Archives for posts with tag: Self-Healing

On Bergamot and Blackberry Leaf

Thank you Wikipedia for reminding us that these informative, pleasure-giving engravings are our COMMON heritage, ie, in the Commons!)

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This morning on the radio: not enough talk about the IPCC report, Boo Hiss!  Climate and how we are going to shift the destructive ways of society is the most important topic there is!

But good anyway: mention of a new study linking the Bergamot in Earl Grey Tea with effective reductions in heart disease.  I do love Earl Gray, so feel encouraged to indulge.  Read here about all the goodness in Bergamot extract.

A few questions arose–

Do we consider that these studies took place at universities in the regions of Italy that grow the most of these citrus fruits, thus maybe the researchers are not scientifically neutral, or maybe they are, and it’s all ok?

Do we wonder about the life and conditions of the people working on these farms in Italy, much as years ago the Body Shop  tried to promote community / Fair Trade for the bergamot in their cosmetics?    I remember there being an expose of workers in Haiti who picked the oranges for Grand Marnier— is the citrus industry universally brutal?

So many varieties of citrus, and our knowledge of them is really so limited:  are citrus varieties going the way of homogeneity like so much else in the world food supply managed by agribusiness?

And could I grow Bergamot here in mid-altitude, mid-latitude Wales?  Not really.  Turns out the wonderful Monarda, aka Bee Balm, aka Bergamot, is something completely different even if the smell of the flowers is reminiscent.  But I think someday I’ll try to grow it anyway, for all its own wonders and charms.

Ah, I wish I had a nice cuppa Earl Grey with which ponder and research these issues…

In the meantime, I was reminded of a successful experiment last year, making what I saw referred to as Iron Age Earl Grey? Or was it Stone Age Earl Grey? Or….  Ancient Land of the Celts Earl Grey?  You get the picture.

Brambles are everywhere, and the leaves are nutritious and useful from a herbal point of view.  (And for the tannins, they are great stuck in a fermentation of vegetables to aid in keeping the crunch!)  Here’s another concise description — “Blackberry and Raspberry Plants in Herbal Medicine.”

So when you are out foraging, in byways and fields or a suburban back garden, and  if you find yourself this spring digging the aggressive vines and suckers that shall indeed inherit the earth (not the meek!)– pick the lovely young leaves off the blackberry stems and let them dry inside.    Beat them a little– crumple, rumple, wear them down….  Then let them live in a moist tea towel for a few days, ferment a little, then dry them out again, for use and for storage.  They will have the most lovely perfume, comparable to the bergamot in Earl Grey, and a slight, enjoyable bitterness in the health-giving, foraged tea you make with them.

 

There’s a flu remedy I believe in. It’s pretty popular in the US and less well known in Britain, where the long spells of cold and damp certainly require some of the fire offered by this “cider” — really, Apple Cider Vinegar.  Fire Cider is a  nutritional supplement, really.

It’s considered “traditional”– of course it seems to take a multi-pronged approach to “tradition,” –but no worries — and has entered the DIY healing vernacular. I make it, and I take and give spoonfuls when extra immune boosting is needed, a cold or flu coming on,  or an infection rises somewhere in the body.  I often drink diluted vinegar anyway for a certain kidney-ish ache I seem to get if I eat too much cheese, and the discomfort slowly recedes. Fire Cider is extra powerful.

I prepare mine every year by finely chopping, in various relative quantities: onion, garlic, ginger, dried chills, horseradish if I have it (which is rarely), turmeric, maybe oregano– all the famous goodies. This article  has good variations and tells the story well,  with variations and possibilities.  They add honey– I never have, but what a good idea. There’s no need for strict rules.

Steep your concoction in ACV (as the hipsters call it) for as long as you wish (3 weeks or longer), then strain.  I tend to use what I’ve strained out as a marinade for spicy pork dishes.  You can be creative of course — make a soup– add it to anything really — marinate your tempeh, eat it plain if you’re feeling brave.

I’m writing now because there’s a campaign I support, to keep the name Fire Cider in the commons, belonging to all of us, at a time when a company in the US has trademarked it.  That means– taking something that belongs to all of us, claiming it for themselves, and profiting thereby.   For Goodness Sake!  (Or if I’m being English, “The bloody cheek!”  Here’s the petition– please sign it:

http://freefirecider.com/take-action/

And if you are on Facebook, there’s a really fun action page called Tradition Not Trademark with photos people send in of their own homemade Fire Ciders and themselves toasting to the Fire Cider movement, and the plea to let local retailers know that the trademarked brand is stepping on our toes indeed!

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