Midwest Women’s Herbal Conference

Register Now! June 5-7th, 2015 in Almond, WI

Join us for a gathering of the feminine, a wide spectrum of Midwest Herbalists and earth-based speakers, plant walks, topics including herbs for family health, wild edibles, fermentation, permaculture, movement, herbal wisdom the Wise Woman way and much more! New and experienced herbalists alike will gain wisdom and connection at this conference.

I’ll be facilitating two workshops this year:

Herbal Infused Oils, Lotions & Salves

Roundtable: Storyweaving…What’s on your mind and in your Heart?


Hope to see you there!

Bone Broth Remembrance

Sunday I made broth with leftover bones and veggies from a birthday party chicken.  I simmered it all day with astragalus and dandelion root.  It tasted like pure golden silk filling my belly with warm sunshine.  I thought about one of my herbal teachers and felt her in the kitchen.  I’ve since learned that she passed on earlier this week…

I will write more about her as the memories trickle in and as acceptance grows. However, today I want to honor and send gratitude for her life and how she brought the real-deal bone broth into my life years ago. And so much more. I love you.

Chicken Bone Broth

I roast a whole chicken, eat the meat and then stick the leftover bones in the freezer.  When there are a bunch of carcasses and bones I put them in a large stockpot and cover them with filtered water.  I break open the bones with pruners to release the marrow and create more surface area.  I add a few tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar.  I save onion skins, carrot tops and celery ends & put them in the freezer & simmer them with the bones too.  Add in supportive herbs like dandelion and burdock root or astragalus.  Don’t forget the garlic!  Add as much as you like. Salt & pepper to taste. Fresh carrots, onions and celery can be chopped and added.  I avoid brassicas or strong root crops like rutabagas in broth.

Simmer bones and veggies for 8-24 hours. Add fresh or dried parsley or nettles in the last 1/2 hour.  Let it cool and then pour it into jars.  It can be refrigerated or frozen after straining.

Simple & nourishing.  Thank you Carol.  Read a beautiful tribute here.

Elderberry Recipes

An article that I contributed to a newsletter for the Coulee Region Herbal Institute.  While we are past the season for fresh berries these recipes can also be created with dried or frozen berries you have tucked away.

Elderberry (Sambucus nigra spp. canadensis or caerulea)

The season of elderberries is upon us. The Elder Tree overflows with dark purple black berries throughout the country: alongside roads & farm fields, and near rivers and wet ground. Elderberries are a favorite winter remedy rich with tradition and new found possibilities.

Harvest & Recipes 

The raw seeds of all Sambucus species can cause nausea but luckily these effects are destroyed by cooking (or by straining out the berries from a tincture or tea). Elderberries that are purple/black that ripen in the fall are the ones I am most familiar with and whose attributes this article speak of. The North American red berried elder (S. racemosa) which has berries in mid-summer, reportedly contains the most of the resin that causes the tummy upset and is not widely used.


Harvest elderberries when they are ripe and purple-black but still firm and shiny. Strip the berries from the stems to process. Elderberries can be dried, froze, juiced or made into tinctures, syrups, wine, jelly, herbal vinegar or elixirs to last the winter through. Ideas abound on the internet and in herb books. Elderberries combine well with apples & grapes to make the harvest stretch.

Elderberry Infusion

Put about ½ cup dry elderberries in a quart jar and cover overnight with just boiled water. Strain berries and enjoy.

Elderberry Honey

Cover fresh, slightly mashed berries with honey and let it infuse for a few weeks. Strain the berries and add the honey to tea or eat by the spoonful.

Elderberry Syrup

Put ripe elderberries in a saucepan with half their volume of water. Simmer and stir for about 20 minutes. Allow to cool and then squeeze out the juice using a jelly bag.

Measure the juice and for every pint of juice add half pound honey, a stick of cinnamon, a few cloves, slice of lemon or ?? Simmer for 20 minutes, then strain and pour into hot sterilized bottles.

Dose: 1 teaspoonful every couple of hours for colds and flus

Elderberry Elixir

Fill a pint mason jar about half way with freshly dried elderberries. Other herbs or spices can be added in the jar at this point such as ginger, rose hips, cinnamon…Fill the jar half way with honey and then fill to the top with brandy. Shake or stir and decent in 6 weeks.

Take a teaspoon as needed when feeling a cold or the flu coming on.

Elderberry Rob

“Almost from time immemorial, a ‘Rob’ (a vegetable juice thickened by heat) has been made from the juice of Elderberries simmered and thickened with sugar, forming an invaluable cordial for colds and coughs, but only of late years has science proved that Elderberries furnish Viburnic acid, which induces perspiration, and is especially useful in cases of bronchitis and similar troubles. To make Elderberry Rob, 5 lb. of fresh ripe, crushed berries are simmered with 1 lb. of loaf sugar and the juice evaporated to the thickness of honey. It is cordial, aperient and diuretic. One or two tablespoonfuls mixed with a tumblerful of hot water, taken at night, promotes perspiration and is demulcent to the chest. The Rob when made can be bottled and stored for the winter”.




Bruton-Seal, Seal Julie & Matthew. Backyard Medicine Harvest & Make Your Own Herbal Remedies Sykhorse 2009, pgs 57-61.

luca elder