine cupboard to support our bodies and our families. An abundance of tea herbs, honey and lemon, fresh herbs like ginger, turmeric, cayenne and garlic are all great to have on hand throughout the winter. A few herbal tinctures also play useful roles and are key ingredients in the medicine cabinet.
Elderberry | Elderberry is an excellent superfood-like ally safe to take in large quantities. With elderberry and plenty of rest, our body’s natural response kicks in–that’s why elderberry syrups and tea have long been used to help support optimal immune function. All these amazing herbs come in handy when our resources are low: elderberry helps our body maintain its normal immune response. Because it’s so much like food, it’s incredibly safe for kids, and happens to taste divine when combined with honey–hence the elderberry syrup! This one is a must have for the kitchen herb cabinet as it’s family-safe.
The flowers of Elder are also quite useful and are used for supporting sinuses and a healthy inflammatory response. While lovely in tea because of its sweet aromatic quality, Elderflower also is great in tincture form and used in combination with other herbs. You can find Elderflower in most of our First Aid formulas because this plant is safe, and supports so many different functions of our body.
Elecampane | Herbalists rely on Elecampane when it comes to
Around this time in Vermont is when one of our most prized and delicious plants finally fruits; Sambucus canadensis, the Elderberry!
The Elder, with its umbrella-like clusters of creamy, delicately fragrant blossoms flowers in early July, followed in late August by the large drooping bunches of purple juicy berries. The shrub grows on our farmlands near damp places, along roadsides and on the edges of woods and always brings with it the uncertain feeling that fall is arriving soon and the bounty and harvest of our growing season is at full peak. Elderberries are quite edible and have been an important staple of food for many centuries. The ripe purple berries can be harvested and made into elderberry wine, jam, syrup, and other yummy treats. It also aids as a powerful medicine that is widely known and loved because of its sweet and potent affinity to our immune system.
As the cooler months approach and back to school season starts, it’s important to pay attention to the way that we feel each day, as those early signs of feeling burnt out play an important part in maintaining health. Eating good food, staying hydrated and making sure we get plenty of sleep are all important factors in living healthy through the changing seasons.
Elderberry is a wonderful superfood-like ally that we can take in large quantities, and with plenty of rest our body’s natural response kicks in. Elderberry syrups and tea have long been used to help support optimal immune function. […]