Plant Walk Series with Lisa Marie Holmes: Sumac *Rhus glabra*

Hello fellow plant lovers. This week I am happy to introduce you to my friend, Sumac *Rhus glabra*, also known as Staghorn Sumac, Hairy Sumac, and Velvet Sumac. Rhus glabra is native to North America and can be found throughout Canada but there are different types of Sumac around the world.

Sumac is a shrub with alternate compound leaves that can grow into a small tree. In the spring tiny green flowers are produced which are then followed by striking crimson red berries in the fall. The bloom time for Sumac is from June - August. In Autumn, the leaves also turn scarlet red. Sumac prefers to grow in woodsy areas but can be found everywhere - it even grows in wasteland soil!

Whenever I see sumac on the side of the highway, on hiking trails, or even along lake Ontario’s waters edge, it makes me so happy because personally, I think that Sumac has an air of tropicalness to it. With its captivating red colours and really cool leaf shape and disposition, this plant is very special. Furthermore, an infusion of Sumac berries actually tastes like lemonade. My sister and I make “Sumac lemonade” together when we are foraging. 

Sumac * Rhus glabra*

Sumac *Rhus glabra*

Sumac received its name from the Greek word “rhous” meaning “bushy Sumac” & “glabra” meaning “smooth” in reference to its smooth leaves and stems. Traditionally Sumac was used as food, as the berries are potent medicine containing beneficial minerals including calcium. In Ayurvedic medicine Sumac has been known to be used for its cooling effect on the body. 

Sumac infusions taste delicious and can offer a wide array of healing powers such as: 

  • Tonifying the bowels by gently cleansing and working as an astringent throughout the gastrointestinal tract

  • Helps Regulates blood sugar

  • Increases immune function making it a great remedy when fighting off a cold or sore throat

  • Externally can help treat burns and skin irritations when applied topically

  • It can increase the flow of breast milk

  • Can be made into a cough syrup as it is sweet and has high vitamin C content

Sumac * Rhus glabra*

Sumac *Rhus glabra*

Energetically Sumac is helpful for those who are having a difficult time connecting to the heart and may feel lonely or withdrawn from those around them. It symbolizes Rebirth. It allows us to connect during times that we may feel as if life is passing us by without our control. Overall Sumac draws us within and supports a deep heart connection. This is a useful remedy to take to find strength during difficult times. 

Making a Sumac infusion is a simple & delicious way to incorporate Sumac medicine and harness its power.  The infusion can be helpful when sick with a cold, asthma, or diarrhea. 

Sumac Lemonade Infusion Ingredients:
-Sumac Berries
-Water
Instructions:
Find out if the fruit (the fuzzy red clusters) is ripe. If it is sour but pleasant, the fruit is ripe. Place 1-3 heads of fruit clusters and place in jar or bowl. Pour water over fruit and steep for ~1-2 hours (longer if you want it to be more potent). Strain & Enjoy! You may want to add cane sugar or honey to lighten up the flavour.

Thank you for following along this week’s herb walk. I hope you enjoyed getting to know the vivacious Sumac. There is so much to learn about this medicine that I am unable to share it all in one post - I hope you feel inspired to learn more about what is calling to you within what I’ve shared! We are all lifelong students, and to discover and share some of Mother Earths wisdom each week is a true gift.  This post is not meant to diagnose or prescribe, but is meant to be a fun reminder that there is medicine all around us.

Sending Love and Light
xo
Lisa Marie Holmes

Follow me on my social media platforms for more fun, loving, healthy lifestyle stories and adventure!
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Twitter: @lisa_m_holmes

plant walk series with lisa marie holmes: sumac



Sources:

https://commonwealthherbs.com/sumac-herb-of-the-week/

https://altnature.com/gallery/sumach.htm

Plant Walk Series with Lisa Marie Holmes: Lemon Balm *Melissa officinalis*

Hello, and thank you for joining this week’s Plant Walk Tuesday. It is an honour to have you here. This week I am excited to introduce you to a personal favourite medicinal plant of mine - the beautiful and seductive Lemon Balm *Melissa officinalis*. 

lemon balm with lisa marie holmes

Lemon Balm originates from Southern and Central Europe but is widespread throughout the world. Lemon Balm received its common name due to its pleasant lemony aroma. In Greek, the name ‘Melissa’ means ‘honeybee’, and it just so happens that bees actually love the aromatic flowers of the Lemon Balm plant. Lemon Balm is also known as ‘the bringer of gladness’ as energetically, it is known to brightens one’s days. 

Around the world and throughout the ages, humans have harnessed the magnificence of the powerful Lemon Balm. In Ancient Rome, Lemon Balm was used to infuse wine. In Ayurveda it has been used to calm an upset stomach. Traditional Chinese Medicine has incorporated Lemon Balm for its’ cooling & drying properties. The Celtics infused Lemon Balm in their witches love spells to heal broken hearts and attract a lover. The leaves of the Lemon Balm plant are edible and this summer I added the leaves to jams & green salads to sweeten the taste. The symbolism of Lemon Balm is longevity, purification, and LOVE.

Lemon Balm is a member of the mint family. You can always tell when a plant is a member of the mint family by touching its stem - the stem is in a square shape, not cylindrical. Its broad heart shaped leaves resemble other members of the mint family. Lemon Balm has white or yellow tinted flowers that form small bunches in the summertime. Lemon Balm is a great addition to any garden as it is easy to grow and offers a lovely scent and presence. 

In Western Herbalism, Lemon Balm is known for embodying a wide range of healing effects. Some of these include (but are not all encompassing):

  • Dense nutrients making it a great addition to your diet.

  • Act as a nervine which means that Lemon Balm feeds, tones, and strengthens the nervous system. This herb is a fabulous addition to an anxiolytic blend addressing nervous system disorders such as anxiety.

  • Is a mild sedative - encourages sleep and eases tension.

  • Is a diaphoretic.

  • Is Antiviral – topical applications of Lemon Balm essential oil have antiviral properties helping with viral infections such as herpes.

  • As a carminative Lemon Balm can relieve digestive disturbance and help calm an upset tummy.

  • It has been known to Strengthen the brain’s resistance to stress & shock.

Energetically Lemon Balm has been known to uplift the spirit and calm the mind. It eases one’s mind, body, and spirit allowing you to slow down and let go of stressful/anxious thoughts. When you feel spread too thin, Lemon Balm is a wonderful ally to turn to. 

Lemon Balm gives such a wonderful taste that I enjoy drinking an infusion of it by itself. It will calm your nervous system, ease digestion, and it’s delicious!

Herbal Infusion Ingredients:

-2 TSP Lemon Balm

-Hot water

Instructions: Pour boiling water over the herb and steep for ~ 10 minutes. Strain & Enjoy! 

lemon balm with lisa marie holmes

Thank you for following along with me. Lemon Balm is an important herb for all of us to become acquainted with because it is undeniable that we can all experience stress & overload in our fast paced culture. Our nervous systems need a helping hand all too often & Lemon Balm can really work like magic. There is so much to share about Lemon Balm that unfortunately I was unable to incorporate everything in one short post.  This post is not meant to diagnose or prescribe but meant to inspire you.  I encourage you to discover and find out more about Lemon Balm. 

Sending Love and Light
xo
Lisa Marie Holmes

Follow me on my social media platforms for more fun, loving, healthy lifestyle stories and adventure!
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Twitter: @lisa_m_holmes


Sources: 

https://theherbalacademy.com/a-family-herb-lemon-balm-benefits/

https://www.herbco.com/t-lemon-balm.aspx

Plant Walk Series with Lisa Marie Holmes: Black Raspberry *Rubus occidentalis*

Thank you for joining this week’s Plant Walk Tuesday. I am so grateful to have you here sharing this space with me. I welcome the opportunity for both of us to learn and share herbal wisdom with one another so feel free to comment and share an experience if an herb resonates with you. 

Herbal medicine has been used throughout history by all different cultures. How lucky are we that Mother Earth provides the medicine, wisdom, and connection that we may be seeking? Whether we harness the plant world’s power by consuming it as food, using it as materials for survival, or investing in it for the benefits of our own longevity and wellbeing, there is no denying the intricately woven connection between us + our planet. This is why I find Plant Walks so inspiring. There is something magical about honing in our focus and paying strict attention to the living beings who surround us - even if we live in the city - Nature always finds us and we can always find Her.

Black Raspberry *Rubus occidentalis* Location: Blue Mountain Region

Black Raspberry *Rubus occidentalis* Location: Blue Mountain Region

With that being said, let’s dive into todays highlighted plant, the Black Raspberry *Rubus occidentalis*. This member of the Rose family originates from eastern North America. Rubus occidentalis is not to be confused with its close relative Rubus leucodermis, which is found on the opposite coast in the west and is also referred to as “Black Raspberry.”

Traditionally the entire plant was valued as both food and medicine, and is still appreciated for the same reasons today. Black Raspberry is a delicious edible plant that can be incorporated into many different dishes + beverages for its delicious taste & nutrients. You can have some fun creating beautiful food decor and cocktails (and mock-tails too of course!). 

Rubus Occidentalis can be seen throughout eastern North America in shady grasslands & forests.  Black Raspberry can seem confusing. Is it raspberry? Is it blackberry? It’s neither! Black Raspberry is a completely separate plant that can be distinguished by its thorny, angled, and blueish stems. It has groups of leaves with 3- 5 leaflets. The bottom side of the leaves are white & hairy – another distinguishing factor is how white the backside of the leaves are compared to the other species. White flowers bloom in the spring. Once the flowers become pollinated, they’ll transform into the black berries. The centre of Black Raspberries are hollow in comparison to the white core of a Blackberry. Personally, I find Black Raspberries sweeter than their Red Raspberry friends.

Energetically, the Black Raspberry symbolizes Protection, Love, and has been used in Glamour, Enchantments, and Love Potions. So, that being said, keep your eyes open for some homemade potions from my very own garden soon.

Black Raspberries are sweet & tasty, but also extremely nutritious. It has been labeled as a superfood and has three times more antioxidants than the infamous Red Raspberry. Some of the powerful benefits of Black Raspberry include:

  • Contains Vitamin A, E, C, K, and B complex vitamins

  • Contains magnesium, calcium, potassium, copper, iron, and magnese

  • Can increase the function of the immune system, and lower inflammation

  • Fight off free radicals, and slow down aging.

  • Regulates blood sugar and improve digestion.

Black Raspberry *Rubus occidentalis* Location: Blue Mountain Region

Black Raspberry *Rubus occidentalis* Location: Blue Mountain Region

These berries honestly pack a punch and are exploding healthful actions. I highly suggest incorporating Black Raspberry into your diet as the list of benefits goes on and on. I enjoy drinking Black Raspberry leaf infusions. The infusion can be helpful in relieving cough, diarrhea, and/or nausea symptoms.

Infusion Ingredients:
-2 TSP Black Raspberry Leaf
-8 oz of hot water 
Directions: First pour the boiling water over the plant and steep for ~10 minutes. Strain & enjoy! You may want to add honey to lighten up the flavour! 

Thank you so much for following along with me on what has become a very fulfilling Plant Walk Tuesday tradition! It is an honour to share my passion for herbal medicine in order to make the world a healthier & happier place! Black Raspberry has so many beneficial qualities that I was unable to share all of its wisdom. It is my intention that you will feel called to explore more about the Black Raspberry and any plants that are calling to you specifically.

This series is not meant to diagnose or prescribe. Herbal medicine allows us to connect to our ancestors and Mother Earth, the provider of life for us all. Let us honour her and nurture her the way she does us. 

Sending Love and Light
xo
Lisa Marie Holmes

Follow me on my social media platforms for more fun, loving, healthy lifestyle stories and adventure!
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Plant Walk Tuesday With Lisa Marie Holmes

Plant Walk Series with Lisa Marie Holmes: Chicory *Cichorium intybus*

Hello, and thank you for joining this week’s Plant Walk Tuesday! I am absolutely thrilled to have you here because I believe that harnessing a strong connection with the plant community is vital to our wellbeing as well as the wellbeing of our Mother Earth. When we recognize how humans + the plant community have co-existed since the beginning of time, we can begin to embrace the power and wisdom that the plant community holds as allies on our journey to harmonizing our mind-body-spirit connection. I believe that Herbal Medicine is the healthiest Medicine on Earth and it is our responsibility to protect the land knowing that in return, she will protect us too. 

chicory with lisa marie holmes

On today’s Plant Walk Tuesday I am excited to introduce you to the beautiful Chicory Cichorium intybus. Chicory is a perennial native to Europe and can also be found throughout North America and many other parts of the world. FUN FACT: Chicory is one of the earliest plants recorded in literature as Horace, a 2,000 year old ancient Roman poet, wrote in an article that his diet consisted of “olives, chicory, and winter anemones” (Me pascunt olivae, me cichorea, me malvae”).

Traditionally Chicory was recognized as food for its unique taste and nutritional benefits. In Egypt the leaves were used fresh for green salads and in Europe the roots would be boiled and eaten like carrots. 

When flowering, Chicory has a tough, grooved, and hairy stem. It can grow between 30-100 cm tall and the flowers are most commonly described as being light purple, light blue, and very rarely, pink or white. Chicory is closely related to the Dandelion family as it shares similarities in both appearance in the leaves and stems as well as healing properties which explains why one of Chicory’s nicknames is the ‘Blue Dandelion’. Like the Dandelion, it can pop up anywhere under sun, which is why in Germany it is given the nickname “Wegwarte” meaning ‘path plant’. No matter how sunny the day is Chicory flowers regularly close in the late afternoon and re-open in the early morning. 

Ground Chicory root has grown increasingly popular in the last few years as it developed a reputation for being a coffee substitute for those looking to wean off of coffee. Chicory is caffeine free so it does not provide the same burst of energy; however, it has a similar pleasant, bitter, dark, and rich taste to that of coffee. On top of satisfying a coffee lovers desire for warmth and bitterness, Chicory has many other special healthy attributes including its ability to (just to name a few):

  • Treat nervous system disorders such as anxiety.

  • Lower blood sugar and cholesterol.

  • Is a purifying tonic for the liver, blood, and kidneys.

  • It is a bitter so it promotes digestive health by stimulating the production of bile.

  • It is a gentle diuretic and laxative which helps alleviate constipation.

  • It is also a wonderful food source because it is high in inulin which is a powerful prebiotic. Prebiotics are fibre that feed the good bacteria in our gut (However, avoid if following the FODMAP diet).

Chicory

Chicory

Energetically Chicory reminds us to have patience for others and to turn our focus from ourselves onto others. It allows us to open our hearts with patience, gratitude, and empathy. Overall Chicory provides us with the power to give unconditional love

I encourage you to try adding chicory leaves in your diet for the nutritional benefit. However, an easier way to incorporate Chicory as the seasons begin to change is by making an infusion. 

Infusion Ingredients:

  • 2TSP dried chicory

  • Hot water

Instructions:

Cover the Chicory with boiling water and steep for ~10 minutes. Strain, and enjoy! 

Please make yourself aware of the cautions and contraindications of Chicory consumption if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Furthermore, if there is an allergy to the Compositae family (ragweed, asters, sunflowers, etc….) I recommend that you consult your local herbalist or health care professional before using this product.

I hope you have enjoyed getting to know Chicory this week! Thank you for joining me 😊. This post is not meant to be medical advice, but intended to inspire you to learn more about Chicory, and the benefits of incorporating herbal medicine in your daily life! Of course this blog post is not all encompassing of Chicory and its amazing contribution to land and self, so I recommend that you have fun exploring the beautiful herb yourself for further insight. 

Sending Love and Light
xo
Lisa Marie Holmes

Follow me on my social media platforms for more fun, loving, healthy lifestyle stories and adventure!
Instagramlisa.marie.holmes
FacebookLisa Marie Holmes
Twitter: @lisa_m_holmes


Sources:

https://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/c/chicor61.html

http://snaplant.com/herbs/what-is-chicory-history-and-uses/

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Plant Walk Series with Lisa Marie Holmes: Evening Primrose *Oenothera biennis*

Hello, and thank you for joining this weeks Plant Walk Tuesday with LMH. I am so happy to have you here! Today I will be introducing you to one of my favourite herbal allies, Evening Primrose {Oenothera biennis}. This beauty received its’ name due to its’ sensitivity to the moonlight which allows its’ bright yellow flowers to bloom at night. As a result, it has received the nickname “Evening Star”.

Evening Primrose

Evening Primrose

Evening primrose is native to North America, but can also be found throughout Europe. During the Second World War, Evening Primrose seeds were used as a coffee substitute due to food rationing. In the traditional medical system of India, Ayurveda, Evening Primrose is used  for inflammatory disorders such as arthritis. Evening Primrose is utilized in Traditional Chinese Medicine to increase the flow of Qi (energy) and blood. Please remember, that these highlighted points are not all encompassing and there are many different uses, purposes, and actions regarding the plants discussed in my blog. My intention here is to remind you that this plant, like many others, is used by many communities around the world in different ways and for different beautiful reasons. To learn more about the cultural significants of different herbs, I urge you to connect with someone from that culture and allow them to share with you the medicine of their peoples and the plant’s historical understanding to them. 

This herbal staple can be found in every province. It thrives in full sun and well-drained soil. In the late summer yellow flowers sprout out of the top of the leafy stalks. These four petaled flowers have a beautiful lemon aroma

Evening Primrose can be utilized as an infusion for a sore throat or topically as a poultice for wounds. However, it is commonly used as an oil for a wide range of healing benefits including:

  • As a vaginal lubricant before and during sexual intercourse. The oil helps increase vaginal secretions and aids those suffering from vaginal dryness. You can purchase the oil in capsule form and poke a hole into it, apply the oil to your fingers, and massage as needed.

  • Breast pain, PMS, and hormone related issues.

  • For a variety of skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis, and eczema. Adding a few drops of Evening Primrose oil to the skin can enhance cell structure and elasticity.

  • Relieves symptoms of arthritis & osteoporosis. Massaging the oil into the affected areas can reduce pain by increasing blood flow, enhancing circulation, and reducing stiffness.

  • Beneficial to use during pregnancy for preventing high blood pressure, and shortening labour time.

  • Can reduce hot flashes in menopause, and relieve PMS & painful abdominal cramps associated with menstruation.

  • Add to foods for a high source of essential fatty acids.

Energetically this night bloomer reminds us to shine our light even in the darkness. It allows us to face our shadows, and feel more at peace & whole by accepting our own true essence. As a flower essence, Evening Primrose is a wonderful remedy for someone feeling rejected in life or who has absorbed negative energy from their parents. It can help those who feel sexual and emotional repression.

Evening Primrose with Lisa Marie Holmes

Evening Primrose is a safe herb, however, although the oil is a great source of nutrients it should not be used for cooking. Its’ low smoke point will cause the oil to go rancid when heated. 

Thank you for following along with me this week! Evening Primrose is such a lovely ally that is often neglected in the herbal world so I appreciate you taking the time to learn more! It brings me so much joy to be able to share my love of herbal medicine with you! This post is not meant to diagnose or prescribe. It is my intention that you will feel inspired to go out and learn more about this beauty since I was unable to share all of the useful ways Evening Primrose can be incorporated into your life in just one short post. 

Sending Love and Light
xo
Lisa Marie Holmes

Follow me on my social media platforms for more fun, loving, healthy lifestyle stories and adventure!
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Twitter: @lisa_m_holmes

Evening Primrose

Evening Primrose

Plant Walk Series with Lisa Marie Holmes: *Medicinal Mushrooms*

As herbalists we immerse ourselves fully and whole heatedly into the world of plant medicine and its complex healing potential. Mushrooms are something we learn about and revere, but often with caution and hesitation. Their complexity and amassment can seem daunting and overwhelming at times and can cause us to overlook these invaluable medicines. In a world where our immune systems are bombarded and overwhelmed on a daily basis, never has it been more important to dive into the use of mushrooms as medicine. 

Although mushrooms feel like a foreign entity, ironically, they have journeyed beside us all along. One of the oldest known organisms on earth, they dominate in species numbers up to 10,000 and span unfathomable mileage as they grow in complex mycelial networks below our feet. They spy on us from trees while they spit spores into the air so inconspicuously yet intentionally at numbers that would astound you. It is one of the many heartbeats of nature, sharing an alarming number of genetic similarities to you. They don’t just adorn your pepperoni pizza and attempt to pass as a vegetable… mushrooms are more complex and intelligent than you could ever imagine. 

So why are we becoming so aware of our fungal companions? Psilocybin is being toted as a powerful tool to treat a wide range of ailments, from PTSD to depression making it hard to ignore. But this is only one mushroom, one drop in the bucket of so many unique and powerful fungal allies. 

You may be familiar with some of the other top contenders; Reishi, Lions Mane, Cordyceps, Maiitake, Shiitake, Turkey Tail, Chaga, Morels, Chanterelles and Oyster mushrooms (to name a few.) Yes its true some mushrooms are more buzzworthy and trendy. This is because research and cultural uses have gravitated towards the most well known and medicinal species. 

Turkey Tail

Turkey Tail

Although we are still on the cusp of understanding how mushrooms interact with the human body, much of the research focuses on constituents called “Beta-glucans.” Beta-glucans appear to dance with our innate immune mechanisms in a way that orchestrates a variety of healing or ever so gently guides our body in its own healing processes. Think of beta-glucans as a pesky parent telling you to clean up your room and pointing out what needs to be cleaned. That’s sort of how they function in the human body; they tell our immune systems what to start cleaning up and what to become aware of (with a swift kick in the butt.) Each mushroom contains different fungal beta-glucans, unique in their directive and intentions in the body. This means that different mushrooms may be more fitting to certain people or conditions. 

Lions Mane Mushroom (for example) has been researched for its role in cognitive health, memory and treatment of dementia. Turkey Tail Mushroom contains certain constituents that are used as a standard treatment for people in Japan who are undergoing chemotherapy or radiation. Shiitake mushroom has been researched to be anti-tumour and anti-viral (with a staggering ability to support the host in its defence.) These are just small examples of why mushrooms are gaining attention. In a world where cancer impacts so many individuals, having a natural substance with limited side effects (if any) on your side is worth taking note. 

Lion’s Mane Mushroom

Lion’s Mane Mushroom

There are a few important points to take into consideration before using this beautiful and powerful medicine. 

Firstly, not all mushrooms supplements are made equally. Unfortunately, when it comes to mushrooms powders or capsules, you get what you pay for. Looking for companies that provide sustainable and organic harvesting and test for beta-glucan content is an important process. Furthermore, if you choose to harvest your own mushrooms, please do so in a sustainable fashion and always leave more than 2/3 of the source.

Secondly, “not all medicine is medicine for everyone.” This means simply that mushrooms are not necessary for every person to take on a daily basis. They do however support the body in times of stress, lowered immunity, or where a history of cancer or chronic illness is present.

Chaga

Chaga

If you want to begin to reap the benefits of mushrooms today, a great way to start is by cooking with organic mushrooms you purchase in the store. Look for Shiitake mushrooms, Morels or Chanterelles and add them to your favourite dishes. Cooked is always better when it comes to mushrooms and trusting the source is also massively important. Lastly, when you find yourself out for a walk in the woods look up… observe the way mushrooms grow on trees or on roadsides, or creek beds or cracks in the concrete. They grow in families with strength and endurance in even the most adverse conditions. 

If you are like me and are interested in learning more about mushrooms and benefiting from their medicinal gifts, the ladies at Thrive Custom Herbals are a great source of information and offer beautiful products. Located on the west coast of Canada in British Colombia, you can access their website at: www.thrivecustomherbals.com and if you get to see them in person make sure you give them a big hug for me!

Sending Love and Light
xo
Lisa Marie Holmes

Follow me on my social media platforms for more fun, loving, healthy lifestyle stories and adventure!
Instagramlisa.marie.holmes
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Twitter: @lisa_m_holmes

Giant Puffball Mushroom

Giant Puffball Mushroom

Plant Walk Series with Lisa Marie Holmes: Horehound *Marrubium vulgare*

horehound with lisa marie holmes
IMG_5811.jpeg

Hello, and thank you for joining this week’s Tuesday Plant Walk with LMH! I am honoured to have you on this journey with me. Today I am introducing you to Horehound (Marrubium vulgare).  Horehound is a member of the mint family and originates from Asia, Europe, and Africa. Horehound, also known as white Horehound has a close relative, black Horehound (Ballota nigra). Although the two Horehounds are similar, black Horehound has a more bitter taste, and they have slightly different medicinal properties. 

Horehound can be distinguished by its’ musky smell. It has green leaves covered in white fuzzy hairs. In the summertime little white (or purple depending on the strain) flowers bloom out of its’ leaves. Horehound grows all over, but it is a heat lover, making it easier to find in warmer climates. It can be viewed as an invasive plant, however Horehound can be a great addition to your garden as it keeps harmful insects & animals away. I suggest growing your Horehound in its’ own container to prevent invasiveness. 

Horehound has been used medicinally for more than 2,000 years. Ancient Egyptian priests used Horehound for its’ potent respiratory effects and ability to treat malaria & fever. Swiss Physician and alchemist Paracelsus referred to it as the “medicine of the lungs”.  In Traditional Chinese Medicine Horehound is used to clear heat, move Qi (energy and life force) throughout the body, resolve phlegm, and calm tremors. Although this may be the first time you are hearing of Horehound, there is a good chance this medicine has helped you ease a cough, as it is an ingredient in the famous Ricola cough drops. 

Some of Horehound’s many beneficial qualities include:

  • Its’ bitter properties help to stimulate digestion & balance appetite.

  • It’s an expectorant meaning it promotes stimulation of the bronchioles - soothing coughs and runny noses.

  • Horehound strengthens the immune system & relieves fevers.

  • It’s antispasmodic, meaning it can ease spasms, making it a great menstrual cramp remedy.

  • Can be used externally to promote the healing of wounds.

My favourite way to incorporate Horehound in my medicine cabinet is by making an herbal syrup. Making a syrup helps to combat Horehound’s bitter flavour, and it is so delicious! Having a cough never tasted so good 😉. 

Ingredients:

-½ cup fresh Horehound or ¼ cup dried 

-2 cups of water

-3 cups of honey 

-Stainless steel pot 

horehound with lisa marie holmes

Instructions: 
Place the Horehound & water in the pot, and then bring the water to a boil. Remove from heat and steep for 10 minutes. Strain the plant material using a cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer, and add the honey. Taste your medicine, and if it needs some extra sweetness add additional honey. Take one teaspoon as needed. You can store the medicine in a glass container in the fridge for up to two months. 

Horehound can be a beneficial medicine for everyone as we all are burdened by common colds far too often. However, this medicine can be especially helpful for the elderly. Its’ ability to stimulate digestion, balance appetite, ward off coughs, and improve the immune system make it a powerful ally for those with weaker constitutions. Horehound is a relatively safe medicinal herb, but should be avoided if pregnant. 

Thank you for following along with me, I am so grateful to have you here! I am unable to share all of the beneficial properties of Horehound in one post, but it is my intention to inspire you to learn more about Horehound on your own, and the benefits of incorporating herbal medicine in your life. This post is not meant to diagnose or prescribe. I hope that the next time you catch a cold you feel inspired to utilize your new friend, Horehound. 

Sending Love and Light
xo
Lisa Marie Holmes

Follow me on my social media platforms for more fun, loving, healthy lifestyle stories and adventure!
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Twitter: @lisa_m_holmes

horehound leaves with lisa marie holmes

Plant Walk Series with Lisa Marie Holmes: Comfrey *Symphytum officinale*

comfrey with lisa marie holmes

Hi my beauties. Welcome to this weeks Plant Walk Tuesday with LMH! Today I will be introducing you to one of my all time favourite herbs, Comfrey (Symphytum officinale). Comfrey is native to Europe & Asia, but can be found throughout North America. Keep your eyes peeled for it along creeks, ponds, and lakes because comfrey has an affinity for bodies of water. However, it can thrive in just about any soil, showing its’ tenacious spirit

Out of Comfrey’s large branching roots sprout thick leaves that are covered in prickly hairs.There are about 35 different species of this herb, but Symphytum officinale is distinguished by its bell-shaped purple flowers that appear in the summertime. Varying species of Comfrey will bear flowers in different colours such as white or blue. 

Although gardeners may try and weed this vigorous plant out of their gardens, comfrey has been used as a healing herb for 2,000 + years. Comfrey was first used in Greece to stop bleeding, assist chest complaints, and heal wounds. In Traditional Chinese Medicine comfrey clears heat in the body and builds healthy blood. 

Comfrey’s name Symphytum means “to unite” which pays tribute to its’ most notable ability: to heal broken bones, torn ligaments, sprains, and any damage to aching joints. For this reason it has also gained the nickname “knitbone” as it fuses bones back together! Although this significant quality is astounding, Comfrey’s other medicinal actions showcase its diverse range of healing benefits which include:

  • Digestive demulcent meaning it soothes and reduces irritation in the GI tract

  • Due to its astringent (drying) qualities it is a great remedy for coughs and other lung related issues

  • Mucilage, or the gel like property of comfrey helps to soothe and protect irritated tissues making it an excellent herb to use externally to moisturize & rejuvenate skin cells

  • Contains proteins for short term memory cells. Add to your salads for brain health :)

  • Allotin, a compound in comfrey stimulates the healing of torn tissues. Allotin makes it beneficial to use in sitz baths after giving birth - I would highly recommend this for all the new & future mamma’s out there!

  • Used externally to calm aches making it a great ally for those suffering from arthritis pains.

Comfrey is also known for its energetic properties, it heals wounds so deep that it has a profound effect on the soul’s journey. Comfrey can be an ally to those working through old traumas, bringing comfort through difficult times. It is believed that bathing in comfrey can bring deep spiritual cleansing, in ancient times woman bathed in it - believing their virginities would be restored. Comfrey is used magically to protect  travellers!  On your next journey place it in your luggage & shoes while traveling. Overall this grounding herb provides a sense of structure for those that work closely with it. 

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One of my favourite ways to incorporate comfrey in my medicine cabinet is as a poultice. A poultice is the use of moist or mashed herbs externally to draw out impurities, soothe rashes or insect bites, and increase circulation. A Comfrey poultice can be used to heal wounds

Ingredients: 

  • 2 TBS comfrey leaves

  • Hot water

  • Cheese cloth

  • Rubber band

Instructions: 

Mash the leaves in hot water, and place in the cheese cloth tying the ends together with the rubber band. Gently place the poultice against your wound. Use for 10 minutes and then repeat again in an hour.

I also LOVE applying it on my face and making a mask out of it to support healthy skin cells.

Comfrey has become quite controversial due to its theorized internal toxicityThe alkaloids (antioxidants) present in Comfrey can be toxic to the liver when used as isolates (extracted, concentrated, and lacking the synergistic harmony of other constituents balancing it out. Sounds like another type of familiar medicine right?). However, the plant has been used for its’ beneficial qualities for centuries. When used properly, Comfrey is a powerhouse that should not be ignored. Due to its effectiveness to mend broken bones, comfrey should not be applied to a broken or fractured bone until the bone is set by a professional, as it can cause the injury to heal improperly.

 Thank you for taking this journey with me. It is an honour to share my love & knowledge of herbal medicine with you all. Comfrey has many beneficial properties beyond what I could incorporate in one blog post. I encourage you to have fun with what I have shared and dig deeper into what has sparked your interest.  This is not meant to diagnose or prescribe. It is my intention to inspire you along your path of discovering the dynamic ways herbal medicine can be incorporated into your daily life. Next time you catch comfrey in your garden I hope you see beyond its reputations for being a pesky weed :) 

Sending Love and Light
xo
Lisa Marie Holmes

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comfrey with Lisa Marie Holmes

Plant Walk Series with Lisa Marie Holmes: Motherwort *Leonurus cardiaca*

Motherwort leaves

Hello, and thank you for joining me for this week’s Plant Walk Tuesday! Today we will be meeting the herbal healer Motherwort. This bitter, spicy, and warming herb is a member of the mint family. It is thought to originate from southeastern Europe and Asia. Traditionally used by the ancient Greeks as a remedy for postpartum women suffering from anxiety, this plant received its binomial latin name “Leonurus cardiaca” (which directly translates to “lion’s heart”) for it’s ability, both energetically and physically, to calm the heart, ease palpitations, and sooth the nervous system.

In the right environment, Motherwort can grow quite tall reaching heights up to 10 feet. It has a strong & sturdy stem with leaves branching out. In the summertime, beautiful pink or white fuzzy flowers bloom. This is a great herb to add to your medicinal garden. Once planted, Motherwort will multiply, and continue to grow for years! For this reason it is advised to plant seedlings about 1 foot apart

The meaning behind both the common & Latin name of this phenomenal herb pays tribute to it’s healing powers. The name Motherwort relates to how this vitalizing medicine has been used for centuries to heal mothers, and play a supportive role for all women as they transition through all the seasons of life.  

LMH with Motherwort

Motherwort can be used to reduce anxiety and heart palpitations, treat postpartum depression, and ease menopausal symptoms. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Motherwort is used to regulate the menstrual cycle, and reduce symptoms of PMS. 

Energetically, a herbal infusion of Motherwort can be equated to the feeling of a mother’s embrace - calm, soothing, full of tenderness and warmth. Let’s be honest who doesn’t need a little extra tender lovin care from the powers of a lioness’s heart from time to time? 

A great way use Motherwort is as a tincture. Due to it’s bitter properties I find this medicine more enjoyable, and the tincture loosely reminds me of the smell of chocolate. This medicine calms anxiety, loneliness, and stress by giving extra love to the heart centre. For this reason it can also be a great remedy to use to draw deep into meditation or relaxation of any kind by taking off some of the weight we as humans carry around with us in our heart, and therefore allowing us to drop into a clear and centred head & heart space. 

This is a safe medicine, but should be avoided for those that are pregnant due to it being an emmenagogue, which means it can help stimulate menstrual flow.

I hope you have enjoyed getting to know a little bit about the powers of the Lion’s Heart, Leonurus cardiaca, Motherwort. I myself have been fostering a deeper connection with this beautiful plant lately as it has been calling to me for some time now. 

This post is intended to shine light on the medicine especially for the ladies out there who can benefit from this vital ally (men can use it too of course!). However, the list of actions and benefits that Motherwort has is extensive and by no means summarized in totality in this post. Everyone can benefit from using this medicine but please remember that this is intended to be fun and shed light on different plant medicines so you can feel inspired to discover more about what is calling you! This post is not intended to be used as medical advice or a prescription. Thank you so much for taking this walk with me! See you next week 😊

LMH with Motherwort

Sending Love and Light
xo
Lisa Marie Holmes

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LMH & Motherwort

Plant-based Watermelon Ceviche Recipe

watermelon ceviche

Plant-based watermelon ceviche recipe inspired by the traditional Peruvian dish.

I love a plant-based spin off of a traditional recipe. Michael and I have been predominantly plant-based for ~2 years and we have discovered some of the most unbelievably delicious recipes that I am excited to share with you. My paleo recipes were a huge hit on Holmes and Holmes Season 1 and 2 and I aim to not disappoint with this plant-based switch ;) .

Summer time in Ontario is a great opportunity to play around with fresh produce and see what yummies you can create in the kitchen. You’ll be amazed to learn the different flavour profiles and combinations that work well together. I love how well fruit pairs with spice. It is getting hot. up. in. HERE!!

Okay, let’s get to it. Here is the recipe that I created today. Please remember that my measurements are very loose as I am not a numbers gal and I tend to go rogue with recipes often. I did my best to get a general idea of measurements for you today but I encourage you to connect with and feel the food that you are working with, then make it your own. Use my recipe as a guide and then run wild baby!

watermelon ceviche recipe
watermelon ceviche recipe
watermelon ceviche recipe
watermelon ceviche

What you’ll need:

  • 15 minutes prep time (speedy baby!)

  • 4 cups of watermelon

  • 2 avocados

  • 1/4 a heaping cup of red onion

  • 4 tbsp lemon juice

  • 1 jalapeño (to taste depending on how spicy you like it and how spicy that particular jalapeño is)

  • 1/2 cup of cilantro - no featured in this version (unfortunately)

  • sea salt to taste

    Instructions:

  • Slice and dice the watermelon

  • Slice and dice the avocados

  • Slice and dice the jalapeño

  • Slice and dice the red onion

  • Chop up the cilantro loosely

  • Combine all ingredients

  • Drizzle on your lemon juice

  • Crack that salt to taste

  • BOOM! Serve with corn chippies, thick sliced peppers, or whatever crackers you have on hand.

    Health Info:

    I can’t let you go without mentioning a few fun health facts about watermelon. This large, juicy, tasty fruit has so many nutritional benefits including being packed full of electrolytes, lycopene, fibre, antioxidants, and living enzymes. It is cleansing for the kidneys and helps flush out toxins such as uric acid. A delicious and healthy intake of watermelon is useful in the prevention of diseases such as cancer, signs of aging like wrinkles, protecting over-all skin health, supporting the cardiovascular system, AND the seeds are full of healthy fats, phytonutrients, and fibre roughage to boot (we love a healthy digestive tract!).

Enjoy this delicious appetizer at your next summer picnic or bbq. It is sure to be a fan favourite! It is refreshing, spicy, zesty, gluten free, and vegan! It is a dish that EVERYONE can enjoy.

Bon appétit!

Sending Love and Light
xo
Lisa Marie Holmes

Follow me on my social media platforms for more fun, loving, healthy lifestyle stories and adventure!
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FacebookLisa Marie Holmes 

Watermelon ceviche + chips

Watermelon ceviche + chips