My herb mentor and friend, Donna d’Terra, instilled within me a belief that one of the most effective ways we can stay well is to consume herbs daily as food medicine. Some of these herbs should be wild – for there is magic in wild foods that none can find in domesticated fruits, herbs, and vegetables.
To put this into practice, Donna gave our 9-Month Herbal Apprenticeship group an assignment to consume at least one wild herb every day for a month.
I’ll admit that initially, this assignment was daunting. Having recently moved to Motherland (the beautiful 160 acre botanical sanctuary we live on) from the suburbs of San Diego, I was just getting to know the wild plants that grew abundantly on the land. Nevertheless, I knew the herbs were out there and I knew it was time to get to know them.
The assignment required that I get creative, because I just didn’t feel right listing “chickweed in a salad” as my wild food for every day of the month!
Over the next few weeks, I began to enjoy wild herbs in exciting ways: nettle and horsetail infused apple cider vinegar, plantain + self heal + chickweed pesto, chopped up usnea lichen in miso soup, and yes – chickweed salads.
When the Yerba Women (the name of our Herbal Apprenticeship) gathered again a month later, we shared all the varied ways we had enjoyed wild herbs in our diet. The methods of choice seemed to be eating them raw, steamed, or sauteed – quick, easy, and manageable.
There were also some VERY creative ideas for enjoying herbs daily for wellness. Fellow apprentice Amber of Happy Day Farms introduced us to Herbal Mustards and Drinks (kombucha, jun, ginger drink, etc), and Lu introduced us to the idea of herb sprinkles and herbal gomasio.
Since this assignment, herb sprinkles and herbal gomasio have become some of my favorite ways to consume herbs. We keep a small jar of these treats on the kitchen table, where it stands ready to add flavor and nutrition to anything we wish.
Here are a few of our favorite recipes:
Raw or Toasted Sesame Seeds (Plain, Black, or a combination)
Dye Nori or other Seaweed (optional)
Dry 1/2 or 1/4 part Comfrey Leaf (Optional* See note below)
If using whole, dried herbs, crush into small pieces (using any means available to you) so they are about the size of the sesame seeds. Mix all herbs together and enjoy!
As an option, you can toast the sesame seeds – this will keep the seeds from going rancid as quickly and impart a lovely, smokey flavor.
You can also replace the seaweed with celery seeds for the “salty” flavor. In this case, use 1/2 part celery seeds.
NUTRITIVE HERB SPRINKLE
Delicious on popcorn, salads, and sauteed veggies.
Dry Comfrey (Optional* See note below)
Dry Dandelion Greens
Mix together and enjoy!
A NOTE ABOUT CONSUMING COMFREY INTERNALLY:
CAUTION: an alkaloid found in comfrey caused liver damage in pigs who ingested the (isolated) alkaloid in a study. Do your research before ingesting. It is not recommended that you give comfrey to children or elders (internally).
I hope that this story encourages you to get creative about bringing herbs into your daily diet. You may even want to try out the assignment of a wild herb every day!
Keep an eye out here for recipes for herbal syrups, vinegars, mustards, and other creative ideas to come! You can sign up for our mailing list here to be sure you never miss a post.
’till next time,