Elderberry: Sambucus nigra, also known as the European Elder
As winter goes through her last weeks we are still facing concerns over the flu here in the NE. Colds and flu can sneak into our households bringing runny noses and coughs.
A small tree or shrub, the elderberry, has been relieving these complaints for centuries. Sambucol, Sambucus, two popular names for commercial products fly off the shelves of health or natural supplement departments at this time of year. I have heard many stories of folks getting through a winter with no or few respiratory ailments hitting their households when combining elderberry with good winter health practices. If a cold should hit, elderberry syrup supplements are often the herb of choice. Research studies are being conducted by notable University’s Complementary and Alternative Medical Departments including the NIH. The German Commission E recommends elderberry and elderflower preparations for colds and flu even bronchitis.
Elder has a rich history. One of its name origins is Aeld, which meant fire. The pith in young branches is soft and easily pushes out. A hollow tube remains which was used to stoke the kitchen fires, hence the common name of pipe tree. In ancient times pipes were made of elder wood and fashioned into instruments and of course pea shooters.
Elder, referenced by Shakespeare and Pliny, holds a place of connection whether superstition, hedgerows, or poetry capturing us with its many uses and meanings.
Where Found: common to Europe and Northern Africa; now found all over the United States; in fact, it was thought this was the tree Judas chose to hang from. A fungus occurs on the elder, Hirroneola auricular Judaea, so named from the above historical story or myth.
Elder is considered a small tree about 10-12’ high or a shrub. It is commonly found along wood edges, along with wood stands in fields, along banks and fences. This plant is also nitrogen loving and in the Honeysuckle family. It flowers from May- June. Fruit ripens in August. Virginia Tech has a great ID page and plant facts.
Elderberry syrup and lozenges are part of my home medicine chest. I usually use elderberry during the winter or if I am traveling to keep my immune system strong. There are many products that are available for children too. In view of the recent flu outbreaks I thought it important to get info out about this wonderful plant. Nature has so many remedies for us. As my podcast guest, Doug Tallamy, reminds us: our personal land can play a huge part in supporting wildlife. And Elderberry is a host plant for a variety of butterflies and moths.
Enjoy your day. Judith
Description: Doug Tallamy is back! An author and educator, Entomologist, and Wildlife Ecologist. Doug teaches at the University of Delaware. His new book, Nature’s Best Hope, was released in February 2020. No one likes the doom and gloom yet we are facing some very serious ecological issues. Nature has solutions and if we pay attention today, improve our own yards with sustainable plants and growth we can make a difference.
About My Guest: Doug Tallamy is a professor in the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware, where he has authored 89 research publications and has taught Insect Taxonomy, Behavioral Ecology, Humans and Nature, Insect Ecology, and other courses for 36 years. Chief among his research goals is to better understand the many ways insects interact with plants and how such interactions determine the diversity of animal communities. His book Bringing Nature Home: How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens was published by Timber Press in 2007 and was awarded the 2008 Silver Medal by the Garden Writers’ Association. The Living Landscape, co-authored with Rick Darke, was published in 2014. Doug is also a regular columnist for Garden Design magazine. Doug is a Lifetime Honorary Director of Wild Ones and has won the Garden Club of America, Margaret Douglas Medal, for Conservation, the Tom Dodd, Jr. Award of Excellence, and the 2018 AHS 2018 B.Y. Morrison Communication Award.
I have heard it said that the Divine works in paradox. We cannot have light without darkness for example. As I mentioned in a previous post, I keep hearing about hope. One example is Deepak Chopra’s message “Hope in the Face of Uncertainty” that he presented at the World Government Summit.
Caroline Myss reminds us that hope is the jewel found at the bottom of Pandora’s box. When we opened pandora’s box, anything goes including evil. But as the story goes, it’s hard to close it again. In fact, it could be impossible. Hope is a jewel found at the bottom of the box. But what does that mean?
In Buddhist teachings, hope can have a more profound meaning.
Hope is a desire of wanting various things or wanting life to be a certain way: hope for a new car, new job, and new love etc. Hope in this way creates an expectation. And if something comes in less than or not at all we can be disappointed or even fall into despair. Any form of fear, not love, moves us into suffering. What’s the gift?
In Buddhism, if we release, let go of expectation because we are and have everything then we can experience an inner state of completeness. We can experience a profound inner change that deeply affects how we move into the world. We can release our cravings. The discipline and practice of letting go can be easy in the moment or take us a lifetime. The point is these teachings give us a way to release suffering.
So how can we be free of hope and be fully present to our experiences? You tell me. I see the paradox of wanting things to be better, the wanting to feel hope in that and knowing I have no idea what the Divine plan is for us in this moment: for me personally or for us globally.
I see so many areas that I wish to change: better care of our topsoil, better care of our water, development that includes the environment in all its forms, better treatment of each other no matter our differences, better care of all species. I hope we are making a difference though it may not be readily visible.
I trust I am where I need to be in my present moment and that is all I know. To trust my inner prompting. To keep on following my heart’s direction. To be fully present to each moment of my day. The rest, as they say, will take care of itself.
Description: The stars are buzzing with so many messages for this year. And, 2020 promises to be challenging and full of surprises. Agneta Borstein, a professional astrologer, talks about astrology as a science and a language. What do the planets and signs say to us this year? Agneta believes this year is a year to implement what we believe in, the time is now. And if the winds of change blow hard, go out in nature as much as possible and support nature. There’s more. Tune in for an intriguing discussion on What’s in the Stars for 2020.
About My Guest: Agneta Borstein, is a professional astrologer, workshop facilitator, teacher, author, and shamanic practitioner who combines her thirty years of healing with a distinct and personal approach. Born in Sweden, Agneta incorporated her BA in business with metaphysics and operated an alternative bookstore for twenty-one years. She maintains her private practices in West Hartford and Avon, CT, has spoken at numerous conferences, is the current president of the Astrological Society of CT, Inc., she is the Producer and host of the astrological Nutmeg TV show “From the Sky to Earth”, and is the author of The Moon’s Nodes, Understanding the Dynamic Ties that Bind.
Transcript: Agneta Borstein
Yep! Its still winter. Though we haven’t had much snow here in the Northeast, it’s been pretty cold which keeps us indoors. Today, Vitamin D research still gets a lot of attention especially for folks prone to SAD or seasonal affective disorder. Grey skies, lack of sunshine can cause some of us to feel blue.
Many health magazines report on the important role this vitamin plays not only for bone formation, and support for the immune system but also for cancer prevention. Vitamin D, known as the “sunshine” vitamin, needs the sun to activate a form of vitamin D3 under our skin when exposed that sets up a positive biochemical cascade that has many healthful benefits.
If you have the beginning stages of breast, prostate cancer or SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) for example, I would highly recommend you get your levels tested. However, I encourage everyone to have their Vitamin D levels tested and if needed to use quality supplementation, especially through the winter months. Besides getting outside and exercising whether walking, skiing, hiking where possible, the outdoors helps us get through the change of season. Too much Vitamin D can be harmful so please start the new year right: know your Vit D level.
According to Dr. Mercola, the best blood test to check your Vitamin D levels is: “25(OH)D is the better marker of overall D status. It is this marker that is most strongly associated with overall health.
Seafood such as salmon, tuna, sardines, and herring contain higher amounts of D3. For vegan’s and vegetarians, soy milk, almond milk are often fortified with vitamin D. That also includes cereals, orange juice. Check your labels and if you are a vegan get a baseline Vitamin D test done to ensure optimal health.
So get out in the sunshine when possible even if its cold. Nature, fresh air and sunlight have a marvelous way of chasing away the winter blues.
Enjoy your day. Judith
Dear Family and Friends,
Its been a while since I posted any podcast interviews or blogs. The past six months have been challenging. I recently lost my mother, 94 yrs, at the end of October. As her primary caretaker, I chose to be with her during her decline and then to say good-bye to her with family and friends. The holidays and the new year quickly followed.
Today I’m excited to tell you that I am resuming my podcast series Holistic Nature of Us. I enjoy interviewing and have spoken with so many folks across our country and Canada dedicated to finding solutions to the problems we face today. They have truly inspired me to keep going, to find more voices that support our holistic nature and the world around us.
I’ve got a great line-up that begins next week.
Agneta Borstein, a professional astrologer, returns. She offers her insights and wisdom for 2020 and begins my new season.
One of my favorite podcast guests Doug Tallamy, who also happens to be one of my most listened to podcast interviews, returns. He talks about his new book, Nature Best Hope just released this month and available on Amazon.
Where are we at environmentally? What’s happening in bogs, our wetlands? How does sound vibration heal us?
A theme I keep hearing over and over is one of Hope. How can we take action today so we grow hope for a sustainable future? I hope you will tune in again, and take some small action in your daily life to make a difference. Pick an area that speaks to you and do one thing to support it. One of my elders said this: “pick a local organization to get involved in, go to the meetings, participate and contribute. Pick one global organization to support even if it’s just a few dollars here and there.” (Oh Shinnah Fast Wolf)
Every action we take makes a difference.
We hope you will keep your comments coming. Are these interviews helpful? What topics would be important to explore? What organizations would you like to hear from?
I can only thank you from my heart for all your support, comments and kindnesses. Wishing all of you a prosperous, healthy, 2020.
I came across this video while doing some research on hope. Hope, a four-letter word that fills us with a feeling of expectancy, anticipation, a general feeling that some wish or desire will be fulfilled.
How do we maintain a feeling of hope in the midst of uncertainty? Deepak Chopra, speaking at the World Gov’t Summit held in Dubai, addresses serious global concerns while making a plea for us to choose higher consciousness and self-reflection as a way to travel upon and within higher roads of compassion, tolerance, patience, joy, love, and kindness, intuition, creativity.
We are amazing beings capable of taping into infinite creativity, joy, possibility, knowing we are inseparable from all of creation. Can we do this? Can we hear the clarion call coming from nature, her species that we are losing at an alarming rate?
Today is the day. We cannot put off contributing in some way. I encourage to spend a few moments with your goals, your vision boards, you wish list for 2020 and put action on them: What one action can I take today to make a difference and contribute to creating a healthy, balanced world where harmony reigns?
“These pains you feel are messengers. Listen to them.”
May your 2020 be filled with purposeful action and love. Judith
Description: Healthy soils support healthy plants, create nutrient-dense foods, help create better health. It all begins with the soil. My guest this week, Nigel Palmer, is a soil consultant and teaches sustainable and regenerative soil practices with The Institute of Sustainable Nutrition, TIOSN, here in North CT. What’s good for soil biology, the “digestive system” of soil, is actually important for us. Join us for an informative discussion on growing nutritious foods from the ground up.
About My Guest: Nigel Palmer is a Bionutrient Food and Soil Consultant practicing sustainable, regenerative mineralization programs. He develops plant and soil improvement products by fermenting local plants, extracting minerals, and capturing then cultivating indigenous microorganisms. He uses the refractive index of plant saps and crops as a way of monitoring long and short-term plant health trends and the efficacy of the products developed.
Nigel is the Outside Consultant for The Institute of Sustainable Nutrition or TIOSN. He teaches sustainable regenerative gardening techniques, the keeping of bees, and discusses monthly, the night sky and many subtle nuances of the world out of doors.
Transcript: Nigel Palmer
Description: Our immune system is a complex system consisting of several organs that are interconnected and interdependent upon each other and our whole body. My guest this week, Dr. Ashley Burkman, comes to us from the field of Naturopathy, a licensed physician discipline valid in several states in the USA. She gives her perspective and expertise on strengthening the immune system especially important as we head into the holidays. She offers a great paleo based recipe that helps us decrease refined sugars yet satisfies our sweet tooth. Join us for the naturopath point of view that is holistically based.
About My Guest: Dr. Ashley Burkman is a naturopathic physician at Collaborative Natural Health Partners and has been part of the team for over six years now. Her favorite part of working with this team is the strength there is in collaborating on patient care. While she treats a variety of health conditions, her particular interests are in endocrinology, gastroenterology, and autoimmune disease.
Transcript: #37 Dr. Ashley Burkman
Description: Gardening for Life: “Chances are, you have never thought of our garden – indeed, of all the space on your property, as a wildlife preserve that represents the last chance we have for sustaining plants and animals that were once common throughout the U.S. But that is exactly the role our suburban landscapes are now playing and will play even more in the near future.”
Meet Doug Tallamy, who shares his research and extensive knowledge concerning the rapid decline of invaluable species due to our development practices. Can we do something today? Yes. He gives us practical tips for practical sustaining action. Join us for a timely and meaningful discussion.
About My Guest: Doug Tallamy is a professor in the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware, where he has authored 89 research publications and has taught Insect Taxonomy, Behavioral Ecology, Humans and Nature, Insect Ecology, and other courses for 36 years. Chief among his research goals is to better understand the many ways insects interact with plants and how such interactions determine the diversity of animal communities. His book Bringing Nature Home: How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens was published by Timber Press in 2007 and was awarded the 2008 Silver Medal by the Garden Writers’ Association. The Living Landscape, co-authored with Rick Darke, was published in 2014. Doug is also a regular columnist for Garden Design magazine. Doug is a Lifetime Honorary Director of Wild Ones and has won the Garden Club of America Margaret Douglas Medal for Conservation, the Tom Dodd, Jr. Award of Excellence, and the 2018 AHS 2018 B.Y. Morrison Communication Award.
Podcast Transcript: Transcript Tallamy.