I know this is a fairly unusual post for me to share on my blog in that I haven’t shared anything like this before however this isn’t unusual for me…actually this is very normal! My overwhelming love of nature has over the years taught me many things but one of the lessons that still makes me gasp in amazement is how there are remedies to our ailments simply hanging from branches, hidden in roots or beneath the pretty exterior of petals. Long ago we would have walked out onto the land and gathered only what we needed to see us through the seasons. As I have got even closer to nature through my creativity I have been exploring the remedies it offers and I thought it might be nice to share this with amazing recipe with you. I found it some time ago now online but have since adapted it to suit my needs more which is one of the many benefits of this art. Before I share the elixir with you I thought I would list just some of the benefits…
These are just a few of the amazing benefits to homemade remedies but before going out and picking do some research. Some plants can be very poisonous, if in doubt don’t pick! with that in mind here is the recipe...
'Ever-giving elderberry elixir to support the immune system over the winter months.'
You need :
1. Before beginning decide if you would like to pick in a certain moon phase? The moon has a great affect on our trees as it does us. Do some research and see what feels right. Also do you want to pick at a certain time of day? Dawn, dusk or maybe even during the night (be sure to mind your step though) Is there a special place you would like to pick from, a place of childhood or somewhere you would like to feel more connected to?
2. Find your elder tree and ask silently or allowed for permission to pick, I know this can sometimes feel silly but I feel its very important. So often humans feel they can just keep taking from nature so imagine how nice it must feel to be asked. Trust your intuition if permission is given, very rarely have I been declined but it can happen.
3. Where possible I don’t use scissors to harvest, using your hands makes you feel the tree more and gives a more direct link. Pick the bunches with the most deep purple berries.
4. Try to use a basket when collecting so that little critters can escape with ease.
5. Do not pick masses from one tree and always leave plenty for our birds.
6. Do not eat the berries, although not toxic they have the ability to make you need the toilet in their raw state!
7. Once home use a fork to gently tease the berries off the stalks, I’m not too fussed about stalks getting into the remedy. It makes it even more natural!
8. Wash gently in water and leave to dry on some kitchen paper, you can pat gently but be mindful not to squash them too much.
9. In the meantime you can get your spices ready! As I said this can be very individual but here is what I use…12 whole cloves, 12 dried juniper berries, 3 star anise, 1 cinnamon stick, 16 cardamom pods, 3 black cardamom pods, 12 black peppercorns, slices of fresh ginger. I give the dry spices a light crush in a pestle and mortar.
10. I then put the berries and the spices into a bowl gently mixing with my hands. I find this part very special! This is where I really add some intent as I watch the healing properties of my chosen spices mixing with the fresh berries. I have even been known to sing to it….
11. Gently pour the mix into your jar and fill it with a 3rd port a 3rd brandy and a 3rd honey (local if you can)
12. Now as I stare into the jar with the lid open I ask my grandmothers to add their touch (after all they carry the knowledge) and I whisper to it, asking it for its healing and setting it to rest.
13. Stir with a wooden spoon if needed, label, seal and pop into a dark, cool cupboard for a month. Its nice to take it out every so often and hold it in your hands for a couple of minutes.
14. I always return the bare stalks to the base of the tree with a little biodegradable gift, even if it’s a slice of the ginger or a crystal. Once the elixir is ready I also take a small amount down to feed and thank the tree.
15. After a month I strain the liquid, pop it back into the jar without the pulp and everyday I take a teaspoon in a little water.
and there you have it! a remedy made from your own fair hands :) I would love to know how you get on if you choose to make it yourself.
When I wanted to write this I was very aware that my way of doing things is not the fastest so I doubted if I should write it. However in a society where our entire lives are rushed there are some things that need care and one of those I believe to be are the remedies we use to feed our soul.
Author - Lucy
A painter & needle sculptor creating creatures with a tale to tell and a song in their heart.