Plant Medicine: Spruce Tip Tea

Come September I start boosting my immunue system with a swig of Elderberry syrup – Sambucol- every morning and every evening. That stuff works like magic! I am rarely sick and when I do fall ill it’s so mild I don’t even know I’m ailing.

Take last week for instance. I upped my dose of magic berry juice to 3x a day because I felt a cold coming on. After a week of slightly more snot, a slightly stuffy, itchy nose and a bit of a drier throat I realized THAT was the cold, ha! Thank you Mother Nature for the protection ❤

I was kind of glad to “sick” this year because it gave me an opportunity to try out my Spruce Tips! Do you remember when I harvested them last Spring? You can read that post HERE.

It was so easy, I popped 4 dried tips into a mug, poured some boiling water over top and let the whole thing steep for a bit.

After scooping out a few floaty things – spider eggs?- I took my first sip and got a very mild hint of lemon. I was worried that my brew wasn’t strong enough based on that but I was also worried that my throat wasn’t sore enough either. It turned out they were made for each other because even though the taste was subtle, it was effective. It was exactly the right dose for my throat. I went from having that hint of sore throat feeling to a lovely sort of cool, icy feeling. Almost like when you use an antiseptic numbing spray but not as strong (or annoying).

So that’s a win! Next time I’d use 6 tips instead of 4, just because I want a stronger taste – I like it!-. I might also pick extra tips and infuse them in raw honey over the summer to make a syrup that’s easier to take when I don’t feel like making tea. Raw honey has healing qualities too! Of course I’ll keep you all updated on the results 🙂

Do you have any plant medicine you use and swear by? Tell me all about it!

Plant Medicine – Using Cannabis Spray.

After using my spray a few more times I now feel confident enough to share my testimony!

I bought this stuff here:

It even comes with an official seal:

It’s a non flavoured spray and there are something like 400 sprays in that wee little bottle.

It’s called Balance because its a balanced mix -or close to it- of CBD( 12.20 mg) and THC (13.20 )

CBD is the stuff the medical community is all excited about. THC is the stuff that makes you feel funny! So you can see, there is very little THC in this stuff!

I was told that with this particular product, my mind would stay clear but my body would become really relaxed. It would be good for the pain in my bicep and later, once that resolved itself, it’d be good for calming my anxiety too. I would be able to use it – after experimenting with the dosage safely first- and be able to go to work! That’s how clear my mind would be.

Good! In the past I’d hated feeling high. I wanted to be melty and gooey but not paranoid and stupid, laughing at any dumb thing or freaking out because “everyone can tell I’m high”.

It was recommended that I start out with a small dose of two or three sprays. The gent at the counter actually suggested ONE, since I hadn’t used it in 35 years so one is what I started myself at.

I was honestly really nervous to try it that first time. I had a problem with the unknown of the whole thing. The gent who helped me in the store told me that while, there was a certain consistency to how a body would react, every body is different and everyone reacts in a different way.

There was only one way to find out how that way would be for me so I took the safety seal off, figured out how to use the locking mechanism and gave myself a spray.

Right in the back of my throat.

Don’t do that!

I felt like I was having an allergic reaction! But I think it was just poor application that made the back of my throat itchy.

Under the tongue or in the lip like a spot of “chew” is a much better idea!

It tasted kind of skunky but tolerable.

Within 15 mins I was feeling the effects. My body remembered it right away-humans have cannabinoid receptors. Did you know that?- and soon I was feeling it most strongly in my body. It was very strange at first, to be so relaxed. I didn’t notice my arm at all. (Which by that time was not hurting as bad as it had been) I checked my eyes in the mirror and they looked normal. I felt mostly normal, still clear headed. I was able to play Mahjong and hold normal conversations. There was still this sort of pull to go “into myself” and be alone with the relaxed feeling but it wasn’t so strong that I wasn’t able to tear myself away. I was still social and coherent.

I went to bed shortly after that and slept for TEN FULL HOURS!

The relaxed feeling lasted for days after too. I wasn’t like a puddle of goo or anything, I was just … chill. Calm. Unbothered.

My second does was after doing… something…I can’t remember what … gardening probably! I took one spray again and went straight to bed. This time my experience was kind of meh.

My mistake was taking it, waiting 5 mins and then brushing my teeth. I felt it less than the time before and it only lasted about an hour and then my mind was back to it’s usual self, chattering away. When I finally did fall asleep though, I slept well.

The third time was a one spray experience too but this time, I gave myself time before bed and while I was happy with the way my body felt, my damn mind would not shut up.

The thing about being super relaxed like that is that any part of you that is a sort of “problem” spot reeeeeally becomes more noticeable because everything else is nice and chill. My jaw for instance. My bruxism is BAD. And of course, my monkey mind! This is a very common occurrence according to my internet research, SO keep this in mind if you intend to try it too.

Now, the last time I tried it, was after a day of naughty gardening again. (Naughty because I’m not supposed to be using my arm! ) This time I used TWO sprays to see if it helped the monkey mind – it did not- and while it was a little more melty making, it wasn’t long lasting and I woke up with arm pain in the night. ( I had really over done it that day) I got up to pee and stretch my arm and then fell promptly back asleep so while I did still feel some pain, being able to fall back asleep was definitely an improvement.

I’ve tried it a few more times and each time was different but positive.

What’s my final verdict?

It’s still evolving, really.

It’s great for sleeping. It’s great for relaxing the body. It seems to have helped me achieve a greater state of mental calm- even with my monkey mind!- in the every day, just from a few uses by sort of calming down my central nervous system. It allows me to be clear headed and function when I use it.

I’m not sure how I feel about going to work while using it though. I think my anxiety is somewhat helpful in keeping me on my toes…but I would be able to if I chose to do so.

I can’t really say what it did for pain because I haven’t used it while in a highly pained state. It did help me relax enough and not think about the discomfort I was feeling though…it wasn’t useless like the Toradol, by any means. And while I did wake up once in the night, in pain, I was able to fall back asleep. That has never happened before…I think in higher doses, the pain relief would be good- higher doses comes with foggy brain though but if I was desperate, I would choose that!

It showed me my trouble spot- monkey mind and jaw clenching- which I appreciated. I’m more conscious of tending to those things now.

It surprised me by showing me something else…I want that floaty brain feeling! I felt like it was missing from the experience. I would LOVE to get my mind to shut up for once!

Whaaaaaat?!

I know right?!

I never, in a million years thought I’d want to feel like that again but I find myself craving it. The body relaxation feels incomplete without it.

It’s highly, highly unlikely I’ll be seeking that feeling out for the same reasons I don’t seek out my beloved Ativan, ha ha, but I wanted to mention it as part of my experience, in the interest of honesty and authenticity. Instead, I’ll mediate “like my hair is on fire” and calm my monkey mind the old fashioned way. It’s nice to know the option’s there … but I’m not sure it’d be wise of me to use it for that.

All in all, I would recommended this product to first time users, for sure. (After you do your own research, of course!) It felt safe and I didn’t have any weird or negative side effects. It’s become a part of my regular routine. I use it any time I feel like I’ve over worked my arm or if I’ve had a “big day” and am too jacked up to sleep. The good side effects are long lasting. I can take two sprays once in a week and I’m still sleeping well and feeling unbothered four whole days later! It’s worth it, just for that!

So there you have it. I hope reading about my experience helps you if you need it. If you have any thoughts or questions, I’m here to help if I can!

Plant Medicine – Spruce / Pine Tip Syrup & Tea ala Little Mountain Ranch.

Originally in this spot I was going to write about my experience trying my cannabis spray. Instead, I bring you today’s subject because the spruce trees are growing new tips RIGHT NOW and I wanted to get the information out there for anyone who wants to harvest their own! Cannabis is coming, I promise.

My friend Chelsea, has a YouTube channel where she vlogs about her homesteading lifestyle, amongst other awesome things.

She’s a truly great human being . The kind of person who inspires others and she shares some really awesome stuff.

She’s got a video up this week about making Spruce Tip/Pine Tip syrup. I had no idea a person could do such a thing!

Spruce and Pine tips are really high in vitamin C and while I’m not one for syrup, Chelsea mentions in her video that she also dries some tips for tea. Can you imagine the healing properties in that, right around cold and flu season? Now THAT is totally my jam, so today on my walk I brought along a bag and harvested my own spruce tips!

This is what they look like:

Like Chels says, you want the soft bits on the end and it’s pretty easy to tell the new tips from the old growth because the old growth is really ouchie to touch!

They pull off really easily too and it’s really pleasant to circle a giant tree, quietly picking off bits here and there. It would be wise to choose trees that are not near major roads and of course, it’s probably not a great idea to venture on to private property. I went to a local park that was well away from the road. Don’t take too much and if you’re witchy or so inclined, give the tree your thanks too.

But first, check out Chelsea’s video and channel here @ Little Mountain Ranch, for all the important information. She shares a lot of cool things and like I said, she’s an overall ginchy human you’ll want to get to know better.

I’ve got my tips drying in the sun right now:

And I’ll be back again, when I make my first cup of tea with them! Now get out there and get picking!

Plant Medicine- Buying Cannabis.

Cannabis has been legal in Canada since October, 2018. It’s been used openly since pretty much forever though and I’m thinking that’s one reason why it was finally legalized for medicinal AND recreational use. People just didn’t care about no stinkin’ laws and smoked it anyway!

Photo by Brandon Nickerson on Pexels.com

The history of cannabis in all aspects -socially, medicinally, legally- is extremely interesting if you’re in to such things. We’ve been using the stuff as medicine for ages AND before prohibition it was most common!

I know right?! The things you learn…anyway, I wont get into all of that here but if it’s your jam, look it up. I found the whole thing fascinating!

I don’t smoke, myself. I tried as a teen but didn’t like the foggy brain feeling so I had my last puff some 35 years ago. In later years, as I became more Witchy, I became intrigued by it’s medicinal properties – I am the person who seriously thought about growing poppies and harvesting her own opium for pain relief – but up until recently, I haven’t really needed such a thing. I believe strongly in the “magic” of plant medicine though. My aunt owned and operated her own research facility ,studying the effects of cannabis on cancer so it’s something that runs in the family!

Photo by Aphiwat chuangchoem on Pexels.com

As my regular readers know, I tore my bicep last week. That is a pain that was something else! Most unbearable for the first few days. I’m talking a nine out of ten! My son could hear the pain in my voice when he called me one night and he got really mad at me for allowing myself to get like that. Don’t get me wrong. I WAS actually on pain meds! Toradol. They worked for about 2 hours and were pretty much useless after that. Plus, they come with HUGE scary side effects for things which I already have issues with. No thanks!

SO, at my kid’s urging, fueled by pain and a real need to get off of a drug that wasn’t helping me, I made my way to a local cannabis shop.
I was curious about the whole thing but it all felt very normal. Just like going to the health food store or something!

I chose Fire and Flower, here in Edmonton. Their Namao location.

I was greeted at the door by a fellow and asked for my ID. I wrinkled my nose a bit at the smell. There IS an odor. Slight but there nonetheless. So be mindful of that, if you can’t stand the smell…it wasn’t enough to deter me from my end goal.

ANYway, from what I could see the place was bright and clean. It reminded me of a department store cosmetic counter, with backlit glass shelves and counters, which held smoking apparatus and the like! I didn’t get a great look though because I was quickly ushered over to a wall of choices, by my greeter gent.

The wall was full of pegs with little cards denoting the strains and names of the various products one could buy. After determining my needs, the young gent – who was a very mainstream kind of guy, for anyone who cares to know- educated me and affirmed the knowledge I already had, helping me make my choice.

I’d come in for oil but left with a spray which turned out to be exactly the best choice for me. I was guided expertly toward the best thing for my needs too. There was no force or awkwardness in any of this, just a real desire to help me have a decent experience and get the help I needed. I so appreciate that! I took my little card up to the counter, purchased my product and that was that. Easy Peasy!

The whole experience was pleasant and professional. For anyone worried, this is not one of those musty dank shops filled to the rafters with crap and people who are “stoked”. Although those are still out there, if you want one! This was well run, well staffed and very consumer friendly. The guy who was helping me was able to read me right away – dorky Grandma, ha ha – and treated me as such. I felt safe and respected and the whole thing felt so normal and civilized.

I say all this because I think some people are reeeeeally put off by cannabis culture and maybe that stops them from investigating these new options. Never fear, my experience was a pretty normal one and I feel good about going back there, should I choose to do so in future!

Coming Soon: Trying Cannabis Spray. I’ve taken it twice with mixed results so I want to try it a few more times before I give you a final verdict -if there is such a thing. Anyway, hang in there for that!

Have a groovy Wednesday!