What a naturopath eats

Last week, my Facebook newsfeed was plastered with posts and comments about this Business Insider article, featuring a day in the diet of a registered dietitian nutritionist.  Curious what all the fuss and sarcasm was about, I read in shock that her "healthy" diet included a big glass of juice, 3-4 mocha lattes, popcorn, and [...]

By | October 23rd, 2015|In My Garden, Recipes|0 Comments

In praise of weeds

No, I'm not talking about marijuana or the TV show it was named after. The weeds I feel deserve accolades are the plants growing in the cracks in the sidewalk - the most forgotten or despised or ignored of all the plants. Some people spend lots of time and energy spraying weeds with chemicals or yanking them [...]

Crampbark for cramps, duh

As I was walking out the door today, I was struck by the beautiful colour of the Crampbark leaves in the fall. The deep pinkish red hue is a nice contrast to the yellow and green colours that most of the leaves in my garden have right now. The red colour, though not exactly the colour of blood, is a small reminder of Viburnum’s best known medicinal use – to help treat menstrual cramps. I purchased several of these bushes for my garden under the impression that they were Viburnum trilobum, American Highbush Cranberry, sometimes listed as Viburnum opulus var. americanum, which is native to Ontario. […]

By | October 30th, 2014|Herbal Medicine, In My Garden, Women's Health|0 Comments

Making a jewelweed succus

Early one morning I went outside to admire my garden (as I often do) and I noticed how much jewelweed (Impatiens capensis is the native to Ontario species) had taken over and was choking out the lady’s mantle. My kids had clearly done a great job last year of popping the seed pods. Possibly too good a job. There was a lot of jewelweed blocking my view of the lady’s mantle plants which had just started to flower. A little thinning out was needed, so I got to work weeding out the extra jewelweed plants. Naturally, I wasn’t about to waste all that jewelweed. Thankfully, I had a little time before my first patient of the day. In the past I’ve harvested jewelweed and created a mash or juice for immediate use on rashes, stings, bug bites, and especially poison ivy. Conveniently, it often grows right next to poison ivy on riverbanks and wet ground. But since I hadn’t recently been exposed to poison ivy, I decided to make a succus. […]

Jewelweed, poison ivy, and me

Last spring, with the landscaping prowess of Small Spade Gardening, I transformed my front yard into a stunning display of medicinal plants indigenous to Ontario. Once everything was planned and planted, I realized I had forgotten to include one of my favourite native botanicals, jewelweed. A relative of the popular impatiens commonly found in annual flower beds, Impatiens capensis has a smaller more delicate flower on long succulent translucent stems. A couple of months later, as I was weeding and admiring the garden, I noticed my old friend jewelweed had found its place in my yard, filling in the spaces between the eastern hemlock bushes. Although it wasn’t the first time that I’ve invited a plant into my environment only to have it magically appear, it was still a welcome surprise. […]

By | August 18th, 2012|Home Treatments, In My Garden, Kids|2 Comments

Swamp Milkweed

Swamp milkweed, or Asclepias incarnata, is hugely popular with my kids for both its beauty and its playfulness. Gentle pink flowers cluster together like a choir of amazing singers and butterflies flock to drink the sweet nectar hidden inside. The seed pods however, are the parts that bring the most intense joy to the hearts of children and adults alike. […]

By | July 14th, 2012|Herbal Medicine, In My Garden, Kids|0 Comments

In my garden: Blue Vervain

Aside from the aesthetics of having beautiful plants growing in my front yard, one of the main reasons I chose to grow specific plants was to learn more about their therapeutic uses by getting to know them.  Verbena hastata, or Blue Vervain, has been capturing my attention lately, its blue flowering spikes extending higher and higher, continuing to bloom for what seems like an eternity for a perennial plant.  Having rarely used it in my clinical practice, I know Vervain primarily as a Bach Flower remedy. One of the twelve original remedies used by Dr. Bach, it is helpful in mental/emotional states where there is an anxious tension and physical exhaustion related to straining oneself in support of a good cause.  It is for people with fixed principles and ideas, over-achievers who put everything into their undertakings, pushing themselves to take on too much, their minds consistently running, unable to slow down or stop.  […]

By | July 27th, 2011|Herbal Medicine, In My Garden|0 Comments